Australian Grand Prix – Qualifying

Finally, the 2014 season gets underway. Lots of new/modified regulations, including a change in the duration of the 3 parts of qualifying: Q1 is now 18 minutes, Q2 still 15 mins, and Q3 will be 12 mins.

Air temperature 26°C; track 31°C; windy (13m/s) & overcast – possibility of rain

Gearbox penalty (5 grid places) waiting for BOT & GUT.
[You can find driver/team info in an earlier post]

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
Lots of drivers keen to get on track before it starts to rain – some on soft and a few on hard tyres
HAM is first to set a time – 1:31.699 on hard compound (primes)
MAS 1:31.549 on soft compound (options)
MAG 1:30.949
RIC 1:30.775
Radio for ALO telling him to abandon his quick lap after catching a few slower cars
VET brushes the wall but only manages P6
GRO runs wide across the gravel but recovers
Radio from BUT saying the cockpit is getting very hot
10mins left of Q1
ALO locks up into Turn 1 on his flying lap
BBC report it’s raining in the pit lane
Radio for VET confirming it’s raining
GRO leaves the puts on option tyres
Radio for HAM telling him it’s very slippery on track
MAL runs wide; he’s the only one yet to set a lap time
5mins left; bottom 6 are CHI, BIA, GUT, ERI, GRO & MAL
Everyone in the pits as the rain continues
GUT on inters but the car is still squirmy
Chequered flag
Back of the grid: CHI, BIA, GUT*, ERI, GRO, MAL**.
*GUT has a 5 grid spot penalty for gearbox change
**MAL did not set a lap time so will need to appeal to be allowed to race tomorrow.

Qualifying session 2
Another gaggle of cars keen to get on track as soon as the lights turn green – most on inters but some on full wets
BOT runs wide even on inters
BOT 1:47.881
MAS 1:47.160
ROS 1:46.708
RIC 1:46.646
BOT 1:45.689
BOT spins but recovers his Williams
ALO 1:45.034
HAM 1:44.662
BUT 1:44.437
5mins left of Q2; dry line appearing
RIC 1:44.031
3mins left; bottom 6 are RAI, VET, PER, SUT, KOB, KVY
BOT 1:43.852
KVY jumps from P16 to P3
ALO 1:42.805
RIC 1:42.681
ROS 1:42.264
RAI off into the wall! He spun out of Turn 3
Chequered flag; bottom 6 are VER, MAG, SUT, KOB, VET, PER
MAG to P5, relegating RAI
VET only moves up to P12 – clearly frustrated as he crosses the line
VER improves too bumping BUT to P11
Middle of the grid: BUT, RAI, VET, SUT, KOB, PER

Qualifying session 3
DRS disabled due to the wet track
Radio for ROS – everyone on full wets except ALO who’s on inters
ROS 1:45.550
HAM 1:45.335
5mins left; order is HAM, ROS, RIC, HUL, VER, KVY, MAG, BOT, ALO, MAS
Some swapping to inters; HAM takes new wets
ALO switches from inters to wets
ROS almost loses the tail into Turn 8
MAS fights to stay on track
1min left
MAG to P3
RIC 1:45.314
KVY clouts the wall
HAM 1:44.762
ALO P5
ROS 1:44.595
Chequered flag
HUL P6
VER P6
RIC 1:44.548 – huge cheer from the crowd for the only Australian in the race
HAM 1:44.231
Front of the grid: HAM, RIC, ROS, MAG, ALO, VER, HUL, KVY, MAS, BOT*
*BOT has a 5 grid spot penalty for gearbox change

That’s the 100th pole for Mercedes; HAM equals Nigel Mansell’s record of pole positions for a British driver.

Provisional grid: HAM, RIC, ROS, MAG, ALO, VER, HUL, KVY, MAS, BUT, RAI, VET, SUT, KOB, BOT*, PER, CHI, BIA, ERI, GRO, GUT*, MAL**.
*BOT & GUT each have a 5 grid spot penalty for gearbox change
**MAL did not set a lap time so will need to appeal to be allowed to race tomorrow.

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