Grand Prix of Australia – Qualifying

It seems so long since the end of the 2015 season, since Abu Dhabi in November.

Well, the 2016 calendar kicks off with Australia, as usual. The main changes for this season are the addition of the Haas team (drivers & constructors list) and a new format for Qualifying – can’t wait to see how it goes.

HAR has a 3 grid spot penalty (and two penalty points on his license) after crashing into the Haas of Romain Grosjean at the start of final practice. [FIA]

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
Q1 will last 16 minutes; after 7 minutes, slowest driver eliminated; slowest driver eliminated every 90 seconds thereafter until the chequered flag; 7 drivers eliminated, 15 progress to Q2
HAM sits at the pit exit, with ROS behind him, waiting for the green light
Both Mercedes on super soft tyres
ROS passes HAM on their out lap
GRO puts the Haas ahead of HAM
HAM drops back from GRO, giving himself space for his flying lap
ROS starts his quick lap and almost immediately cuts across the grass
HAM passes GRO
ROS 1:33.717
HAM 1:26.635
Looks like the new quali rules are working so far because everyone is on track
Everyone has set a time and ROS was slowest due to that error
ROS’ 2nd lap jumps him to P4
RAI 1:26.579
Slowest is WEH (Pascal Wehrlein in the Manor) and he’s still in the garage
HAM 1:25.351
7mins into Q1: WEH eliminated; he’ll be P22 on the grid
8.5mins; HAR (Rio Haryanto, also Manor) out; P21
BUT jumps from the relegation zone to P3
ALO to P2
10mins; GUT (for Haas) P20
11.5mins; KVY out of his car; P19
NAS is next slowest and he’s only just now leaving the pits
13mins; NAS P18
At least PAL (Jolyon Palmer, Renault) is on track in time to have another flying lap
Chequered flag
PAL improves to P14, which means ERI will be P16 on the grid
Back of the grid: ERI, NAS, KVY, GRO, GUT, HAR, WEH.

Qualifying session 2
Q2 = 15 minutes; after 6 minutes, slowest driver eliminated; slowest driver eliminated every 90 seconds thereafter until the chequered flag; 7 drivers eliminated, 8 progress to Q3
ROS is first out of the pit lane
Looks like everyone on super soft again; remember the top 8 will start the race on the same tyres with which they set their fastest Q2 time
ROS 1:24.796
HAM 1:24.605
PER P3
MAS P3
6mins into Q2; MAG is out; P15
7.5mins; PAL out, P14
BUT is next slowest but he’s still in the garage
Radio for SAI – “push, Carlos, push”
9mins; BUT P13
RAI P3
VET P3
SAI next up but he’s on a quick lap
SAI jumps to P4
10.5mins; ALO eliminated while he’s in the garage; P12
HUL does just enough to move to P10, putting BOT in danger
BOT doesn’t improve
12mins; BOT P11
HUL touring back to the laps
13.5mins; HUL P10
No-one on track, so PER will be P9
Chequered flag
Middle of the grid: PER, HUL, BOT, ALO, BUT, PAL, MAG

Qualifying session 3
Q3 = 14 minutes; after 5 minutes, slowest driver eliminated; slowest driver eliminated every 90 seconds thereafter until the chequered flag; 2 drivers left in final 90 seconds
The 8 drivers through to Q3 are HAM, ROS, VET, RIC, RAI, SAI, VES & MAS
ROS first on track again
Bit of a gap after the first
ROS 1:25.260
VET 1:24.675
RAI P3
HAM 1:24.133
RIC P5
MAS P5
SAI P6
VES P5
So RIC is the first in the firing line, and he doesn’t have time to complete his current lap
ROS pits, as do VET, RAI, HAM
5mins into Q3; RIC eliminated, P8
6.5mins; SAI P7
Radio for VET – “we are not planning to go out”
Only ROS and HAM are on track
VET out of his car
8mins; MAS P6
ROS P2
So unless ROS goes for another quick lap, Quali is over with almost 5mins left of Q3 – that’s not good
9.5mins; VES P5
HAM 1:23.837
11mins; RAI P4
ROS pits
HAM pits
12.5mins; VET P3
Chequered flag
Front of the grid: HAM, ROS, VET, RAI, VES, MAS, SAI, RIC

Shame that the top positions were decided while the drivers were in the garage or out of their cars.

Provisional grid: HAM, ROS, VET, RAI, VES, MAS, SAI, RIC, PER, HUL, BOT, ALO, BUT, PAL, MAG, ERI, NAS, KVY, GRO, GUT, HAR, WEH.

That’s HAM’s 50th F1 pole, which only Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher have achieved before.

Lots of criticism of the new Quali format:
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said F1 should “apologise to the fans”.
Rosberg said straight after the session: “It’s good to try something but it hasn’t worked – so we should go back.”
Ferrari’s Vettel said: “I don’t see why everyone is surprised it didn’t work.”
F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone admitted it had not worked, but said he was reluctant to revert to the old system.

One Reply to “Grand Prix of Australia – Qualifying”

  1. Pingback: paul

Comments are closed.