Lewis Hamilton on Australian GP pole, new system proves anti-climax

Lewis Hamilton beat Nico Rosberg to pole position for the Australian Grand Prix, as Formula 1 experimented with a new qualifying format for the first time since 2006

Lewis Hamilton on Australian GP pole, new system proves anti-climax

New rules for 2016 dictate that drivers will be eliminated at 90-second intervals during the second half of each segment of qualifying, in a bid to mix-up the grids.

This created a rush to do fast times early on in each segment, and left insufficient times for slower runners to react to the threat of elimination.

It made Q1 exciting, Q2 less so, and was disastrous for Q3 where only the two Mercedes bothered to attempt second runs.

Thus attempts to create a mixed-up grid led to the usual pole position shootout between the two Mercedes drivers.

Hamilton led the way after the first runs and that time was already good enough for top spot before he improved on his second attempt, thanks to team-mate Nico Rosberg falling short of Hamilton's earlier benchmark with his own final effort.

The remaining Q3 runners sat in their garages to watch themselves be eliminated from contention, and the pressure to get in and out of the pits in time for Mercedes' second runs meant there were no cars on track for the final 2m30s of the session.

The Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen locked out row two, but ended up well adrift of the Mercedes, despite being promisingly close in final practice.

Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen qualified an excellent fifth, narrowly ahead of Felipe Massa's Williams and with the sister STR-Ferrari of Carlos Sainz Jr next up.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top eight, just 0.007s slower than Sainz.

The McLaren-Hondas of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, and the two works Renaults of Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen, were the early victims in Q2 with none of the four bothering to attempt second runs.

Alonso ended up 12th, just under two tenths faster than Button, while rookie Palmer edged Magnussen out by 0.141s.

Sainz managed to escape elimination, having languished in the drop zone after his first flier, but Valtteri Bottas failed to improve before the clock ran out on his Williams so he ended up 11th, behind Force India pair Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg.

Both Manor drivers were sitting in their garages when Q1 elimination began, before Haas's Esteban Gutierrez and Romain Grosjean were the first drivers to be eliminated while still on-track, after running out of time while attempting to go faster on a second set of tyres.

Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat was the highest profile casualty, ending up 18th fastest in a car easily good enough for the top 10.

The Russian was seen walking through the pitlane as his elimination time came up.

Sauber's Felipe Nasr also ran out of time while on track, ending up 17th.

That left Palmer battling Sauber's Marcus Ericsson for the final Q2 spot.

Palmer vaulted up to 14th, just ahead of Magnussen, with his final flying effort, while Ericsson locked up heavily at the penultimate corner so dropped to 16th and into elimination.

QUALIFYING RESULT

Pos Driver Car Time Gap
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m23.837s -
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m24.197s 0.360s
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m24.675s 0.838s
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m25.033s 1.196s
5 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m25.434s 1.597s
6 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m25.458s 1.621s
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m25.582s 1.745s
8 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m25.589s 1.752s
9 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m25.753s -
10 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m25.865s -
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m26.125s -
12 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m26.304s -
13 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m27.601s -
14 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1m27.742s -
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m27.435s -
16 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m25.961s -
17 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m27.958s -
18 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault 1m28.006s -
19 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m28.322s -
20 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari 1m29.606s -
21 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 1m29.642s -
22 Rio Haryanto Manor/Mercedes 1m29.627s -


shares
comments
Red Bull releases images of its F1 cockpit canopy concept

Previous article

Red Bull releases images of its F1 cockpit canopy concept

Next article

Sebastian Vettel leads drivers' criticism of F1 qualifying revamp

Sebastian Vettel leads drivers' criticism of F1 qualifying revamp
Load comments
The mid-season rule change that has left F1 teams scrambling Plus

The mid-season rule change that has left F1 teams scrambling

The technical directive issued by Formula 1 to reduce levels of automation in pitstops has given teams an unwelcome period of adjustment. Although safety was the primary goal, it has already had a significant impact on the title race and puts extra pressure on teams to deliver as the season reaches the business end

How the pandemic is continuing to bite F1 Plus

How the pandemic is continuing to bite F1

Uncertainty over the shape of the calendar doesn’t just vex the fans and the commercial rights holder. MARK GALLAGHER explains at how race promoters have been pushed to the financial brink

Hamilton at 100 wins: In his adversaries’ words Plus

Hamilton at 100 wins: In his adversaries’ words

Some 18 drivers have finished runner-up to Lewis Hamilton on his way to 100 wins. Three of those recall their battles with Formula 1’s centurion and give their personal insights into the seven-time world champion on his rise to unchartered territory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2021
Russian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Russian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 Russian GP was decided by late-arriving rain that allowed some to climb and caused others to plummet. But the events which played out beforehand are equally significant when considering the all-important driver ratings

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2021
How Mercedes made the “blind faith” call that won Hamilton his 100 milestone at Sochi Plus

How Mercedes made the “blind faith” call that won Hamilton his 100 milestone at Sochi

Until rain turned the Russian Grand Prix on its head in the closing stages, Lando Norris was set to convert his first Formula 1 pole position into a maiden win. But having recovered well from being shuffled back at the start, Hamilton and his Mercedes team called the changing conditions spot-on for a landmark 100th F1 victory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2021
Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces Plus

Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces

At the Italian Grand Prix Daniel Ricciardo turned around a troubled F1 season and, in F2, Oscar Piastri demonstrated once again that he is a potential star of the future. BEN EDWARDS weighs up the prospects of F1 having two Australian stars

Formula 1
Sep 26, 2021
The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Plus

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2021
The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Plus

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2021