Qualifying, Australian F1 GP, 24.03.2018
As feared, the Formula 1 community arrived at Albert Park, Melbourne, to torrential rain and thunderstorms on Saturday morning. By the start of FP3, the rain had subsided, but left a very damp track and track temperatures peaking at around 27 degrees Celsius, almost 20 degrees lower than yesterday.
Despite this, the track conditions evolved quickly as the asphalt began to dry.
With the fastest lap ever at Albert Park, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, claimed today his 73rd career pole position -
Track: Melbourne Grand Prix circuit, Australia Weather: Warm and dry
Lap Length: 5.309 km / 3.295 miles
Temperature: Air: 24-
Qualifying result, 24.3.2018:
Pos, Driver, Team, Q1, Q2, Q3
1. L. Hamilton, Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport, 1:22.824, 1:22.051, 1:21.164
2. K. Raikkonen, Scuderia Ferrari, 1:23.096, 1:22.507, 1:21.828
3. S. Vettel, Scuderia Ferrari, 1:23.348, 1:21.944, 1:21.838
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team:
' It's the greatest feeling when you live up to your potential and you pull out a lap like I was able to. I'm not always able to do that but I was really happy with today's performance. Up until this point, I haven't thought at all about the race. So tonight and tomorrow morning I'll start to put my focus onto that. Last season, Ferrari ultimately did a better job on Sunday. But we generally learn from mistakes and scenarios like that, so I'm hoping we're better prepared for tomorrow. Ultimately it's also how I'm able to manage the tyres at the start of the race. I remember Sebastian was really at my tail towards the end of my stint which forced me to come into the pits and then he continued on for several laps and I got stuck behind Verstappen. So I'll definitely bear that in mind and try my best to make sure that I'm in a better position tomorrow. I know how hard Valtteri has been working and I know the pain he feels right now, but he will recover. He was very quick through practice and he has been putting a lot of effort into growing as a driver and as a member of the team. I have all the confidence in him to pull through again tomorrow.`
' That was an unbelievable final lap from Lewis to see him find so much pace. We didn't change anything on the car from the first run of Q3, it was just a case of Lewis putting all the pieces together and finding the limit on that last lap, with everything on the line; and this is the result, a really impressive pole position to start the new season. But it's a garage of contrasting emotions today with a really unfortunate end to qualifying for Valtteri. It was a big hit and the boys will have a long job list to get the car ready to race. It's now about putting the incident behind him and recovering as strongly as possible. We expect a very close race between the top three teams tomorrow; there is still a lot to do if we want to score a strong result in the race.`
Kimi Raikkonen, Scudería Ferrari:
“Today we did not really know what to expect from this first qualifying, it was a bit of an unknown. But then I was pretty happy with the car, the feeling was ok. The gap to our rivals is probably bigger than we wanted, but it was not a very straightforward day either. This is a very special circuit in many ways, if compared to “normal” tracks, and these are the early stages of the season. I think we have to wait for the next few races to have a clear picture and understand where the teams are exactly. For sure there are things to improve to go faster; I know there are areas where I could improve on my lap times. This is what we have got today, a decent result in quite tricky conditions. Tomorrow we’ll put our maximum effort into the race”.
Sebastian Vettel, Scudería Ferrari:
“Yesterday it didn’t feel like everything was perfect, so today I am pretty happy that we could put both cars right at the front, very close to pole. I guess it’s a good shot. The gap to Lewis is significant of course, and we don’t want to be so far behind. But the car today was getting better and better: I could feel it was coming alive during qualifying; on my last run I made a small mistake at Turn 13, but it’s ok as second and third position are good for the race and, as we have seen in all the past years, we tend to be closer on Sunday than we are in qualifying”.
Fernando Alonso, McLaren:
'“After winter testing, you never know how the performance in the first qualifying will be, so it’s some kind of relief that the car is performing well and we’re more competitive than the last few seasons. This year we’ll have fun.
“There’s a lot of potential to unlock in our car, and we haven’t yet been able to do this due to some little issues. I think McLaren will be quite strong in the coming races, which is a very positive start. “Apart from Toro Rosso, we’re the only top team that has gone through an integration process of a new power unit with the chassis, the systems and the set-
“I think our race pace is probably better than our qualifying pace, so we’re in a good starting position – P11 or even P10 due to [Valtteri] Bottas’ problem – so definitely some good points are the target. Tomorrow will be probably one of the first races in the last couple of years where we won’t need to defend, and we will go for the attack mode. Also, the weather is still a factor for tomorrow, and if we have some showers it’ll be a great show. “I’m very positive and very optimistic about this season.”
Daniel Ricciardo, Aston Martin red Bull Racing, Position: 5th
“The session itself didn’t go too badly, it started off pretty well and even in Q2 on the Supersofts we were looking good. I aborted the second run, but nonetheless we were looking alright. In the last part of Q3 we just missed a bit in the first sector, I’m not totally sure where the time is so we’ll have to look at that. Overall, the car didn’t feel too bad, we asked for a bit more front grip but we’d used all the front wing we had, so there was no more we could do in Q3. Obviously starting eighth because of the penalty is frustrating and I thought it was unjust. There are reprimands, fines and other things but to shoot me in the ankle before the season starts, well, I think they could have done better. We’re the only ones in the top 10 staring on the Supersoft so hopefully that helps us and ideally the leaders have trouble making the one stop work with the Ultrasoft and we capitalise there. It’s going to be pretty tricky to overtake so strategy will be key. The race pace looks pretty good and I’m looking forward to coming through the field. We’re obviously better than eighth so we will try and make it happen. To be honest, I feel sorry for the guys in front of me tomorrow as they’re the ones I’m going to have to take my anger out on.”
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