If you thought the 2014 Formula One season would never get interesting, check out this starting grid. It’s been a dozen years since Williams F1 (formerly Williams GP Engineering) has come close to qualifying this well, a long dry spell for a proud team.
Circumstance might have smiled on the Martini-hued Williams cars as Lewis Hamilton ruined his own qualifying and compromised Nico Rosberg’s, but if you ever doubted the well of goodwill for the team that Frank Williams and Patrick Head founded you should have heard the cheers when Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas upstaged Mercedes yesterday to annex the front row of the grid.
The Austrian Grand Prix has a history of throwing up unusual results: Lorenzo Bandini for Ferrari in 1964; Jo Siffert for BRM in 1971; Vittorio Brambilla for March in 1975; John Watson for Penske in 1976; Alan Jones for Shadow in 1977. And while few would begrudge Massa a 12th win, after all he’s been through since his near-fatal accident in Hungary in 2009, it would also be a cause for celebration if Bottas were to follow the great Finnish footsteps of champions Keke Rosberg, Mika Hakkinen and Kimi Raikkonen and win his first.
We have watched the Silver Arrows dominate the opening six races and falter after running away in the seventh. Now we’ll get to see them having to fight back. So the prospects for another gripping race seem excellent.