After a few months where the drivers and the teams were enjoying holidays, Formula 1 is back to our TVs with the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne. The qualifying session finished a few mometns ago and we have the first poleman of the new era of Formula 1.
The day started at Melbourne with the news that Pascal Wehrlein won’t race this weekend due his back pain caused at the Race of Champions and Antonio Giovinazzi was going to replace him. Also Lance Stroll crashed his Williams during the FP3 and had to change his gearbox, being the first driver to receive a 5 position grid penalty for tomorrow.
The first qualifying session started and there was a few problems with the TV signal, problems which are normal on the first day… Let’s see if we don’t see the same with some teams. Except Mercedes and Ferrari, the other teams were doing the first qualifying with ultra soft tyres. The silver arrows made the best times during the first minutes with Bottas on first position, but Lewis wasn’t going to give up, so he made the best time on the next lap. The session continued without problems until the chequered flag. Lewis Hamilton finished Q1 as the fastest rider and with Alonso saying that rain was coming, the drivers who finished at the knockout zone were Giovinazzi, Magnussen, Vandoorne, Stroll and Palmer.
Second session of the day and it’s time to get serious. With the eyes at the sky for the rain predictions everyone was going to make their lap as fast as possible to avoid problems with the rain. Everyone was making their laps with ultra soft tyres. Mercedes and Ferrari were the first drivers to make their laps. This time it was Bottas the fastest with Hamilton really close to him. Alonso had problems with his engine and had to retire but he could make another lap before the chequered flag. Bottas finished Q2 as the fastest driver and the knockout zone was for Pérez, Hulkenberg, Alonso, Ocon and Ericsson.
Third and last qualifying session. The 10 fastest drivers are ready to give their best and take the pole position, only if Mercedes leave them to do it. All the teams reported on team radio that there was a few drops of rain at the track, but everyone was making their laps as fast as possible. On their first attempt Hamilton was the fastest driver with Vettel, Bottas and Raikkonen behind them. Ricciardo hit the wall and destroyed the rear wing of the Red Bull and caused a red flag. When the session was restarted Grosjean was the first driver to make his lap. Hamilton started to put hammertime mode improving his time in 3 tenths, Vettel also improved his time, but it wasn’t enough to catch the british driver.
Lewis Hamilton took the pole position with Sebastian Vettel 2nd and Valtteri Bottas 3rd. The top 10 was completed with Raikkonen, Verstappen, Grosjean, Massa, Sainz, Kvyat and Ricciardo.
Tomorrow we’ll see the pace of Mercedes on race and if Ferrari can beat the silver arrows. The new season will start now and we’re ready to give you the updates with MiniDrivers. Stay tuned for more news.