Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Melbourne, 2012

Hamilton leads McLaren one-two as Grosjean takes surprise third

2012 Australian Grand Prix qualifyingPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Melbourne, 2012Lewis Hamilton and McLaren team mate Jenson Button share the front row of the grid for the Australian Grand Prix.

A scorching lap of 1’24.922 put Hamilton clear of his team mate while Lotus’s Romain Grosjean took a surprise third.

This was despite team mate Kimi Raikkonen being eliminated in the first part of qualifying.

A dramatic session saw both Ferraris miss out on the top ten and the Red Bulls consigned to the third row of the grid.


With the midfield runners separated by tenths or even hundredths, the first part of qualifying was always likely to create drama.

And so it proved. To begin with Felipe Massa looked most at risk of failing to reach Q2 as he languished an 18th. Both he and team mate Fernando Alonso had to make another run on soft tyres to make sure of their progress.

But it was Raikkonen who was caught out. With the lap times tumbling at the end of the session, Raikkonen made a mistake in the final sector and with too little time to respond he missed the cut by a tenth of a second.

Caterham were the best part of a second adrift, showing little progress over their position at the end of last year.

Both Marussia drivers were comfortably within 7% of the fastest time. But HRT struggled, and Narain Karthikeyan incurred the wrath of several drivers including Alonso and Sebastian Vettel who he held up.

Neither F112 was within the 107% time, Pedro de la Rosa falling short by 1.2 seconds.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

18 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’27.759
19 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’28.679
20 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’29.018
21 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’30.923
22 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’31.670
23 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’33.495
24 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’33.643


The second part of qualifiyng produced more drama. Alonso had put the unco-operative F2012 in fifth place when he dropped his left-hand wheels onto the grass at turn one and spun into the gravel trap.

That brought his session to an end and temporarily halted proceedings just after Hamilton had set the fastest time so far.

When the session resumed the Mercedes drivers showed their hand, Rosberg taking the quickest time a tenth of a second ahead of Schumacher.

A fine effort from Maldonado propelled him into Q3. It also began Alonso’s slide out of the top ten, which was completed when Hulkenberg edged him out by a tenth of a second.

Ferrari still had one other car running but Massa’s best effort was a full second off Alonso’s time.

Ricciardo made it two home drivers in the final ten, pipping his team mate by a tenth of a second.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’26.429
12 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’26.494
13 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’26.590
14 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’26.663
15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’27.086
16 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’27.497
17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari


The Mercedes drivers did their first run of Q3 on the soft tyres which they had been using when the red flag came out in Q2.

Rosberg was first to set a time but it was emphatically beaten by Hamilton, whose 1’24.922 was seven-tenths quicker than anyone could manage on their first runs.

That included Vettel, who slotted into second ahead of Schumacher and Button.

Rosberg had a set of new soft tyres for his final attempt. But he locked up heavily at turn four and slumped to seventh place.

Team mate Schumacher moved up to second, only to be pegged back by Romain Grosjean. Jenson Button erased most of the gap to Hamilton with his last effort – but fell short by a tenth of a second.

Hamilton couldn’t find any more time with his last run but he didn’t need to, and duly claimed his second Australian Grand Prix pole position.

Top ten in Q3

1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’24.922
2 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’25.074
3 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’25.302
4 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’25.336
5 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’25.651
6 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’25.668
7 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’25.686
8 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’25.908
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’26.451
10 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari

2012 Australian Grand Prix

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284 comments on “Hamilton leads McLaren one-two as Grosjean takes surprise third”

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  1. Hate to say it but the top 6 in FP3 was very close to the top 6 in qualifying

  2. Wonderful start, so many sub plots, Lewis on form, JB just a 10th back instead of 2/10ths, RB’s nowhere, Vettel behind Webber, Mercedes are lightning fast, (don’t get jumped at the start JB) Schumi ahead of Rosberg and looking like a dog with two …. Ferrari in no mans land and…… Grosjean ! What a star, massive admiration for the guy, he was knocked for 6 last time in F1, rebuilt himself and made a stellar start to qualifying. God this is going to be a great season if this continues.

    1. Mercedes are lightning fast, (don’t get jumped at the start JB)

      Having a look at many of Schumacher’s starts from last year, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s leading the race by turn 1. :)

      1. @Kingshark
        Maybe not turn 1 but I bet Schumi is up for a win or even a podium finish!! He´s due!!!

      2. That’s what I’m worried about, plus they are so fast on the straight, even DRS might not help, I am intrigued by the first real battle for ages in McLaren to see who manages the tyres the best , can’t see anything but a Hamilton or JB win…..

  3. Could it be possible that Ferrari have already pulled the plug on this new chassis and will now pursue a McLaren style chassis in hopes of chasing down a better path to the title??
    Dump the pull rod stuff and the step nose and simply copy the MP427.

    1. I don´t think so…. I think they just didn´t need the pull rod suspension up front… and geez…. at least they should´ve tried to make the step a bit more aerodynamic…. Maybe they should look into a better stepped nose!!
      What ever the case may be…. they need to chop of some more heads… kick Felipe to the curb and get their act together… My hopes are that at least Alnso can try and tame this prancing pony… although my guess is that they gave him a Fiat once again… looks like another bad season…

    2. Are they even allowed to make a new chassis?

      1. Yes they are but they have to pass FIA test all over again.

    3. When i saw the first pictures of Ferrari i thought this car looks ugly with the stepped nose but maybe its lighting fast and that will made up for the looks,but sadly its a dog of a car.Whatever Ferrari guys have to do they have do it pretty fast not like last year when they have to wait till silverstone for there first win.

  4. Oh wow. That was a thriller.

  5. redbulls are struggling….
    let’s hope the lotus can get ahead of th mclaren for a REALLY shocking start to the season.

  6. The most interesting & fascinating qualifying i’ve ever seen, not just in terms of results but the surprises that were pulled out of the back were just….. i couldn’t ask for anymore. Amazing lap from Lewis, McLaren 1-2, my emotions are very high at the moment i can’t describe them. You could imagine what Kimi would have produced in that Lotus had he made it to Q3 but let’s not take anything from Grosjean, a refreshed guy he certainly has become, already honestly he seems light years away from the troubled rookie season of 2009 & P3 on the grid for him just confirms that but the points are won on race day, not qualifying so definitely all to play for in the race. Gobsmacked.

    1. The most interesting & fascinating qualifying i’ve ever seen, not just in terms of the results but the surprises that were pulled out of the bag were just….. i couldn’t ask for anymore and i’m sure any F1 fan or associate wouldn’t either. Amazing lap from Lewis, McLaren 1-2, my emotions are very high at the moment i can’t describe them. You could imagine what Kimi would have produced in that Lotus had he made it to Q3 but let’s not take anything from Grosjean, a refreshed guy he certainly has become, already honestly he seems light years away from the troubled rookie season of 2009 & P3 on the grid for him just confirms that but the points are won on race day, not qualifying so definitely all to play for in the race. Gobsmacked.

  7. perhaps it may be too early to say, but Maldonado’s performance in comparison to Senna shows that last years Car was rubbish and Senna might be overrated, or just having a bad week.

    all in all hope the best for Maldonado and Williams to score some good points this year! :)

    1. I share your hopes (however apparently unpopular they might be), and considering Senna hit traffic on his last run in Q2 (according to the team’s Twitter), hopefully the race will look better for him.

    2. It’s feasible if Maldonado finishes near where he qualified Williams could score as many points in Australia as they did in the whole of last season! Glad to see them have a more competitive car, it’s not right seeing them struggling near the back.

    3. Fernando Cruz
      17th March 2012, 13:25

      Last year Williams was really bad and also Maldonado was a rookie. Now he is no longer a rookie, he has more experience. Remember even last year he managed to beat Barrichello in some itens and would have scored many points in Monaco if it wasn’t Hamilton putting him out. He also put the Williams in Q3 for some races, something the vastly experienced Barrichello couldn’ t do.

      1. B…s..t. Pastor put himself out in Monaco by turning in on Hamilton early.

  8. This is going to be a DISASTROUS season for Ferrari fans. At least in the last 3 years we had the consolation of McLaren not winning anything either. This year it looks like the only consolation will be MSC doing okay again.

  9. Yes jonathan189, being a scuderia fanatic, i’m gutted.
    But WOHOO! amazing to see such a close grid!
    Ferrari will sort their **** out

  10. who wants to see schumi on podium tomm? :-D

    1. third place would be awesomesauce

  11. well done to lewis Hamilton he realy deserved that especialy with a one two from mclaren. also impressed with marrusia to it looks like they have made a prety good step in proformance.

  12. what a nightmare for us Ferrari tifosi. I already foresee what they’re going to do halfway in the season: “Oh, well guys, this year’s car is not performing as well as we expected, so we’re now going to focus exclusively on the next season’s car. Don’t worry tifosi, next year we’ll be stronger than ever!”

    1. ramy (@ramysennaf1)
      17th March 2012, 9:37


    2. ramy (@ramysennaf1)
      17th March 2012, 9:43

      mate, let me tell u ,ferrari days, ferrari has its reputation because simply at the beginning of F1 they had a great reputation of car making and a great budget, plus they dominated f1 only when shumacher had a over all better car then most rivals, from 2000 to 2004 he had no competant rival to reckoned with, he was winning with no one chasing or making a great competition i’m talking about cars not drivers, mclarens were not fast enough, when senna was in f1 he had 5 rivals and world champions to fight with in order to win.

  13. The Money (@pamphlett31220)
    17th March 2012, 9:36

    Wow what a race we are going to see now!,kimi coming through the field with some audacious moves no doubt.I can see schumacher splitting the Mclarens off the start.I really don’t know what to think of the red bulls now..possibly both finishing off the podium?….surely not!…go lewis.

  14. A brilliant qualifying session, I really enjoyed it!

    It had drama everywhere. Raikkonen failing to get out of Q1, Ferrari making a disaster of Q2 and RBR being slower than we thought, even with the knowledge that McLaren probably had the better car this weekend.

    I’m happy for Grosjean, Rosberg, Schumacher, Ricciardo, Vergne, Maldonado and Senna the most. A marked improvement from Williams, I really hope they keep it up and bring some success back to the team. A double points finish for them tomorrow would be a world away from last year.

    Great debut from both Ricciardo and Vergne. So far it looks like ditching Buemi and Alguersuari has paid off. Of course the real test comes in the race tomorrow.

    A shame that Raikkonen couldn’t challenge more than he did but there’s no one else to blame for that. Grosjean did a stunning job of showing what both he and the E20 are capable of thus far. I expected it to be a good car but third was a surprise.

    Disappointed for Mercedes but I’m confident they do have a great car. A shame Rosberg locked-up on his flying lap, you could see he was really throwing it around.

    Honourable mention to Marussia for making it within the 107% of the fastest lap. That’s a great achievment considering one of the drivers is a complete rookie and the car never touched testing.

    And of course congratulations to McLaren. They were on it all weekend. When I saw Hamilton’s onboard I could tell easily that he was comfortable with this car where others were struggling. A comfortable driver can push the most.

    Looking forward to tomorrow morning!

  15. Grosjean just couldn’t stop having a silly happy face and smiling all the time. It was so amusing to watch.
    It’s like you could read his thoughts : “Wow! Is this for real?! I’m really sitting here aren’t i? I’m third. Damn this is so awesome”

    1. What’s more interesting is he looked very much stoned the same in testing interviews…

  16. If this type of results follow for Force India, surely, Paul is gong to be booted out some time…soon!

  17. Not sure if it showed up on the tv but I was standing on the inside of turn 11 ( start of the quick left right section at the back half of the track) I kept seeing sparks from the front area (not sure if wing endplates, keel or floor or what not) from grosjons car. Make of this what you will…

  18. Take the EBD out = F1’s fun again.

    1. @cyclops_pl I tend to agree, only I’d broaden it to:

      Take the downforce out – F1’s fun again

      1. my idea :

        take the engine development freeze = F1’s fun again

        it’d be nice to see some teams (like ferrari for example) go for mechanical grip and more powerful engines while some choose downforce route.

      2. Indeed, the EBD was just means for creating immense downforce. Taking that downforce out broke Red Bull’s domination and made all cars much less predictable. Despite the fact I like Alonso very much, seeing him spin on a dry track was priceless. That’s what I want to see in F1 – men doing their best to control powerful machines.

    2. @Cyclops_PL
      Take the EBD out = toy broken, angry kid and threats of protests!!! But F1 regains excitement!!!

      Best move ever!! Well done Jean Todt!!!

  19. Nathan Astle (Ex-NZ crickter)
    17th March 2012, 10:25

    My oh my! Just got back to my Hotel from the track, and I have to say, the tv cameras can not do justice to what I just saw. Lewis, at turn 3, was absolutely breathtaking nobody was even CLOSE to the speed he carried through there, it was simply unbelievable, Grosjean was quick through there, but when Lewis did his first lap, on entry into the corner with a snap and a crack coupled with a pop, it looked as though he turned the car in on the rear axle and just glided through there. Unbelievable result, I was yahooing from the grandstand at turn 3 that was absolutely stuffed FULL with Red Bull supporters and I gave it to them all smile.gif what a result! Its been a long time coming that we can start a season strongly, but simply wow!

  20. Amazing, F1 is back.
    So may thing to be happy about (despite being made redundant yesterday); the cars more nervous at the rear, you can see the drivers using there skill more and RBR not dominant so far is like fresh air.
    Great to have some unpredictability and closer fight almost from front to back (sadly except HRT).
    The race will be interesting can Mclaren stay at the front the Merc long run pace looks better????

    1. Since this is a completely different track we can’t draw many conclusions from testing in spain, but didn’t Mercedes have quite severe degredation?…or are you basing this comment on a long run from practice?

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