Lewis Hamilton asserted his dominance over the F1 grid as he took pole position over a very fast Seb Vettel in P2 and the other Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas on P3.
There was speculation of rain at the start of Q3 which forced most of the top dogs to put in an early flying lap. Hamilton set the pace but local hero Daniel Ricciardo lost it and stacked his car in the barriers bringing out the red flag. Crying shame!
When Q3 restarted, everyone had one shot at qualifying and Lewis went even faster than his previous best to set a lap record time of 1:22:188! Kimi in his Ferrari seemed a bit off pace as he ended up P4 but a fast lap right at the end from Seb Vettel meant that he split the Mercedes cars taking P2.
Photo credit : Formula 1
Max Verstappen did well to improve as he put his Red Bull just behind the Ferrari of Kimi but driver of the day for me was Romain Grosjean putting his Haas car P6 whilst his team-mate Magnussen ended up a lowly P17. Talking about defecit between teammates, Nico Hulkenberg marginally missed out on Q3 finishing P12 with his teammate Jolyon Palmer finishing dead last.
“The car was awful”, said Palmer after his exit. You’re over 3 seconds slower than your teammate. You sure you want to say stuff like that mate?
The Toro Rosso boys Sainz and Kyvat had a solid outing, both making it into Q3 and looking very competitive for the race tomorrow. Felipe Massa put his Williams in a respectable P7 but after Williams did so well to repair his car after his shunt in FP3, Lance Stroll could only manage a lowly P19. He shall start the race in last place due to a 5 place gearbox penalty.
As per usual, Fernando Alonso punched above his weight to finish qualifying in P13 whilst his teammate Vandoorne ended up in P18.
“I think I extracted the maximum from the car, so I’m happy in that sense”, said Fernando, “There’s nothing to celebrate being 13th.”
Special mention to Sauber F1 team and their drivers. I woke up today to news that Antonio Giovinazzi has replaced Pascal Wehrlein to race the Australian GP as Pascal doesn’t want to risk his fitness on the back of the RoC accident just yet. Gio stepped up on such short notice for his debut and to qualify P16 is such a fantastic feat. Marcus Ericsson went one better and put his car P15 clearing Q1 at the first race of the season.
Not bad for a “backmarker” team.
Looking ahead to the race..
I can assure you there was no sandbagging going on in Q3 whatsover. So that’s where Ferrari are – a lot better than last year but still not better than Mercedes. Or Lewis Hamilton, anyway.
Photo credit : motorsport.com
But Vettel does start on the front row tomorrow and let us just hope that the Ferraris can keep up the Mercedes race pace and not mess up with strategy tomorrow. I’m not about to see Hamilton vanish into the distance again. No chance. Come on Ferrari, please!
What did you think of Qualifying for the #AusGP? Let me know in the comments below! Have a good race and I’ll see you with my report after it.
Feature image courtesy : WTF1
– Aditya Bhat.