Lewis Hamilton denies Mercedes 'party mode' key to Australia pole

Lewis Hamilton denies a special 'party' mode on his Mercedes Formula 1 engine was key to the 0.887-second lap time improvement that earned him pole for the Australian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton denies Mercedes 'party mode' key to Australia pole

The world champion had been under pressure from Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel after the first runs in Q3 in Melbourne, but stepped it up massively on his second effort to claim pole by more than 0.6s from the sister Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen.

That prompted suggestions Hamilton's advantage could have been down to a special qualifying engine mode that he talked about recently.

But Hamilton insisted he made all his runs in Q2 and Q3 with the most powerful engine mode activated and the final lap was more about getting his tyres working properly.

"On that lap I was in the same mode as lap before - it was about getting the tyres in the right temperature and getting the sectors right," explained Hamilton.

"I can assure you we don't have a party mode - I used the same mode from Q2 to the end of Q3.

"There was no extra mode, no extra button I engaged."

This prompted Vettel to question why Hamilton had not been as far ahead earlier in qualifying, saying: "What were you doing before then?"

Hamilton responded: "I was waiting to put a good lap in, wipe the smile off your face."

"What goes around comes around," replied Vettel. "At the end of the day that's why we're here, we want to have fun, if that's what he enjoys on Saturdays he's doing pretty well."

When Hamilton interjected to say "it was a joke, dude", Vettel replied: "I know. He's free to have a party tonight, hopefully Kimi and myself have a party tomorrow."

Hamilton caught out by Ferrari qualifying pace

Hamilton said he was surprised that Ferrari had pushed him so hard in qualifying, where Vettel was fastest in Q2 and less than a tenth behind Hamilton after the first runs in Q3.

"It was a real surprise to see how quick the Ferraris were," Hamilton said.

"The speeds they had on the straights, they've obviously made an improvement in their power mode.

"I think we were similar speeds through the corner but their power mode was definitely quite strong.

"That last lap for me was definitely the best of the weekend - it was one of my best [ever] I would say."

Vettel admitted a mistake at Turn 13 on his final lap cost him the chance to join Hamilton on the front row.

"I think I had a little in hand," Vettel said. "I messed up a bit going into Turn 13, so not ideal from my side.

"But it still felt like a good lap and a good session - the car was coming alive. I'm pretty happy with what we did.

"0.7s is obviously quite big, some homework for us, but we've seen many times that usually on Sunday things get a little closer."

shares
comments
Netflix to screen new Formula 1 documentary on 2018 season

Previous article

Netflix to screen new Formula 1 documentary on 2018 season

Next article

Ricciardo: Any top driver could get pole with Mercedes advantage

Ricciardo: Any top driver could get pole with Mercedes advantage
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton
Teams Mercedes
Author Scott Mitchell
The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future Plus

The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future

The Formula 1 world reacted with surprise when it learned Lewis Hamilton’s long-awaited new Mercedes deal guarantees his presence on the grid only until the end of 2021. Both parties claimed publicly they were happy with the arrangement but, asks MARK GALLAGHER, is there more to it than that?

How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again Plus

How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again

Driver-turned-DJ Jaime Alguersuari lost his love for motorsport when he was booted out of Formula 1 just as he was starting to polish his rough edges. Having drifted from category to category then turned his back on racing altogether in 2015, he’s come full circle and is planning a return in karts for fun

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Plus

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track Plus

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well-aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead on pace. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent Plus

Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent

While Japan's fever for motor racing is well-documented, the country has yet to produce a Formula 1 superstar – but that could be about to change, says BEN EDWARDS

Formula 1
Apr 15, 2021
Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration Plus

Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration

For too long, F1's richest teams have justified being able to spend as much as they want because that's the way they've always conducted their business. STUART CODLING says that's no reason not to kick a bad habit

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Plus

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is not guaranteed

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition Plus

The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition

In 2017 new F1 technical regulations were supposed to add drama - and peg Mercedes back. STUART CODLING looks at the car which, while troubled, set the stage for the wide-bodied Formula 1 era

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021