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Massa leads Williams front row lock-out in Austria

NEWS STORY
21/06/2014

While the Mercedes duo could only manage second and fifth this morning, it would be foolish for anyone, especially their rivals, to believe the bubble has finally burst.

Whilst there were problems in Canada, which Toto Wolff insists have been revolved, and even an ERS issue for Nico Rosberg yesterday morning, we've a feeling that the Silver cars will be heading the grid tomorrow afternoon. What will happen in the race however, especially on a circuit which continues to catch out those not paying it enough respect, is an entirely different case. The bottom line is that this is a Mercedes track.

Valtteri Bottas led a Williams 1-3 this morning, signalling that Montreal was no flash in the pan. However, there are fears that the Grove outfit is one of several that will struggle with its tyres on Sunday.

One of the big problems this weekend has been keeping the car on the black stuff, and while yesterday this was due to the cool temperatures, the track conditions and high winds, this morning traffic was also causing problems with cars losing grip when they got too close behind another. This will continue this afternoon, particularly in Q1 and eraly tomorrow.

While the Mercedes look dominant, the fact that the top seven were covered by just 0.544s this morning, and 0.504s covered the nine cars behind the Silver Arrows yesterday suggests we could be in for a good fight tomorrow. We certainly hope so.

McLaren was looking strong yesterday, but a brake issue this morning meant Button didn't get to run on the option tyres. Indeed, brakes are clearly an issue here.

Red Bull has yet to show its hand while, as ever, Alonso flatters the Ferrari F14T.

Another team yet to show its true pace, and which should benefit in terms of tyre management, is Force India, whilst Toro Rosso is also looking good.

One cannot help but feel that heading to Austria some people weren't taking the Styria track too seriously, feeling it was back on the calendar thanks to the depth of Dietrich Mateschitz' pockets and the track's 'chocolate box' setting more than anything else. However, it is a track that looks set to punish a number of drivers over the next 24-hours, a track which could deliver another real classic. We expect another afternoon of attrition tomorrow.

In order to carry as much speed as possible onto the main pit straight drivers have been running wide in Turns 8 and 9 - though in all honesty some had little choice - however, Charlie Whiting has warned that any driver who is thought to have gained an advantage, mainly by running wide in T8 with all four wheels off the track, will lose his time. They have been warned.

As we await the start of Q1, the air temperature is 17 degrees C, while the track temperature is 32 degrees. It's cool but bright and sunny.

The lights go green and Kvyat - who impressed this morning - is first out, followed by Hulkenberg and Vergne.

Despite his love of the track, Button appears unusually disgruntled this weekend. He complains that the readout on his steering wheel, in terms of his gear selection, doesn't match with what he is using.

After the first round of laps, Vergne is quickest, the Frenchman posting a 10.982. On his second lap, teammate Kvyat goes quicker with a 10.854.

Whilst the Caterhams, Saubers and Marussias are on options, all the rest are on primes.

No sooner has Alonso posted 10.671 than Hamilton goes quickest with a 9.762 and teammate Rosberg second with a 10.124.

A big wobble for Bottas in T8 as Button complains at being held up by a Caterham (Kobayashi). The Japanese, like Bottas and Kvyat has gone wide at T8. The

Stewards announce that Bottas, Grosjean and Ericsson have had their times disallowed.

As Rosberg consolidates second with a 9.695, Hamilton having upped the ante with a 9.514, Massa goes third ahead of his teammate.

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1. Posted by bfairey, 21/06/2014 22:21

"How many laps before Massa run into someone??"

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