Hamilton Denies Ricciardo Australian Grand Prix Pole in Thrilling qualifying
Posted By:   |  15 Mar 2014   |  9:38 am GMT  |  412 comments

Lewis Hamilton clinched pole position for the Australian Grand Prix in a thrilling session that saw high winds and a rain shower make for an dramatic climax, with home favourite Daniel Ricciardo taking second place ahead of Nico Rosberg.

It is the 32nd pole of Hamilton’s career, equalling compatriot Nigel Mansell with the sixth highest tally of all time.

Mercedes’ Friday pace was clear once again this morning as Rosberg set the fastest time and Mercedes continued their dominance – in dry conditions at least. They looked set to fill the front-row with little exertion.

However, with a quickening wind and a darkening sky the threat of rain increased throughout the afternoon. By the time the top ten shoot-out arrived it was extreme wet tyre conditions for most – although Ricciardo set his time on Intermediates.

With Hamilton and Rosberg holding the front-row after the first run it became time to decide on a switch to intermediates or to remain on the full wet tyre. The Mercedes pair deemed it wet enough to use a new set of full wets, whilst Ricciardo opted for a switch to intermediates.

In the final five minutes there were quick improvements. Hamilton set the fastest time only for his team-mate to usurp him, although Hamilton had one final chance. During Hamilton’s final tour, Ricciardo had finally got his intermediates up to temperature and was setting quickest sectors, taking provisional pole and sending his home fans in to raptures.

But Hamilton was going quicker still, making use of Mercedes’ superior power and a brave final sector to take pole by 0.317s.

“The conditions made it extremely difficult,” said Hamilton. “So much more power so you’re short-shifting into six, seventh before you can actually get the full throttle.”

“I was kind of on the limit, it was very difficult to know what the turnover point,” Hamilton explained. “Do you take a risk or not – I decided not to. Daniel obviously did a really god job on the inters so it was obviously a very close call between the two.”

Along with Ricciardo there was a number of impressive performances from the younger generation of drivers, headed by Kevin Magnussen. The McLaren rookie has been driving to his limit all weekend, showing plenty of confidence and taking a fourth place start in his first Grand Prix.

The more experienced team mates of Ricciardo and Magnussen could not make their way in to Q3. Sebastian Vettel could not match the pace of the Australian throughout the session and a yellow flag caused by a spin for Kimi Raikkonen put an end to Vettel’s hope of an improved lap and a place in Q3.

Vettel will therefore start in thirteenth place tomorrow, just behind Jenson Button and Raikkonen’s Ferrari, who share the sixth row of the grid. A software issue for Vettel meant that power delivery was rough and he complained in practice and qualifying that the power unit lacked drivability especially on acceleration.

The sister Ferrari of Fernando Alonso went against the grain in Q3, running the intermediate tyre from the out-set before switching to extreme wets in the final minutes. He was three seconds off the pace prior to the switch but was able to make up for lost time and improve to fifth place by the session end.

Joining Alonso on the third row was another strong performer, this time Jean-Eric Vergne. The Toro Rosso has looked a handful in dry conditions but with the playing field level he and team mate Danii Kvyat were able to get in amongst the front-runners. The 19-year old Russian, Kvyat, eventually took eighth place in his first qualifying session of Formula One, behind Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India and ahead of the Williams pair of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas.

Lotus’ 2014 woes continued with Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado failing to set a lap and will start on the final row of the grid.

Australian Grand Prix, Melbourne, Qualifying

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m44.231s
2. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1m44.548s +0.317s
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m44.595s +0.364s
4. Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1m45.745s +1.514s
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m45.819s +1.588s
6. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m45.864s +1.633s
7. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m46.030s +1.799s
8. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1m47.360s +3.129s
9. Felipe Massa Williams 1m48.079s +3.848s
10. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m48.147s +3.916s
11. Jenson Button McLaren 1m44.437s +2.173s
12. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m44.494s +2.230s
13. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m44.668s +2.404s
14. Adrian Sutil Sauber 1m45.655s +3.391s
15. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1m45.867s +3.603s
16. Sergio Perez Force India 1m47.293s +5.029s
17. Max Chilton Marussia 1m34.293s +4.118s
18. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m34.794s +4.619s
19. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m35.117s +4.942s
20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1m35.157s +4.982s
21. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m36.993s +6.818s
22. Pastor Maldonado Lotus

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If the car does not rely on gasoline engine because it uses the alternative power sources like eleectric motgor and the combustion engine produces energy with the

organisation of a second. A team of scientists and engineers, the permanency

and reliability of the vehicles have stamped log books, complete with 16 valves, delivers real speed and punch.


Remember, *no points* have been awarded thus far. And a wet track favours drivers, not engines. But in race trim, I do not think Ferrari will be strong. Surprisingly good result for all the Red Bulls, except, surprisingly, Vettel. All the people writing off Red Bull this past month have got very short memories. Best performance of the day was Magnussen. A stunning debut, looks about 14, acts like an old hand and Mclaren have got a real talent there. In an era without testing, the best entrance into F1 is with the team with the best simulator. The 2013 Mclaren was a dog, but team OCD know how to build a good simulator, and Kevin spent the last year in the thing.

Wrote this yesterday, but it didn’t post for some reason.


I think new cars sound great. The sound of a blow of valve just awesome. And best of all sitting in Albert park watching qualifying without ear plugs. Very cewl in deed. Ps I think nico Hulkenberg would have placed that mclaren on pole.


Too many conclusions being drawn here from a single qualifying session. A truly accurate indication of the running order won’t be determined until Spain at least.

One definitive conclusion that can be drawn now however, is that Lotus are looking terrible. It seems Lotus and Williams have traded places.


James, I was in Jerez, at the time even not in full power, they sounded very good

Now on TV, they still sound OK, but maybe a bit to low, and poorly detailed

I think one idea the FIA along with the broadcasters should do, was to implement better high def. microphones into to the cars in the right places, to counteract the lower decibels

This engines along with the turbo and batteries, make a very high tech and futuristic sound, where one can tell the engine from the turbo, and the harvesting from the delivery of the batteries.

Sound capture is also an art form, and now it seems, it can be the key aspect to make fans and TV viewers more happy with this new formula



There is something wrong in Maranello and that is certainly not the wind tunnel and the correlation issues. Shall we name it Fry or Marmoriny this year? In the past it has been called Aldo and conservatism, I would risk to say unworthy. It has also been named Dyer for a championship lost on the factory and a slow car, not on the cirquit as it luckily happened. Ron got it right at his stable, the same luck of inspiration and direction I guess is missing in gestone sportiva too. Sorry Stefano. Yes all these just because of a poor show during first race quali. I hope the race would differ just like last year, and the year before last, and the year before the one before last. Red Greetings for a nice season


First congratulations to Ham, Dan & Nico.

and to all the rest who made up the top ten…great start to a new era.

some big surprises 🙂

I for one loved that we had dry then wet Quallie…forget about the cars for a minute…they are all new and will develop over the next few races so we really don’t know where they are at…fuel tyres etc..

But for me it showed more than anything which drivers have adapted best to the new turbo era and adapting their style of driving the new machines, in the dry & wet.

Exciting year ahead as the others learn the new way to drive to get the max out of the cars.

Webber on OneHD TV was so refreshing, like an excited kid with the knowledge he wanted to share with the F1 fans (real genuine) reminded me of the days when Hunt use to call the races . he has a place in the media


Where did Gary Anderson go?

I was disappointed to see that he wasn’t on the BBC’s coverage as i found he provided a good technical insight last year and I liked his low-tech style, is Allan McNish in effect replacing him?


Don’t understand the comments that RB are up there only because Ricciardo was on inters. He was matching the Mercs throughout qualifying when they were on the same tyres.


Hi James,

Is it possible to get a rundown of what tyres the drivers will be using tomorrow, provided it is a dry, since they all qualified on wets/intermediates?

As I understand, they have to start on tyres they set fastest on Q2. Thank you.


James – could you clarify the fuel rule please as I’m still unsure if the cars are only allowed to use 100 litres during the actual race (from lights out to taking the flag or do the cars only get 100 litres allowance in the tank to include getting to the grid, slowing down lap plus a litre for the scruntineering after the race?


It’s 100kg maximum for the race

The maximum flow rate is 100kg/hour at any point but clearly if you did that you’d run out of fuel in an hour!!


Full credit to Jenson Button, if not for the yellow flag, he would of been on the front row. I think this year will really see the cream rise to the crop in difficult-handling cars and in this Button will excel more than any other driver.


Where are the front end camera mounts on the Red Bulls?


They are inside the vanity panel of that Redbull nose. A Clever interpretation of the rules. If you looks closely you can see 2 small camera lenses there on either side.

Mercedes is not gonna copy that. Because the way their Camera Mounts are right now is said to give them some aero advantage as it is.


webber should give up racing those porsches and join the bbc crew. he’ll be excellent and i don’t like the idea of him racing Porsches.


How good is Howie doing the driver interviews out back. Drivers just can’t help to smile at his cheesy jokes.

Ja & Mw on OneHd is Gold.


James, what do you make of the rumors that Vettel accidentally drove Daniels car during qualifying? 😛


Massively impressed with: Hamilton, Ricciardo, Magnussen (love the fact that aggressive driving style really stands out in these new cars- Q1 in the dry was scintillating to watch), Kyvat (and also to lesser extent Vergne).

On the other hand, it is insane how much trouble Lotus are in. Both, both, at the back of the grid.

Maybe rain masking true pace, but I’m a tad disappointed for Williams.

Pleased Chilton started well.

Very little idea who will manage to finish tomorrow, not expecting more than 12, especially with rain. But if all did, would think first three on grid, with maybe Massa and Alonso coming through. Looks like Railkonen struggling, but you never know.


not sure if its been said but if cars are quieter i cant see why they cant increase the sound in the audio mix. Im sure it will eventually happen but cant see why broadcasters cant think ahead. They pay enough after all.


Regarding the new sound, I quite like it. Yes its not as loud as what we have had before but I don’t think that automatically makes it worse, Just different.

Sticking with the V8′s or going to something like a V10 or V12 just to keep it loud is silly, Its not how you keep the engine makers interested & if they don’t like the formula or don’t feel its relevant to them there not going to enter F1. And I know many fans think the idea of F1 been relevant to anything outside of F1 is dumb, But were not the ones who have to convince people in a board room to give us money to Research, Design, Build & Develop an F1 engine & everything that goes with it.

Smaller capacity turbo’s is the way MotorSport in general seems to be going, Its what they have at Le Mans, DTM is considering going that route & having held meetings with engine manufacturer’s Indycar also went the V6 Turbo route.

Anyway regardless of what they sound like, The new power units along with the reduction in downforce make the 2014 cars more fun to watch, Especially from the OnBoards with drivers fighting wheel-spin under acceleration as well as the cars just moving around more in general.


I have to agree today was the most exciting qualifying session in many a races.

I really cant see why there are so many pessimistic comments regarding the Ferrari, Alonso posted a solid time in Q1, and I think it appears they have a solid base to begin development. Many people forget that post-schumacher traditionally Ferrari haven’t come out of the box to well, 2010, 2011, & 2012 are good examples, its towards the middle of the season that solid podiums have come on merit and performance.

One thing I was concerned about this year was the new 1.6 V6’s, having attended a few races myself I can see how the reduction in sound may take away from the overall experience, cant be sure I wasn’t there today! But watching on TV I was pretty impressed the noise was good (quieter albeit) hearing Alonso’s lock up was great, the crowd cheering after Vettel missed Q3, and also the team radios were clearer. The first 2 really added something extra for me , IMO F1 is in a good place this year.

Tornillo Amarillo

HAMILTON was right to change teams 1,5 years ago. Go! His dreams of 3 WDC are a little more realistic now!

And also HULKENBERG was right when he choose FI and not Lotus… I believe he can grab P3 this weekend in Australia.



Just a small something I picked up on…when Lewis was commenting on his lap..I saw him blink only 4 times the whole lap…these were at

Turn 5

Turn 9

Turn 12

Turn 14

…Now if that is how much he is concentrating when he is watching his own lap how much concentration does he and the other drivers have during the entire race?? Im guessing they hardly blink at all..no wonder they are so exhausted when at the end of the race …physical and mentally draining…gotta love F1…missed you my friend 🙂


Vettel sure gets moody when things aren’t going his way. Very quiet from what we heard on the put radio and very short answers to his race engineer.

I’m a Hamilton fan but I was a bit gutted when he took pole from Ricciardo. The crowd reactions to those two moments (IRicciardo getting and losing pole) and Vettel going out in Q2 was great. But even better was that we can hear the crowd more but it is a shame that the engines aren’t loud. But it’s so nice to be able to hear the little things in the car nw, even if it does seem surreal.

I’ve never liked Mercedes much but it’s even harder to get behind them with no Ross Brawn. Niki Lauda, great driver and so on but he shouldn’t be near a management position. Toto Wolf really pulled a fast one when he moved to Williams….after he said he was in it for the long term. And people say Hamilton is too PR savvy but I’ve always found Rosberg to be too slick and bland, but I do want to like him, he’s definitely a really nice guy.


Hi James, during testing Ferrari claimed that both Alonso and Kimi have same driving style but seeing today it’s totally different and Kimi struggles so badly why Ferrari couldn’t find a solution for him. He has been having same problem under braking during testing and now.


I only have one question? Wheres Seebee?

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