Mercedes AMG F1’s Lewis Hamilton stormed to yet another pole position in Australia, fending off the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas to the crucial starting position. This will be Hamilton’s 62nd pole position and his 6th in Australia, matching the record of his hero Ayrton Senna, who took 6 pole positions in the old Adelaide circuit. Hamilton clocked in a strong 1:22.188 which was sufficient enough to give him pole position.
The highlight of the qualifying was home hero Daniel Ricciardo’s crash in Q3, which meant that he couldn’t post a time in the final qualifying session. Ricciardo suddenly lost control of his RB13 as he entered Turn 14 and his car slid around and hit the tyre wall backwards. Luckily for Daniel, the impact was not so strong and thus only broke his rear wing. If his gearbox was damaged in the crash, which is not confirmed yet, he will have to take a 5 place grid penalty. The Aussie has currently qualified 10th on the grid but that possible penalty may demote him to 15th position.
At the front of the grid, there looks to be a clear battle boiling up between Mercedes and Ferrari with the defending World Champions having a slight edge at the moment. With Hamilton on pole, teammate Bottas qualified 3rd fastest with Vettel and Raikkonen of Ferrari qualifying 2nd and 4th respectively. Red Bull on the other hand don’t seem to pose a challenge to the clear Top 2 and look comfortable in 3rd place although more things can definitely be improved.
The midfield looks to be the most interesting part of this season with McLaren also seeming to have partially joined the battle to be called the top midfield team.
Haas were very strong with Grosjean as the Frenchman qualifying 6th overall but teammate Magnussen was struggling in 17th place. Williams’ Felipe Massa qualified 7th but rookie teammate Lance Stroll was placed second to last making it a very bitter day for the young Canadian following his crash in FP3. Stroll will start last on the grid thanks to a gearbox change caused by his crash.
Toro Rosso had a pretty sweet day with both of their drivers entering Q3. Daniil Kvyat qualified 9th and teammate Carlos Sainz Jr went one better than him. Pressure is building up at Renault with both of their drivers failing to reach Q3. Nico Hulkenberg qualified 12th on the grid but Jolyon Palmer performed much worse than expected, starting 19th tomorrow only thanks to Lance Stroll’s 5 place grid penalty.
Force India were also not where they expected to be with Sergio Perez qualifying 11th and his new teammate Esteban Ocon three positions below him, in 14th. McLaren Honda on the other hand made great improvements in terms of reliability with none of their cars stopping in any of the 4 sessions completed so far, although the times that the two drivers posted were not so impressive due to lack of power of their engine. Veteran Fernando Alonso proved his true talent, taking a very underpowered car to 13th position on the grid. His teammate Vandoorne was well off the pace, qualifying only 18th for his second Formula One start.
Sauber had a bad day as the C36 was clearly the slowest on the grid but the starting positions of their drivers are respectable considering the performance of their car. Marcus Ericsson entered Q2 and will start 15th while his stand -in teammate Antonio Giovinazzi starts 16th.
|P1||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG||1:22.188|
|P2||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari||1:22.456|
|P3||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG||1:22.481|
|P4||Kimi Raikkonen||Scuderia Ferrari||1:23.033|
|P5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing – Tag Heuer||1:23.485|
|P6||Romain Grosjean||Haas – Ferrari||1:24.074|
|P7||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing – Mercedes||1:24.443|
|P8||Carlos Sainz||Scuderia Toro Rosso – Renault||1:24.487|
|P9||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso – Renault||1:24.512|
|P10||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing – Tag Heuer||No Time (Qualified For Q3)|
|P11||Sergio Perez||Sahara Force India – Mercedes||1:25.081|
|P12||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team||1:25.091|
|P13||Fernando Alonso||McLaren – Honda||1:25.425|
|P14||Esteban Ocon||Sahara Force India – Mercedes||1:25.568|
|P15||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber – Ferrari||1:26.465|
|P16||Antonio Giovinazzi||Sauber – Ferrari||1:26.419|
|P17||Kevin Magnussen||Haas – Ferrari||1:26.847|
|P18||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren – Honda||1:26.858|
|P19*||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing – Mercedes||1:27.143|
|P20*||Jolyon Palmer||Renault Sport F1 Team||1:28.244|
*Jolyon Palmer Starts On P19 Due To A 5 Place Grid Penalty Recieved By Lance Stroll For A Gearbox Change
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