Hamilton storms to Melbourne Pole

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton takes the first pole position of 2017 ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes team-mate Valterri Bottas as Red Bulls Daniel Ricciardo crashes out in Q3.

25/03/17

Giovinazzi replaces unfit Wehrlein at Sauber

Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein has pulled out of the Australian GP weekend and will be replaced by Ferrari third driver Antonio Giovinazzi. The German has suffered a back injury sustained in a crash in January’s Race of Champions and due to this, he missed the first Pre-Season Test. Sauber said it was entirely the driver’s decision.

Williams to change Stroll’s gearbox after crash

Williams have confirmed that they are changing the gearbox on Lance Stroll’s FW40 following the rookie’s crash in FP3. Stroll brought out the red flags near the end of final practice after running wide and hitting the barriers on the exit of Turn 10. Stroll is expected to be given a five-place grid penalty ahead of his maiden race.

Qualifying

Q1

Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne are the first two cars out on track and Alonso sets the quickest lap of a 1:27:45. Sebastian Vettel is next on the Supersoft tyre and goes quickest on a 1:25:733. Kimi Raikkonen, also on the Supersoft tyre, runs wide at turn 15 and backs off completely. Valterri Bottas goes quickest on a 1:24:514 with Lewis Hamilton behind in 2nd on a 1:24:535. Vandoorne is told to “Box this lap. We have a fuel flow issue, very low power.”

Daniel Ricciardo goes fifth fastest on a 1:25:754 on the Ultrasoft tyres. Lewis Hamilton goes overall quickest on a 1:24:191. Lance Stroll is out on track for his first lap of the session after Williams have been fixing his car after hitting the barriers at the exit of turn 10. He goes 18th on a 1:27:143. Raikkonen heads back out on the Ultrasoft tyres after he scrapped his first flying lap. Jolyon Palmer completes his first lap of a 1:28:244, that puts him 19th. Raikkonen jumps from 11th to 2nd on a 1:24:464.

Fernando Alonso is safe from being knocked out but team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne isn’t so lucky, he is out. Marcus Ericsson makes it through, pushing team-mate for this weekend, Antonio Giovinazzi out. Lewis Hamilton is quickest ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen.

Out: Giovinazzi – 16th, Magnussen – 17th, Vandoorne – 18th, Stroll – 19th and Palmer – 20th.

Q2

Valterri Bottas is the first to make it onto the track and first to set a lap time of a 1:23:215. Lewis Hamilton follows in behind Bottas with a 1:23:251. Sebastian Vettel goes third on a 1:23:458. Everyone is on new Ultrasoft tyres except from Fernando Alonso on an old set of Ultrasoft tyres. Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen set their times to go 5th and 6th. Vettel goes back out again on a new set of Ultrasoft tyres. He improves but stays 4th on a 1:23:401.

Esteban Ocon fails to improve and is out, Romain Grosjean goes 7th with Marcus Ericsson, Nico Hulkenberg and Alonso all improve, but not enough to escape the drop-zone. Grosjean’s improvement pushes Sergio Perez out of the top 10. Valtteri Bottas is quickest ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen.

Out: Perez – 11th, Hulkenberg – 12th, Alonso – 13th, Ocon – 14th and Ericsson – 15th.

Q3

Valterri Bottas is out first and is closely followed by Sebastian Vettel. The sectors are close between them with Lewis Hamilton behind going even quicker. Bottas crosses the line on a 1:22:798 then Vettel and he is on provisional pole on a 1:22:796. For only a few seconds as Hamilton crosses the line on a 1:22:496. The camera moves to an onboard with Daniel Ricciardo but he loses the car, it’s spinning and into the tyre wall. The home favourite is out. “OK, I’m alright. Sorry guys,” says Ricciardo.

The session is red flagged and stopped at 8 minutes to go. The replay shows Ricciardo going slightly wide as he enters turn 14, the rear of the car swings round through the gravel trap and the car comes to a stop with the rear hitting the barrier. It looks like quite a lot of damage is done. His car is taken away and the session restarts.

Romain Grosjean is the first car out on track for his one and only lap. Bottas and Hamilton head back out for their final run as Grosjean completes his. He goes 5th on a 1:24:074. All the cars head back out for their final run. Bottas is quick is Sector 1 but Hamilton is quicker. Bottas claws time back in Sector 2 but Hamilton is still quicker. Bottas comes round on a 1:22:481 but Hamilton comes round on a 1:22:188. max Verstappen goes 5th, Kimi Raikkonen improves but stays 4th but Vettel comes round and snatches 2nd off of Bottas. Felipe Massa goes 7th with Carlos Sainz 8th and Daniil Kvyat 9th.

Top 10: Hamilton – 1st, Vettel – 2nd, Bottas – 3rd, Raikkonen – 4th, Verstappen – 5th, Grosjean – 6th, Massa – 7th, Sainz – 8th, Kvyat – 9th and Ricciardo – 10th (no time)

Qualifying Result

1.Hamilton  2.Vettel  3.Bottas  4.Raikkonen  5.Verstappen  6.Grosjean  7.Massa  8.Sainz  9.Kvyat  10.Perez  11.Hulkenberg  12.Alonso  13.Ocon  14.Ericsson  15.Ricciardo*  16.Giovinazzi  17.Magnussen  18.Vandoorne  19.Palmer  20.Stroll*

Ricciardo* due to his crash sustained in Qualifying,  Ricciardo was given a 5-place grid penalty for ma gearbox change.

Stroll* was given a 5 place-grid penalty after damaging his gearbox when he made contact with the barriers in FP3.

 

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