But the Melbourne weather didn’t feel like being helpful, and doused the track with rain to give the drivers yet another challenging variable to contender with.
Unlike last year, when a downpour forced qualifying to be postponed until the following day, there were no interruptions in the running. But the drivers were visibly fighting to keep their cars under control.
The session produced stand-out performances from new Red Bul driver Daniel Ricciardo and rookies Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat. And of course Lewis Hamilton, who took pole position despite a lurid slide in the middle of his lap.
Here’s how the session unfolded as heard through the broadcast team radio chatter.
2014 Australian Grand Prix qualifying team radio transcript
|Pre||00:24||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||OK Lewis. We’ll do a start from where you’re sat, but don’t engage RS modes until late. I will give you a nod.|
|Pre||00:02||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||So you need to let Lewis go first.|
|Q1||17:11||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||And just lots of warming, because the tyres will be cold after that. Lots of warming, weaving and braking. We will tell you later whether we want you to go for the first or second timed lap.|
|Q1||16:57||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||Nico, we will go for lap one. So temperatures are… eight, front and rear. So big braking, lots of weaving.|
|Q1||16:18||Simon Rennie||Daniel Ricciardo||OK Daniel, still looking at 20 minutes away for the rain. We expect a dry Q1.|
|Q1||15:00||Craig Gardiner||Esteban Gutierrez||Esteban, we can push a little bit more to keep up. The tyres are on the cold side.|
|Q1||14:35||Mark Slade||Pastor Maldonado||OK Pastor, we need to box this lap please. Box this lap. We have no ‘H’.|
|Q1||13:49||Ayao Komatsu||Romain Grosjean||OK Romain, we need to stay on this switch setting for the next timed lap.|
|Q1||Romain Grosjean||Ayao Komatsu||The engine is still not working.|
|Q1||Ayao Komatsu||Romain Grosjean||OK, understood.|
|Q1||12:53||Guillaume Rocquelin||Sebastian Vettel||…and hit reverse to start your timed lap at the last possible minute.|
|Q1||12:28||Andrea Stella||Fernando Alonso||Fernando, box. Box now, we put the soft.|
|Q1||11:32||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||So, tyres are at 120 front to rear, so brake magic on.|
|Q1||10:40||Simon Rennie||Daniel Ricciardo||OK Daniel, we are just prepared to run again. I’ll keep you updated with what the plan is. Nice job there, mate.|
|Q1||9:56||Dave Robson||Jenson Button||So JB, that’s a good lap on a used tyre. We’re currently P4.|
|Q1||Jenson Button||Dave Robson||Err, the cockpit’s getting very hot compared to normal.|
|Q1||8:48||Max Chilton||Gary Gannon||(Not 100% clear)
Last lap was a lot better than the second lap. There’s still just a (distorted) apex understeer, which is making snap-oversteer at turn… err… whatever I’m at now. Seven. Er, nine.
|Q1||Gary Gannon||Max Chilton||OK Max, understood. We’ll put more tyre pressure in so they should come up quicker. We’ll go for one timed lap and we’ll put some flap on – half a turn of flap on.|
|Q1||7:17||Sebastian Vettel||Guillaume Rocquelin||Light rain begins to fall on the circuit
OK, there’s rain drops coming now.
|Q1||Guillaume Rocquelin||Sebastian Vettel||Understood.|
|Q1||6:25||Pastor Maldonado||Mark Slade||Maldonado spins at turn three on soft dry tyres on the now damp track
|Q1||Mark Slade||Pastor Maldonado||Yep. Understood|
|Q1||6:18||Sebastian Vettel||Guillaume Rocquelin||OK, there’s rain now. Rain around turn nine, ten.|
|Q1||5:50||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||All cars on circuit pit.
OK Lewis, so very slippery on track now. Exercise caution. Sector three very slippery.
|Q1||4:14||Xevi Pujolar||Jean-Eric Vergne||Gutierrez has rejoined the circuit
And we’ll get the car ready for Q2 now, because the track will not get any faster.
|Q1||1:02||Craig Gardiner||Esteban Gutierrez||So obvious be careful out there, Esteban. We use it only as a balance check for tomorrow.|
|Q1||0:47||Jean-Eric Vergne||Xevi Pujolar||Sarcastic
This is fantastic. First time in the wet for qualifying with this kind of engine. Beautiful.
|Q1||0:37||Romain Grosjean||Ayao Komatsu||*sighs* I guess this is the end.|
|Q1||Ayao Komatsu||Romain Grosjean||Yeah. Unfortunately, yes.|
|Q1||Romain Grosjean||Ayao Komatsu||Those tyres are undriveable in those conditions. It’s dangerous. Plus, there’s problems on the downshift. It’s very messy.|
|Q1||Ayao Komatsu||Romain Grosjean||Understood.|
|Q1||0:00||Olivier Helvig||Alberto’||Vergne’s channel
OK Alberto, on the front flap we go minus four. Minus four degrees.
|Q1||Jean-Eric Vergne||Olivier Helvig||Olivier, can you give me a map for the braking, or at least tell me which brake shape I should use for a little bit less front power at the end of braking? I can see the Sauber struggling a lot of locking the front at the end of braking, even though he was really slow.|
|Q1||0:00||Xevi Pujolar||Jean-Eric Vergne||OK Jev, we’re going for set 2-1. So Inter.|
|Q1||0:00||Tim Wright||Kamui Kobayashi||OK Kamui, so we’ve gone down two degrees. We’re on full wets and we’ve reset your brake balance. We have three minutes to go. And basically, in regards to fuelling, we should be able to do the whole session like this. And obviously we could come in and change to intermediates if conditions improve.|
|Q2||15:00||Tim Wright||Kamui Kobayashi||OK Kamui, the rain’s definitely getting lighter here. I don’t think we have anything to lose by going out on full wet – at least seeing where it is.|
|Q2||Kamui Kobayashi||Tim Wright||OK. I think it’s a predictable tyre. If track was getting really dry, it makes sense to go straight away with inter tyre. But in this condition, we start with understeer on the track. If rain is stopping, I prefer to go with inter tyre.|
|Q2||Tim Wright||Kamui Kobayashi||OK Kamui. Yeah, obviously. When you previously went out on circuit it looked to you like it was very wet. The rain looks like it’s backed off a bit, but I don’t think track condition would’ve changed a lot. So we’ll go on the full wets and we’ll be ready for inters. It’s 15 minutes, Kamui, so we think that will be eight timed.|
|Q2||13:40||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||Massa runs onto gravel at turn nine
OK, so Massa off turn nine on the out lap.
|Q2||13:01||Mark Temple||Kevin Magnussen||We think Kvyat in front is on a full wet, everyone else is on inter. Keep warming the brakes.|
|Q2||12:51||Andrea Stella||Fernando Alonso||OK, it could be that the rain increases into the session, so we open up the gap and we work properly from the very first run.|
|Q2||12:14||Gianpiero Lambiase||Nico Hulkenberg||We had a fuel pressure issue. There’s plenty of fuel in it, so don’t worry about that.|
|Q2||11:08||Marco Matassa||Daniil Kvyat||Kvyat is on the full wet tyres
More rain expected, Daniil. More rain expected. Look after your tyres.
|Q2||10:14||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||Seven tenths to Nico, P1. So we can go again on the next lap.|
|Q2||10:08||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||So Nico, look after the tyres and push on lap three.|
|Q2||8:46||Jonathan Eddollls||Valtteri Bottas||Try and keep temperature in all of the brakes. Front-right brake is on the cool side, so if there’s anything you can do to help with that.|
|Q2||8:13||Dave Robson||Jenson Button||OK Jenson, that’s a really good lap. Currently P3.|
|Q2||7:53||Guillaume Rocquelin||Sebastian Vettel||OK Sebastian, the pace is 1’45. 1’45.6. You’re currently P8.|
|Q2||6:33||Adrian Sutil||Marco Schupbach||The track just gets better every lap.|
|Q2||5:56||Simon Rennie||Daniel Ricciardo||Ricciardo splits the two Mercedes at the top of the timesheets
Pace is very good at the moment. Pace is very good.
|Q2||4:41||Dave Robson||Jenson Button||Button goes quickest, only to be beaten by Ricciardo
Yellow G2, please. Yellow G2. Let’s have a hard in-lap please. Quick in-lap Jenson. We’re going to pit and fit a new inter, but you’re currently P1. P1.
|Q2||2:28||Mark Temple||Kevin Magnussen||OK Kevin, we will get a single timed lap on this set of inters. Single timed lap. Be careful of Hamilton behind on a timed lap. Let’s get some brake warm-up and try and get ourselves a gap before the end of the lap.|
|Q2||0:53||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||Just complete this next timed lap. Going for this next timed lap.|
|Q2||0:00||Kimi Raikkonen||Antonio Spagnolo||Raikkonen has crashed exiting turn three. Vettel is currently at risk of elimination
I had traffic and then… I hit the wall.
|Q2||Simon Rennie||Daniel Ricciardo||Vettel completes his final lap but fails to advance into Q3
Very good job mate. P2. Three hundreths behind Rosberg. Good job mate.
|Q2||Guillaume Rocquelin||Sebastian Vettel||Er, you’re currently P12.|
|Q2||Sebastian Vettel||Guillaume Rocquelin||Yeah, I saw that…|
|Q2||Dave Robson||Jenson Button||All cars have now completed their final flying laps.
P10. P10. So we are through to Q3.
|Q2||Dave Robson||Jenson Button||OK Jenson, I’m afraid I’ve got that wrong. We finished P11. P11.|
|Q2||Jenson Button||Dave Robson||That means a couple of cars went quite a bit… well, must have gone quicker in the… not in the yellow flag zone, but around that lap.|
|Q2||Daniil Kvyat||Marco Matassa||Both Toro Rossos are through to Q3
… I’d also like a little bit more efficiency from the brakes. Probably… it could be a circuit where too much rearwards, or I never…
|Q2||Marco Matassa||Daniil Kvyat||Interrupting
How was your braking? You felt confidence in that?
|Q2||Daniil Kvyat||Marco Matassa||Not really. I would like a little bit more.|
|Q2||Marco Matassa||Daniil Kvyat||OK, we are looking into it. I will let you know.|
|Q2||Jean-Eric Vergne||Xevi Pujolar||There is more rain on track now. It’s raining more.|
|Q2||Xevi Pujolar||Jean-Eric Vergne||Copy that, Jev.|
|Q2||Xevi Pujolar||Jean-Eric Vergne||OK, what do you think on the track condition and the tyres at the moment, Jev?|
|Q2||Jean-Eric Vergne||Xevi Pujolar||At the moment, is still inters, for sure.|
|Q2||Xevi Pujolar||Jean-Eric Vergne||So the plan is, we could do three timed, one timed, and that would be nil-nil. It’s more rain now, so set three-one to the car. We keep the inters in the garage.|
|Q3||11:37||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||And just cool the tyres around the lap, Nico. Let us know if you want to swap to inter.|
|Q3||10:45||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||So all cars are on X-wet [full wet weather tyres]apart from inter on Alonso.|
|Q3||10:10||Andrea Stella||Fernando Alonso||OK, we check the situation. If we pit, we’d still have time for four timed laps, so is not a big problem.|
|Q3||8:32||Jonathan Eddollls||Valtteri Bottas||Alonso’s first timed lap is much slower than those on full wets
Alonso behind is on a timed on inters, but he’s not that quick.
|Q3||7:55||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||Ricciardo is currently second behind Rosberg on full wets
Pushing on this lap also. If we’re slower, we will box for another set of tyres.
|Q3||7:20||Simon Rennie||Daniel Ricciardo||OK Daniel, still expect light rain until the end. Still expect light rain.|
|Q3||6:27||Simon Rennie||Daniel Ricciardo||Diff six, diff six. What do you think about the conditions? Is it ready for inters?|
|Q3||Daniel Ricciardo||Simon Rennie||I think it will be if we keep running, yep… Sorry, what I meant to say is I think it will be if the rain stops falling.|
|Q3||Simon Rennie||Daniel Ricciardo||OK, understood. Stay out, stay out.|
|Q3||5:45||Andrea Stella||Fernando Alonso||In Italian
OK, Rosberg has put on ‘extremes’ [full wet weather tyres]. Box now, box.
|Q3||5:35||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||Rosberg pits as Hamilton takes provisional pole
So, we are fitting wet tyres, Nico. X-wet tyres. No flap adjust – set 73.
|Q3||4:50||Gianpiero Lambiase||Nico Hulkenberg||Ricciardo has also pitted for intermediates
Listen to me! You need to push now to get in the box and get the laps, because we should’ve pitted on the previous one. So get a move on.
|Q3||4:05||Simon Rennie||Daniel Ricciardo||Need to get amongst it on the out lap. Put some work into these tyres on the out lap.|
|Q3||2:24||Nico Rosberg||Tony Ross||Rosberg loses the rear and runs through the gravel at turn nine
I went off. Going for the next lap.
|Q3||Tony Ross||Nico Rosberg||Copy, copy. Go strat one. Strat one.|
|Q3||0:17||Peter Bonnington||Lewis Hamilton||OK Lewis, one more lap. One more lap. Use overtake.|
|Q3||0:00||Daniil Kvyat||Marco Matassa||Kvyat loses the car on the turn to turn 11 and hits the inside barrier, off line
OK guys, I hit the wall. What should I do? I can get to the box, the wheels are fine. Well basically… Ahh, aquaplaning! Was a little bit too much for the inter.
Phase/time: Refers to point at which message was broadcast. There may be a delay between messages being said and being broadcast. PQ = pre-qualifying.
Message: Repetitive or irrelevant messages omitted. Notes in italics. Highlights in bold.
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2014 Australian Grand Prix
- The FIA’s verdict rejecting Red Bull’s appeal in full
- Red Bull’s own measurements showed Ricciardo’s car was illegal – FIA
- Red Bull lose appeal against Ricciardo’s Australian Grand Prix disqualification
- Magnussen wins Driver of the Weekend vote on debut
- Losing podium better than retiring – Ricciardo
Image © Red Bull/Getty