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.
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