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Australian Grand Prix Qualifying: Lewis Hamilton takes first pole of F1’s new era, Sebastian Vettel second
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Posted By: Alex Kalinauckas  |  25 Mar 2017   |  7:22 am GMT  |  220 comments

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton claimed the first pole position of the 2017 Formula 1 season ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who gave the Scuderia its first front row start since the 2015 Singapore Grand Prix.

On an overcast day at Albert Park, Hamilton, who was 0.49s slower than Vettel in Saturday’s earlier FP3 session, set a best time of 1m22.188s in Q3 to take his sixth pole at the Australian Grand Prix and the 62nd pole of his F1 career.

Vettel ended up 0.268s adrift of Hamilton, but he did beat the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, by 0.025s, with Kimi Raikkonen fourth in the second Ferrari.

 Lewis Hamilton

Speaking after the session, Hamilton said: “It’s been a fantastic weekend so far and it’s quite amazing to come here for the 11th time – it feels like it was only yesterday that I came and had my first race here in 2007.

“I’m so proud of our team. This rule change has been huge and such a massive challenge for everyone and the guys have just worked so hard to make this car what it is today. Valtteri did a fantastic job being that this is his first qualifying session representing the team; he’s done a great job. It’s great for us and Mercedes.

“I’m looking forward to the race – it’s close between us all. As you can see, there’s going to be a tight race this year.”

Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen will start fifth for Red Bull, ahead of Haas F1’s Romain Grosjean and Williams driver Felipe Massa. Carlos Sainz qualified eighth in front of his Toro Rosso team-mate Daniil Kvyat.

Home favourite Daniel Ricciardo ended up 10th without a time in Q3 after he lost the rear of his Red Bull going through Turn 14 on his first run and crashed into the barriers at the exit of the corner, heavily damaging the back end of the RB13.

In Q2, Sergio Perez couldn’t match the late improvement of Grosjean and ended up 11th, but he was at least 0.01s ahead of his former team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, who will start 12th for Renault.

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso said he “cannot do more than this” following McLaren’s difficult period of pre-season testing and ultimately qualified 13th, with Esteban Ocon and Marcus Ericsson in 14th and 15th for Force India and Sauber.

In Q1, Antonio Giovinazzi, who will make his F1 debut for Sauber this weekend in place of Pascal Wehrlein after the German driver informed his team that he had concerns over his fitness levels after being injured at the Race of Champions event in January, ended up 16th after locking up at Turn 15 on his final lap when it looked like he would improve and put Ericsson under pressure.

 Antonio Giovinazzi

Kevin Magnussen made a surprise exit in the first segment of the session for Haas F1 and he will start 17th in his first race for the American squad, one place ahead of the second McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne, who overcame a fuel flow issue but qualified down in 18th on his maiden appearance at Albert Park.

Lance Stroll finished 19th, but he will start last, ahead of Renault’s Jolyon Palmer, who set the slowest time in Q1, after Williams was forced to change the Canadian rookie’s gearbox following his crash at the end of FP3.

Australian Grand Prix qualifying results:

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m22.188s
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m22.456s +0.268s
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m22.481s +0.293s
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m23.033s +0.845s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1m23.485s +1.297s
6 Romain Grosjean Haas F1 1m24.074s +1.886s
7 Felipe Massa Williams 1m24.443s +2.255s
8 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1m24.487s +2.299s
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1m24.512s +2.324s
10 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull No time set

Q2

11 Sergio Perez Force India 1m25.081s
12 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m25.091s
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1m25.425s
14 Esteban Ocon Force India 1m25.568s
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1m26.465s

Q3

16 Antonio Giovinazzi Sauber 1m26.419s
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 1m26.847s
18 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1m26.858s
19 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m28.244s
20 Lance Stroll Williams 1m27.143s

What did you make of qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JA on F1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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1

Hi James, I’m not sure why anyone hasn’t mentioned it but in the side by side video comparing last year’s pole lap with this year’s pole lap it was obvious that the Mercedes is faster in the higher speed corners this year but noticeably slower in the lower speed corners. Could this be the longer wheelbase affecting the manoeuvrability? Is this not going to be a huge problem at the tighter circuits?

2

Congrats to King lewis the 44th on this 62th pole. God speed.

3

Yesterday after FP2 you could read here in the comments:

Alo-Ver 0.6
Ham-Bot 0.6
They are the best ever.

Before that you read over the years, it is Newey who is the star here……

Today, things look different…

Vettel is the best driver out there. He is Schumi2.
Hamilton always came to a team and was winning right away.
Like Alonso, Hamilton never built up a team. He just jumped into a seat and that’s it.

Vettel won in a TR, Vettel had 4 WDC in a row, Vettel won with Ferrari right away, Vettel reduced the gap of half a second in 2017.

Meanwhile Andrew Benson is doing overtime.

4

Why post the exact same thing in two threads? Why the need?

5
Racing driver 1

I know Stroll is a rookie, so I don’t want to be too hard on his performance. But I have to wonder whether the team were using the session as some sort of testing session for him to get some miles on the clock, as he was already doomed with the grid penalty. To be 3 seconds slower than your team mate either suggests a problem or the setup was not for quali, hoping to aim for a better race pace. Time will tell, but I hope he can pull through.

6
Racing driver 1

Well looks promising so far. Let’s hope the race is as close and exciting as quali.
I have to feel for Fernando, he drove the wheels off that car and I think he got the max out of what he has.
But on the whole the new cars look exciting, especially in the corners. Can’t wait for the race.

7
The Grape Unwashed

Mega session from Hamilton – he just looked unbeatable.

Great effort from Bottas, he seemed able to counter-punch Hamilton every time, but it was always a reaction to he teammate’s move, he was always on the back foot – nevertheless a very promising start.

Fantastic effort from Vettel, splitting the Mercs and trouncing his teammate. Less impressive from Red Bull who will need to win the development race (which is perfectly possible) if they’re going to challenge for the championship.

Big thumbs up for Grosjean, Alonso and Hulkenberg. Really looking forward to tomorrow’s race, the cars look fantastic, the drivers are being stretched (witness Ricciardo’s cock-up) and we FINALLY have more than one team in contention for the win! I’ve such high hopes for this season 😀

8

Waited till 2:00 am and Qualifying was fun to watch, cars look fast and exciting but was surprised that pole was only 1.6s quicker than 2016.
Lewis on top of things, Ferrari seems primed to mount a reasonable challenge.
So I hope we can see a real battle between Mercedes and Ferrari rather Lewis and Vettel. Grosjean and Giovinazzi for me were the highlights of the session. Read Giovinazzi’s interview of F1 website, sounds like a cool, calm and composed sort of guy. He might be the one of the future F1 stars.

9

Well done to Bottas, first time out in a new car new team, new team mate! Not too bad. There’s hope for him yet. He seemed pretty disgruntled at the press conference after woods, fingers crossed there’s a good fighter in him ready to come out. Nice to see Seb back up there, shame about Daniel, but the car doesn’t have the pace yet anyhow.

Bring on tomorrow morning!

P.S The cars look great on the corners.

10

Great qualifying session!

Have you seen Hamilton signing an autograph on one lady’s belly? What was that? After watching Ricciardo drinking from shoe + this, I am now forced to believe that Australians have very weird and good-for-nothing customs.

11

VER (it’s VER now, not VES) indicated he had a hard time keeping the car straight. Experienced lots of oversteer and understeer, in the same turn. Judging by Ricciardo’s crash he had similar difficulties. Furthermore it looks like RB have now lost much of their biggest advantage, late breaking and superior traction out of esp. slow corners, since everybody is so much faster there now. Pity, no 6-way battle any time soon.

12

Bottas really deserves some credit for his pace today. People were quite down on him for the .5+ second gap to Lewis, but he was pretty much on his pace the whole day- slightly quicker in P3, the first laps in Q1, and the lap in Q2. Lewis pulled a .3 sec gap in Q3- but Bottas was quicker in Sector 2, and without the mistake in the first complex he would have been a little closer than he was.

People are incredibly hasty to write off Bottas so early in the season. He didn’t deliver in Q3 today, but the pace is there to give Lewis a serious challenge- I would argue moreso than in Nico’s case.

13

See comments in previous article, disappointment that we have YET ANOTHER MMC (Mercedes Managed Championship) https://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2017/03/lewis-hamilton-and-mercedes-top-fp2-at-the-2017-f1-australian-grand-prix/#comment-3726542
But nonetheless happy to see Ferrari as the ‘current stooges in second’ as opposed to further back.
It looks like we’ll have to see how much RB can advance with their program, but, of course, Merc will just take out more stuff from their ‘bag of tricks’, and get in front again.
DEVESTATING!

Too bad about Wehrlein losing his seat, but I believe that I clearly foretold this one in several posts of about a month ago; a top Merc candidate in a Ferrari-powered car! Was just NEVER going to happen. Anyways, only 0.046 sec behind a seasoned vet, I’m glad he’s in the seat; expect him to be the full time driver. There’s nothing wrong with Wehrlein (not that there is anything too right with him), besides a little political cold.

Still hoping for SOMETHING in the race that can propel #7 to the top step.

14

Rosberg Would have been P2 or perhaps even P1

15

Is it just me or does anyone else feel slightly disappointed about the pace of the cars.
Hopefully when they get to China with the long sweeping corners they can stretch their legs.
I was hoping for more than 1.6sec improvement on last year.

16

Oh well, it’s only the first race, same old, same old…

17

can we just stop and appreciate firstly the level Hamilton is at this season, and secondly just how far Rosberg was pushed to win the title despite Hamilton having a spate of reliability issues?

i mean come on, he’s a full .3 faster than his new team mate, i can give Bottas the benefit of the doubt considering he’s new to the team and that Hamilton would no doubt have some sort of seniority even if the pair would be allowed to race

but all that aside seeing Hamilton at this first weekend of the season and his level in comparison to Bottas, makes a lot more sense than the lots of sense it already made for Rosberg to decide to retire after that championship win

now he gets to be with the family again instead of meticulously looking for that extra 0.001 of a second

18

Hamilton and Mercedes on pole, predictable and business as usual yaaaaaaawn.

19

This will be the first year in a very long time that I am not watching live F1 on regular TV. Just couldn’t justify the satellite fees to watch 1 channel.
I don’t want to watch “illegal” streaming, so hopefully one of things Liberty puts in place is an online streaming site.
In the mean time i trust JA will keep me up to speed. Thx

20

I buy the sky sports phone app. £4.99 a month and install on a tablet.

21

The only thing good on Sky Sports very biased coverage is “Ted’s notebook”. Funny thing.. Teds notebook is not shared on the other networks that used to use the SKY feed, but then its always watchable later on youtube.

So yeah if SKY officials ever read this.. You should probably give Ted some more company stock 🙂 Its just not the Notebook, the guy himself is fun!

The main team, i wont be so rude as to take names, but they can reduce a whole host of team members while not affecting the quality and probably making it more affordable. All i miss from the SKY feed now is TED’s notebook.

22

Sky’s deal in the UK had far reaching negative consequences outside of the UK aswell and Formula 1 interest litrally died in many countries that were just warming up to it.

A lot of networks used to and still probably use the SKy feed on thier local country networks.. last year, they stopped using the Sky feed and was using the feed with David Coulthard on it, but the feed with DC on it didnt have all the races live! So those races didnt air on even the normal sports pay channels. Sometimes they aired on the same channel’s even more premium HD platform which suddenly needed people who rarely watch tv in this age of netflix to go purchase a new BOX.

IF they think Bernie was brilliant, he was not with this whole SKY pay channel exclusive nonsense.

So many of my friends stopped following F1 organically. Hence I am lurking on the virtual web now for fellow enthusiasts. What Bernie didnt understand is, a huge chunk of the population has moved away from TV.. some of us just have a basic TV connection because we are the internet generation with netflix! Watching the tv every alternate weekend is tolerable.. but suddenly if half the races demand some access to pay channels which needs some kind of BOX upgrade, forget it!

If bernie stayed just one more year.. it would have been the END of the next generation of viewers. All that Pay channel exclusive and all appeals to a much older demographic.

Last year, there was a lot of illegal streams online, (Sky streams ironically but with quality so terrible that it was better to just read up the results from websites and youtube high lights) This year thankfully due to the legal mobile platforms, F1 is back on my tablet at very reasonable charges.

The transition could have been handled more maturely to have not lost so many viewers.

23

I am assuming it will only work in the UK? I live in Poland and there is only one (paid) channel covering F1 and the coverage is a disaster. You get so many advertisement (3 min long) in a paid channel. I would love to get SKY, just do not know how.

24

Fascinating, with margins narrow enough between the machines that the drivers are making the difference. That’s as it should be. Speaking of which, it seems Alonso has (as he did in the Minardi-Cosworth when I saw him at Indianapolis in 2000) outdriven the car. A points finish seems possible, and who would have bet on that a week ago?

Also: Grosjean. Haas. Wow.

25

Too few drivers stand a chance still. Think about it. 16 cars are throw aways. It’s like 2 football teams playing with 8 players on each team doing their best impression of their goalie – limited to a spot and not able to ever score.

26

As expected, Lewis on pole. Valtteri disappointed not to be along side him. I think he has the speed, as he showed in some sessions, he’ll improve in qualifying. I’m a bit more concerned about his race pace, don’t know if he can keep up with Lewis and Seb at the moment. Red Bull look legitimately a few steps behind, lots of work needed.
Damage limitation for McLaren-Honda, via Fernando, but progress during the race will be difficult, Stoffel was unlucky.

27
The Grape Unwashed

Bottas is the same gap to Hamilton as Rosberg last year – and Rosberg’s strongest suit was his qualifying, Bottas is a far better racer than Rosberg. I’m glad Valtteri’s not content with P3, but he’s done a great job!

28

I think we have a race on our hands . If Ferrari have kept good race pace I think Hamilton will have a fight with a different coloured car. Just what the doctor ordered. Hopefully.

29

The start will be the high light tomorrow.
2 silver and 2 reds side by side and everyone trying to squeeze these new wider cars into turn one……..I foresee the first 10 cars taking each other out and Alonso being on the podium next to Stroll and Giovanzani 😎

30
Tornillo Amarillo

It could be Vettel hitting Ham and Bottas win.

31

Interesting point. Wider and starting with 177kg more weight than V10s, cascading contact at the start would be a real mess with these cars, wouldn’t it?

32

I think Pascal Purr-line will find himself driving a Prius in Formula E shortly. Stroll-thru-the-concrete-walls won’t be far behind.

33
Tornillo Amarillo

Remember Grosjean crashing and punished in the past and today being the best of the rest?

34

Is it a grid restart after SC this year? There will probably be one tomorrow.

35

I believe the grid start follows a red flag – not a SC. The teams can no longer work on the cars during a red flag period either.

36

It is, but I don’t think there will be one tomorrow. Report I saw had 0% chance of precipitation.

37

F1 management talked about a time improvement of around 5 seconds over the 2015 times. The pole time of Lewis was 1.26.327, so not that fat off really. Best race lap was 1.30.945 l would bet that it will be easily beaten by more than 5 seconds. That on the first race of the season too. Close racing excites me more than pure pace honestly, but if we can have both.
Lewis obviously got a great result today, but l think Bottas did not embarrassed himself one bit. He seemed a little disappointed with 3rd place, but he missed second by next to nothing so he can take comfort in that. While l was not convinced that Bottas could come close to Lewis prior to today, l now believe that he will beat his teammate in Qualifications a few time this year.
Again, Alonso deserve so much more than the car is got at the moment. We are all being robbed of greater battles on that fact alone. Come Honda, get it done. Fast. Marc

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