Hamilton and Mercedes continued where they left off
Lewis Hamilton won his 50th pole position in career after being fastest in the qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, opening race of the 2016 Formula 1 season.
New format looks like complete failure
New qualifying format proved to be anything but exciting. Teams obviously are not fully prepared for the new format and things during the session looked confusing. The idea was to make qualifying more interesting, but the first impression about the change is that it has not met expectations, at least.
After the first round of qualifying, Lewis Hamilton set the fastest lap time (1:25.351). The reigning champion was so dominant that only Felipe Massa in Williams was within a second compared to Hamilton.
Manor and Haas on the back of the grid
Seven drivers were eliminated after the first qualifying round. Manor’s pair Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto were the slowest, Haas’ drivers Esteban Gutierrez and Romain Grosjean were next who were eliminated. A bit surprisingly, Daniil Kvyat was the one who was also out of Q2 while the remaining two drivers out of the next round were Sauber’s Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson.
McLaren improved, Renault is looking good
In the second qualifying round first to be eliminated were Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer as they were significantly slower than the rest of the grid. Interestingly, McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso were eliminated after they stayed in the pit for this round. Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez were the last who were eliminated in Q2.
Lewis Hamilton again was on the top with a lap time 1:24.605, only 0.191 seconds faster than his team-mate Nico Rosberg and 0.65s ahead of Sebastian Vettel in Ferrari. Mercedes looked fast and confident as it was through last two years and early signs are that the German team again will be the main favorite in 2016.
Mercedes is still far ahead
Last qualifying round was an almost complete disaster as many drivers decided not to go out on the track almost five minutes before the end of the session. Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz, Felipe Massa and Max Verstappen were the next out of the battle for pole position and with five minutes to go, it was clear that Mercedes drivers will battle for the pole.
So, Lewis Hamilton won the pole position four minutes before the end of qualifying. Nico Rosberg secured a place in the front starting row and Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen will start from the row two.