F1 Australian Grand Prix: Hamilton beats Vettel to pole position

Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for the Australian Grand Prix, after winning a tense qualifying battle with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Valtteri Bottas

F1 Australian Grand Prix: Hamilton beats Vettel to pole position

Hamilton was three tenths up on Vettel after the first runs in Q3, with Bottas just two thousandths of a second slower in third, before Daniel Ricciardo crashed his Red Bull heavily at Turn 14 and caused the session to be stopped.

Hamilton went even faster on his final run once the session resumed, sealing pole position with a 1m22.188s lap - the fastest ever recorded by an F1 car around Melbourne's Albert Park circuit.

Bottas momentarily held top stop before Hamilton's improvement despite a scruffy final flying lap, with Vettel then denying Mercedes a front row lockout by posting the second fastest time on his final run.

Despite setting the pace in final practice, Ferrari ultimately didn't quite have the speed to challenge the best of the Mercedes drivers, with Vettel 0.268s down on Hamilton, but fractionally quicker than Bottas.

The second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen was fourth fastest, more than half a second further back, while the remaining Red Bull of Max Verstappen claimed fifth.

Romain Grosjean produced a stunning effort to qualify his Haas inside the top six, nearly four tenths clear of Felipe Massa's Williams.

Massa was just 0.044s clear of Carlos Sainz Jr, who in turn narrowly beat Toro Rosso team-mate Daniil Kvyat to eighth on the grid.

Ricciardo wound up 10th after failing to set a time before his crash.

Neither Force India made it through to Q3. Sergio Perez, who complained of a gearshift problem, missed the cut by just 0.074s despite improving by nearly four tenths on his final flying lap, while Esteban Ocon failed to find time on his final run and wound up 14th.

Nico Hulkenberg qualified 12th fastest on his debut for the works Renault team, only 0.010s down on Perez, while Fernando Alonso manhandled the troubled McLaren-Honda to the 13th best time, ahead of Ocon and Marcus Ericsson's Sauber.

Last-minute Sauber stand-in Antonio Giovinazzi was 16th fastest, after replacing the unfit Pascal Wehrlein ahead of final practice.

The Ferrari reserve was quicker than Ericsson after the first runs in Q1, but went off at the penultimate corner on his final effort, so wound up 0.183s down and failed to make the Q2 cut.

Kevin Magnussen's difficult first weekend racing for Haas continued, the Dane running off track on his final Q1 flier and failing to improve his time.

He was fractionally faster than the second McLaren-Honda of Stoffel Vandoorne, who completed only one flying lap in qualifying after a fuel-flow problem forced him to return to the pits for most of the session.

Williams repaired rookie Lance Stroll's car in time to make a late appearance in Q1, following his heavy crash at the end of FP3.

The Canadian was 19th fastest, though faces a grid penalty for a gearbox change ahead of the session, while Renault's Jolyon Palmer qualified slowest of the 20 runners, more than a second down on Stroll and over three adrift of Renault team-mate Nico Hulkenberg.

QUALIFYING RESULT

Pos Driver Car Time Gap
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m22.188s -
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m22.456s 0.268s
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m22.481s 0.293s
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m23.033s 0.845s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m23.485s 1.297s
6 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m24.074s 1.886s
7 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m24.443s 2.255s
8 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Renault 1m24.487s 2.299s
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Renault 1m24.512s 2.324s
10 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m25.081s 2.893s
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m25.091s 2.903s
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m25.425s 3.237s
13 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m25.568s 3.380s
14 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m26.465s 4.277s
15 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault - -
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Sauber/Ferrari 1m26.419s 4.231s
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m26.847s 4.659s
18 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Honda 1m26.858s 4.670s
19 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m28.244s 6.056s
20 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m27.143s 4.955s


shares
comments
Stroll hit with gearbox change grid penalty into Australian GP

Previous article

Stroll hit with gearbox change grid penalty into Australian GP

Next article

Vettel says Australian GP pole was out of question despite lost time

Vettel says Australian GP pole was out of question despite lost time
Load comments
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Two drivers produced maximum-score performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left several others ruing what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Plus

Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates Plus

Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates

For the second time in 2021, McLaren will line up for the start of a grand prix from the first row. It knows it has the chance of “glory” if things go well for Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris at the start of the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, but even if they just maintain their grid positions, signs from the rest of the Monza weekend suggest success is very possible for Formula 1’s other orange army

Formula 1
Sep 12, 2021
The F1 media favourite who lifted a broken Lotus Plus

The F1 media favourite who lifted a broken Lotus

Graham Hill was nearly 30 when he made his Formula 1 debut. NIGEL ROEBUCK examines the life of a gifted racer whose talismanic personality defined an era

Formula 1
Sep 11, 2021