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. Monday 2 March 2015

  2. Final Barcelona pre-season test in numbers 11:01

    Final Barcelona pre-season test in numbers

    The final pre-season test at Barcelona saw Nico Rosberg and Mercedes top the timesheets, and Sauber lead the mileage stakes....

    F1
  3. Vettel expecting close fight behind Mercedes 10:52

    Vettel expecting close fight behind Mercedes

    Sebastian Vettel says he expects a close fight between Williams, Red Bull and his Ferrari team this year - albeit some way...

    F1
  4. Mick Schumacher to race in German Formula 4 10:45

    Mick Schumacher to race in German Formula 4

    Mick Schumacher, son of seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael, will make his car racing debut in German ADAC Formula 4...

    Misc
  5. Pons Racing parts company with Tunjo 10:33

    Pons Racing parts company with Tunjo

    Formula Renault 3.5 outfit Pons Racing has confirmed that it has parted company with Colombian youngster Óscar...

    FR 3.5
  6. 09:57

    Photos: Red Bull presents RB11 livery

    F1
  7. Red Bull reveals final RB11 livery 09:32

    Red Bull reveals final RB11 livery

    Red Bull has revealed the RB11 in its final race colours, ahead of the squad's planned filming day at the Circuit de...

    F1
  8. Tost happy with Toro Rosso's preparation 08:38

    Tost happy with Toro Rosso's preparation

    Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz Tost says he is encouraged by the progress the squad has made across its pre-season testing...

    F1
  9. Chilton joins Nissan's LMP1 project 08:15

    Chilton joins Nissan's LMP1 project

    Former Formula 1 driver Max Chilton has confirmed that he will make the switch to the World Endurance Championship this year...

    LM
  10. Video of the Day: Chilton links up with Nissan 08:12

    Video of the Day: Chilton links up with Nissan

    Former Marussia racer Max Chilton and Nissan GT Academy mentor Alex Buncombe discuss their roles with Nissan ahead of the...

    LM
  11. Sunday 1 March 2015

  12. 19:26

    Photos: Barcelona pre-season testing – Day 4

    F1
  13. Pérez upbeat after first experience of VJM08 19:12

    Pérez upbeat after first experience of VJM08

    Sergio Pérez expressed his optimism after he received his first taste of Force India's VJM08 at the Circuit de...

    F1
  14. McLaren prepared for tricky start to 2015 18:57

    McLaren prepared for tricky start to 2015

    McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier says the squad is prepared for a tricky start to its 2015 campaign after pre-season...

    F1
  15. Lotus: Brake issue caused Maldonado crash 18:33

    Lotus: Brake issue caused Maldonado crash

    Lotus has confirmed that a brake problem caused Pastor Maldonado's crash on the final day of pre-season testing in...

    F1
  16. Rosberg pleased with Mercedes' pre-season 18:13

    Rosberg pleased with Mercedes' pre-season

    Nico Rosberg declared himself happy with Mercedes' pre-season preparations, after topping the combined times at the final...

    F1
  17. 17:08

    Barcelona pre-season testing: Day 4 results

    F1
  18. Bottas tops final day of pre-season testing 17:03

    Bottas tops final day of pre-season testing

    Williams driver Valtteri Bottas set the fastest time as the third and final pre-season test reached its conclusion at the...

    F1
  19. Hamilton explains decision to keep #44 13:06

    Hamilton explains decision to keep #44

    World Champion Lewis Hamilton says he chose to keep #44 as his car number for the upcoming season as it "means more to me"...

    F1
  20. 07:51

    Follow Barcelona pre-season testing live!

    F1
  21. Magnussen wanted Le Mans drive with father 07:46

    Magnussen wanted Le Mans drive with father

    McLaren test and reserve driver Kevin Magnussen says he enquired over the possibility of racing alongside father Jan for...

    F1
  22. Barcelona pre-season testing: Day 4 line-up 06:47

    Barcelona pre-season testing: Day 4 line-up

    The final pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya concludes on Sunday and, to keep you up to date with who is...

    F1
  23. Video of the Day: Official Formula E anthem 05:24

    Video of the Day: Official Formula E anthem

    Spanish musician and record producer Nacho Cano had released an official anthem for Formula E.

    FE
  24. Saturday 28 February 2015

  25. 21:12

    Photos: Barcelona pre-season testing – Day 3

    F1
  26. First Ferrari race simulation pleases Allison 20:04

    First Ferrari race simulation pleases Allison

    Ferrari Technical Director James Allison expressed his happiness after the squad was able to conduct its first race...

    F1
  27. Hamilton: Predicting main rivals is 'irrelevant' 19:34

    Hamilton: Predicting main rivals is 'irrelevant'

    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton says it is "irrelevant" to make predictions over who the outfit's main rivals will be in...

    F1
  28. Ricciardo content with Red Bull progress 19:05

    Ricciardo content with Red Bull progress

    Daniel Ricciardo played down his lowly position on the timesheets during the penultimate day of pre-season testing at the...

    F1
  29. Magnussen feels 'very good base' with MP4-30 18:47

    Magnussen feels 'very good base' with MP4-30

    McLaren tester Kevin Magnussen says the team's Honda-powered MP4-30 feels better in many areas compared to its...

    F1
  30. 17:05

    Barcelona pre-season testing: Day 3 results

    F1
  31. Hamilton keeps Mercedes on top in Barcelona 17:04

    Hamilton keeps Mercedes on top in Barcelona

    Lewis Hamilton ensured that Mercedes remained at the top of the times on the penultimate day of the final pre-season test at...

    F1
  32. Symonds supportive of Manor revival 14:28

    Symonds supportive of Manor revival

    Williams' Chief Technical Officer Pat Symonds says it will be a boost for Formula 1 if Manor can make it to the grid for the...

    F1
  33. Booth: Manor 'very close' to making first race 10:25

    Booth: Manor 'very close' to making first race

    John Booth says Manor Marussia is "very close" to making it to the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, after the team was...

    F1
  34. Video: Vergne drives Ferrari Formula 1 car 08:47

    Video: Vergne drives Ferrari Formula 1 car

    Jean-Éric Vergne completed his first laps in a Ferrari F1 car during a demo in Adelaide on Saturday.

    F1
  35. Vergne completes Ferrari demo in Adelaide 08:11

    Vergne completes Ferrari demo in Adelaide

    Jean-Éric Vergne got behind the wheel of a Ferrari Formula 1 car for the first time on Saturday when he completed a...

    F1
  36. 07:52

    Follow Barcelona pre-season testing live!

    F1
  37. Barcelona pre-season testing: Day 3 line-up 06:43

    Barcelona pre-season testing: Day 3 line-up

    The final pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya continues on Saturday and, to keep you up to date with who...

    F1
  38. FIA wants new cameras for crash investigations 06:28

    FIA wants new cameras for crash investigations

    New high speed cameras could be fitted to Formula 1 cars from 2016 in a bid to improve investigations into...

    F1
  39. Video of the Day: Getting ready for pre-season 05:16

    Video of the Day: Getting ready for pre-season

    Mercedes documents the final push to getting the F1 W06 Hybrid ready for pre-season testing.

    F1
  40. Friday 27 February 2015

  41. 21:02

    Photos: Barcelona pre-season testing – Day 2

    F1
  42. Button: It was like completing 1000 laps 20:14

    Button: It was like completing 1000 laps

    Jenson Button says McLaren's ability to rack up over 100 laps at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Friday felt "like...

    F1
  43. Bottas impressed by Mercedes test pace 19:13

    Bottas impressed by Mercedes test pace

    Valtteri Bottas says he was impressed by Nico Rosberg's time on the second day of the final pre-season test at the Circuit...

    F1
  44. Hülkenberg: Early VJM08 mileage remarkable 18:18

    Hülkenberg: Early VJM08 mileage remarkable

    Nico Hülkenberg praised his Force India team following the VJM08's reliable start to life at the Circuit de...

    F1
more news