The 2016 Austrian Grand Prix (officially the Formula 1 Grosser Preis von Österreich 2016) was the ninth race of the 2016 Formula One season, and the thirtieth time the Austrian Grand Prix was held. It was held between 1 July and 3 July 2016.
Lewis Hamilton secured pole position following a dramatic qualifying session where Daniil Kvyat crashed out in Q1, and mixed weather conditions saw Nico Hülkenberg and Jenson Button qualify within the top five, being moved up to second and third respectively after championship leader Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel were each given five-place grid penalties for gearbox changes. Following a collision with Rosberg on the final lap, Hamilton went on to win the race, ahead of Max Verstappen and Kimi Räikkönen, while Rosberg finished fourth in a damaged car. Manor also scored their first point of the season, as Pascal Wehrlein moved up to tenth following Sergio Pérez's brake failure.
Going into the Grand Prix, Nico Rosberg led the Drivers' Championship with 141 points. Lewis Hamilton was 24 points behind, while Sebastian Vettel was another 21 points behind, and Kimi Räikkönen moved up to fourth ahead of Daniel Ricciardo. The top five teams all remained in the same places in the Constructors' Championship: Mercedes led with 258 points, Ferrari were second and 81 points behind, Red Bull were another 37 points behind, Williams remained fourth and had 90 points, and Force India were fifth and 31 points behind Williams.
Before the race, there were numerous announcements either for Austria or a different event. The Formula One Group announced that numerous fans would be able to experience different activities, such as one lucky fan attending the race able to wave the chequered flag, the person with the best picture taken from a photo booth to interact with FIA race director Charlie Whiting, three lucky draw winners to ride in the safety car with its driver Bernd Mayländer, and twenty-two younger people to be in the drivers' parade and interact with all twenty-two drivers. Plus, the BMW M1 Procar series would be rerun by classic F1 drivers such as Niki Lauda, Gerhard Berger and Jos Verstappen.
Charles Leclerc, who was a winner of the GP3 Series, was confirmed to compete for Haas in practice sessions in Britain, Hungary, Germany, Malaysia and Abu Dhabi, while Toro Rosso confirmed that Sergio Sette Camara would be driving their car in mid-season testing at Silverstone. Toro Rosso also extended Carlos Sainz, Jr.'s contract to the end of 2017, and former F1 driver and current Channel 4 analyst Karun Chandhok was revealed to be a driver for Williams' Heritage division.
Ultrasoft tyres were confirmed to make their third Grand Prix appearance, as one of the dry compounds available for Austria, alongside the soft and supersoft tyres. Like in the first two Grands Prix using the ultrasoft tyres, many of the drivers chose a big number of sets of ultrasofts, with the drivers of Ferrari and Renault choosing nine sets each.
James Allison, the technical director of Ferrari, even believed that with the new regulations for 2017, numerous records would be smashed: "The historic best lap time were set a while back, but we're starting to approach those now. I'm looking forward to next year, because next year we're going to start smashing those records. Some people think that lap times aren't so important, that the closeness of the racing is the only thing that matter. I think both matter. We would like every race to be a proper fist fight and it's getting more and more that way. There is some very good racing happening in the field this year and it's only going to improve."
Heading into the Austrian Grand Prix, both drivers of Mercedes were confirmed to be using new power units. Nico Rosberg was onto his fourth, while Lewis Hamilton was using the fifth and final power unit that allowed him to escape a grid penalty. However, Hamilton still predicted that he could get the result of using more than five power units in the next few races and start way down on the grid.
Plus, the track for the Austrian Grand Prix was resurfaced, as to fix the bumps and errors made over the years. It was also done to suit the MotoGP World Championship's race, and F1 drivers were able to set times faster than one minute and six seconds. The resurfacing was said by Rosberg to possibly have much effect on him and Hamilton: "I think that this will have a quite big impact, and of course we have adapted our set-up accordingly. We have sent someone to measure the asphalt to try to understand what the impact will be on our tyres. This is a crucial aspect in regards to the whole set-up of the car, where we are putting in a lot of effort. Today I had a run on the track to take a look myself. But then, of course, we will learn the most from driving the track tomorrow. On top of that we have received a bit of data from our DTM colleagues, saying that it will be more difficult to get temperature into the tyres. It will be for sure more challenging, but this has been one of our strengths in the past few races - to understand very fast what has to be modified on the car and adapt to the new situation. So I am very positive that we will be able to incorporate new changes faster than others."
"Baguette" kerbs were also added onto some sides of the track, so to let drivers where they cannot go too far off the track and gain an advantage. However, Max Verstappen claimed them to be "dangerous" kerbs after they caused damage to his car in FP1, also agreed by Hamilton when he stated how many incidents were caused by those yellow kerbs, while Vettel stated: "It's clear that you'd better not touch them. I think for next year we need to find a solution, but for tomorrow there's nothing that can be done."
Plenty of teams had technical updates for Austria: Force India's last two flaps on the front wings were made short so suit the cars' performances at the Red Bull Ring, Haas updated their blown front axle to make extra drag at the circuit, and McLaren introduced a new rear wing that had vertical slots at the front and back along with horizontal strakes on the endplate's width. However, this had not been used in qualifying or the race, assuming that it did not make any more downforce at the circuit. Following Rosberg's suspension failure in FP3, Mercedes strengthened their suspensions so to prevent anything like that happening again. Williams also made a new front wing that had numerous changes, but failed to get it used on Massa's car in the race.
As the first practice session was starting, Rosberg set the fastest time, which was 1:07.373, faster than the fastest lap of the 2003 Austrian Grand Prix set by Michael Schumacher. Hamilton had a spin at Turn 3, and Grosjean also spun while trying to avoid him. Rosberg later went off at that same turn. Grosjean's teammate Gutiérrez also had a problem, being a "sick-sounding Ferrari motor". At one point, Ericsson was coming into the pits too quickly, causing his car to slide, and forcing Ricciardo to go into the run-off area at Turn 8. Ericsson was given a reprimand, which it was explained that Ericsson lost downforce when Ricciardo was behind him, and his car oversteered over the white line at the pit entry, while the stewards thought that Ericsson should slowed down before Turn 8 and let Ricciardo through. Haryanto was also reprimanded when he skidded at that same corner and rejoined in front of Ricciardo. Controversially, Verstappen's car was damaged twice by the "baguette" kerbs. First, he lost a bit of his front wing on the yellow kerbs at Turn 8, then he soon went over the yellow kerbs at Turn 5, breaking his front wing and front-right suspension, causing his car to go into the gravel trap, as he complained: "They are unbelievable, these yellow things." The virtual safety car was deployed at that point, and Wehrlein was soon reprimanded for speeding under the virtual safety car. The session ended with Rosberg fastest, Hamilton second, and Vettel third with a new MGU-K on his car. Nasr was fined €200 for speeding in the pit lane.
As the second session started, the track was dry as Rosberg went fastest with a time of 1:07.967 while on supersoft tyres. Eight minutes after the session started, it started to rain, and all of the drivers came back into the pits. At that point, Räikkönen went off into the gravel at Turn 5, though he managed to keep going, but he was unable to improve his lap time of 1:17.809, and Verstappen could not set a time before the rainfall, due to his car still being repaired after the events of FP1. Ricciardo was left third ahead of Hülkenberg, both on supersoft tyres, and Hamilton was only fifth, running on soft tyres. No one went out again until 37 minutes later, as all turns except Turns 1 and 9 began to dry. Ricciardo was the first to go out, followed by his teammate Verstappen. Both of them ran on intermediate tyres, as they knew about Turns 1 and 9 still being wet. Throughout the session, multiple drivers slid at different turns: Rosberg, Kvyat, Verstappen, Ricciardo and Grosjean going wide at Turn 1; Hülkenberg, Wehrlein and Pérez running off the track at Turn 8; and another mistake from Verstappen when he spun at Turn 9.
The rain was completely clear 25 minutes before the end of the season, enabling the drivers to get fast lap times. Räikkönen was the first to move up, eventually getting the eighth fastest time of the session. Hamilton was also going well on a lap, until he had to slow down in Sector 2 due to Gutiérrez's car being in front of him. On his next lap, Hamilton moved up to second, with a time of 1:07.986. Hamilton went faster halfway on the track later in the session, but he then decided to dismiss it, moving his car slowly along the start/finish straight and rightfully off the racing line, and then got back up to speed once again. Meanwhile, Rosberg aborted his lap as well, despite being faster in Sectors 1 and 2. Hülkenberg went third fastest, beating Vettel, and the latter could not improve when his Ferrari car spun while trying to brake at Turn 2. His car fortunately stopped before it could hit the barrier, as Vettel commented on the team radio: "I don't know what happened there. I just lost the car completely." The problem was found by Ferrari to be something wrong with his brake bias. With the session ended, Rosberg was fastest, and Ricciardo was fifth ahead of Sainz, Verstappen, Räikkönen, Bottas and Button.
Just like Nasr in FP1, Räikkönen was fined €200 for going too fast in the pit lane.
Starting the third session, Vettel went fastest on ultrasoft tyres, with a time of 1:07.307. His teammate Räikkönen followed with a time of 1:07.558, then improved it to be 1:07.234. Ricciardo went third fastest, having suffered several lockups earlier in the session. Verstappen went fourth fastest, ahead of Bottas and Massa. Meanwhile, despite being on ultrasofts, the Mercedes drivers struggled to get into the top ten. Rosberg was twentieth, and Hamilton, who was seventeenth, commented on the team radio that they should come in for a check on the tyres, though the team said to stay out, until they soon came in to get their cars adjusted. Gutiérrez and Grosjean soon went eighth and ninth respectively. Rosberg went back out, and had just set the fastest time in the first sector, when coming out of Turn 2, his left-rear suspension went and his car crashed into the barriers, bringing out the red flags with over twenty-one minutes left of the session.
With the track soon cleared, there were about twelve minutes left, and Vettel went back out to improve his best lap time, overtaking Räikkönen to get a time of 1:07.098. Despite going off at Turn 1 and going wide at Turn 8, Gutiérrez was able to finish the session in twelfth place, and Wehrlein separated him from Grosjean behind. Pérez, Grosjean and Magnussen also went off at Turn 8, but were still eleventh, fourteenth and fifteenth respectively. Hamilton eventually finished the session in third place, with a time of 1:07.308.
Following his accident, Rosberg's car had to be repaired, with the inclusion of a gearbox change, which meant a five-place grid penalty was given to him. Button was fined €400 for speeding in the pit lane, while Bottas escaped a reprimand after he went off the track and rejoined while Gutiérrez and Ricciardo were behind him.
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull-TAG Heuer||1:08.528||5||1:08.649||5||1:07.639||4|
|11||Sergio Pérez||Force India-Mercedes||1:09.226||14||1:08.442||11|
|26||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:08.990||9||1:09.207||13||1:08.786||16|
|27||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:09.280||12||1:08.580||3||1:08.285||8|
|33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull-TAG Heuer||1:08.962||8||1:08.761||7||1:07.761||5|
|34||Alfonso Celis, Jr.||Force India-Mercedes||1:10.860||22|
|55||Carlos Sainz, Jr.||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:08.803||6||1:08.713||6||1:09.008||18|
As Q1 started, the weather was dry, and Hamilton was temporarily fastest, and Vettel went second. However, Rosberg's car was fixed in time, after its crash in FP3, and Rosberg went quickest, while Vettel moved ahead of Hamilton. Pérez was sixteenth fastest, when one of his suspensions failed, forcing him to end his session early. With under two minutes remaining, Kvyat went wide at Turn 8, and his right-rear suspension failed, causing his car to slide down the track, hit the pit wall sideways, and stopped in the gravel trap at Turn 9 with the tyres underneath bouncing the car. The red flag had to be brought out while Kvyat's car was cleared, and the drivers all had enough time to set one last lap time in Q1 after the red-flag period. However, while on the track, Sainz's engine blew up, forcing him to take no further part in the qualifying session. Hülkenberg and Haryanto improved, but Haryanto's lap time was not enough to get out of the knockout zone, while his teammate Wehrlein surprisingly finished Q1 in tenth place. The drivers knocked out were: Magnussen, Palmer, Haryanto, Kvyat, Ericsson and Nasr.
Rain was estimated to fall within eight minutes as Q2 started. This time, Hamilton went faster than Rosberg, with a time of 1:06.228. While on his run, Alonso noticed that he was on the used tyres from Q1, rather than a new set. After they ran on ultrasofts, the Ferrari and Red Bull drivers all went for another run, this time on supersofts. Although those last longer than ultrasofts, they managed to improve their times in Q2, so that they could start the race on those tyres. After coming in for another set, Alonso went back out, but yellow flags caused by Button going wide at Turn 3 meant Alonso had to abandon his lap. To make matters worse, as Alonso went to start a lap without any yellow flags, the rain began to fall, which prevented Alonso from moving up and getting out of the knockout zone. Rosberg also could not improve his lap time while using a set of supersofts, all because of the rain, meaning he would have to start the race on the ultrasofts, and the same occurred for Hamilton. Despite his mistake, Button got into Q3 for the first time since McLaren went back to Honda engines the previous year. Gutiérrez just missed out, having got the eleventh fastest lap time. Wehrlein qualified twelfth, his best qualifying result at the time, and even claiming qualifying to be "nearly perfect" for himself. The other drivers knocked out were Grosjean, Alonso, Sainz and Pérez, which the latter two did not set lap times due to their incidents in Q1.
The rain was still falling as Q3 started, meaning the drivers had to go out on intermediate tyres. The order was mixed up during that part of the session, and the rain started to clear. Hülkenberg was the first to switch to ultrasoft tyres, and went fastest temporarily, before the rest of the drivers changed to ultrasoft tyres and made improvements on their lap times. Hamilton was the quickest in Q3, getting his second pole position at the Red Bull Ring. Rosberg was second fastest, followed by Hülkenberg, Vettel, Button, Räikkönen, Ricciardo, Bottas, Verstappen and Massa. With their five-place grid penalties, Rosberg was dropped down to sixth, and Vettel ninth, moving Hülkenberg and Button up into the top three, which marked Hülkenberg's second front row start, Force India's first front row start since the 2009 Italian Grand Prix, and McLaren having been qualified in the top four for the first time since the 2014 Russian Grand Prix. Otherwise, it was the first time McLaren were qualified in the top three since the 2014 British Grand Prix.
Hülkenberg stated qualifying to have brought him back his memory of starting from pole position for Williams in the 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix, saying that "it reminded me a lot about Brazil and I was feeling really good in the car and it was just a flashback to back then. I was feeling really good and to be honest, I was expecting a little bit better, so when he said third... I wasn't disappointed. A great effort from the team. Not an easy session to be out there at the right time, it's all about timings. The car performed well, we put it together, so a very solid job and a very good starting position for tomorrow." Button also called qualifying "amazing", having that he would start in the top three thanks to Rosberg and Vettel's penalties.
After qualifying, Hülkenberg, Magnussen, Palmer, Haryanto and Nasr were all investigated by the stewards for speeding under yellow flags in Q1 while Sainz's car was being cleared. Hülkenberg and Magnussen kept their positions, as the stewards explained that they actually did slow down as they came up to the zone, while Palmer, Haryanto and Nasr were all given three-place grid penalties, putting them in nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first respectively after Kvyat had to start from the pit lane following the usage of a brand new chassis and gearbox.
|3||27||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||7||1:07.385||9||1:07.257||3||1:09.285||2|
|7||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull-TAG Heuer||9||1:07.500||4||1:06.840||7||1:09.980||5|
|9||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull-TAG Heuer||4||1:07.131||5||1:06.866||9||1:11.153||8|
|15||55||Carlos Sainz, Jr.||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||11||1:07.618||15||no time||15|
|16||11||Sergio Pérez||Force India-Mercedes||13||1:07.657||16||no time||16|
|20||26||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||20||1:08.409||PL†|
|107% time: 1:11.172|
- * Rosberg and Vettel were each given five-place grid penalties for unscheduled gearbox changes.
- † Kvyat was forced to start from the pit lane after he was given a new chassis and gearbox following his crash in Q1. Massa had to start from the pit lane just as the race started, due to a problem with his front wing.
- ‡ Palmer, Haryanto and Nasr were all given three-place grid penalties each for speeding under yellow flags.
|Carlos Sainz, Jr.||16|
- * Rosberg and Vettel were each given five-place grid penalties for unscheduled gearbox changes.
- † Palmer, Haryanto and Nasr were all given three-place grid penalties each for speeding under yellow flags.
- ‡ Kvyat was forced to start from the pit lane after he was given a new chassis and gearbox following his crash in Q1. Massa had to start from the pit lane just as the race started, due to a problem with his front wing.
Before the race started, Williams found damage on Massa's car, and had to change it, forcing him to start from the pit lane. As the drivers finished their formation lap, Wehrlein mistakenly stopped in Massa's position on the grid, and managed to get back to his own position before the red lights were turning on and without disrupting the start.
Hamilton made a perfect start, as Button and Kimi Räikkönen both overtook Hülkenberg before the first corner. Rosberg, with his fast car, went past Ricciardo on the first lap. During the second lap, Hamilton was under two seconds ahead of Button. By lap 3, Kvyat had to retire with a mechanical issue.
- * Rosberg was given a ten-second time penalty for colliding with Hamilton on the final lap, though it did not affect his results.
- † Grosjean was given a five-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane, but it did not affect his results.
- ‡ Despite not finishing the race, Pérez, Alonso, Hülkenberg and Massa were classified due to that they did 90% of the race distance.
- 250th time a British driver has won a Grand Prix.
- Pascal Wehrlein's first career point.
Standings after race
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|V T E||Austrian Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Zeltweg Airfield (1963–1964), Red Bull Ring (1970–1987, 1997-2003, 2014-present)|
|Races||1964 • 1965–1969 • 1970 • 1971 • 1972 • 1973 • 1974 • 1975 • 1976 • 1977 • 1978 • 1979 • 1980 • 1981 • 1982 • 1983 • 1984 • 1985 • 1986 • 1987 • 1988–1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 • 2000 • 2001 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004–2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017 • 2018 • 2019 • 2020 • 2021 • 2022|
|Red Bull Ring was previously called Österreichring and A1-Ring.|
|v·d·e||Nominate this page for Featured Article|