Brazilian Felipe Massa seized his first Formula One pole position since 2008 as a resurgent Williams swept the front row of the starting grid in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix.

Finnish teammate Valtteri Bottas took second place for the Mercedes-powered former world champions with championship leader Nico Rosberg third fastest for Mercedes.

Austrian GP starting grid (top-10) 

 

1 Felipe Massa Williams
2 Valtteri Bottas Williams
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
5 Daniel Ricciardo RedBull
6 Kevin Magnussen McLaren
7 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso
8 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
9 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
10 Nico Huelkenberg Force India

It was the first time this season that dominant Mercedes had not taken pole and the race will see Williams' first start from the front of the grid since Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado in Spain in 2012.

"Williams are back to the top, they are back to fight. I am pleased for me and the team as well," declared an emotional Massa whose last pole was with Ferrari at his home grand prix before finishing that season as runner-up.

"After a long time I hope this is just the beginning of great possibilities. I hope to be in this position again," added the Brazilian who suffered near-fatal head injuries in a freak accident in Hungary in 2009.

Mercedes woes

Britain's Lewis Hamilton, Rosberg's teammate and closest championship rival who is 22 points behind the German after seven races, had a nightmare session.

The 2008 world champion will start ninth after his first flying lap of the revamped Red Bull Ring was disallowed because he exceeded track limits and he then spun on his final attempt.

Red Bull's quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel fared even worse, qualifying 13th at what counts as a home circuit for the team.

"I'm not happy, let's put it that way," said the German. "I think anything is possible tomorrow but surely we are not as quick as we'd like to be."

Source: Reuters