Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Albert Park, 2014

Hamilton denies Ricciardo dream home pole position

2014 Australian Grand Prix qualifyingPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Albert Park, 2014The cars may not make as much noise as they used to but the Melbourne crowd more than made up for that when, for a few fleeting moments, it looked like their home driver was going to get pole position.

The chequered flag was already out in Q3 when Daniel Ricciardo, bravely risking intermediate tyres on a wet track, went fastest in his Red Bull.

But seconds later Lewis Hamilton arrived to spoil the party and give Mercedes the pole position everyone expected them to start the season with.

An action-packed qualifying session saw rain showers, a world champion in the barriers and some impressive rookie performances.


With the track dry but the skies darkening the drivers were eager to take to the track as qualifying began. Some were queued up at the pit lane exit including the two Mercedes drivers.

Nico Rosberg was advised to let Hamilton leave first – the rules state that the first driver to arrive in the queue has priority – and the team also warned him to set a lap quickly as rain was on its way.

It took a little longer to arrive than expected, giving all the drivers the chance to set a time in dry conditions. The only one who failed to take advantage was Pastor Maldonado, though from the difficulty he was having with the Lotus you’d have been forgiven for thinking the track was wet.

Romain Grosjean was also struggling in the other Lotus. Even before the rain arrived the pair looked likely to be the two slowest qualifiers.

Aside from Lotus’s struggles Q3 had a familiar look. Both Marussias failed to make it through – though Max Chilton unusually out-qualified Jules Bianchi – and Marcus Ericsson’s Caterham also failed to progress.

Team mate Kamui Kobayashi, however, bounced back from the team’s dire problems on Friday to take his car into Q2.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

17 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1’34.293
18 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1’34.794
19 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’35.117
20 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1’35.157
21 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’36.993
22 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault


Rain was not what most drivers wanted as they contemplated their first qualifying session of the year on a parkland circuit in new cars with brutal power delivery and often unpredictable braking characteristics.

The latter definitely applied at Toro Rosso, whose drivers had struggled with their brakes in practice. Jean-Eric Vergne was particularly apprehensive ahead of Q2.

It turned out he needn’t have been. Remarkably, both Toro Rosso drivers claimed a place in Q3, including rookie Daniil Kvyat.

Both Williams drivers also progressed though Valtteri Bottas found the conditions a handful, sliding off at turn nine and then spinning at turn one – though the latter happened moments after he set fastest time.

With conditions improving rapidly towards the end of the session the timing of the final laps was crucial. While Fernando Alonso took the fastest time in the Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen caught traffic at the end of his lap and could only manage eighth.

His attempt to improve further was scuppered when his car got away from him at turn four. The Ferrari wiped its nose off against the barrier and with most of the other drivers already ahead of him and on their last laps, Raikkonen was doomed to elimination.

He wasn’t the only world champion to miss the cut. Jenson Button, three times a winner at the Melbourne track, was also knocked out – though his team initially misinformed him that he’d made it into Q3.

But the biggest surprise was Sebastian Vettel. While team mate Ricciardo frequently popped up near the top of the times the reigning world champion could only manage 13th.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’44.437
12 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’44.494
13 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’44.668
14 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1’45.655
15 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1’45.867
16 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’47.293


Further rain fell as the extended 12-minute Q3 shoot-out began, leading most drivers to take to the track on wet weather tyres. Alonso was an exception: he started the session on intermediates but switched to wet weather tyres for his final run.

But Alonso didn’t figure in the fight for pole position. That was conducted between the Mercedes drivers as expected and – surprisingly – Ricciardo’s Red Bull. He put intermediate tyres on for his final run, indicating the Red Bull wants for nothing in the area of downforce.

Rosberg went off at turn nine shortly after beginning his first run. The time lost hear would cost him later – he completed his final lap moments after the chequered flag came out, while Ricciardo and Hamilton had just begun their final runs on an improving track.

Massa’s Williams nearly got away from him on the curved run to turn ten. But the same area caught out Daniil Kvyat who clipped the barrier in his Toro Rosso. Fortunately for his rivals, the yellow flags were not needed.

Ricciardo hesitated slightly at the final corner, feeling a strange sensation at the front of the car which he thought might be related to debris, but when he crossed the line and took the fastest time off Rosberg the crowd went crazy.

They were subdued somewhat by Hamilton’s subsequent improvement, which denied Ricciardo his pole position, but a front row start for the Red Bull driver was beyond the team’s expectations heading into the weekend.

Kevin Magnussen also stood out on his debut for McLaren, claiming fourth on the grid having been their only representative in Q3.

Top ten in Q3

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’44.231
2 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1’44.547
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’44.595
4 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1’45.745
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’45.819
6 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1’45.864
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’46.030
8 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1’47.368
9 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1’48.079
10 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1’48.147

2014 Australian Grand Prix

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Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei

141 comments on “Hamilton denies Ricciardo dream home pole position”

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  1. A million tries and I still wouldn’t have got the top 3 right. Good that we only need to predict the pole winner.

    Alonso again in a familiar position but with unfamiliar cars around him. Two relative rookies ahead of him, if he can get his usual start, he might fight the Mercs.

    Seems like a unusual start to the season’s qualifying with the rain being a great leveller. Hope the race gives us some idea of the running order.

    1. Why does everyone wants a dry race for tomorrow? If its dry tomorrow, and Mercedes laps everyone twice like Horner said, I don’t think I’ll watch the rest of the season.

      I’d rather have rain tomorrow and not know who’s really on top as long as possible.

      1. As a Hamilton fan I want dry so he has a great chance of a win, wet and the aerodymics come into play, which, as everyone has said all along, the red bulls are in front…

      2. If its dry tomorrow, and Mercedes laps everyone twice like Horner said

        @paeschli Don’t believe in everything that Horner says

  2. 23kennyboy23
    15th March 2014, 9:34

    Every year Hamilton has a decent chance there’s always a ton of wet races to mix it up lol. Glad he’s still on top.

  3. joc_the_man
    15th March 2014, 9:38

    Congrat’s to…
    Lewis that showed what a qualifier he is
    Dan – really a surprise in many dimensions
    Kev’s debut was stunning

    Tears for…
    Kimi’s (my man) mistake…sh-t
    Marcus (my countryman) struggling in the green
    the noise by the TV-set…was like watching Prius racing
    Lotus, well what can you say…other than Kimi made the right decision

    1. Thanks for the word of the day .. “Prius”..
      I would be using that from now

    2. Hope Marcus also my countryman has a decent race tomorrow. in his Gp2 days the first races always ends early

  4. Somebody must tell RB that Webber has gone out of the team and that they should stop messing with the second car. Even if you have perfected the art, you can still do the job on the wrong car like today.

    1. My comment was intended for humor. Not to be taken seriously to begin a fight. Like it, have a laugh; Don’t like it, move on.

      1. @evered7 You should add a smiley like ;p at the end for your defense… Learned this art here at F1F, where you can say and get away with almost anything

  5. Well done Daniel. He drove brilliantly but needs to follow it up with a podium finish tomorrow. If they can sort Vettels car out he should carve his way through the field. He’s one of be best over takers but fuel burn could be an issue for him though compared to the front runners. Magnussen and Kvyat performing this well on debut shows that the new cars has levelled out the field.

  6. If you think about the bigger picture Vettel will be pleased that a Red Bull was capable of getting front row. 2 weeks ago everyone would have laughed if you’d told them that. But importantly it was raining. It does show that the design of the RB is almost certainly still the best out there by a distance, but they are struggling with gremlins related to that Renault power train. I still think when they iron them out in say 3 races time RB will be the quickest car. Reliability will be their problem I reckon. The rain meant we still can’t really tell where everyone is.
    But these cars look a big handful in the wet. That won’t change all season and we could get some really odd results when it rains.

  7. Great qualifying session. We finally got to see drivers properly wrestling the cars, and some absolutely brilliant performances as well. Couldn’t ask for a better start to the new era of F1.

  8. Danil Kvyat turns out to be the good decision for Torro Rosso, chucking out Felix Da Costa

  9. I was at the qualifying today !! what a disaster!! silent cars at a snail pace . Consider this guys, the lap record is 1min 24 secs. Today the fastest lap in the dry was about 1 min 31 secs and Ham’s pole time was some 1min 44 secs (wet). DIDASTER!!!!! I’m debating whether to go for the race tomorrow.

    1. You were obviously not one of the Australians at the track…

    2. could you tell the difference in speed from last years cars to this years from your seating position? if you could you are a genius. you are looking at the numbers too much, just watch the cars and enjoy the racing. it is not a disaster. don’t go to the race tomorrow, someone else who enjoys the sport will gladly take your seat, they – being aussie will root for Ricciardo and not care about numbers like you.

    3. Give me your ticket then you ingrate! :)

    4. ..feel sorry for you Gerry. Nothing sensational as this debate has been ongoing for quite long now. Sure, the magic is gone. I will not waste my money on grandstand tickets anylonger either. Unfortunately the 2014 version of F1. Sad times.

  10. The drivers seemed to be working so much harder to keep this years cars going where they want them. I am loving all the sliding and the clearly visible way the cars have to be wrestled around corners; and that’s before it started to rain! I am also extremely glad the engines are no longer as loud – the sheer volume of sound was too much for me.
    Even disregarding the actual results this years F1 gets a big thumbs up so far. I am still worried that fuel saving will ruin the actual race but I guess we will see tomorrow.

    If it rains for the a good deal of the race I assume fuel consumption will be less?

  11. At the track for today – exit of T2 for the F1 sessions.
    – Cars were incredibly quiet and the first impression when we heard the cars the first time was big disappointment. Aside from the Mazda 3 celebrity race, the cars seemed to be the quietest on track all day. Nice sound, but just far too quiet; don’t know if they can revise the exhausts to improve the sound.
    – Luckily, atmosphere was amazing in qualifying. The roar when Ricciardo continually topped the times was great, and we went berserk when he was on pole. Vettel not only got cheered when he didn’t make Q3, but also booed heavily as he passed and had plenty of middle fingers raised at him by the thousands at the exit of turn 2.
    Great day in the end. Good on Ricciardo and good on the crowd.

    1. “…don’t know if they can revise the exhausts to improve the sound.”

      Loud noise is wasted energy, so nobody will be modifying their cars to make them more wasteful. Just think of it this way, the loud noises of previous years were power being dissipated into the atmosphere, this year all of that power is being redirected into the wheels.

      “…but also booed heavily as he passed…”
      Stay classy Australia.

      1. I meant whether the could revise the exhaust regs or something related to force teams to increased the sound and ‘the show’ as they always like to talk about because everyone who has been to the GP have said the cars are too quiet and all were disappointed as a first reaction to the sound.

        I don’t see anything wrong with Australian fans cheering for the Australian hope, and booing the enemy of the last 4 years. Happens in every single sport in the world – why not in F1? Creates a better atmosphere at the track, and it is good to see fans are so emotionally invested in what is happening.

    2. Vettel not only got cheered when he didn’t make Q3, but also booed heavily as he passed and had plenty of middle fingers raised at him by the thousands at the exit of turn 2.
      Great day in the end. Good on Ricciardo and good on the crowd.

      Classy, really classy. Best thing is booing a driver

  12. A cracking qualifying session where “just about the right amount of rain for F1” brought on the drama. Great atmosphere, a plus side to the not very loud, not very good sounding engines is you can hear the crowd around you. Great stuff at the end between Riciardo and Hamilton. Was in the stand at turn 3 – didn’t hear anyone actually boo Vettel but plenty of people cheered when he failed to qualify for Q3 – hey its a competitive sport so why not? As to reading into the result given the conditions hard to tell much from this session. Moving away from the front would have anyone have put Kobayashi in 15th, given his Caterham basically didn’t work at all the day before. Think it’ll be a bit random for a while this season.

  13. Absolutely brilliant qualifying! So many surprises and the cars looked great sideways in the wet

  14. 2 years ago redbull were .7 seconds off the pace for first few races and won the championship. this year it looked like they might be 3 seconds off the pace. they have done an amazing job in 2 weeks. hope the car comes home tomorrow. they can afford to lose several races, as they will no doubt make the most progress as the year goes on and hopefully win again – I like their drivers, vettel because he is the fastest driver in f1, and ricciardo as he has a nice charm and seems fast too, I also love the redbull car, it looks the nicest of all the cars to me.

    1. I think maybe some wishful thinking on your part about them possibly closing the gap this year. The Mercedes engine is head and shoulders above the rest and the works team actually have a good chassis to compliment it. What Red Bull might do is lower the deficit fractionally on account of better aero but nothing more.

      1. well the Renault power already seems better. Renault cars were 30kmh down in Bahrain testing on the straights, today they had faster speeds on shorter straights, and less then 10kmh slower then merc. redbull have best drivers and best aero – and yes, that alone might make up the deficit.

  15. I wished Ricciardo had not changed to inters, he was consistently fastest in the first 2 quali sessions and the start of q3. he needed one more lap on those inters to clinch pole. Hamilton lucked in, he wasn’t the best in qualifying.

  16. Paul (@frankjaeger)
    15th March 2014, 15:01

    Absolutely loved the season’s first quali session. Hope Jenson gains back a few places in the race tomorrow. Well done to Kobayashi, best of the back

  17. Same old, same old from Jenson, come on, sort it out!

    Funny that for the most part, the regulation changes have made 0 difference to the grid order.

  18. Hulkenberg quietly sitting there in 7th on the grid – will capitalize if its a wet race and move his way slowly up the order.

  19. Absolutely no mention of Vergne’s brilliant effort in the comments section?? Guess it’s down to me then. Hat’s of to JEV, 3rd row of the grid, what a result for him and Toro Rosso. Great job by Kvyat too.

    1. I’ve been critical of Vergne in the past but I have to agree, he did a great job today, as did Kvyat.

  20. Rewatching qualy and seeing the info on the steering wheel screens (for the cars that had them, Toro Rosso being one) is quite interesting. Lots of different data displayed as they would flip through settings.

    As for the engine noise, i like the sound. i bit quiet and can be hard to hear the cars on the long shots. In car audio sounds great, hearing crowd reactions, and being able to watch in the middle of the night without practically muting your tv is nice.

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