By Adam Tate, Managing Editor
Lewis Hamilton has claimed pole position for the Australian Grand Prix with a stunning 1 minute, 23.837 lap around the Albert Park circuit to reach career pole number 50. It was about the only true excitement of the session as F1’s controversial new qualifying format completely imploded.
Q1 had barely begun and the field was immediately thrown into chaos as teams struggled to cope with the elimination countdown clock. Many drivers complained as they were on good laps, but the 90 second countdown clock nullified their efforts. One has to feel that Charlie Whiting will be addressing the issue with the teams sooner, rather than later.
It added extra tension to the sessions and pressure on the drivers and one felt it may just work, until the disastrous Q3 session put an end to any hopes of the new system being an improvement. The now top 8 shootout was contested by the two Mercedes, two Ferrari cars, two Toro Rosso’s, as well as Daniel Ricciardo for Red Bull and Felipe Massa for Williams.
Max Verstappen put in a great lap for fifth that essentially ended Ricciardo’s and Massa’s hopes. Then Lewis Hamilton put in his stunning lap and everyone gave up. Qualifying was over, all the cars in the pits, with over two minutes left on the clock in what was the most boring, confounding qualifying in years.
The teams and drivers are all visibly upset, the fans are letdown and instead of focusing on the excitement of tomorrow, Formula One has a needless new controversy on its hands.
Complete Qualifying Results
|4||Kimi Raikkonen||Toro Rosso||1:25.033|
|6||Felipe Massa||Toro Rosso||1:25.458|
|8||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:25.589|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:25.753|
|10||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:25.865|
|18||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull||1:28.006|
*denotes grid penalty