2008 Australian Grand Prix qualifying

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 said on 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 said on 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 said on 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. Gman said on 15th March 2008, 4:49

    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 said on 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. Rabi said on 15th March 2008, 5:14

    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 said on 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. f2019 said on 15th March 2008, 7:12


    really wish to see raikkonen wins tomorrow

  11. sChUmAcHeRtHeGrEaTeStEvEr said on 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. Toncho said on 15th March 2008, 10:19

    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. frecon said on 15th March 2008, 12:13

    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.

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