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Formula 1: Qualifying Report

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It was a day of ups and downs for the teams in qualifying today. There was still speculation in the air following the drama surrounding Sauber and whether or not the Manor-Marussia team would run at all this weekend.

For those who are new to Formula 1, Qualifying is split into 3 parts.

In Q1, the slowest 5 drivers are eliminated from qualifying and their times reset. In Q2, again the slowest 5 drivers are eliminated and the times reset. Q3 is the top 10 shootout for ”pole”.

Qualifying: Q1

The main story of Q1 was that Manor-Marussia did not run their cars at all for Q1, which meant that only 18 cars ran in Q1. As was expected by most, the Mercedes Team dominated Qualifying on the harder of the tyre compounds although Ferrari were able to match them for most of the session, they used the soft tyre meaning they have an advantage with speed and grip. It was also apparent that  Williams were going to maintain their impressve form and were matching Ferrari’s times. McLaren were at the other end of the grid struggling to find the speed to compete with the top teams. Sauber had a mixed showing as at the begginng they were fast but as the session continued their performance dropped off. Red Bull also had a good session as both drivers performed well even though local hero Daniel Ricciardo had only completed 19 laps all weekend due to engine problems. The biggest surprise came from Toro Rosso where both of their rookie drivers had an impressive debut with both drivers showing their potential to the rest of the field.

As the flag dropped to signal the end of Q1, the following drivers were eliminated:

Position Driver Team
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber
17 Jenson Button McLaren
18 Kevin Magnussen McLaren

Qualifying: Q2

Q2 had similar surprises in stall for us as once again Mercedes dominated the time sheets while the other teams played catch up. Ferrari and Williams were once again locked in combat to be the best of the rest. All the while Lotus were trying to get both of their drivers in the top 10. Red Bull struggled to get the pace needed frrom their cars to challenge the top teams. Force India struggled in Q2 with the dropping temperatures around the track. Felip Nasr, had a good Q2 setting good pace for the most part. The flag dropped on Q2 and the folloeing drivers failed to make the cut:

Position Driver Team
11 Felipe Nasr Sauber
12 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso
13 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull
14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India
15 Sergio Perez Force India

 

Qualifying: Q3

As the lights turned green, Mercedes was expected to take the first row of the grid, but who would take pole. The real fight was for “best of the rest” place. The story was that Lewis had set the pace early on which even Nico found difficult to keep up with. The battle between Ferrari and Williams was as close as it had been all through qualifyng with all 4 drivers being as close as  3 tenths of a second apart. Local hero Daniel Ricciardo set a good time to please his many fans. Most impressive was the Toro Rosso driver Colos Sainz Jr on his debut making the grade and putting his car in the top 10. The 2 Lotus drivers also had a stellar performance putting their cars in the top 10 since 2013.

The final grid is as follows for the 2015 Australian Grand Prix:

Position Driver Team
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes
3 Felipe Massa Williams
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
6 Valtteri Bottas Williams
7 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
8 Carlos Sainz Jr Toro Rosso
9 Romain Grosjean Lotus
10 Pastor Maldonado Lotus
11 Felipe Nasr Sauber
12 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso
13 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull
14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India
15 Sergio Perez Force India
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber
17 Jenson Button McLaren
18 Kevin Magnussen McLaren
DNS Will Stevens Manor-Marussia
DNS Roberto Merhi Manor-Marussia

One To Watch: Carlos Sainz Jr

My “One To Watch” is Carlos Sainz Jr after his very impressive debut putting his car in 8th and nearly out qualifying Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull.

All in all it was a very intriguing qualifying for the race tomorrow. Daniil Kvyat will also be one to watch as he makes his way through the field also both Toro Rosso drivers will want to put on a good show for their respective debut starts. The battle between Ferrari and Williams is a mouth watering prospect with both teams’ cars producing relatively similar times across the board. But the main event will be the next chapter in the Hamilton – Rosberg saga. It’s going to be a fantastic opener to the season.

What are your thoughts about the upcoming Grand Prix? Email us your thoughts at danny@skemnews.com.

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