Lewis Hamilton took the pole position for the Australian Grand Prix, 1st round of the new Formula 1 championship. He set a record time of the track – 1:22.188 and beat Sebastian Vettel in a Ferrari with 0.268 s. Valtteri Bottas was third on his Mercedes debut.
Kimi Raikkonen lacked pace to the top three, finishing 4th, eight-tenths of a second adrift. Max Verstappen was fifth. His team-mate Daniel Ricciardo lost control of his car exiting Turn 14 in his first flying lap in Q3 and slid rearwards into the barriers. He classified 10th.
Romain Grosjean in Haas grabbed sixth, followed by Felipe Massa in Williams and the, Toro Rosso pair – Carlos Sainz Jr. and Daniil Kvyat.
Sergio Pérez missed out on Q3 and will start 11th. Mexican said that he was conducting an out-lap and wasn’t held up by Massa on his final run. Nico Hulkenberg took 12th for Renault, while Fernando Alonso had to settle for 13th in his McLaren-Honda.
Alonso joked on his Q1 in-lap that he need some rain”for the second phase, but it remained dry and he dropped out. Esteban Ocon lapped half a second slower than Perez in the other Force India. Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson was the slowest of the drivers to make it through to Q2.
Antonio Giovinazzi replaced Pascal Wehrlein in Sauber. The German declared the he is feeling unwell after the Friday free practices. Giovinazzi qualified 16th. Stoffel Vandoorne was unable to follow Alonso through to Q2. A fuel flow glitch forcing him back to the pits mid-session in Q1. He will start 18th.
“It’s been a fantastic weekend so far, said Hamilton. “It’s quite amazing to come here for the 11th time and it feels like only yesterday I came and had my first race here in 2007. [It’s been] such a great journey, I’m just incredibly proud of my team, these rule changes have been huge, such a massive challenge for everyone.
The guys have worked so hard to make this car what it is today, and Valtteri did a fantastic job, his first qualifying session with the team – it’s great for us. I’m looking forward to the race, obviously it’s close between us all, as you can see, so it’s going to be a tight race this year.”
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 25, 2017