Lewis Hamilton claimed the widely-expected pole position that many had predicted for him this weekend in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, as rain affected the hour-long session
The Mercedes driver seized pole from Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo in the dying seconds by just 0.3, after an errant Daniil Kvyat plastered his Toro Rosso against the barriers on the approach to turn eleven and left debris across the circuit that impeded remaining runners including Fernando Alonso who had been set to cross the line as the last man running.
Similarly, Q2 involved circumstances that saw both Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button eliminated when they slowed for yellow flags shown when Kimi Raikkonen crashed his Ferrari F14T on the exit of three; the result was Vettel failing to make the top ten for the first time since Belgium 2012 while for Button the event was just another example of the hideously bad luck the Briton has experienced with yellow flags in the past. It was a disastrous day for Lotus as well, with Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado ending up the slowest cars on the grid. Williams and Toro Rosso got both cars through to the final shootout, though Valtteri Bottas drops five places for a gearbox change in FP3, while Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso were the solitary representatives for Force India and Ferrari in the top ten.
There was a sour taste left in the mouth as Australian fans booed Vettel when he left the weighbridge after ending up 12th, a sign that the un-sportsmanlike behaviour among some current F1 viewers is sadly still alive. Their reaction for Daniel Ricciardo was somewhat different, the cheer around the sodden Albert Park circuit being heard above the new V6 Turbo engines.
Of the new drivers it was once again Kevin Magnussen who set the bar highest, qualifying an eventual 4th though he may be under scrutiny by the stewards for failing to slow for the yellow flags caused by Raikkonen’s crash in Q2; drivers must illustrate they have lifted through a sector that contains yellows or they face a mandatory three or five place penalty.
CLASSIFICATION – QUALIFYING – AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX
|10||Bottas||Williams||1:48:147||*5 Place Penalty|
|19||Gutierrez||Sauber||1:35:117||*5 Place Penalty|