Rosberg to take grid penalty after Austria crash
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[July 02, 2016]
By Alan Baldwin
SPIELBERG, Austria (Reuters) - Nico
Rosberg's hopes of a third successive Austrian Grand Prix win took a
hit on Saturday when he crashed in final practice and damaged his
Mercedes' gearbox, incurring a five-place grid penalty.
Mercedes said mechanics were working flat out to repair the
damaged car in time for afternoon qualifying at the Red Bull Ring
"A gearbox penalty will be incurred as a full new unit will be
fitted for qualifying," a spokesman said.
Championship leader Rosberg is the only driver to have won in
Austria since the race returned in 2014 after an 11-year absence and
he is hoping to continue the run on Sunday to increase his 24-point
lead over team mate Lewis Hamilton.
However the accident, after Rosberg had dominated Friday's practice
sessions with the fastest lap at the scenic circuit nestling in the
wooded Styrian hills, could hand the British triple world champion a
Mercedes said the car had suffered a left rear suspension failure
after an unusually high load at full throttle on the exit kerb at
The car spun several times before spearing into the barriers.
The session was halted with 21 minutes remaining and the car brought
back to the garage on a truck, with Rosberg, winner of five of the
season's eight races to date, making his frustration evident on his
Hamilton had earlier expressed concern about his car's rear tires,
asking the team over the radio to take a look because "something is
"I'm going to go off if I keep on going," he said when asked to
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Mercedes Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Germany after crashing
in training. REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who will have a five-place grid penalty
for an unscheduled gearbox change, lapped fastest in the session
with team mate Kimi Raikkonen second on a bright morning with the
threat of later rain.
Vettel's lap of one minute 07.098 was faster than Rosberg's Friday
best. Hamilton, who struggled for pace in the first two sessions,
was third in 1:07.308.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo was fourth fastest, ahead of Red Bull
team mate Max Verstappen and the two Williams of Valtteri Bottas and
(Editing by John O'Brien)
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