Ambient 17° Track 25° Humidity 61% Wind 5.6 m/s

Well, new season bright and shiny new quali on a windy day in Albert Park. As the engines fired at least the prospect of how exactly the leaders would continue their brutal dominance. Likely by being even faster
Hilariously enough the best racing came before the session even started when Hamilton skipped round Rosberg on the way to queue for pit exit for the start of Q1. Nico got stuck trying to make the turn out of the garage and Hamilton took advantage. It didn’t last long as Nico rapidly seized the position back and things went from bad to worse for Lewis as Grosjean also managed to get round him on the way to the start line and Lewis was unable to retake the position before his lap started as Romain vigorously defended. Rosberg had quite the off and when the first times were written it was once again Hamilton on top. The real entertainment occurred as it rapidly became apparent that the teams had not really come to grips with how to time the exit laps. Car after car failed to make it round in their death or glory lap to make it off the bubble. Notable victim Kvyat in P18 was the celebrity highlight but otherwise the cars paired off in exactly the order expected, Manor, Haas and Sauber.

Q2 continued the trend as Hamilton and Rosberg came out and set their times and once again most of the runners being eliminated failed to make it round as there wasn’t enough time to pit and get back to the line. Offering a tantalising glimpse of the promoters fevered dreams, was Carlos Sainz. Having sorted the maths properly he was chasing Ricciardo to avoid elimination. Ricciardo managed to jump out of the way and as the seconds ticked leaving Alonso exposed. Alonso was in the garage, however and wasn’t going to be bothered and thus again, with a whimper, not a bang the session ended with no cars on track as it was pointless.

Q3 continued the sad trend. Mercedes and Ferrari came out and were generally faster than everyone else, with Rosberg having a bit of a moment in S2 which slotted him behind both Ferraris with Hamilton P1. At the end of the first runs Verstappen took a fantastic P5 and both Toro Rosso’s were officially faster then the Red Bulls, dooming Ricciardo to P8. Ferrari didn’t bother with a second run and Mercedes was the only team to make that choice, giving Rosberg a chance to atone for his mistake and leapfrog the Ferraris in front of him. His second lap was significantly better, but still not enough to beat Lewis’ time. Not being one to waste a good set of tyres, however, Hamilton kept his foot in it and on his second run managed to bust a 1:23.837 for his 50th pole. Once he rolled into the pitlane there was still 4 minutes left on the clock and no cars on track. On the bright side, however, it did give Vettel enough time to change into jeans before the presser. Bad news for everyone else as Mercedes has revealed its hand to be particularly powerful and apparently, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Thanks for dropping by and play nice in the comments!


54 responses to “#F1 Qualifying Review: 2016 FORMULA 1 ROLEX AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX

  1. I won’t complain. It’s useless.

    Shame on Haas for not knowing that you can’t finish your lap. They could’ve been a lot closer to the top.

    Luckily it’s Australia – so not the best indicator for the year. The gap is big, but I hope small enough for Ferrari to threaten Mercedes.

    Lewis did it again, in spite of glasses, music, wrong branding, gambling experiences and a selfie gone bad. Every year I like him more – and I was never a fan.

    I hope my recording succeeds and I can watch tomorrow evening and see what everybody did.

  2. Well, the new qualifying system went down like a lead ballon, real entertainment to get a shot of the on the bubble driver sitting in the garage or hopping out for a cup of tea.
    Great job again from Torro Rosso, can’t help but wonder what they could do with a Merc engine and proper time to plan….putting Williams and Force India to shame.
    Hope for more from the race, couldn’t be more pedestrian now could it.
    Overall I rate it a squib, if only it had been a damp squib, maybe more exciting.
    As for the result, well done Lewis, never doubted you 😁

    • Let’s hope for another 2005 regulation change where they scraped the awful double qualifications after Monaco.

  3. Trumpets is back
    All is well in Americaland !

    Thanks (Matt) and yaaaaaaaawn (F1’s new quali format)

  4. After years of bad qualifying, remember the one lap two days, we finally had a great qualifying system which everybody was happy then they stuff it up. pLeas go back to the previous version

  5. hamilton once again has no opposition and his wins are hollow. the mercedes is so far ahead it is ridiculous. this is the fourth year of development since inception and where is the competition? virtually nowhere to be seen. mercedes simply turn up the wick when threatened. as for the quali…well as toto the wolf said, ‘it’s rubbish’ and he had 1 & 2 one the grid??????

  6. that FIA Mercedes car with a big FIA sticker on the rear window proclaiming “road safety” driving along the pit road with number 44 driver sitting on the window edge half in half out waving to the crowd was not a good show at all.

  7. I must admit that I was very much against this lucky draw type of a shoot out but it turned out to more exciting than I thought. Perhaps those who were in favour of it, can come up with an idea on how to improve it.
    Claire Williams, Pat Symonds and Charlie Whiting come to mind.

    • Simple improvement would be remove any limit of tyres used in qualifying and no link what so ever to tyres used in race. Then everyone had the interest to try their best until the end.

      • Good Idea! or even better, force quali to be run in medium tyres or a special tyre that can be pushed without significant degradation for several laps. With Ultrasofts, lasting one lap, the current system is a farce.

  8. After sitting in the stands today the Q1 and Q2 were not so bad… some people got caught out by the clock and from a fans perspective that’s perfectly fine by me, as it achieved the desired result of mixing the grid up a little and in time teams will improve their strategies and timing…
    Q3 was one of the biggest jokes I have seen in car racing…with 5mins left on the clock and Ferrari parked everybody was just looking around saying “what the F@&K just happened”!!! Then you get to the press conference and drivers are looking fresh and in jeans… When was the last time a top 3 driver had time for a shower and change before a post qually presser…..?
    I’d say for now leave the the first 2 sessions as they are but maybe revert back to the last minute lunges to the line that we all used to sit on the edge of our seats for…

  9. It’s all been said already but that’s not going to stop me. Musical Chairs qualifying is one of the most idiotic rule changes so far, in a hotly contested field. And Mercedes are at least a second ahead of everyone else by the evidence so far. Deckchairs duly arranged, ship continues to take on water.

  10. Qualifying was farcical. I could tell that drivers weren’t out in time 3 minutes before the commentators and it seems teams realised?! It didn’t seem hard to see you need to be on track, on a timed lap, prior to the 90 seconds getting anywhere near you… Cars leaving the pit lane with 60 seconds to do an outlap and a timed lap!!!! Do the maths.

    Joke. Whoever did this should be fired instantly.

  11. This is going to be a boring season again. As I predicted last season, no one will catch the merc in this current formula. Their engine design is just far superior to the Renault/Ferrari/Honda offerings. The only hope would be to freeze development of the merc PU but as if that will happen.

    • Not sure that would help, because there was a report that Mercedes were willing to agree to a 20% increase in the fuel flow meter for the other manufacturers and they would continue to operate at the current level. This is in the hope of they continue to use current spec PU’s. All this with free reign on PU development

      • Fuel is/was never going to be the issue…. With now open development (no tokens) I expect 2 yes and we will be back to parity…. Just in time for them to run 1-2 seasons before changing again..😅😅

        • No way. The Mercedes is making over 1000 bhp with ERS. They have an ingenious combustion concept that keeps them running less fuel than everyone else, and they have the best aero package now.

      • The Mercedes 20% fuel flow increase offer to other manufacturers report, the Source it originated from is not one regarded as reliable at all.
        And you need not worry about the continue use of the current PU, as its use will run the course of its life span as agreed by all manufacturers on the present grid, Bernie’s and the red bullies continue pushing for an alternative cheap equivalent engine is useless.

  12. What I’d like to see here (and elsewhere) is the time of anyone’s lap when they are timed out on track–what would their position be then?

  13. I think mercedes’ 1 sec gap is relative. Remember that they were on track last. Ideal conditions. Ferrari sat it out. There will be a gap for sure. But not 1 sec.

    • I thought Merc going for a flyer at the end of the session very odd. I don’t know if they were hoping to lay one down to scare Ferrari, or maybe a bit of chest thumping. I think Ferrari’s choice to stay in, not show their hand, and let Merc run about and drop a marker was a good call. We still don’t really know where the red team is at and it should make for a great race tomorrow.

      Also, how unlucky were Haas to be caught out like that when they could have make Q3 with that speed. Will be fun to see them make their way through the field.

      • Even without the 2nd run, Seb was .542 and Kimi .900 down on the provisional pole time. So to assume they ‘didn’t show their hand’ is rather comical.

        So you’re trying to say that Ferrari has the pace, but instead chose to settle for 3rd and 4th respectively, rather than trying to improve their starting position, which then give them a chance to control the race from the front? Come on now.

        As for race pace, we heard the same thing last season, “wait until race day, Ferrari will etc etc”…..

        If reports are true that Mercedes can now run their PU on full power for the entire race, something which Ferrari can’t, then it’s potentially going to be a boring race. Ferrari will be relying on a mechanical or driver error to out pace both Merc’s.

        • While Fortis96 says “if reports are true that Mercedes can now run their PU on full power for the entire race something which FERRARI can’t”. reports, which reports? who outside of FERRARI can say what they can and cannot do? and how can anybody run their PU on full power for the entire race?. whoever talks such crap doesn’t have an idea/understand neither the rules/regulations nor the technicalities of these PU’S (ICE plus electric power Possibilities). as to the new qualifying crap, if it wasn’t for Bernie interference with the F1 rules/regulations we wouldn’t have had to endure all this crap. remember that Bernie as the commercial rights holder is not supposed to interfere with the rules and regulations.

          • Ted Kravitz, Martin Brundle people who are closer to the action than any of us. But I guess they’re wrong and you’re right.

            Like I said, “IF” the reports are true, I never said it was. So calm down. Irrespective of crap the final Q3 session was, Ferrari weren’t going to out pace the Mercedes.

          • I am not sure if I am allowed to reply to your post and risk being blocked from your site, as I notice that the word “REPLY” has been removed from next to your pen-name comment to me. Otherwise it would have been a pleasure from on my side trashing this “thing“ out with you on this (yours) supposedly F1 forum site.

      • No, I think it’s just that Merc had a clean set of options left, and Ferrari didn’t.

        In any event, drawing too many conclusions from the first race in Australia isn’t wise. Merc look disturbingly strong, but change is not yet impossible.

        • TK reported that they both had a fresh set of SS tires left. Though I question that given both Kimi and Seb had to do 2 runs in either Q1 or Q2, can’t remember exactly which one it was.

          Why can’t we draw a conclusion from it? They did last year.

    • Agree that the gap will be less but I do fear that it hasn’t closed enough. From what I noted on the last few runs I figured around 3/10th but sadly it seems the limited tyre usage is hitting the session again,that and the bloody awful new system. Give the teams a full hour, four sets of qual tyres for each car and a qual power train that isn’t in the race pool and we will have a fun Saturday afternoon

      • I think the format can be good. With a couple of changes. Q1 and Q2 worked sort of. But For one let the one who’s about to fight for his place prominent on the screen. Unless they are in the pit or out of the car. So the other way round as today. Secondly, and that’s the teams fault, get it right. Give them a chance. Not like mentioned above me like Haas did. (BTW love the Haas livery change!) Was is that hard to know you can’t finish the lap if the counter hits zero? Third make the tire rule useful. By abandoning it. Q3 was a shame for the sport.

        • Keeping Q3 in the old format but giving the nrs 5 and 6 of Q2 free tyre choice for the race might make both the end if Q2 and Q3 better…

  14. Boring as hell. Last 4 minutes of Q3, supposed to be the highlight of the day, brought basically no action. Give the drivers three extra sets of UltraSofts to be spent on Q3. Other than that, we are deprived of any show.

  15. TL;DR – New rules are shite. Seriously, who dodn’t see this coming a mile away? The more rules and regulations a sport has, the more ridiculous it becomes and honestly, F1’s ruleset isnt understood even by the people who run this show. Oh and my TV provider has f…d me over and stopped their coverage (however bad it was) of F1 and therefore I had to acquire other subscription just to see reruns (CET +1 – sub-optimal TZ for APAC races). I’m loving the beginning of this 2016 season…

  16. Bloody awful format. Why fix what wasn’t broke? BERNIE ARE YOU LISTENING? Turn up the hearing aids old man.

  17. They definitely need to re-think Q3. Nico had to go again early to survive then didn’t have time to come back in, new tyres and fuel and actually have a dogfight for pole – which was the whole point of it.

    I’d say keep Q3 as all 8, or maybe knock 3 or 4 out at most but just having two going the distance simply doesn’t work.

    For the earlier sessions I’d say a lot of it was teams not being on the ball but even still I think it’s not there. It does get cars on the track but the elimination is too often a foregone conclusion. Maybe, rather than this system they could just have two sessions of 20 minutes each. Lose two drivers at a time rather than just one with a bigger time gap. Really, the time gap needs to be time for an out lap, timed lap plus a bit for refuelling and new tyres.

  18. Welcome back Matt!
    How r u streaming this year?

    The 2 I used last year want to install ransomware, malware, etc this year.

    Any good pointers??

  19. So happy f1 is back. Great qualifying by Lewis but have to say new rules made it very boring.

  20. I see the aussies aren’t to fussed about aircraft flying over grandstands.
    Personally,I’d have been sitting myself.

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