Hamilton claims first pole
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) claimed the first pole of the season and of the Formula One’s new era. Briton, who scored in Albert Park the 100th pole position for Mercedes-Benz power in Formula One – a record dating back to 1954 – and the 32nd of his career, did a great job in extremely difficult conditions due to the rain and clocked 1:44.231 on wet tyres.
It’s been an interesting weekend so far here in Melbourne. – said Lewis – Qualifying was a lot harder for everyone with the tricky conditions and it was a real challenge out there today. We were on the edge with the tyres and it was difficult to know which way to go at times. It’s the first time I’ve driven the car on the limit in the wet, but it felt great and I’m so happy with the job the team has done. To be on pole here today is a fantastic result for us. It was great fun and I’m really looking forward to the race tomorrow. It’s going to be tough, but we’ll do our best and see what happens. I am very proud to have scored pole number 100 for Mercedes-Benz in Formula One. I have only driven with Mercedes power since my debut in 2007 and the whole Mercedes team has done an incredible job meeting the challenge of these new rules. It’s just as special to equal Nigel’s record of pole positions for a British driver. I owe it to the great people I’ve worked with throughout my career.
The second place was a big surprise for Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull), who used intermediate rubber, as his team mate Sebastian Vettel was out in Q2.
I think we have made a big step forward with the car, but of course I’m not happy that we didn’t make it to Q3. – said Vettel – I think the car is quick, but we struggled this afternoon with drivability which, in these conditions, made it even worse. The car seems good and Daniel did a very good job to be on the front row, so congratulations to him. It’s going to be a long race tomorrow and reliability will be the most important thing to make it to the flag, but I think there will be lots of opportunities for us.
It was exciting out there. – commented Ricciardo – The weather definitely added to the mix and the whole session went well. Q1 looked like it was going okay for us and then, when the rain fell, it’s the first time we’ve driven these cars on the limit in wet conditions. It was tricky, but at the same time a lot of fun and it was nice to always be up there. The engineer was always on the radio saying the pace was good and that we were P1, P2 P3 and in the battle for the pole position, so it was definitely a really nice first qualifying session with the team. I’m happy for us to have a front row start – it wasn’t looking like this a few weeks ago, so I’m pretty pleased right now.
The other Mercedes of Nico Rosberg finished third, ahead of the McLaren of rookie Kevin Magnussen. Dane had a great start as well as Russian Daniil Kvyat who finished eight, two places behind the other Toro Rosso-Renault of Jean-Eric Vergne. Kvyat hit slightly the wall in Q3, but his performance was definitively impressive.
Fernando Alonso ended fifth, while the other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen failed to get out of Q2 and is twelfth on the sixth row, having hit the wall. Kimi will start behind the Jenson Button‘s McLaren.
Nico Hulkenberg qualified in seventh place for Sahara Force India, while his team mate Sergio Perez went through the gravel at Turn 2 on his final lap in Q2.
Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas rounded the top-ten with the two Williams, athough the Finn will drop five places on the grid following gearbox changes as well as Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez.
Lotus F1 Team had a more torrid time, with Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado failing to make it off the back row of the grid following a mapping issue on Grosjean’s car and a Power Unit problem on Maldonado’s.
AUSTRALIAN GP – QUALIFYING
1. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes F1 W05 – 1:44.231
2. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull-Renault RB10 -1:44.548 +0.317
3. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes F1 W05 – 1:44.595s +0.364
4. Kevin Magnussen – McLaren-Mercedes MP4-29 – 1:45.745 +1.514
5. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari F14 T – 1:45.819s +1.588
6. Jean-Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:45.864 +1.633
7. Nico Hulkenberg – Sahara Force India-Mercedes VJM07 – 1:46.030 +1.799
8. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso-Renault STR9 – 1:47.360s +3.129
9. Felipe Massa – Williams-Mercedes FW36 – 1:48.079 +3.848
10. Valtteri Bottas – Williams-Mercedes FW36 – 1:48.147 +3.916
11. Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes F1W05 – 1:44.437 +2.173
12. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari F14 T – 1:44.494 +2.230
13. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault RB10 – 1:44.668 +2.404
14. Adrian Sutil – Sauber-Ferrari – C33 – 1:45.655 +3.391
15. Kamui Kobayashi – Caterham-Renault CT05 – 1:45.867 +3.603
16. Sergio Perez – Sahara Force India-Mercedes VJM07- 1:47.293 +5.029
17. Max Chilton – Marussia-Ferrari MR03 – 1:34.293 +4.118
18. Jules Bianchi – Marussia-Ferrari MR03 – 1:34.794 +4.619
19. Esteban Gutierrez – Sauber-Ferrari C33 – 1:35.117 +4.942
20. Marcus Ericsson – Caterham-Renault CT05 – 1:35.157 +4.982
21. Romain Grosjean – Lotus-Renault E22 – 1:36.993 +6.818
22. Pastor Maldonado – Lotus-Renault E22