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. Wednesday 27 August 2014

  2. Vettel gets new race engineer for 2015 15:17

    Vettel gets new race engineer for 2015

    Red Bull has confirmed that Gianpiero Lambiase will become Sebastian Vettel's new race engineer from the 2015 season, after...

    F1
  3. Video: Rosberg's ice bucket challenge 13:30

    Video: Rosberg's ice bucket challenge

    Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg takes the ALS ice bucket challenge.

    F1
  4. Frijns management denies GP2 speculation 11:58

    Frijns management denies GP2 speculation

    The management team behind Robin Frijns has denied that the Dutchman is pondering a GP2 return. According to media...

    F1
  5. Yamaha 'confident' of Silverstone victory 11:15

    Yamaha 'confident' of Silverstone victory

    Yamaha Team Director Massimo Meregalli says he is "confident" that the Japanese manufacturer has what it takes to claim its...

    MotoGP
  6. McLaren admits drivers 'uncomfortable' over futures 10:33

    McLaren admits drivers 'uncomfortable' over futures

    McLaren admits that the uncertainty over its line-up for 2015 and beyond has left Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen feeling...

    F1
  7. Mark Sutton: Story behind the shot - Belgium 09:56

    Mark Sutton: Story behind the shot - Belgium

    Especially for lovers of motorsport photography, GPUpdate.net is this season running a feature series entitled Story behind...

    F1
  8. Renault with 'renewed confidence' for Monza 09:00

    Renault with 'renewed confidence' for Monza

    Renault has said it will go to the Italian Grand Prix next week with "renewed confidence". The French manufacturer took...

    F1
  9. Video of the Day: Wind tunnel guide - Part 7 05:00

    Video of the Day: Wind tunnel guide - Part 7

    Sauber's Head of Aerodynamics, Willem Toet, continues his talk on the science of F1 wind tunnel design.

    F1
  10. Tuesday 26 August 2014

  11. Video: Onboard with Vettel in Sochi 18:05

    Video: Onboard with Vettel in Sochi

    Join Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel as he becomes the first ever Formula 1 driver to do a lap of the Sochi Autodrom, venue for...

    F1
  12. Ecclestone: Greece 'keen' to hold F1 race 17:30

    Ecclestone: Greece 'keen' to hold F1 race

    Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that a grand prix in Greece is still a possibility, even though the...

    F1
  13. FIA will not take action against Rosberg 16:38

    FIA will not take action against Rosberg

    The FIA has no plans to investigate Nico Rosberg despite Lewis Hamilton's claims that German admitted he had deliberately...

    F1
  14. Pedrosa with 'good momentum' for Silverstone 15:30

    Pedrosa with 'good momentum' for Silverstone

    Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa says he will take "good momentum" to Silverstone this weekend for the British Grand...

    MotoGP
  15. 15:18

    Photos: Vettel laps Sochi Grand Prix Circuit

    F1
  16. Verstappen makes Formula 1 test debut 14:32

    Verstappen makes Formula 1 test debut

    Max Verstappen tested a Formula 1 car for the very first time today at Rockingham Motor Speedway in Northamptonshire. The...

    F1
  17. Alonso: Mercedes will struggle to keep peace 13:05

    Alonso: Mercedes will struggle to keep peace

    Fernando Alonso believes Mercedes will find it "difficult" to keep both Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton happy this...

    F1
  18. Whitmarsh officially leaves McLaren 12:16

    Whitmarsh officially leaves McLaren

    Martin Whitmarsh has now officially left McLaren, it has been confirmed, with both "agreeing amicably to part...

    F1
  19. Ricciardo 'staying grounded' amid title talk 12:10

    Ricciardo 'staying grounded' amid title talk

    Daniel Ricciardo says he is "staying grounded" and will not get carried away, despite suggestions he might have an outside...

    F1
  20. 11:28

    Photos: Belgian GP in black and white

    F1
  21. Vettel becomes first driver to sample Sochi 10:30

    Vettel becomes first driver to sample Sochi

    Sebastian Vettel has become the first Formula 1 driver to do a full lap of the Sochi Autodrom circuit ahead of the inaugural...

    F1
  22. Winners and Losers at the Belgian Grand Prix 10:00

    Winners and Losers at the Belgian Grand Prix

    Spa-Francorchamps played host to a captivating and controversial race as Daniel Ricciardo claimed his third win of the...

    F1
  23. Button: Shame it is not a cleaner fight 09:35

    Button: Shame it is not a cleaner fight

    McLaren's Jenson Button says it is a "shame" that it is not a "cleaner fight" between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton for...

    F1
  24. Caterham: More updates on way for Monza 09:00

    Caterham: More updates on way for Monza

    Caterham Team Principal Christijan Albers has confirmed that the outfit will have more updates for the Italian Grand Prix...

    F1
  25. Video of the Day: Neuville's big shakedown crash 05:00

    Video of the Day: Neuville's big shakedown crash

    In case you missed it, here is how Thierry Neuville warmed-up for Rallye Deutschland, where he took his - and Hyundai's -...

    WRC
  26. Monday 25 August 2014

  27. Horner: Not Vettel's fault he only finished fifth 18:05

    Horner: Not Vettel's fault he only finished fifth

    Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has defended Sebastian Vettel and has said it was not "his fault" he only finished...

    F1
  28. Lotus still looking for 'pot of good luck' 17:22

    Lotus still looking for 'pot of good luck'

    Federico Gastaldi says that Lotus will "keep looking for that pot of good luck" after more misery in the Belgian Grand...

    F1
  29. Fry: Start procedures need to be improved 16:39

    Fry: Start procedures need to be improved

    Ferrari engineering guru Pat Fry says the team will need to "learn to improve" its procedures in light of Fernando Alonso's...

    F1
  30. Video: Rosberg denies Hamilton claims 15:40

    Video: Rosberg denies Hamilton claims

    Nico Rosberg has disputed claims made by Lewis Hamilton that he admitted to deliberately crashing into him. The German...

    F1
  31. Lotterer thanks Caterham for F1 outing 15:30

    Lotterer thanks Caterham for F1 outing

    André Lotterer has thanked the Caterham F1 team after he got the chance to compete for the squad in Belgium and make his...

    F1
  32. Button enjoys playing 'long game' in Belgium 14:14

    Button enjoys playing 'long game' in Belgium

    Jenson Button says he had "fun" en-route to an eventual sixth place finish in the Belgian Grand Prix. Button started...

    F1
  33. Video: Sonoma IndyCar highlights 13:57

    Video: Sonoma IndyCar highlights

    Scott Dixon wins the penultimate round of the 2014 IndyCar season at Sonoma.

    Indy
  34. Kvyat: This was a good but tough race 13:02

    Kvyat: This was a good but tough race

    Daniil Kvyat enjoyed "a positive weekend" and took his fifth points finish of the season on Sunday in the Belgian Grand...

    F1
  35. Pérez: I achieved the most possible at Spa 12:15

    Pérez: I achieved the most possible at Spa

    Sergio Pérez reckons he achieved the "most that was possible" during the Belgian Grand Prix. The Mexican started down in...

    F1
  36. Mercedes to 'strengthen focus' on Constructors' 11:03

    Mercedes to 'strengthen focus' on Constructors'

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has confirmed the team will "strengthen its focus" on securing the Constructors' Championship now...

    F1
  37. Rosberg: Hamilton clash a 'racing incident' 10:18

    Rosberg: Hamilton clash a 'racing incident'

    Nico Rosberg has insisted the collision with Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton during the Belgian Grand Prix was a "racing...

    F1
  38. Vettel: Maybe the racing was a bit too hard 09:46

    Vettel: Maybe the racing was a bit too hard

    Sebastian Vettel has said the racing "sometimes" was "maybe a bit too hard" in the closing stages of the Belgian Grand...

    F1
  39. 06:04

    Latest IndyCar photos: Sunday at Sonoma

    Indy
  40. Dixon outlasts field at Sonoma after leaders falter 06:03

    Dixon outlasts field at Sonoma after leaders falter

    Scott Dixon came from third on the grid to outlast the field in the closing laps to win the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on...

    Indy
  41. Video of the Day: Youngsters on Max promotion 05:00

    Video of the Day: Youngsters on Max promotion

    Fellow young hopefuls share their views on Max Verstappen's Formula 1 promotion with Toro Rosso.

    F1
  42. 03:00

    Championship standings after Belgium

    F1
  43. Sunday 24 August 2014

  44. 18:00

    Latest F1 photos: Sunday at Spa-Francorchamps

    F1
more news