2008 Australian Grand Prix qualifying

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Melbourne, qualifying, 2008, 450150

Lewis Hamilton will start the first race of 2008 from pole position after an exciting qualifying session in Melbourne.

Robert Kubica will join him on the front row and the Ferraris will start 4th and 16th after Kimi Raikkonen ran into trouble in the first part of the session.

Part one

The biggest story in the first part of qualifying was Kimi Raikkonen’s car problem which left the Finn crawling into the pits after he completed his first lap. He also held up Robert Kubica and might have been subject to a penalty but his car failure proved terminal.

It was even worse for Nelson Piquet Jnr who will start his first F1 race from 21st, in between the two Super Aguris, Takuma Sato ahead of Anthony Davidson. The other three drivers to be knocked out were Sebastien Bourdais (another rookie), and the two Force Indias of Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil, after the team had predicted they would reach the second part of qualifying. Both Hondas made it through.

Bottom six drivers’ times for part one

17. Giancarlo Fisichella 1’27.207
18. Sebastien Bourdais 1’27.446
19. Adrian Sutil 1’27.859
20. Takuma Sato 1’28.208
21. Nelson Piquet Jnr 1’28.330
22. Anthony Davidson 1’29.059

Part two

The second part of qualifying was stopped early on after Mark Webber crashed at turn six. This compromised several drivers who were already doing laps, and when the session re-started with eight minutes to go only David Coulthard and Sebastian Vettel had set times.

After the brief hiatus Felipe Massa set the fastest time but Robert Kubica quickly took 0.3s off him, then Lewis Hamilton lowered the mark by another 0.2s, with a 1’25.187, the quickest lap of the weekend thus far.

But his former team mate ran into trouble – Fernando Alonso left his single lap of the session until right at the end, and missed out on the top ten by 0.024s.

Also out (along with Raikkonen and Webber) were both Hondas and Kazuki Nakajima’s Williams.

Bottom six drivers’ times for part two

11. Rubens Barrichello 1’26.173
12. Fernando Alonso 1’26.188
13. Jenson Button 1’26.269
14. Kazuki Nakajima 1’26.413K15.
15. Mark Webber no time
16. Kimi Raikkonen no time

Part three

Robert Kubica, BMW, Melbourne, 2008, qualifying, 2, 450300

That left a shoot-out for pole between both McLarens, BMWs and Toyotas, plus Vettel, Coulthard, Massa and Nico Rosberg.

The leading drivers took two shots at qualifying but Vettel declined to set a time, preferring to save fuel instead. Lewis Hamilton was quickest first time out, ahead of Massa and Kovalainen.

But on the final run it was Robert Kubica who snatched provisional pole despite a lurid slide through the gravel at turn 12. Hamilton came back with a clean lap to take first place back by just under 0.2s.

Massa aborted his final run and had to settle for fourth behind Kovalainen.

Top ten drivers’ times for part three

1. Lewis Hamilton 1’26.714
2. Robert Kubica 1’26.869
3. Heikki Kovalainen 1’27.079
4. Felipe Massa 1’27.178
5. Nick Heidfeld 1’27.236
6. Jarno Trulli 1’28.527
7. Nico Rosberg 1’28.687
8. David Coulthard 1’29.041
9. Timo Glock 1’29.593
10. Sebastian Vettel no time

Re-live qualifying as it happened – look back at the F1 Live Comments from Australian Grand Prix qualifying.

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29 comments on “2008 Australian Grand Prix qualifying”

  1. "Lurid slide", indeed! If this year continues with sideways action like we saw today, I’ll be glued to it.

    Great work with the live chat, btw, that is a cool feature and makes it definitely worth dragging the laptop down to the TV.

  2. Varun Murthy
    15th March 2008, 4:37

    Kubica would have definitely have been on pole if not for the "lurid" slide..the BMWs were definitely sandbagging in winter testing..

    what a shame the Force Indias dint make it through to Q2..good for Honda that they did..and the Toyotas were actually fast!!wonder how light they are..and kudos to Vettel,the wunderkid..he will definitely go places..

    cant wait for tomorrows race..should be fun..

  3. Nico Savidge
    15th March 2008, 4:39

    Practice and qualifying for this round have been great – as an F1 fan, I hope the race lives up to the same standard. But as a Ferrari fan… lets just say I’d like things to go a little differently…

  4. Varun Murthy
    15th March 2008, 4:49

    As a ferrari fan,i would love to see kimi win from 16th place..winning from such positions never seems to happen these days in F1..kimi winning from dead last in suzuka 2005,barrichello winning from 16th in germany(dont remember when)..i hope we get to see such races..

    Massa in australia and silverstone last year when he did loads of overtaking was fun,but winning from behind is a different cup of tea altogether

  5. BMW put on a good showing from my view, should be very interesting to see if they can keep it up. Interesting miscue for Ferrari, any idea what went wrong early on with Raikkonen?

  6. Steve Robbo
    15th March 2008, 4:51

    A great qualifying session. It promises to be am exciting race with the lack of driver aids.

    Sent from my mobile using FeedM8

  7. interview with Domenica on ITV he claimed it was a fuel pressure regulator and had Raikonnen crossed the pit entry they could have most likely fixed it for the second qualifying period. Gotta say I was dissapointed with Vettel in that last session, had they gone with very little fuel we could have had a Toro Rosso on pole! Imagine that!!

  8. theRoswellite
    15th March 2008, 5:15

    Great start to the season….max kudos to RK, max groans for MW (not to mention the home folks).

    Hopefully the emphasis on driver over computer will make enough of an impression that the trend will continue.  Gee, I think they (FIA) may have gotten the no TC spot on.

    When was the last time Alonso wasn’t running in Q3?

  9. 7 different teams in Q3 – did that ever happen before ? :-)

    the midfield is very close, it looks it includes Honda too ….

    it got cooler in Melbourne :-)

  10. wow..

    really wish to see raikkonen wins tomorrow

  11. sChUmAcHeRtHeGrEaTeStEvEr
    15th March 2008, 10:07

    kubica must have lost at least 2/3 tenths with that slide he should be on pole. looks like bmw or alot closer to ferrari and mclaren than expected then theres a long gap back to the rest. Toyota did better than expected too. Have to say vettel was superb . Be intresting to see how raikkonen does starting back there and alonso from 12th.

  12. Bravo for LH and MCL, they got the best results of all teams. It seems like BMW was hidding something on the winter tests. More realibility problems in FE, that’s why i vote for MCL as best car. Looking forward to the start, without driving aids we can expect some surprises, I read DLR saying that during the winter test they were struggling to make two good starts on a row whereas last year they could make 9 out of 10. I would like to see KUB on the top for the first time, I also bet that RAI will end near the podium.

  13. How annoying, Raikkonen and Webber are my two drivers on Fantasy F1.

  14. I can’t wait now … Roll on F1 2008 !

  15. Too bad. My too favourite drivers (Bourdais and Alonso) screed it up last night.

    Bourdais was eliminated in the first round and Vettel with the same car was in the top10.

    I’m a little pissed because Alonso did a lap under 1.26 but it wasn’t valid because of the Webber’s red flag. Anyways renault is pretty far from the podium.

  16. Although academic now, the stewards were gits to penalise KR for the marshalls’ assistance, they are not obliged to, they ‘may’ according to article 30.4 (if I understand this correctly) , and as the team cannot touch the car until in the pitlane proper as everyone and his dog knows, it is a ridiculous situation. If it is true the team could have fixed the problem, they will have good reason to feel very put out.
    Further I note Trulli, Fisico, Button, and Rosberg escaped penalty for setting their fastest times under yellow flags. Was KR not entitled to some similarly benevolent exercise of discretion here?

  17. Who makes these rules for F1? They seem to have forgotten what motor racing is about. How could they not allow Raikennin to  continue to qualify.He hadn’t done anything wrong, the whole point of motor racing, is they go there to race. Pushing his car back to the pits didn’t hurt anyone, or give him  any advantage. There is not  only the enormous cost of getting him & his team there to race, but even more important, the millions of fans who wanted to see him battle it out with Lewis Hamilton & the rest for grid positions. A stupid rule, affects the outcome of the race, & takes away a great deal of pleasure & interest of the spectators, & possibly, Its  already decided the outcome of the 2008  world championship, as we know that in 2007, only 2 points separated the top 3 drivers. Remember I said this, when we get to the last race of the season. Although, probably by that time, I think there will have been a lot more rule mess ups that will affect other drivers as well. The conclusion of this is the world championship is not decided by the skill of the drivers but the rule book.  

  18. today i realised how many years of good slides and mistakes we missed!… it was fun with everybody quite struggling to get the cars round the corners… turn 12 tomorrow will be busy at the grass xD!

  19. Kubica was amazing ! He’s gona win something in this season !

  20. Rules are rules Don and it’s the same for everyone. Anyway, he’s won races from further down the grid, and seeing that again really would be worth getting up at 3 in the morning for.

  21. Keith, "Rules are rule & its the same for everyone", misses the point, the point I was making, was, we did not get to see Kimi race for pole position, because of a simply stupid rule, but I  agree with you on one thing, it will make the race more interesting, as Kimi battles his way to be in it at the end with the front runners, as I am sure he will. There was another thing I found difficult to understand was the Ferrari team’s logic in not letting him out to practice until 7 mins before the end, when there was only 20 mins, available for the first session.He should have gone out immediately, set a time, & then sat in the pits.When I was racing, you tried to get in as much practice as possible, to get the feel of the car, & the condition of the circuit. If his problem had developed in the first few minutes of practice they would have had more time to sort it out.

  22. It’s not a stupid rule. You can’t have drivers who have stopped out on the track having marshals push them into the pits – it would be dangerous. So you have to set a point at which you say ‘right, beyond this line you can’t get pushed back into the pits’. Raikkonen was on the other side of that line. It’s a fair rule and it’s the same rule for everyone.

    But I agree with you that Ferrari’s tactics were questionable – they seemed high-risk for no obvious gain.

  23. Talking about the stupid rules, nothing stopped kimi from pushing the car himself.  Some years back, I believe Mansell was disqualified because he overshot his pit box by a few feet, and his pitcrew pushing him back into position infringed on this very same rule.

  24. To avoid going on, all I’ll say is I hope the stewards are equally hard on all incidents this season where they have discretion (which is an awful lot of the time!), their KR decision seems, to me, to be at odds with what was expected by Ron in a similar situation last season (or MS 3 years ago, to not be partisan), if not the yellow flag fastest times earlier today.

  25. The stewards did talk to Jarno Trulli, Nico Rosberg, Giancarlo Fisichella and Jenson Button after the session about the yellow flag incident but chose not to punish them.

  26. That’s my point Keith, the stewards exercised their judgement and fair enough, good for those drivers.  Anyway that’s my bit on the stewards discretion, which I hope doesn’t become an issue this season.

  27. And to be fair. While Ron might have wanted the marshals to push Lewis they didn’t.

  28. theRoswellite
    15th March 2008, 20:08

    Keith is correct on this particular rule being essential to safety, and I’m positive it didn’t matter who the driver or the car was.  A sport as complicated as F1 must have extensive rules, and they must be followed as closely and impartially as possible……………or you have chaos!

  29. Feel I should own up to being wrong with my ‘discretion’ post. Article 33.2 pertains to qualifying and clearly states no further participation in the event . Amazingly rubbish research on my part.

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