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 22 October 2014

  2. Caterham F1 buyers threaten to quit 19:37

    Caterham F1 buyers threaten to quit

    Caterham's buyers have warned they could be forced to step away from the Formula 1 team, claiming that Tony Fernandes still...

    F1
  3. Haas: First five years revolve around survival 17:06

    Haas: First five years revolve around survival

    Gene Haas is under no illusions about the task his Formula 1 team faces when it joins the grid, stating that he will be...

    F1
  4. Background: The Toro Rosso candidates 15:57

    Background: The Toro Rosso candidates

    New Toro Rosso recruit Max Verstappen will become the youngest driver in F1 history when he takes to the grid aged 17 next...

    F1
  5. Video: Hamilton's Stars & Cars invitation 15:12

    Video: Hamilton's Stars & Cars invitation

    Mercedes-Benz will stage the once annual 'Stars & Cars' event at its Stuttgart museum on November 29. Lewis Hamilton, who...

    F1
  6. Sam Michael set to leave McLaren 13:15

    Sam Michael set to leave McLaren

    McLaren Sporting Director Sam Michael is to leave the team at the end of the season. A McLaren spokesperson has confirmed...

    F1
  7. Lotus expects to keep Grosjean for 2015 11:12

    Lotus expects to keep Grosjean for 2015

    Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez says he expects to retain Romain Grosjean for the 2015 season, despite admitting that the...

    F1
  8. 09:43

    Photos: Márquez, Pedrosa visit Indonesia

    MotoGP
  9. Pérez on brink of new Force India deal 09:34

    Pérez on brink of new Force India deal

    Sergio Pérez says he is likely to sign a fresh Force India deal "in the next week", a move that would complete the outfit's...

    F1
  10. Video of the Day: Wolff on F1 title success 05:15

    Video of the Day: Wolff on F1 title success

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff discusses the brand's maiden Formula 1 Constructors' success.

    F1
  11. Tuesday 21 October 2014

  12. 16:03

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  13. Silverstone senior executives suspended 13:55

    Silverstone senior executives suspended

    The British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) has taken "a closer role" in the day-to-day running of Silverstone following the...

    F1
  14. Caterham insists team not threatened 12:25

    Caterham insists team not threatened

    Caterham has dismissed media reports suggesting that Caterham Sports Limited (CSL) being placed into administration will...

    F1
  15. Lotus mourns death of Total chief 11:08

    Lotus mourns death of Total chief

    Lotus says it has been left "shocked" and "deeply saddened" by the death of Christophe de Margerie, Chairman and CEO of team...

    F1
  16. Spa to fight Nissan's use of Eau Rouge name 09:50

    Spa to fight Nissan's use of Eau Rouge name

    The Spa-Francorchamps circuit says it will contest an application from car manufacturer Nissan to trademark "Eau...

    F1
  17. Video: Miami welcomes Formula E 09:30

    Video: Miami welcomes Formula E

    Watch as the track layout for the Miami ePrix, scheduled to take place on March 14 next year, is revealed.

    Formula E
  18. Miami reveals Formula E circuit layout 09:22

    Miami reveals Formula E circuit layout

    Miami has become the latest Formula E host to reveal its track layout for the electric championship. Produced by track...

    Formula E
  19. Pons retains Tunjo for 2015 FR3.5 season 09:07

    Pons retains Tunjo for 2015 FR3.5 season

    Pons Racing has confirmed that Óscar Tunjo will remain with the team in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series next year. The...

    FR 3.5
  20. Video of the Day: Nasr samples FW08C 05:11

    Video of the Day: Nasr samples FW08C

    Williams reserve Felipe Nasr sampled Keke Rosberg's 1983 FW08C at the team's Partner Day at Silverstone.

    F1
  21. Monday 20 October 2014

  22. Brawn, Domenicali on new Accident Panel 17:54

    Brawn, Domenicali on new Accident Panel

    Former Formula 1 team bosses Ross Brawn and Stefano Domenicali have joined the FIA's new Accident Panel, which has been put...

    F1
  23. Moscow Raceway earns licence for F1 races 17:14

    Moscow Raceway earns licence for F1 races

    Moscow Raceway has been granted an FIA Grade 1 licence, allowing it to stage Formula 1 races. The track, located some...

    Misc
  24. Wolff confirmed for Race Of Champions 15:04

    Wolff confirmed for Race Of Champions

    Susie Wolff will become the first female driver to compete at the Race Of Champions after signing up for this year's event...

    F1
  25. De Vries gets FR3.5 seat with DAMS 14:43

    De Vries gets FR3.5 seat with DAMS

    McLaren junior Nyck de Vries will compete in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series with reigning champion team DAMS next...

    FR 3.5
  26. Lotus to trial new nose design at Austin 13:58

    Lotus to trial new nose design at Austin

    Lotus will test a new nose during practice for the United States Grand Prix, as the team looks to finalise its design for...

    F1
  27. Rossi says tyre choice crucial to victory 13:23

    Rossi says tyre choice crucial to victory

    Valentino Rossi says choosing the extra-soft Bridgestone front tyre was crucial to his second victory of the season at...

    MotoGP
  28. Force India retains Hülkenberg for 2015 10:08

    Force India retains Hülkenberg for 2015

    Force India has confirmed that Nico Hülkenberg will continue to race for the team next season. Hülkenberg, 27, returned t...

    F1
  29. Silverstone, Le Mans back on FR3.5 calendar 09:19

    Silverstone, Le Mans back on FR3.5 calendar

    The World Series by Renault package, which includes Formula Renault 3.5, will return to Silverstone and Le Mans next...

    FR 3.5
  30. Sainz Jr. elated by championship success 07:22

    Sainz Jr. elated by championship success

    Red Bull youngster Carlos Sainz Jr. hailed his "incredible" season after he succeeded Kevin Magnussen as Formula Renault 3.5...

    FR 3.5
  31. Video of the Day: Mercedes celebrates title 05:04

    Video of the Day: Mercedes celebrates title

    Mercedes celebrates its first Formula 1 Constructors' success at its bases in Brackley and Brixworth.

    F1
  32. Sunday 19 October 2014

  33. DTM champion Wittmann gets Toro Rosso test 20:39

    DTM champion Wittmann gets Toro Rosso test

    Marco Wittmann will receive a Formula 1 test with Toro Rosso as his reward from BMW for winning this year's DTM...

    DTM
  34. Verstappen ends F3 season in third place 17:11

    Verstappen ends F3 season in third place

    Future Toro Rosso driver Max Verstappen has finished his sole FIA Formula 3 European campaign in third place after losing...

    F1
  35. Kubica: Formula 1 return would be a dream 14:30

    Kubica: Formula 1 return would be a dream

    Robert Kubica says he has not yet given up on the prospect of returning to Formula 1 at some point in the future and will...

    F1
  36. 13:38

    Latest FR3.5 photos: Sunday at Jerez

    FR 3.5
  37. Dominant Rowland wins FR3.5 finale at Jerez 13:37

    Dominant Rowland wins FR3.5 finale at Jerez

    Oliver Rowland claimed victory in the final race of the Formula Renault 3.5 season as he controlled proceedings throughout...

    FR 3.5
  38. 09:20

    Latest MotoGP photos: Sunday at Phillip Island

    MotoGP
  39. Márquez 'not on the limit' before crash 09:19

    Márquez 'not on the limit' before crash

    World Champion Marc Márquez says he was not riding on the limit when he crashed out of the lead in the Australian Grand Prix...

    MotoGP
  40. Rossi wins incident-packed race in Australia 06:50

    Rossi wins incident-packed race in Australia

    Valentino Rossi claimed his second win of the year in an incident-packed Australian Grand Prix after World Champion Marc...

    MotoGP
  41. Video of the Day: Pedrosa on Phillip Island 03:00

    Video of the Day: Pedrosa on Phillip Island

    Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa chose his fondest Phillip Island memory ahead of Sunday's race at the track.

    MotoGP
  42. Saturday 18 October 2014

  43. 13:52

    Latest FR3.5 photos: Saturday at Jerez

    FR 3.5
  44. Stevens wins, Sainz Jr. clinches title 13:51

    Stevens wins, Sainz Jr. clinches title

    Carlos Sainz Jr. clinched the 2014 Formula Renault 3.5 championship at the very first corner of the final round in Jerez...

    FR 3.5
  45. Ecclestone: Las Vegas targeting Formula 1 race 09:32

    Ecclestone: Las Vegas targeting Formula 1 race

    Bernie Ecclestone says a Formula 1 race could be held on the streets of Las Vegas in the future. Ecclestone has long seen...

    F1
more news