Hamilton heads McLaren front row in Australia

Hamilton heads McLaren front row in Australia

17 March 2012 – Lewis Hamilton has grabbed pole position for the Australian Grand Prix. The 2008 Champion heads an all-McLaren front row from Jenson Button. In dramatic fashion, Romain Grosjean starts third for Lotus with World Champion Sebastian Vettel only sixth. Both Ferrari cars failed to make Q3 as Kimi Räikkönen was eliminated in Q1.

McLaren showed that they have been hiding pace in pre-season testing
After pre-season testing and the mixed weather of practice in Melbourne, today’s drama started before the Q1 green light illuminated, as Lotus Team Principal Eric Boullier declared he could protest the result of qualifying after the session; this is due to Mercedes’ ‘super f-duct’ system – a slot in the rear wing which allows more air to enter, generating greater rear downforce when the DRS is in use.

Timo Glock was first on-track for Marussia, as he and new team-mate Charles Pic cemented their penultimate row positions ahead of HRT, whose own pair of drivers missed the 107 percent cut-off. Ahead, Caterham will be disappointed to miss Q2 with either of its drivers, with Heikki Kovalainen being ahead of new partner Vitaly Petrov.

The end of Q1 brought one of the biggest surprises of the day as Kimi Räikkönen continued to struggle with both the Lotus steering and traffic issues. He failed to make the first hurdle and will start from just 18th on Sunday. At the end of the opening period, midfield runners began to fit the Soft compounds tyres, allowing Kamui Kobayashi to top the timesheets for Sauber.

The packed track resulted in three steward investigations. These involve Narain Karthikeyan for holding up Fernando Alonso, Daniel Ricciardo for impeding Michael Schumacher and Pedro de la Rosa for delaying Kovalainen on the latter's final out-lap.

After Räikkönen’s early dismissal in Q1, the Ferrari demise generated big headlines in Q2. Pushing too hard in an underperforming car, Alonso touched the grass and spun into the gravel at Turn 1; like his Finnish title-winning counterpart, the Spaniard was clearly aggrieved and kept his helmet on as he returned to the paddock. He starts 12th, with team-mate Felipe Massa’s struggles continuing as he managed no more than 16th place.

As Toro Rosso newcomer Jean-Éric Vergne and the aforementioned Kobayashi missed Q3, there were standout performances from Pastor Maldonado, Nico Hülkenberg and Ricciardo who all qualified in the top ten. Third British driver Paul di Resta was unable to enjoy such success, crossing the line in Q2 for just 15th position.

With a straight-line top speed advantage even greater than that of last year, Mercedes appeared to be genuine pole position contenders. Initially, it looked as though former karting team-mates Hamilton and Nico Rosberg could battle for the top spot, but the latter locked up and spoiled his final lap at Turn 3 – he will set off from seventh place.

Mark Webber is the leading Red Bull starter from fifth as he, Maldonado and Hülkenberg elected to save tyres and go for just one flying lap in Q3. Vettel opted for two, but the German made small errors and was seven tenths down on Hamilton, later claiming that McLaren was ‘out of touch’ in this particular qualifying session. In tenth, Ricciardo – the second Australian in the field – saved tyres further by remaining in his garage.

Fastest in Practice 2 yesterday, Schumacher continued his solid weekend and enjoys fourth place on the grid – his best qualifying position for Mercedes. There was no doubting the standout performance, as F1 returnee Grosjean briefly seized second place for Lotus before Button confirmed the all-McLaren front row, a tenth and a half behind Hamilton’s pace-setting lap time of 1:24.922.

A 20th Formula 1 pole position for Lewis Hamilton equals the sums of Damon Hill and Fernando Alonso; incidentally, today's result marks the first McLaren front row lock-out since the 2009 European Grand Prix in Valencia. With expected dry weather but mixed tyre strategies and several famed runners out of position, Sunday’s race promises to be a thrilling start to the 2012 campaign.


The 2012 Australian Grand Prix begins at 5pm local time (BST +11) and can be followed through the interactive GPUpdate.net Live Report

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Sunday 25 September 2016

  2. 16:28

    Latest MotoGP photos: Sunday at Aragón

    MotoGP
  3. Márquez pleased to halt Rossi's momentum 16:03

    Márquez pleased to halt Rossi's momentum

    Marc Márquez admitted he was pleased to halt Valentino Rossi's momentum in the championship as he chalked up his fourth MotoGP…

    MotoGP
  4. Smith to make MotoGP return at Motegi 15:04

    Smith to make MotoGP return at Motegi

    Tech 3 has confirmed that Bradley Smith will return to MotoGP action at Motegi, after sitting out three rounds of the…

    MotoGP
  5. Márquez extends lead with Aragón victory 13:54

    Márquez extends lead with Aragón victory

    Repsol Honda's Marc Márquez extended his MotoGP championship lead with his fourth victory of the season, ahead of Yamaha pair…

    MotoGP
  6. Heineken eyes F1 race in Vietnam 10:28

    Heineken eyes F1 race in Vietnam

    Formula 1 Global Partner Heineken says it would like to see the sport branch out further into the Asia Pacific territory, and…

    F1
  7. Injured Lowes to miss Aragón Grand Prix 08:08

    Injured Lowes to miss Aragón Grand Prix

    Tech 3 rider Alex Lowes will not participate in the Aragón Grand Prix after being deemed unfit by medical staff on Sunday…

    MotoGP
  8. Video of the Day: Life in the pit lane - #2 05:42

    Video of the Day: Life in the pit lane - #2

    Williams continues its 'Life in the pit lane' series with #2 mechanic and front jack man Michael Payne.

    F1
  9. Saturday 24 September 2016

  10. 16:52

    Latest MotoGP photos: Saturday at Aragon

    MotoGP
  11. Vandoorne: 2017 was 'last chance' for seat 15:52

    Vandoorne: 2017 was 'last chance' for seat

    McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne says he knew he had to secure a full-time Formula 1 seat in 2017 if he was to ever graduate to the…

    F1
  12. Márquez dominates for pole at Aragón 13:57

    Márquez dominates for pole at Aragón

    Repsol Honda's Marc Márquez trounced his rivals as he flew to pole position at the Aragón Grand Prix, his sixth of the…

    MotoGP
  13. Lowes to skip qualifying after FP3 crash 11:42

    Lowes to skip qualifying after FP3 crash

    Tech 3 rider Alex Lowes will not take part in qualifying for the Aragón Grand Prix after crashing during the third practice…

    MotoGP
  14. Márquez heads crash-filled third session 09:56

    Márquez heads crash-filled third session

    Repsol Honda's Marc Márquez surged to the quickest time during a crash-filled third practice session at MotorLand…

    MotoGP
  15. Alex Lynn's GPUpdate column: Last rounds 09:05

    Alex Lynn's GPUpdate column: Last rounds

    Williams development driver and GP2 Series racer Alex Lynn will write a regular column for GPUpdate.net this year, charting his…

    GP2
  16. Video of the Day: Meet Felix Rosenqvist 05:32

    Video of the Day: Meet Felix Rosenqvist

    Find out more about reigning F3 Champion Felix Rosenqvist, who will race for Mahindra in Formula E this season.

    FE
  17. Friday 23 September 2016

  18. 17:02

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  19. Corner named after Fernández in Mexico 15:26

    Corner named after Fernández in Mexico

    Mexican racing star Adrián Fernández has been appointed as an ambassador for his home country's Grand Prix and had Turn 12…

    F1
  20. Leclerc will not run in Malaysian GP practice 14:17

    Leclerc will not run in Malaysian GP practice

    Ferrari youngster Charles Leclerc will not carry out his planned Formula 1 practice run with Haas at the upcoming Malaysian…

    F1
  21. 14:05

    Latest MotoGP photos: Friday in Aragon

    MotoGP
  22. Pedrosa moves ahead in second practice 14:03

    Pedrosa moves ahead in second practice

    Dani Pedrosa moved to the top of the times during second practice for the Aragon Grand Prix, ahead of Honda team-mate Marc…

    MotoGP
  23. Iannone replaced by Pirro after first practice 12:28

    Iannone replaced by Pirro after first practice

    Andrea Iannone will take no further part in the Aragon Grand Prix weekend, after riding through the pain of his back injury in…

    MotoGP
  24. Ricciardo backs Rosberg for maiden title 10:22

    Ricciardo backs Rosberg for maiden title

    Daniel Ricciardo says that he is now backing Nico Rosberg for the 2016 crown after the German reclaimed the championship lead…

    F1
  25. Márquez tops opening practice in Aragon 10:00

    Márquez tops opening practice in Aragon

    MotoGP title leader Marc Márquez topped the timesheets during Friday morning's first free practice session for the Aragon Grand…

    MotoGP
  26. GPUpdate lets readers quiz Christian Horner 09:02

    GPUpdate lets readers quiz Christian Horner

    In 2016, GPUpdate.net is giving readers the opportunity to pose questions to senior personnel from a selection of outfits, with…

    F1
  27. Aragon extends MotoGP deal to 2021 07:36

    Aragon extends MotoGP deal to 2021

    Aragon will keep its place on the MotoGP calendar until at least the 2021 season, after MotorLand track officials penned a new…

    MotoGP
  28. Mercedes completes 2017 wet-tyre test 06:12

    Mercedes completes 2017 wet-tyre test

    Mercedes completed two days of running on 2017-size wet tyres at Paul Ricard this week, as part of Pirelli's extensive…

    F1
  29. Video of the Day: Life in the pit lane - #1 05:36

    Video of the Day: Life in the pit lane - #1

    Williams presents a 'Life in the pit lane' series, starting with #1 mechanic and gun man Patric Gustafsson.

    F1
  30. Thursday 22 September 2016

  31. Stroll begins F1 runs in 2014-spec Williams 15:32

    Stroll begins F1 runs in 2014-spec Williams

    Lance Stroll has started Formula 1 runs in a 2014-spec Williams as part of his development programme with the team, his…

    F1
  32. Iannone cleared to make Aragon comeback 13:50

    Iannone cleared to make Aragon comeback

    Andrea Iannone has been cleared to return to action at this weekend's Aragon Grand Prix, after missing the previous Misano round…

    MotoGP
  33. Pedrosa keeping expectations in check 13:08

    Pedrosa keeping expectations in check

    Dani Pedrosa has vowed to keep his expectations in check for this weekend's Aragon Grand Prix and beyond, after ending his…

    MotoGP
  34. Venturi sets new electric land speed record 12:25

    Venturi sets new electric land speed record

    Venturi has set a new electric land speed record – smashing its previous benchmark – by recording 341.1mph on the Bonneville…

    FE
  35. Formula 1 starts Ultra High Definition tests 10:33

    Formula 1 starts Ultra High Definition tests

    Formula 1 trialled its first broadcasting in Ultra High Definition (UHD) at the Singapore Grand Prix, prior to all races being…

    F1
  36. Video: New York unveils Formula E track 09:36

    Video: New York unveils Formula E track

    New York presents the planned track layout for its inaugural ePrix, the final round of the 2016/17 season.

    FE
  37. Iannone pushing to return at Aragon GP 08:36

    Iannone pushing to return at Aragon GP

    Ducati rider Andrea Iannone says that he will be pushing to make a comeback at this weekend's Aragon Grand Prix, after being…

    MotoGP
  38. Interview: Fernley on 'lean, mean' Force India 07:32

    Interview: Fernley on 'lean, mean' Force India

    Force India has been labelled an "overachiever" in Formula 1 in recent times, as it adds occasional podiums and this season…

    F1
  39. Video of the Day: Singapore strategy explained 05:22

    Video of the Day: Singapore strategy explained

    Mercedes' Chief Strategist James Vowles explains the team's strategies during the Singapore Grand Prix.

    F1
  40. Wednesday 21 September 2016

  41. New York's Formula E track layout revealed 17:02

    New York's Formula E track layout revealed

    New York officials have presented a planned track layout for the city's inaugural Formula E event. New York was one of five…

    FE
  42. Pagenaud on 'offensive mode' all season 16:04

    Pagenaud on 'offensive mode' all season

    Simon Pagenaud reckons the key to his title-winning IndyCar season was being on "offensive mode", an approach he maintained at…

    Indy
  43. MotoGP presents provisional 2017 calendar 13:20

    MotoGP presents provisional 2017 calendar

    MotoGP organisers have presented a provisional calendar for the 2017 season, again comprising 18 rounds, with only two Grands…

    MotoGP
  44. Video: Repsol Honda's Aragon GP preview 12:22

    Video: Repsol Honda's Aragon GP preview

    Marc Márquez's and Dani Pedrosa's race engineers discuss the demands of the MotorLand Aragón track.

    MotoGP
  45. New F1 Chairman eyes races in 'great cities' 11:03

    New F1 Chairman eyes races in 'great cities'

    New Formula 1 Chairman Chase Carey is keen to take the sport to "the great cities in the world", including locations such as Los…

    F1
more news