Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Albert Park, 2017

Hamilton holds off Vettel attack for pole

2017 Australian Grand Prix qualifyingPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton put Mercedes on pole position for the first race of the year but he will share the front row of the grid with Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari.

Q1

Drivers from five different teams fell at the first hurdle during qualifying.

Among them was Lance Stroll, who was fortunate to appear in the session at all following the damage to his car in final practice. He complained of a loss of rear grip on his way to 19th fastest, and will start last after a five-place grid penalty due to a gearbox change.

Stroll’s appearance frustrated Marcus Ericsson who was held up by the Williams on his first lap. His final lap was enough of an improvement for him to reach Q2, though it came at the expense of his team mate.

Antonio Giovinazzi had been on course to reach Q2 on his debut until he locked up at turn 14 on his final run. That was the opportunity Ericsson needed, but the gap between them was just two tenths of a second.

Kevin Magnussen also failed to make the cut in his Haas as did his former team mate Jolyon Palmer. However the latter was over three seconds slower than the other Renault of Nico Hulkenberg, suggesting all was not well with his car.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16 Antonio Giovinazzi Sauber-Ferrari 1’26.419
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1’26.847
18 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Honda 1’26.858
19 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 1’27.143
20 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1’28.244

Q2

The Mercedes pair headed the times in the second part of qualifying but Ferrari closed the gap – the top four were covered by less than two-tenths of a second.

There was a slightly larger gap back to the Red Bulls, which were headed by Daniel Ricciardo. Max Verstappen voiced his displeasure at being sent out behind his team mate, and had to do a second run to set a time he was satisfied with.

Romain Grosjean was unhappy with traffic after his first run, but he gave as good as he got when he returned to the track, earning the wrath of Sergio Perez. The Force India driver missed out on the top ten while the Haas progressed.

Perez joined his team mate in elimination. Nico Hulkenberg and Ericsson also progressed no further.

Nor did Fernando Alonso, who said there wasn’t a better lap time in his McLaren than the one which left him 13th. He had complained of a loss of power on his first run.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’25.081
12 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1’25.091
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 1’25.425
14 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 1’25.568
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1’26.465

Q3

The mistakes began to creep in as the drivers pushed their cars to the limit in the pole position shoot-out. A slight error by Bottas on his first run was enough for Vettel to capitalise, beating the Mercedes by two-thousandths of a second over their first runs. But Hamilton had them both covered, beating Vettel by three-tenths.

An error by Raikkonen left him almost a second behind them. But Ricciardo slipped up in more spectacular fashion at turn 14, snapping sideways into the barrier and bringing out the red flags. He was unhurt, but will start tenth at best.

When the session resumed Romain Grosjean took advantage of Ricciardo’s trouble to put his Haas on the third row of the grid. “Woohoo” he exclaimed on the radio after his lap.

Bottas dug deeper and found enough to take provisional pole position with his final run. But Vettel was on his case again, and once more knocked the Mercedes back a place.

Vettel couldn’t stop Hamilton, however. The Mercedes driver, revelling in the substantially quicker 2017 cars, hammered through turn five without a hint of a lift. At turn 12 he was hard on the throttle after the merest of lifts, and at the finishing line he was 1.6 seconds faster than he had been when he took pole position last year.

Vettel wasn’t entirely happy with his final run, but by splitting the Mercedes drivers he’s poised to take the fight to Hamilton in the first race of the year tomorrow.

Top ten in Q3

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’22.188
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’22.456
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1’22.481
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’23.033
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1’23.485
6 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1’24.074
7 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1’24.443
8 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso-Renault 1’24.487
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1’24.512
10 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-TAG Heuer

2017 Australian Grand Prix

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103 comments on “Hamilton holds off Vettel attack for pole”

  1. Remarkably only the top 5 were faster than last year’s pole time. This year’s car are not that much faster than last year’s. However, the drivers may be able to push harder in the race and the cars are more difficult to drive, which bodes well for the race.

    1. Australia will not best show the speed differences. Last years pole was faster than 2004 cars but at most tracks they were seconds slower than 2004. Next few races the gap to 2016 will be more aparant.

      1. Historically the difference between the fastest and slowest car has been huge at Albert Park, so apparently more downforce has a huge impact on lap times. Also the straights are quite short, so the drag penalty from the wider cars will be less of a factor here. Therefore I was expecting faster lap times.

        I’ve never compared the 2016 lap times to the 2004 lap times. I believe the turbos are about as fast at high-altitude tracks, but they may still be slower elsewhere, which possibly depends on the tire allocation.

        1. They weigh 100 (+) kgs more than 2004, take that into account

    2. nelson piquet
      25th March 2017, 7:44

      still fastest cars ever and the gap is bigger on downforce tracks

    3. The cars may not be able to push harder in the race because they may run out of fuel.

    4. First qualifying event of new season with cars new in virtually every
      component except the engine/gearbox. So I think you might be
      a little premature in your assessment. Much better to judge
      progress when we get back to Europe I would say…………

  2. That first sector from Lewis…. Absurd… This pole was surely down to him rather than the car… I am sure on a different track, it would have been 0-1 tenth the difference because Lewis is always strong here. Problem is that, he only has 2 wins here but 6 poles now..

    1. the first sector is the one that requires most power, looks like Mercedes still have a qualifying mode better than Ferrari. Vettel was faster in the other 2 sectors.

      1. MG421982 (@)
        25th March 2017, 7:49

        I think VET lost like all time in the last sector! In the 2nd sector he was only 0.015s slower than HAM.

        1. No. VET was quickest through the final sector, but lost 0.3 to HAM in S1 and 0.03 in S2.

          1. i think all the time vet lost was due to his rear right wheel being 0.5 psi low… he should have checked his pressure levels…

    2. Lewis missed quite a few apexes though. Hardly a perfect lap from him either.

      1. yeah, it didn’t look like he was trying too hard. And it looks like Merc didn’t even try to push till the last run.

  3. I’m not sharing the enthusiasm about Ferrari vs Mercedes this year. It looks close but my thinking is this track has no long high down-force corners and quicker times from Ferrari are most likely coming from better engine. It would take another circuit to really understand how good that Ferrari is.

    1. what you mean like Barcelona? we saw for 8 days how good it is.

      1. and that was testing… tells nothing

        1. Apparently it did tell something. It pretty much predicted the pecking order. Today it was reaffirmed that Ferrari are much closer to Mercedes than last season.

        2. TEllS noThING

      2. That test session at Barcelona is called “pre-season” testing. As I understand the F1 rules, because it is a pre-season test there isn’t any requirement the cars need to be checked by scrutineers, so we have no idea how “race ready” each car is.
        In addition, there was a comment from Pascal Wehrlein to the effect the reason he could drive for as long as he did at Barcelona was because there was less stress on his back during the testing regime, but his back injury prevented him getting up to race standard, which was why Sauber replaced him with Giovinazzi for at least this race.

    2. You should follow up on Barcelona testing.

      1. Operative word being [Testing]

    3. I think the performance of Mercedes vs Ferrari is exactly as expected. Ferrari looked to be 6 tenths quicker in Barcelona, but it was expected for Mercedes to be sandbagging with their magic 1 second in hand. So, when we get to Melbourne, it’s expected that Ferrari would be 0.3 to 0.4 s behind. I think Hamilton put in a stellar lap as did Vettel… and whether we will be in for a season long battle between them, will completely depend on the in season development rate of their 2 respective teams.

      1. pretty sure Ferrari’s only chance is to get the better start off the front row, Ferrari’s only hope, otherwise Mercedes will probably pull away during the race, unless Lewis has gremlins or they didn’t bother to do their homework on setup.

  4. Before everyone starts harping on about the fact the cars didn’t reach the 5-seconds-quicker-than-2015 target, we should at the very least step back and appreciate that we’re now witnessing record-breaking cars.

    1. they will be 5 seconds faster at some tracks, and maybe only 1 second faster at others like Monza.

      1. Exactly. From what I understood originally the target didn’t specifically state 5 seconds at every circuit. Plus the track temp was lower today and I’m sure the Riccardo stoppage prevented the tarmac from bedding in optimally for the final runs. In perfect conditions would most definitely have seen a few sub-1:22s.

        1. More specifically cars are looking mighty fast in corners and on TV as well they certainly are looking faster than last years cars. Just look at how well Grosjean went through turn 11 in Q3, that was impressive.

      2. You couldn’t expect every car to go 5 sec faster than they did 2 years ago. Mercedes were in a league of their own 2 years ago and managed to improve by 4.2 sec, which is very good IMO. Ferrari did even better by improving 5.2 sec compared to 2015.

        And now people are complaining that they “only” improved by 1.7 sec compared to last year (Mercedes), respectively 1 sec in the case of Toro Rosso (very interesting, considering they had an year-old engine last season).

        What did people expect?!
        Mercedes managed to improve their car, which last year had a very strong PU and great aero, by nearly 2 sec.
        That’s very good progress.

  5. Red Bull dissapointing. How are they expecting to find 1.3 seconds with Mercedes development still on going?
    If Ferrari aren’t able to go along the year developing like last year, then another Mercedes walkover is looming.

    1. Last year in Melbourne Red Bull was 1,7 seconds slower than Mercedes in qualifying, 5 races later they had 2 front row starts including a pole position in Monaco, 1 victory and 2 other podiums. Don’t write them off they are very good at developing their car and Melbourne doesn’t suit their car anyway.

      1. but the point is they got their Susp setup banned which is main reason they are struggling.
        Last year they are just off pace but this year they are struggling and off pace.

        1. That’s not to say that they wont come back or writing off already but i feel that this car is worse car of all rbr’s since 2009 which started winning. its very very nervous and has to make lot of corrections. They need to make the chassis stable before they get to upto speed. But once they got the stability you can pretty much assume they will be back to front

    2. they won’t, they don’t have what Mercedes has. Renault have nothing, they will have nothing, and the way the rules are written, Mercedes cannot lose unless they want to. If you want to see real competition, beg the FIA to stop handing Mercedes victories, because that’s what its down to.

      1. How exactly are the FIA handing mercedes wins? Id really love to hear. Why are you blaming Renault as well? Is it Renaults fault the red bull car isnt that good? Mercedes were not handed any victories they earned them by building the best engine & best car. Stop blaming the FIA and blame the teams for not being as good as mercedes.

  6. Well pole was 4.2 sec faster than 2015 pole so not to far off.

    1. pole last year was a 1.23’8, pole this year was in the 22’s, not terribly dramatic. The thing is, the times won’t change that much if they are constrained to 100kg/hr on the fuel pump. The big teams who make their own engines will always dominate the customers, and the weaker makes like Renault and Honda will be the clowns in this court of appeals for Mercedes adverts.

  7. The bottom 4 put in disappointing performances today, Giovanazzi however put in a brilliant performance, as for the top 10, Grosjean, Hamilton and Vettel put in some brilliant laps

    1. I think the good drivers definitely separated themselves from the mediocre ones today. Not only did both Hamilton and Vettel gave their teammates a lesson in qualifying, but a gulf in class emerged between other inter team battles as well.

      Grosjean was brilliant. throughout qualifying. It’s days like these when I don’t understand why a top team hasn’t poached him yet. He was a class above Magnussen today, who has really failed to impress in Formula 1 so far. Grosjean’s last run on US tyres in Q3 was 2.8 seconds quicker than his teammates run on US in Q1. I know track conditions improved… but 2.8 seconds!!!

      It’s a shame Hulkenberg missed out on Q3, as he was looking mighty all weekend. He comprehensively beat Palmer this weekend. Palmer’s got some close competition on most rubbish driver this weekend along with Lance Stroll. The Hulk went an astonishing 3.1 seconds quicker than his teammate!!! Again, it’s Q2 vs Q1, but a ridiculous gap in performance.

      Massa beat Stroll. No surprise there. Stroll really hasn’t adjusted to Formula 1 yet. He’s got a long way to go before he can show that he’s even F1 material to begin with. Massa’s Q3 time was 2.7 seconds quicker than Stroll’s Q1 time.

      Alonso also showed Vandoorne who’s boss. Vandoorne’s Q1 lap was 1.4 seconds slower than Fernando’s Q2 lap. Vandoorne might be a heck of a driver, but he’s still got a long way to go before he can compare himself to Alonso.

      1. Agree with every thing @todfod apart from Stoffel i heard that he has fuel flow problem which causing him lack of power, so we have to wait until both of the drivers had a clean qualifying but make no mistake i feel Alonso will still have upper hand but 1.4 sec i doubt the gap will be that large may be 2-3 tenths

        1. The gap could have been more if Alonso didnt have a loss of power. I like Stoff, Im a fan, he will show his worth.

          Im loving this formula. The drivers appear to be really on the limit. Small mistakes that drivers may have got away in the last couple years are punishing them. This is back to the stuff that separates the men from boys.

          Big questions need to be asked of Palmer. He was rather mediocre last season, and to start the year against a proper teamate in the fashion that he’s done (3.2 s off!) must be humbling. Maybe he had an issue, but the Hulk has shown his class. Driver of the Weekend so far for me.

          Kudos to Grosjean, great effort. KMag will already be feeling the heat.

          Looks to be a great race tomorrow! For the first time ever, I’ll be rooting for Vettel!

      2. SomeoneFromBelgium
        25th March 2017, 8:32

        I don’t think I’m easily offended, but now I am. Comparing Stoffel who was only 0.15s slower than Fernando in FP 3 to Lance who crashed his third car in FP3 an has been nowhere near his teammate in any session, is really not fair.
        Stoffel had technical difculties preventing him to defend his position properly. He is actually the reverse of Lance:no money, only talent.

        1. Where in that post did you see my compare Vandoorne to Stroll?!? I said that Alonso gave Stoffel a beating… which is not subjective.. it’s a fact.

          1. SomeoneFromBelgium
            25th March 2017, 13:25

            Less then 2 tenth is not a beating. And no a single lap on the edge of running out of time does not count.

            So I don’t accept your ‘facts’.

          2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            25th March 2017, 16:28

            @todfod give the kid a chance – he’s going against Alonso in a very unreliable car. If he comes close to matching Alonso, that means he’s a very special driver.

          3. Just realised your name is SomeoneFromBelgium . Guess your outrage makes sense now…

      3. regarding why grosjean still isn’t in a top team: RAI was better when they were together at Lotus. So noone focused on him. the next season his car wasnt good and all top seats were taken. but with haas he’s done an amazing job so far. he surely didnt get rosbergs seat because haas uses ferrari engines and that would’ve costed merc more than bottas. but i could see him take kimis seat next year, although I would love to see kimi in F1 forever. just my 0.02

  8. It looks promising…
    1. They need hamiltons extra skill
    2. Vettel looks motivated finally
    3. Ferrari boosted up cirka half second more than mercedes, compared to the last year. That can be the key to see finally a race.

  9. I’m not normally one to make these kinds of comments after only the first qualifying of the season, but the sooner we see the back of Palmer the better. His terrible attitude has clearly continued into 2017 along with his lack of pace. I know his quali was compromised (his own fault in the first place) but to be completely embarrassed by your new team-mate who’s completely new to the team and calling the car “awful” for his second run… completely unacceptable. The car can’t be that bad, Hulkenberg was less than 1 tenth away from Q3 for goodness sake!

    1. @ninjenius Couldn’t agree more. Palmer very much a case of money bridging the talent gap. His father trying to overcome his own F1 inadequacies through his son and failing just as much.

    2. I don’t think Palmer is 3seconds slower than Hulkenberg. He didn’t do much running in FP1 and FP2. We will know conclusively by the 6th race.

    3. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      25th March 2017, 13:21

      It reminded me of a similar Di Resta rant at Force India shortly before he got the boot. We know Palmer isn’t 3 seconds off the pace, but it’s not Renault’s fault he didn’t have time to get dialled in. Petulant one from the normally level headed Jolyon there, he’s feeling the Hulk smash i think

    4. “Dr Jonathan” will buy FOM in order to keep his Jolyon in Formula One.

  10. That midfield battle is really interesting. And the worst two drivers in the field are dead last. I quite like that

    1. Worst drivers in the field are dead last? Care to comment on how you come to that conclusion, considering its Stroll’s first F1 race. Palmer may only have scored 1 point last season, but, then only his first season in a new team.

      1. Matthew Coyne
        25th March 2017, 20:11

        A more suitable question for you MaddMe would perhaps be if they’re not the worst, who do you think is? I find it difficult to find arguments for anyone who is categorically worse than either of those based on what we have seen from them so far, You could say Ericsson is in the mix but he’s better than those 2 imo.

        People need to stop using “it’s Stroll’s first F1 race” as an excuse for the many crashes he has had, Rookies make mistakes, but no Rookie with any level of skill or longevity in F1 makes this many mistakes.

  11. Rick Lopez (@viscountviktor)
    25th March 2017, 8:39

    Great effort from Massa to get 7th.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      25th March 2017, 15:57

      I totally missed that one as I was focusing on other drivers – you’re absolutely right. Ditto for Romain, Sainz, and Hulk!

    2. @viscountviktor, @freelittlebirds, Really? He should’ve been right behind Verstappen and beaten Grosjean. I think Massa did a pretty poor job, just like he did last year.

      However, it is hard to judge what the Williams car is capable of. They just lack a great driver.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        25th March 2017, 16:17

        @me4me Agreed, we can’t tell the true potential of the Williams – we might be able to extrapolate using Bottas’ performance at Mercedes. What was the quali differential between Massa and Bottas last year on average?

        Oddly enough Massa beat Alonso in quali as he was leaving Ferrari at the end of the season – so he can be quick just … not always. It’s possible he doesn’t do well under pressure and being on a team with a rookie might take pressure off him.

      2. @me4me If Massa was poor (which he wasn’t) what does that make Stroll?

        1. @viscountviktor, Stroll has his excuses but what has Massa done to impress you? Williams were right on Red Bulls heels in testing, have the best power unit and about double the manpower of Haas F1. He got beaten 17-4 last year, and now that reference is gone and is getting beaten himself. Grosjean put his Haas in front of Massa through pure talent. I think Massa did OK, but no more than that.

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            25th March 2017, 20:05

            @me4me Have the best power unit? How many Renaults in the top 10 versus Mercedes powered card?

            4 Renaults
            3 Mercs
            3 Ferraris

          2. @freelittlebirds, That’s pretty irrelevant now isn’t it? Do you not agree with that statement?

  12. Has Lewis sorted his Achilles heel? I’m expecting Seb to be in the lead at T2.

    1. Given some of Seb’s starts from last season, it wouldn’t surprise me if Hamilton messes his start up. So many times when Hamilton has been under pressure, he makes stupid mistakes. Qualification is one thing, but, race distance will put all the drivers to the test and mistakes shown in qualification will I am pretty sure be repeated throughout the race.

      1. @psynrg @maddme Ferrari always seem to have a knack of producing mega launch control systems. Even if Lewis has a perfect launch I still expect Seb to be at least challenging for turn 1 (as a Lewis fan, it’s a relatively short run to turn one, thankfully!)

      2. And the same applies to Seb Vettel, Alonso and even Ricciardo. F1 is a sport and given these drivers are human- mistakes are part of the game.

      3. The start is still almost 100% a mechanical thing. Only after about a second into the start does the driver skill come in. The thing is that by then the Mercedes system will already have either worked properly or failed. If it failed positions were lost. No matter how good the driver is.

        Perhaps Hamilton overcooked it a bit after the start system failed, but the root cause is that the system failed. Not that someone is “under pressure”. If anything Hamilton performs better under pressure. Vettel is the one who spins off track when he is put under pressure. Like Rosberg.

    2. It’s Mercedes’ Achilles heel and they will have tried to fix it.

      Mercedes actually had a great start system initially in 2014. Hamilton would be off like a rocket almost every time. Then they changed the system to suit Rosberg. Which resulted in Mercedes being humiliated by Williams at Silverstone 2015 and they have never really gotten it to work reliably since.

  13. The only thing worse than Palmer’s ability and performance must surely be his attitude and sense of entitlement.

    1. Why? I haven’t heard him say anything arrogant after his crash.

    2. If I were Carlos Ghosn I would have already made the call to Cyril and told him that if Palmer ever again goes on global TV and bashes the Renault brand (if only through inference) after a shambolic performance of his own-making then he will be terminated with immediate-effect.

  14. This just in: Mercedes and Ferrari are now on equal pace.

    It is fair to assume Mercedes still has more of a power advantage, and Lewis has his proverbial 0.3s advantage, he enjoyed over all his teammates over a lap. So Bottas is more representative.

    On a power part of the track Mercedes is better, on twisty stuff Ferrari, overall it should be a close contention. Much better than 1 second gap we previously observed between their nearest rival.

    Since Mercedes advantage is mostly down to S1, we could assume some of that awesome quali Strat 11 power will go down for the race and cars might be even more balanced. And then there is the start. Did Mercedes finally fix their erratic starts?

  15. I know both men have their detractors- but epic driving from Hamilton and Vettel. They sorted out the boys from the men today, Ricciardo proving just how much of a handful these cars are. I know F1 fans can be tribal and sometimes even unreasonable but at this time, anyone who still thinks neither are top top drivers- well there’s no hope for objectivity is there. Bottas clawed back 2 tenths from the half a second gaps which is encouraging. Also I just wonder, was Hamilton sandbagging data in Practice 3 because he didn’t go quicker than he did yesterday and we know he has been very touchy about that subject in recent years.

  16. Really enjoyed seeing the first truly competitive F1 session in just under four months! I have to say I think the new cars look much better on track than in the showroom – I’m delighted to see the back of the tiny rear wings and really like the wider cars and tyres, but on track I think they looked more purposeful than anything I’ve seen since 2008.

    In terms of the actual sessions, although I am a Lewis fan I do hope this is a sign that a more competitive season was in prospect, with a fight between at least. seemed much more ‘on it’ than Kimi in the. Although I was sad to see Manor go at the end of last year, I’m optimistic that for the first time since 2009 there will be a fully competitive grid – I loved how competitive Q1 was back then, and having five different cars go out in today’s session reminds me of that era.

    I was impressed by Grosjean’s performance and also to a lesser extent by Hulkenberg. Early days of course but a bit worrying for Kevin Magnussen not only in that he was knocked out in the first session while his team mate made the third row (albeit helped slightly by Ricciardo’s crash), but also because Hulkenberg trounced Palmer (who I personally don’t rate as F1 material) who Magnussen found it increasingly difficult to beat as 2016 progressed. Stroll seems off the pace, but I think he’s a bit unfortunate in that he’s making his debut as a very young rookie in a season when the cars are faster and on today’s evidence more difficult to drive than their predecessors, so I’m not going to be hard on him.

    1. Sorry – meant to say ‘with a fight between at the Ferraris and Mercs. I thought Sebastian seemed much more ‘on it’ than Kimi in the final session though so maybe it will be up to him to take on the Silver Arrows?’

    2. Yeah I agree, I like K-Mag, but that’s a double whammy there, apparently he ran wide, but hey whatever! Given himself a lot to do in the race.

  17. RBR has real problems – can’t see it making up well over a second on its rivals.

    With the exception of that shot of Grosjeana car I haven’t really noticed the extra speed In the cars and didn’t really expect to because of the way TV slows things down . Hopefully they can find more camera angles like the one they used for that.

    1. They started last year over a second behind the Mercs as well… and made some pretty rapid progress. Honestly, Melbourne doesn’t flatter Red Bull’s aero focused package much. Let’s get to Malaysia and see where they stand. My guess would be that about 0.6s to 0.7s down on the Mercs.

      1. Malaysia is a power track, so don’t expect it to get any better there

  18. Am I the only one that hates the new graphics?

    I don’t understand why they compare the current laptime with their personal best. Traditionally, a “green” sector was faster than the current fastest lap, but now they can do an all green lap and still be outpaced.

    As for qualy itself, I think the hero of Saturday can only be Giovanazzi. 18 laps at a track he doesn’t know, and he almost outqualifies his team mate! fantastic!

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      25th March 2017, 13:13

      I love the new graphics, think they are a great addition.
      Particularly when there were multiple cars on flying laps, like at the start of q3.
      Comparing purples made it visually much more obvious who was quicker where, adding an extra dimension

      1. Totally agree. I hope we will see more innovative developments like this. For such a technical sport, where it’s all about very fine margins, there’s an opportunity for more information.

        With the sectors being broken down into smaller segments for the new graphics, does this mean that the time gap graphics in the rave will be constantly updating (rather than three times a lap)? I think it’s Indy where they do that and it’s really insightful.

    2. Nah, green has always been personal best. Purple is overall best.

    3. Traditionally, a “green” sector was faster than the current fastest lap, but now they can do an all green lap and still be outpaced.

      Green is and always has been personal best, purple is outright fastest. Nothing has changed in that regard

  19. I’m not sure why people are expecting such a huge improvement in pole lap times, the cars have been quick in quali for a few years, it’s the race pace that they wanted pumping up by 5 seconds so the drivers weren’t driving like nannies round car parks terrified of rear tyre slip or putting any temperature into the fronts. Melbourne’s not the best place to see how well they’ve done on that front as it’s unusual but I’m expecting to see a bit of sweat on the drivers that make the podium tomorrow.

    More interesting for me from quali was having 5 different cars in the bottom 5, hopefully someone will run the numbers to see when the last time that was for the facts article after the race but I can’t think of any time in the Manor/Caterham/HRT era that they all got a car into Q2, maybe out of the bottom 5 when we lost 7 but it must have been some time. Too early to tell but it would be great if this year’s regs meant that we saw a more pronounced gap between drivers on the same team.

  20. Zisis (@akaliptos83)
    25th March 2017, 14:37

    With the new regulations I was expecting the field to be closer together. Hamiltons pole was almost 2.5sec faster than Grosjean p6. I am not sure if at race pace it will be the same but if it is then mercedes and ferrari will lap everyone except the red bull. Personally I wont be satisfied if this occurs but lets wait and see.

    1. With the new regulations I was expecting the field to be closer together.

      Why? That was the least likely thing to happen.

  21. I just read an article from Motorsport that states all Renault engines are running the 2016 MGU-K. It says that this means less power and more weight. The new one will be introduced earliest in Barcelona

    This is bad news for RB :(

  22. And the replacements for the “uncompetitive” Button and Rosberg haven’t really matched their team mates times in either testing or this first qually. Totally subjective comment I know but it follows the mood of some of the other comments on here writing people off almost before the season has begun.

  23. And the replacements for the “uncompetitive” Button and Rosberg haven’t really matched their team mates times in either testing or this first qually. Totally subjective comment I know but it follows the mood of some of the other comments on here writing people off almost before the season has begun.

  24. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    25th March 2017, 15:54

    We also have to consider the possibility that Mercedes are not showing their full pace at the 1st race of the season – this is the 4th year and I’m sure they realize it would be stupid of them to show a car that’s 1 second quicker than the rest in the 1st race. Everybody would be screaming and Ross Brawn might not be keen on prolonging Mercedes’ advantage as there’s history between them.

    This is a good scenario for the Mercs – not so good for Bottas (although it is his 1st quali with the Merc) but good for the team. It’ll take some time for Bottas to get used to Hamilton – even if he loses the season, I think he will grow as a driver and competitor, that there’s no doubt about. He’s a positive guy and there’s a huge value in a quick positive driver for any team.

    1. Bottas is doing just fine. He was closer to Hamilton in Q3 than Rosberg ever was at this track.

  25. The official F1 Youtube channel actually posted Hamilton’s onboard pole lap. How long until FOM removes it…

    1. Shhh… don’t jinx it😜

  26. Riccardo’s crash shows what happens when high ground effects cars lose downforce. Much like the CART cars of the old days.

  27. However the latter was over three seconds slower than the other Renault of Nico Hulkenberg, suggesting all was not well with his car.

    No. Over three seconds slower than its tem mate suggesting Joylon officially the worst driver on the grid.

  28. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    25th March 2017, 17:52

    My boy Stroll looked out of his league, his onboard clearly showed he wasn’t willing to drive deep into any corners. I’m thrilled a Canadian is in the field but not at the cost of being an embarrassment to Canada. Here’s to hoping he has a solid race. He needs it or else he’ll have zero confidence in himself.

  29. do you even know how nerve wrecking sitting on an armchair, not knowing what will happen around the last bend? not knowing anything is seriously pressure! stop talking rubbish mate ¿”)

    :)

  30. Call me naive but barring safety car scenarios, or extraordinary strategy ‘clusterplucks’, I fear a procession race in the works tomorrow. These cars’ new widths leave even less little wriggle-room for maneuver mid-race than before, and significant engine power gains across the grid (safe McLauren and perhaps Redbull) will see those car-to-car gaps narrow even more, especially on power tracks like these.

    For now I only see relaxation of the engagement rules, especially wrt contact permissibility and racetrack boundaries, as a viable counter. I sure hope I’m wrong.

    1. even less* wriggle-room…

  31. Seb is now flashing the “number 2” sign,
    Remember the finger from his redbull days :)

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