Hamilton leads McLaren one-two as Grosjean takes surprise third

2012 Australian Grand Prix qualifying

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Lewis Hamilton and McLaren team mate Jenson Button share the front row of the grid for the Australian Grand Prix.

A scorching lap of 1’24.922 put Hamilton clear of his team mate while Lotus’s Romain Grosjean took a surprise third.

This was despite team mate Kimi Raikkonen being eliminated in the first part of qualifying.

A dramatic session saw both Ferraris miss out on the top ten and the Red Bulls consigned to the third row of the grid.


With the midfield runners separated by tenths or even hundredths, the first part of qualifying was always likely to create drama.

And so it proved. To begin with Felipe Massa looked most at risk of failing to reach Q2 as he languished an 18th. Both he and team mate Fernando Alonso had to make another run on soft tyres to make sure of their progress.

But it was Raikkonen who was caught out. With the lap times tumbling at the end of the session, Raikkonen made a mistake in the final sector and with too little time to respond he missed the cut by a tenth of a second.

Caterham were the best part of a second adrift, showing little progress over their position at the end of last year.

Both Marussia drivers were comfortably within 7% of the fastest time. But HRT struggled, and Narain Karthikeyan incurred the wrath of several drivers including Alonso and Sebastian Vettel who he held up.

Neither F112 was within the 107% time, Pedro de la Rosa falling short by 1.2 seconds.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

18Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’27.759
19Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1’28.679
20Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault1’29.018
21Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth1’30.923
22Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth1’31.670
23Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth1’33.495
24Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’33.643


The second part of qualifiyng produced more drama. Alonso had put the unco-operative F2012 in fifth place when he dropped his left-hand wheels onto the grass at turn one and spun into the gravel trap.

That brought his session to an end and temporarily halted proceedings just after Hamilton had set the fastest time so far.

When the session resumed the Mercedes drivers showed their hand, Rosberg taking the quickest time a tenth of a second ahead of Schumacher.

A fine effort from Maldonado propelled him into Q3. It also began Alonso’s slide out of the top ten, which was completed when Hulkenberg edged him out by a tenth of a second.

Ferrari still had one other car running but Massa’s best effort was a full second off Alonso’s time.

Ricciardo made it two home drivers in the final ten, pipping his team mate by a tenth of a second.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’26.429
12Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’26.494
13Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’26.590
14Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault1’26.663
15Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’27.086
16Felipe MassaFerrari1’27.497
17Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari


The Mercedes drivers did their first run of Q3 on the soft tyres which they had been using when the red flag came out in Q2.

Rosberg was first to set a time but it was emphatically beaten by Hamilton, whose 1’24.922 was seven-tenths quicker than anyone could manage on their first runs.

That included Vettel, who slotted into second ahead of Schumacher and Button.

Rosberg had a set of new soft tyres for his final attempt. But he locked up heavily at turn four and slumped to seventh place.

Team mate Schumacher moved up to second, only to be pegged back by Romain Grosjean. Jenson Button erased most of the gap to Hamilton with his last effort – but fell short by a tenth of a second.

Hamilton couldn’t find any more time with his last run but he didn’t need to, and duly claimed his second Australian Grand Prix pole position.

Top ten in Q3

1Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’24.922
2Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’25.074
3Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’25.302
4Michael SchumacherMercedes1’25.336
5Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’25.651
6Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’25.668
7Nico RosbergMercedes1’25.686
8Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’25.908
9Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’26.451
10Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari

2012 Australian Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    284 comments on “Hamilton leads McLaren one-two as Grosjean takes surprise third”

    1. Sniff. It’s so beautiful. I don’t know if I’ll be able to wait for the race.

      1. Same for me!

      2. Happy not to see Vettel’s pole finger … Good to c Mclaren,mercedes n lotus on top n gap btw them is within 0.4s…Helmet Marko where r u now??

        1. I wouldn’t have said it better! :D

        2. @prdsh I imagine he’s probably quite happy. His drivers (Vergne and Ricciardo) qualified very well.

          1. LMAO! Good one!

        3. This season is going to be unbearable with the Hamilton-fans… Mclaren got a good car. When Vettel wins it’s just the car that so superior! ( even despite the average gap was like 0,1 over the season in Q ). But when Lewis wins in a dominant car it’s going to be because of his skillz :D CUSS HE’S SO GOOD!

          1. I’m glad you got that straight now. :)

          2. Agreed it will be hypocritical. However he beat a peak Button in the same car and not a fading Webber.

          3. Meh, go back to 2010, Redbull had 1.8s over Mclaren in 2nd position, that same gap now seperates most of the field.

      3. I’m so happy right now. F1 is back!

        1. Yes! Go Merc :)

      4. Oh this wonderful, McLaren are on top red bull are behind, lotus surprise us and Mercedes are near the pointy end! And to make ut better Ferrari are far away!

        1. I’m loving this!!
          McLaren at the top, Red Bull slightly behind, Ferrari far back, Lotus and Merc are fast, the midfield is incredibly close since Williams, Force India and Toro Rosso with 1 driver in the top ten while Sauber seems fast too with Kamui setting the fastest time in Q1 which would have put him 7th in Q2, Caterham not so far back (I’m sure they will improve) and Marussia seems faster than expected, not too far off Caterham and its their first running in the dry (I’m sure they will improve too!!)!!!
          I just don’t understand people that don’t think F1 is exciting! And the race hasn’t even started!!

      5. Little worried its going to be the same as last year with just a different winner. The McLaren is way faster than the others – not as close as some are making it out to be.

        Here’s hoping another team keep up so that its not another snore.

        1. Well at the very least McLaren should have two competitive drivers. I’d bet on Rosberg finally making his mark this year too.

      6. and the thought of that Lewis could’ve shaven like 0.4 off that pole time

    2. So many teams looking strong, Red Bull looking under pressure, Ferrari well off the pace.
      Looks like an exciting season coming up.

      1. Very much so!
        Doesn’t hide my pain for ferrari tho :(
        but i’m so glad it looks like a seriously closed up pack

      2. I think this season is going to very exciting with lots of surprises.

    3. I’m happy to see that Red Bull are far from dominant this year. A third row means a fast car, but not nearly enough to cruze up front.
      I’m also surprised Rosberg only qualified 7th. He was fastest of the hard tyres in Q1, and quickest in Q2. Without his lock-up in turn 3, I think he seriously could’ve challenged Hamilton for pole today.

      Lastly, Grosjean did brilliant. Kimi might’ve been unlucky today, but looking at the pace of the Lotus, he could certainly be on the podium this year.

      1. I think Mclaren were running bit of fuel in Q2…and ross brawn said after quali that mercedes were close to their maximum pace in Q2

      2. he wont be far behind. He’ll probably start on softs and pull himself in front.

      3. @kingshark Rosberg had a lock-up on his final hot lap so that would explain why he was so low. I have no doubt he would have gone higher, but I’m not sure about pole.

        I think it’s too early to proclaim any era of dominance, or lack-of dominance. Yes, RBR were off the pace. But we have 20 races to go and an awful lot can happen. Red Bull can still win all 20 races. Until we’ve got a few races out of the way I don’t think we can safely say any level of dominance has been established.

    4. Can’t believe Red Bull are down there! Vettel didn’t look confident all throughout practice and qualy, while Webber said he had no KERS, so that may make a difference. But still, amazing from Mercedes, McLaren and Grosjean, Particularly Grosjean!

      1. KERS problems again? But this time he outqualified vetted too!

        1. Yeah, encouraging for Webber, he looks quite comfortable, maybe more so than Vettel – but the Red Bull is definitely not as fast as they’d like…

        2. People seem to forget the Webber was very competetive with Vettel in 2010 before the blown diffuser, I think he has benefited from the loss of it…

          1. Exactly @Lemon, Webber may surprise a few people this year…

            1. I think that the fact that Red Bull isn’t dominantly fast can just lift the pressure of Marks’s chests. He use to be guilty as under-performing in a the fastest car on the grid. Not any more. Besides this is just a first qualifying and look how fired up all of us are :)))))))) Yuhuuu!

          2. I agree. It’s obvious that Vettel was much better at exploiting the EBD than Mark was… He & Horner even admitted as much last year if I recall correctly. I’m pretty confident that the team battle between the Red Bull boys will look more like 2010 than 2011.

          3. @Lemon

            And 2009? No diffusor, no exhaust blowing. 15-2 for Vettel in qualifying.

            Webber was very competitive with Vettel in 2010 because Vettel suffered a lot of car failures and made costly mistakes. In 2009 Webber was also able to keep up with Vettel due to Vettel making mistakes.

            Webber scored more points last year than he did in 2010. He was also more consistent. The only problem for him was that Vettel made very little mistakes last year and almost no car failures.

            1. 2009? Webber wasn’t fully fit until at least half way into the season, if that. Plus he had a run of bad luck and mechanical failures at the end of the year. But that’s not to say Vettel isn’t a great driver, obviously.

            2. Don’t forget that 2009 was when webber was still recovering from his nasty broken leg. It would’ve been very painful with all the g forces and knocking about inside the cockpit.

          4. Jack Flash (Aust)
            17th March 2012, 10:50

            +1. You hit the nail on the head. When the EBD development escalated from mid 2010, Webber’s comparative competiveness to Vettel faded, and 2011 too. “Back to the Future” now. Webber has driven a long time in F1 cars without back ends ‘welded onto rails’. A bit of luck mechanically wouldn’t go astray for Webber neither. JF

            1. They had EDB at the start of 2010 and webber was competitive with it. It was the Off-throttle blowing (introduced halfway thru 2010) that he wasn’t as comfortable with

          5. Fernando Cruz
            17th March 2012, 13:06

            This year Webber can benefit from the loss of blown diffuser and also from the fact that he now has a full year experience with the Pirelli tyres. Remember Vettel adapted very quickly to Pirelli last year…

            1. still we’ll see tomorrow if Webber can fix his badstarts from the last year. I wish him luck so we get better entertainment.

      2. Fantastic qualy session. Everyone on Sky was banging on about “how much have Redbull still to show of their performance” all the way upto Q3. Yet, it was becoming obvious at the start of Q2 that actually, there wasnt going to be a surge in performance from RBR this time, and that everything was as we was seeing it. Im actually shocked (and Im sure everyone else is too) just how far back they was from Hamilton’s pole time.

        1. Everyone on Sky & on here as well. I think a lot of people instead of paying attention to the actual behavior of the cars & drivers on track were instead willing Red Bull to be fast based only on last year’s performance & nothing more. I’ve been saying since FP1 that the RB8 hadn’t shown me anything worth writing home about, & it was pretty obvious to me that it wasn’t nearly as composed as the McLaren & Mercedes were. That & the fact that they lost so much time at the last test made me suspect that they didn’t really have the luxury to be sandbagging: they didn’t even carry over their complete upgrade package from Barcelona, so obviously all wasn’t well in the world of Red Bull.
          They’re still chasing some downforce on the rear IMO… I suspect they’ll be back in the thick of things when they finally get their exhaust/bodywork updates sorted, because I definitely don’t think the RB8 is an inherently bad car. For those who were paying attention last year, one of the main reasons the Red Bull (in Vettel’s hands, at least) was so astoundingly fast in qualifying was the EBD: he had so much confidence in the rear of the car staying hooked up on throttle, he was able to deploy his DRS much earlier than anyone else exiting corners. That advantage is no more. The fact that he’s visibly struggling more than Mark makes me think he’s missing the effects of the EBD most… it must be quite a step backwards from what he’s been used to. They’ll catch up though… no doubt in my mind about that.

          1. right mate, they will catch up, but i believe it will be a 50/50 chance in all races btw mclarens and redbulls, not like last season, REDBULL HAD TOO MUCH ADVANTAGE, IT WAS UNBELIEVABLE HOW VETTEL WAS attacking the grand hotel hairpin in monaco in qualifiying. he had so much stabillity which no other car had,u could notice it clearly, so i can say F1 IS BACK!!!!

            1. Agree :)

      3. Newey was the one who said every piece of car must work to make a great machine but it seems that Red Bull have been investing too much time and money to recover all the grip they’ve lost with EBD ban.

    5. If Schumacher can produce the same quality of starts as he did last year, we’re in for a treat!!!

      1. It’s a bit easier to overtake lots of cars at the start if there are lots of cars in front of you. I’m sure he’d be delighted to be third after the first corner though.

      2. Yea. Imagine him doing an Alonso-esque start and getting up to first before the first corner. He’s more than capable of doing that…and also, assuming other teams will take a couple of months to develop a similar system to Mercedes, Micheal has a few races to get Pole and a win. After that, once the advantage is eradicated, it’s gonna be tough.

        1. that’s very difficult especially in the dry conditions because the start finish line is too short but i can see Michael gaining a place or two

        2. Remember guy’s that this is maybe the last season for Michael in F1, and after two years in which he took same heavy beating for not delivering he will be fierce force to deal with. Just remember ’94 last race and Jerez ’97 e.t.c..

          1. Lol…oh great.

    6. I can’t wait for tomorrow’s race. I think I might just go straight back to sleep now so it comes quicker.

      Some thoughts: brilliant for McLaren, particularly Hamilton. After all he has said about sorting out his personal life ahead of this season, he really needs some good results in the first few rounds to get him off on the right foot. Today he has given himself the best possible chance. Grosjean was phenomenal and his smile was absolutely contagious. Kimi was a bit unlucky – if he hadn’t gone off on his final lap, he would have had time for another, and probably would have knocked Felipe Massa out. It was his own error though. Mercedes clearly have the pace to challenge at the front, protests from Renault-engined team notwithstanding, but Rosberg couldn’t capitalise on it in qualifying. Red Bull have been hit hardest by the loss of downforce – which seems to have made everything so much more exciting again – and I’m astonished if they don’t have KERS again.

      1. I can’t believe that’s year on that KERS still isn’t sorted either. Massive amount of time in F1 and you would have thought that it would be one of the areas they would have looked at first

      2. I think Kimi coasted to the end of his lap, not realising how little time there was. You could see on his onboard how slow he was through the last couple of corners. And then he was very aggressive into the 1st corner, as though he hadn’t realised yet that he hadn’t started his lap in time.

          1. Yes, I already saw that quote on a Finnish website. It’s as much the team’s fault as it is his, for not telling him. More so, in fact.

            1. Yep, very disappointnig for us. Clearly he could have been close to the front.

            2. Guess tomorrow we will see just how good lotus and kimi will be: ) Not to mention he has his fresh super-softs. Top 10 finish shouldn’t be a problem if so.

        1. Well tbh even if Kimi had not slowed down at the end of the lap he still wouldn’t have had enough time for another lap. Unless he had kept his foot down after the moment he had that off track moment he would have not had enough time imho. Either the team put Kimi out on the track 10s late or Kimi lifted off too much to leave himself some gap when he was on the outlap.

          Kind of sad we did not get to see how fast kimi could have gone. Grosjean did superb job though!

          1. He only missed the cut by a few seconds, and he was going pretty slow for the entire last sector. I’m sure he could have made it had his team kept him informed.

          2. Actually, @socksolid makes a good point. If you look at this screenshot, which is from the exact time Kimi’s lap time appeared on screen in the closing moments of P1, you can see that he is 42 seconds into his lap with 44 seconds to go. That means that he would have had to complete the lap in under 1:26 in order to have been able to start a new one – but there would have been no point, as he would have been the fastest driver anyway. The best time in Q1 was Kobayashi’s 1:26.182.

            As socksolid says, that means that either he was sent out too late or that he was too slow on his out lap. The off-track excursion he had on his flier was not the factor that stopped him from getting another one – that was his only chance to make it count, and he messed up.

    7. Gobsmacked by Grosjean – where on earth did that come from?! I didn’t see a single sign of that all pre-seasons. Stunning performance, and nice to see a French flag flying high in F1 again.

      I had an inkling that McLaren might take it, but to see Red Bull that far off the pace is somewhat reassuring. Looks like we won’t be seeing a repeat of the whitewash we had last season.

      1. He was fastest in pre-season testing three times, I think. Didn’t that give you any inkling?

        1. It wouldn’t really as you could think other teams were sandbagging, which Mac obviously were. Nobody had any clue where they would be on the grid.

          1. I had a fairly good idea. I would have been very surprised if either McLaren had been outside of the top four in qualifying. I thought they would be one of the top two teams alongside Red Bull, with Mercedes and Lotus behind them. Mercedes are currently a bit ahead of Red Bull, but I’m not sure how long that will last for, and otherwise I think my prediction looks pretty accurate.

            1. I expected Lotus to be up there – I had bet on them being behind Red Bull and McLaran, leaving Mercedes just behind them and Ferrari right after that. I got the driver wrong, and a lot else, but Lotus (or Renault, as I keep thinking of them) have got a car this year.

            2. i thought he might have been up there, in fact i place Grosjean 4th for sunday and Schum 5th, but i think Schum could be higher now maybe even on the Podium, now wouldn’t that make the headlines.
              what am i saying i am a McLaren supporter…

    8. if Nico hadnt locked up and spoilt his last run he shouldve left the red bulls further back

      1. He might have taken pole. He was 0.02 s faster than Hamilton through Sector 2, but slightly slower in Sector 3. Well, I guess we’ll never know.

        I can’t wait until the race tomorrow. Bring on the new season!

        1. Remember that’s compared to lewis’ First run tho. Think he always had it

        2. You could see the dissapointment in his body language in the after qualifying weight-in. He knew this was a golden chance for him to be on the front row at least.

        3. sector two consists of two straights, given mercedes top speed it’s hardly suprising he was quicker…

        4. He probably wouldn’t have. A lock up is usually caused by carrying too much speed into a corner – which is why he was up on the previous sector. You cant cheat the laws of physics. The faster you go, the more you have to slow down.

      2. I think there’s no question he should at least have been ahead of Schumacher on row two. Front row was possible. Pole? Maybe not.

        1. how much did he lose in sector one compared to his fastest time?

        2. yeah, 7/10ths of a sec seems like an awful lot right now. MS 1, NR 0 in quali but great to see the closeness. I have suspected all along that MS crudially needed to work on quali and it would seem he has, in spite of Brawn claiming that NR would still be hard to beat on Saturdays, but great to see NR is still going to be right with him…ie. the car suits them both.

          1. oops that should say ‘crucially’…duh

    9. That’s a great result for McLaren. I was concerned that they had gone in different direction from other designers. Grosjean was a huge surprise but good for him, nice to see a new boy near the front, but wow where would Kimi have been? Nice to see a Williams up there lets hope this is the stat of there revival.

      1. Grosjean is not a new boy.

        1. Paul Barrass
          17th March 2012, 9:14

          @novotny No one seems to remember that aside from that blip of a time in an F1 car before, when he absolutely was not ready, Romain Grosjean is very, very fast in junior formulas against some stiff competition. Honestly though. How good does this season feel already. My only main hope is that Mercedes get to keep their F-Duct, or if it is banned, then at least they recoup that performance elsewhere, helping to keep things tight at the top. I’ve bet on six teams winning formula one races this year, and on this evidence so far, I’m feeling much more confident than I was about that prediction yesterday. Here’s to a great season!

          1. Mercedes’ so called f-duct front wing is genius. People are still trying to determine its benefits, but supposedly it is a duct on the rear wind end plate that pass air back up the car to stall the front wing when DRS is activated to not only give a small increase in top speed but allow the DRS to be opened earlier by stopping the front end from being so “pointy”/the rear wing stepping out when DRS is activated. I can’t see how it’s illegal. Eric Boullier is not protesting the device itself, he’s trying to get it banned by saying that it’s “driver operated” as it comes into effect when DRS is deployed, but the only reason for that is due to the fact it’s a slot that’s always there and always open but is blocked by the upper element of the rear wing when it’s down/DRS closed, and when the element flips up/DRS activated then the duct is exposed to the airflow. It’s very clever and it’s the innovation that so many ppl on this site (and around the world) were hoping the engineers would still be able to produce despite the restrictions the regulations provide. Well done to the mercedes engineers.

            1. Yes I agree with all that Dom say’s, the point being it’s only activated when the DRS is deployed. That’s all well and good for free practice and qually where it can be used anywhere on track when required, but in a race it can only be used when overtaking in the DRS zone, so Merc could see themselves qualify well then go backwards somewhat in the race.

      2. Better still, if Grosjean could stick it in 3rd, what would Kubica have done?? I think better than either Kimi or Grosjean.

    10. The most beautiful car was the fastest then. Low nose anyone? ;-). Obviously there’s more to it but the car looked so good, it was like it was on rails. So delighted to see grosjean up there too! I knew he’d come good in his comeback, saw home at silverstone last year & he looked classy. I can now stand with Tongue in cheek saying to ppl “I told you so”. He really wasnt given a chance coming in halfway thru the season against alonso. Hope he can do it in the race.

      I’m do annoyed that I changed my prediction for pole from 1:24.9 to 1:24.7!

      F1 certainly hasn’t disappointed with mercedes’ fdfw and mini double diffuser and the other teams’ reaction to it.

      Can’t believe red bull 8 tenths of the pace today despite vettels mistake

      1. Cars are even slower than 2010 this year if you look at Q3 that year. When was the DDD banned?

        1. DDD is double diffuser? that was used in 2009 n banned for 2010.

          1. double deck diffuser

            1. My comment must not have saved.
              Yeah Double Deck Diffuser. Looking at quali times from 2010, the Ferrari F10 was much faster. Maybe tires back then also helped. Actually times in general were faster back then. But Brundle said he drove the F10, and it handled really well, and the F2012 looks like a dog! They would almost be better using the old car with a new nose! LOL

          2. DDD use ended for the 2011 season, the loss of this was offset through the use of the Exhaust Blown Diffuser (EBD) last year

      2. beauty isn’t skin deep!

      3. Brent Rockwood
        17th March 2012, 17:39

        I’m glad you mentioned it. The McLarens did look really smooth and easy to drive. Very promising. I hope we get some close, clean racing from those two.

    11. I am happy for Lewis. I hope he has a great year and wins the race tomorrow. I am also excited on the prospect of seeing Raikonnen fighting for the podium. The Lotus seems to have good pace. Redbull’s form seems surprising but good for racing at the same time. We have an exciting season ahead of us!!!

      1. Whilst im sure you meant from Malaysia, its going to take an effort from Kimi to fight for a Podium tomorrow, but stranger things have happened.

      2. i am more excited to see grosjean fight for the podium, he will get a chance tomorrow and possibly place himself as the team leader.

    12. Although Ferrari are in complete disarray at the moment, I feel completely rejuvenated with the result of qualifying. I never thought I’d feel relief seeing Lewis take pole. Here’s for an amazing potential season.

      1. @RIISE Not only that — but we have Lotus and Mercedes looking capable of taking the fight to Red Bull at some races this year. They were very unlucky last weekend, so I can’t wait to see what happens in Malaysia!

    13. Absolutely amazing qualifying. Unpredictable, manic, surprising. Let’s hope the rest of the season keeps providing us with this kind of thing.

    14. Wow. Just wow. McLaren and Mercedes both look mega. And Grosjean! Incredible! We’ve got a season on our hands now boys!

    15. I know this is totally bias, but after 2 years in the RBR shadow…YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!

      1. High five

      2. I’ve never felt so pleased….

      3. Hi five!! (this coming from an Alonso fan!!)

      4. mclaren is back, ;)

      5. I think that feeling must be pretty much universal, even for Webber! Only Ferrari must be doubly hurting, given they could be up there, if they hadn’t tried to weld two halves from different racing cars into one.

        The big question now has got to be whether Red Bull have the resources to catch up quickly – especially given they’re competing with an equally or more aggressive McLaren and Mercedes.

      6. totally agree , a breath of fresh air has been blown down the albert park pit straight , bring on the season :)

    16. What a Saturday! This is a very promising start to the new season. Red Bull beaten, Lotus surprisingly strong and Mercedes have closed the gap to the front, one could hardly ask for more. And I have already scored my first points in the 2012 F1F predictions championship :)

      I had expected a bit more from Caterham and HRT. I thought both teams had made more progress over the winter. It’s also sad to see Massa struggling that much. I didn’t think Raikkonen would fail to reach Q2 although the fact that Grosjean beat him doesn’t surprise me much.

      Schumacher is fighting for the podium at least and Vettel just said that Red Bull’s set-up should suit the race conditions well. Tomorrow can’t come soon enough!

      1. I had expected a bit more from Caterham and HRT. I thought both teams had made more progress over the winter. It’s also sad to see Massa struggling that much.

        I expected more from caterham & hrt too. Thought their chassis’ looked good, just goes to show how the other elements of the car have to be in complete harmony to produce the extra lap time.

        It seems a shame that for massa who has shown brilliance at times in his career is struggling with the car when he really needs to shine

        1. Caterham were a bit unlucky this qualifying, but nonetheless, I believe they still don’t yet have the experience to extract the maximum from their package.
          They are a little bit in no mans land at the moment, just slightly behind the mid runners.
          Until we get to those tracks with a very simple layout, they are clearly 1.5+ seconds ahead of Marussia, and HRT don’t yet know where they are.
          It is hard to say right now if the Caterham has good development potential.

    17. Very exciting!!! And to think if nico hadnt muffed his lap I was on for a 50 point race! As for the season, ignore roman at your peril.

    18. Red Bull look average. They are still fast, but nowhere near the dominance of last year.
      Mclaren looks like the car to beat.
      Mercedes looks mega fast. I think they could’ve done much better today.
      Lotus also looks great. To bad for Kimi.
      Ferrari is a dog, no, it’s worse than a dog. I thin Ferrari might be the worse of the established teams. Yes, they are THAT bad!

    19. We actually still don’t know what Mercedes’ and Lotus’ absolute pace is. Roman did well to take 3rd, but judging by what been said all the while, Kimi is a little better. So maybe they still are a tenth or two off their ultimate pace, which is great!

      Also, Michael was a tenth off Hamilton’s time in Q3 after the first and second sectors. He was a tenth down in S1, and held steady is S2. Then he loses 3 tenths in S3. Maybe a mistake there, we can’t be sure. Rosberg, on the other hand, definitely underperformed. Assuming last year’s pattern holds true (him being 3 – 5 tenths faster than Michael in qualifying), he would have been right in the thick of it.

      The best part though is that Ferrari look to be a whole second or more off-pace, and Red Bull some 5 tenths away.

      I hope Michael gets a win or a Pole for his comeback, would make for a real good story, but he really has 3-4 races to get it done. After that the apparent advantage from the DRS system they have will be eradicated.

      1. Knowing from last year how Michael is always better in the race than in qualifying, we could be up for something tomorrow! :p

      2. schumi the greatest
        17th March 2012, 9:26

        I think Schumacher may be a little closer to Rosberg this season…he does look a lot better than he has the last 2 years…perhaps that mercedes suits his driving style a bit better than the last 2! good to see someone other than Vettel on pole!

        Really want a big season from Lewis so this is the perfect start just hope he can manage the tyres better in the races! I could tell Red Bull were struggling..they just never looked that “hooked up” now we’ll really see what Vettel can do. He’s in a car a few tenths of the pace so he needs to drive development of the team and make the difference.

        Cant wait for it to start! come on lewis!

    20. A stepped nose car is not on pole….. shocking!

      Does anyone else sense a titanic battle between Lewis and Jenson this year…… Lewis will probably continue to have an edge in raw pace but Jenson’s consistency will be something to reckon with. All of this is assuming that Mclaren continues to have an edge during the year

      1. Jenson is such a whiner, did you hear him making evcuses over the radio about how he lost time? I strggle to overlook that side of him, making excuses everytime in qualy!

        1. That’s because you choose to see it as “making excuses” rather than what it really is – which is Button doing his job, trying to identify what’s wrong with the car and how to make it faster.

          1. Agreed. To me it sounded like “thanks for all your work, it was my fault that I couldn’t get it closer to Lewis or on pole”. I guess some people choose to interpret it in a way that suits them.

            1. Yep @estesark and @keithcollantine, it sounded to me like: okay I didn’t make it, sorry guys, but pretty good job nevertheless, and I know where we/I lost us that bit of time, so nothing wrong with the car you gave me.

          2. Pundits didn’t really pick up that Lewis, only had a single run and lost time in the middle sector, plus his second set of tyres are newly new…the gap to Button was more than 0.15

            1. Actually I take some of that back, it appears Hamilton duffed his second lap…braking too late at turn one !!!

        2. Jenson is a really smart man. He has concluded by now that he will always trail Lewis in talent (plus he ain’t getting younger) so he want’s to get an edge with mind games. He will keep working on the narrative that he has more race craft, that there isn’t much between them and that he is more embedded in the team.

          Christian Horner no doubt knew that if Mclaren were fast that Lewis would be the threat but again Christian said he is worried about Jenson. They figured Lewis was down after 2011 so let’s step on his throat some more

          1. lol wants instead of want’s

          2. @f1asif : Actually I don’t think, Jenson is any less talented than Hamilton. On the contrary there are times when Button has outclassed Hamilton by a long margin. Both the drivers have their own skills and one complements the other. I see no reason why Button would want to play mind games with Lewis, I mean it is not like his place is in threat and they did lock out the front row.

            1. Proof that Lewis has an edge in pace is that he had an edge throughout quali today and you’ll likly see him have a 75% to 25% quali edge as the year evolves. I agree that they have their own skills and that Jenson’s maturity compensates for a lot of the gap in raw pace plus his instints in the wet. However my feeling is that if McLaren has a dominant car this year and Lewis is not getting into trouble with Fillipe (good he is at a lowly 16th) then you’ll likely see Lewis come out ahead. But let’s see it should be great fun!

              Though they are certainly friendly, I think competitive animals like these always play mind games. Lewis will readly do it to Jenson also though they like each other as individuals. They both always want to dominate the other guy.

          3. Some of the comments made here are more entertaining than the racing, but it could be put down to “lost in translation” Perhaps it might be better if we knew posters native language so that allowances can be made.

            One thing is for sure – ALL the drivers are heros and at the top of their game. How could anyone doubt this? For example “Maldonado is only a pay driver” – well he’s certainly done his talking on the track this time and fair play to him – hope there’s more to come. Remember that a tenth is a lot in F1 terms but it’s only a few yards on the track.

            In 2012, try and be nice – reserve your hate & sarcasm for people that REALLY deserve it.

        3. I think this is the year that the love fest between the McLaren boys will implode – no doubt helped by Martin (NO, Jenson will not overtake) Whitmarsh’s favoritism, displayed a few times last season. Lets just hope he doesn’t not undermine Lewis’s pole by giving Jenson favorable race strategy again.
          Last year, it seems Macca expected Lewis is always to duke it out based on speed alone, whilst Jenson got the helping hand on strategy – even when Lewis was ahead. This was a much different scenario from the Merc, RBR and Ferrari garages.

    21. I wonder if new Ferrari was a evolution of the last year car , rather the going for this radical new approach they could have been much better.

      1. I was wondering the same myself. They had a very good car last year that only just needed more laps to go faster.
        It may be too late to change the design philosophy, but they can still alter their exhaust layout, the present one seems to be giving inconsistent results.

    22. Formula 1 finally come alive again after at least one year of boring dominance. For McLaren we can only hope for a year like 1998. Congratulations also to Mercedes and Schumacher as well as Grosjean. RBR ultimatly have to fight again so its good to see Webber instantly beating Vettel.

    23. Interesting that there is only one Ferrari engined car in the top ten. And that five of the seven cars eliminated in Q2 were Ferrari powered. Coincidence?

    24. I wonder if Mercedes will have similar race pace like they have shown in qualifying session , specially when their ‘f-duct’ only works when DRS is enabled.

      1. I think there is a good chance, some of the post pre season testing analysis suggested their race stint tire management was quite good. If they have better tire usage this may offset any top speed loss when not using their ‘special’ DRS

      2. Wondered the same thing.

    25. A Ferrari fan, so obviously I am disappointed. But the presence of Alonso and his sheer determination to push the car to its limits, amazes me and brings hope to me that Ferrari can turn it around. Massa has had a nightmare since his return from the injury. He must put that out of his mind. Maybe he isn’t pushing enough post the accident.

      Great to see the Rainmaster back to his best and considering that he usually has his best performance reserved for the races, I am sensing a podium or a win for Schumi. It is great to see a lot of competition this season. Vettel will dethroned as the WDC.

      I know it is soon to conclude but looking at the amount of cars which are within tenths of each other, RB will not have it easy like in 2010 and 2011. Which also means Ferrari still got time to get their act clean not to only close the gap but put some gap between them and the other teams.

      Closing the gap is no longer the benchmark now a days.

    26. Great result for Grosjean! I’m just glad that F1 is properly back! Tomorrow should be fantastic!

    27. Am watching the race in Seychelles. Great results for mclaren. Let’s see if they can keep the pace during the race. Hamilton has started on the right foot, keep it Lewis.

    28. Great way to start the morning. Great pole lap by Hamilton and McLaren are looking good. I hope for a 1-2 tomorrow.

    29. you took the words right out of my keyboard!!! it’s a lovely day isn’t it?

    30. Great session of qualifying. But if this continues, I wonder how long it will be until Horner starts talking about ‘unequal engines’ again.

      1. Probably just as long as it took Witmarsh to mention the flexing front wing last year.

        They’re team principals, it’s what they do. It’s all politics and mind games and even though they often know it won’t make a difference they do it anyway. When they can’t beat other teams on track they’ll try it off track.

        1. Redbull really had magical wings last season. If you look at the front wing of the Williams car, they have a cantilever style mounting from the upright, perhaps to enable them pitch downwards at speeds.

        2. Redbull really had magical wings last season. If you look at the front wing of the Williams car, they have a cantilever style mounting from the upright, that is, the mounting point is further back along the wing chord, perhaps to enable them pitch downwards at speeds.

    31. cant wait to see kimi carve through the field!

    32. happy for Lewis, the season has started on the right note for him and McLaren.. Ferrari, well they need some thinking to do, but i do feel they will be on the money come the next few races, so will RBR
      The biggest surprise surely was Roman, really spectacular drive. I did get the pole time right but the wrong name against it :)

      The first corner tomorrow should be really interesting, so will the Tyre wear for the race – should be a nice one

      1. Of course..

    33. My guess was HAM on pole in 1:24.632, and for the race:
      But I think it will be more than difficult for VET to reach second, and a well done to Grosjean. I hope he don’t out brake himself in the first corner and hits someone. Exiting to see some changes in the top pecking order, but I expect RBR and Ferrari to recover somewhat over the season. Alonso was frustrated with his run-off, but it doesn’t change the fact that they have fallen behind several teams, such as Lotus and Mercedes. Hope to see Raikönnen getting to grips with the problems next race.

      1. I think this season – at least in the first few races – should show us what kind of driver Vettel is. He had a vastly superior car last season, and never had to fight his way through traffic the way other drivers had to scrap. Will be interesting to see whether Red Bull ask Webber to let Vettel through, seeing as the German is behind the Aussie, and then even more interesting to see how Michael Shumacher deals with Vettel should the younger German have the pace to trouble the Mercedes – which, so far, looks unlikely.

        1. I hope that red bull weren’t lying when they said both drivers will be treated equally at the start of the season. I’m interested in how they’d behave if webber is in front of vetted mid-season

          1. Yeah right, in q3 yessterday already it was “Mark your KERS is not working”.

            No issues in testing, & yet round 1 & MW looks like out qualifying the ‘Golden Boy’ aka “Finger Boy” so suddenly only Marks RB develops a KERS problem……….again…… ;-(
            Helmut Marko, please just do F1 a favour & leave!

          1. “vastly”? quali was alays so close.

    34. What a start to the season eh? There were so many things about today that made it totally exciting and, possibly, the best start to the season I could wish for!

    35. Loving seeing the cars slide all over the place. The blown diffuser rule really has affected rear grip – which makes for fantastic viewing.

      And Grosjean – absolutely brilliant start, I hope he scores a solid result tomorrow.

    36. It was so embarrassing for Massa. He had all the time that Alonso lost and still couldn’t even beat him. Really, how bad must he be to sack him. I liked him before but I think he just lost this spark.
      Great job for Grosjean and McLaren. What I am afraid though is the style in which they locked the front row. If this will be the case in few next GP’s than there will be a very small chance of catching them up. Even though Button is P2, he can win it tomorrow. The tires are on his side.

      1. I, for one, am happy to see McLaren dominate at least the first few races. Been a long long time! Ferrari though, you’ve heard it.. LegoFerrari! Massa has embarrassed himself massively by failing to beat Alonso with his car on a truck!

        1. Nothing wrong with Lego – its some of the best toy in the world;-)

      2. Yeah poor Felipe!
        It really seems something was taken from him at Hungary 2009.

        1. It is very clear that Felipe Massa has lost it.very dissapointing though..

      3. It’s not as big of a problem if Mclaren dominate because they at least let their drivers race.

        1. You mean like this:
          Lewis Hamilton: Jenson’s closing in me you guys.
          McLaren: Understood, Lewis.
          Lewis Hamilton: If I back off is Jenson going to pass me or not?
          McLaren: No Lewis, no

          1. Presenting half the story for an agenda is worse than lying. Lewis had done all the pushing in that race while Jenson was saving fuel. Lewis could’ve sat back and relaxed while the Bulls finished 1-2. He did all the job and deserved to ask his team to reign his team mate.

            1. But Vettel wasn’t allowed to tell the team to “be smart” after the team had lost him two places with a disastrous pit stop? Seems like double standards to me.

    37. Only after the finish we can conclude how good the Mclaren and RedBull’s are.
      Our dutch commenter told about the Pirelli’s: You can push for 3 laps, then degradation starts. How much degradation differs per team. And also how much did you abuse your tyres in qualifying. He mentioned that Lotus said they maybe would sacrifice 2 or 3 positions because of this (So, Grosjean could’ve done pole?)

      So there could be something left racepacewise at RedBull. However, their body language – Vettel’s eyes – said something different…

      1. Unlikely, I think if he had the pace to be on pole he would’ve used it, despite the small amount of extra degredation…but I guess we won’t know until tomorro, can’t wait!…and tbh a few extra tenths on a flying lap is not going to increase degredation enough to warrant holding back…

    38. That was an amazing session, so unpredictable. Lotus and Mercedes look very strong, it’s a shame that Rosberg and Raikkonen messed up their fastest laps, it would have been very interesting to see where they might have ended up.

    39. Awwwwweee….. seems they really broke his toy this time!!!
      I wonder what the people that considered him to be the next Senna are thinking right now… must be something like: “Darn… I guess it really was the car…” Oh and BTW, what a class act waving his fist at Narain K. in Q1… I guess he feels like they have to jump out of the way for him and foget about their own quick laps… Top notch champion right there!
      Props to Hamilton for beating his sub champion team mate to pole position… True talent can´t be denied for long. Now lets hope nothing “funny” happens in the race… And I really hope His team don´t leave him out to dry with the strategy in order to favour Button….

      Ferrari has a lot of work to do!! Both drivers need to stay off the grass…
      Props to Grosjean!! He ran a great qualifying session!
      Kimi… you have 19 more races to try and be up there in qualy…. I hope you have a better race!
      Schumacher almost had it…. oh and he beat Rosberg! hehehhe Poor Nico… he just choked!! I´m confident Michael´s race craft will get him up there!!!! Tomorrow could be Historic!!!

      All in all, RBR is back down to earth… Mercedes is a Force to be reckoned with, McLaren won´t have it easy but they look very strong and at least Grosjean´s Lotus looked quick! Ferrari…. they need to chop off some more heads and get their act together!

      1. Jo (@musicwordsthoughts)
        17th March 2012, 8:10

        The thing is: Karthikeyan was clearly holding everyone up and he wasn’t going on a quick lap. He’s most likely not even going to be racing tomorrow because of the 107% rule.

        As a Vettel fan, I’d concede he wasn’t up to standard today, and I give Hamilton credit for taking pole today in what was one of the most exciting qualifyings I’ve seen so far, but you have to say that performance is partially down to the car – look at Alonso’s Ferrari!

        And since when has McLaren favoured Button over Hamilton?

        1. @Jo
          Dude… I don´t care if Ferrari didn´t make the top ten. And as for Alonso… even with his car being towed… he managed to end up 12th AND beat his washed up team mate…
          Ferrari really needs to let Felipe go…
          And at least things are clear…. take the kd his toy aways and he´s back to being human!! LMAO!!! I´m even happy Lewis got the pole!!
          Things look like this season is gonna be better than 2010!!

          1. Jo (@musicwordsthoughts)
            17th March 2012, 8:27

            Well, if you’re talking about taking someone’s toys away and him going back to being human, then I’d say it happens to many of the drivers. Not just Vettel. I’d say Hamilton’s pretty guilty of that too before, as is Alonso, but let’s move on from that, I’m actually quite glad someone else is taking pole this race. I like Vettel but I’d prefer a more competitive season, like this one seems to be.

            1. @Jo
              Ohhh what am I hearing now??? A humble Vettel fan??? hahahahahaha I guess having your bum handed to you will do that to you…

              I said it once and I´ll say it again… the kid is good but not as good as what the majority where led to believe… Me, I knew it all along it was all about the car…. Now he´s back to being an above-average driver… And if he ever wins another WDC again… he´ll have to work hard for it!
              Oh and I just read in F1´s officiail webpage, RBR is considering protesting Mercedes´wing… The nerve on these guys…. Pucker up sweet hearts, you´re all going for a ride now!!

      2. yeh i agree,they do tend to mess up hamiltons strategy to help button.
        but ron should be at the race,so hopefully that wont happen.
        i dont trust whitmarsh tho.

        1. Button (and his engineers) just make better decisions when it comes down to it, I’m sure there is no favouring going on! I’m sure there are plenty of occasions Lewis has had a better strategy, china 2011? that was pretty decent..

        2. Ron Dennis was in the pits, keeping a close eye on things (the pattern continues. Every time Ron Dennis is at the race, Hamilton beats Button. You could wager your house on it.), so fingers crossed Whitmarsh doesnt engineer a pit-lane problem for Lewis to let Button overtake him.

          1. I’m preparing a cardboard Dennis to give as a gift to Lewis so he can put him at the back of the garage to scare Whitmarch that Dennis is watching him, lol.

            Come on guys lets get serious.

            1. I say this all the time, but people think I am accusing Withmarsh of sabotaging Lewis’ race.
              The fact is, there are windows of opportunities that may become available during the races. Pitting a driver a lap earlier or later can influence the finishing position especially when they don’t have the fastest car.
              When you have to fast drivers, it becomes difficult to strategize to get both of them to finish well, you end up having to sort out one’s strategy first then look for the next available window for the other.
              In 2010 when Hamilton was still in contention for the championship at the very last race. Button came up with his, I will retire if there are team orders.
              This then forces Withmarsh’s hands into always over compensating Button to ensure he doesn’t feel he is being marginalised.

              Of course, Hamilton’s race engineers always seem to be out of the strategy loop. How that happens I don’t know. Either the chap is incompetent, or just believes that what every side of the garage wins, is ok for Mclaren
              Till date, I don’t yet know if Hamilton and his new race engineer work well together, it often seems they are trying to boss him and make it seem like they can control when he overtakes or not.

              Hamilton has his faults, but the team is not extracting the maximum from him.

            2. Hamilton has his faults, but the team is not extracting the maximum from him.

              Yeah he’s only on pole position. They’re really screwing him over, what a bunch of cads.

              I think not.

            3. @Keith Collantine
              Well it´s the first race, first Qualy, etc… Everybody got an equal chance yesterday! Even Webber got a chance to run free, hence him being 1 spot ahead of “wonder boy”.
              All we are saying is, at least I am, hopeing they don´t mess up Lewis´ chances because of dumb pit strategies… something that mysteriously never happens for Button…

    40. Fantastic qualifying session, really enjoyed it and can’t wait for tomorrow.

      Have to say, Sky are doing an amazing job so far and I’m really glad I signed up – it wasn’t too much more for me because I was subscribed to BT vision previously. The team really seem to be enjoying the freedom that a dedicated channel brings. My girlfriend even enjoyed watching the F1 show last night (which had Ted and Georgie in the paddock late into the evening), which is really saying something.

      1. Sky’s coverage is good but I cant stand that screaming commentator!

        1. I think the problem with their time management .. they haven’t giving enough time to ross brawn etc .. after interview …he still standing there and he started asking some otherr question to brundle… they should give some more respect to people they take interviews ..should wait for couple of seconds until they leave the place before starting the new topic to discuss

    41. Hate to say it but the top 6 in FP3 was very close to the top 6 in qualifying

    42. Wonderful start, so many sub plots, Lewis on form, JB just a 10th back instead of 2/10ths, RB’s nowhere, Vettel behind Webber, Mercedes are lightning fast, (don’t get jumped at the start JB) Schumi ahead of Rosberg and looking like a dog with two …. Ferrari in no mans land and…… Grosjean ! What a star, massive admiration for the guy, he was knocked for 6 last time in F1, rebuilt himself and made a stellar start to qualifying. God this is going to be a great season if this continues.

      1. Mercedes are lightning fast, (don’t get jumped at the start JB)

        Having a look at many of Schumacher’s starts from last year, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s leading the race by turn 1. :)

        1. @Kingshark
          Maybe not turn 1 but I bet Schumi is up for a win or even a podium finish!! He´s due!!!

        2. That’s what I’m worried about, plus they are so fast on the straight, even DRS might not help, I am intrigued by the first real battle for ages in McLaren to see who manages the tyres the best , can’t see anything but a Hamilton or JB win…..

    43. Could it be possible that Ferrari have already pulled the plug on this new chassis and will now pursue a McLaren style chassis in hopes of chasing down a better path to the title??
      Dump the pull rod stuff and the step nose and simply copy the MP427.

      1. I don´t think so…. I think they just didn´t need the pull rod suspension up front… and geez…. at least they should´ve tried to make the step a bit more aerodynamic…. Maybe they should look into a better stepped nose!!
        What ever the case may be…. they need to chop of some more heads… kick Felipe to the curb and get their act together… My hopes are that at least Alnso can try and tame this prancing pony… although my guess is that they gave him a Fiat once again… looks like another bad season…

      2. Are they even allowed to make a new chassis?

        1. Yes they are but they have to pass FIA test all over again.

      3. When i saw the first pictures of Ferrari i thought this car looks ugly with the stepped nose but maybe its lighting fast and that will made up for the looks,but sadly its a dog of a car.Whatever Ferrari guys have to do they have do it pretty fast not like last year when they have to wait till silverstone for there first win.

    44. Oh wow. That was a thriller.

    45. redbulls are struggling….
      let’s hope the lotus can get ahead of th mclaren for a REALLY shocking start to the season.

    46. The most interesting & fascinating qualifying i’ve ever seen, not just in terms of results but the surprises that were pulled out of the back were just….. i couldn’t ask for anymore. Amazing lap from Lewis, McLaren 1-2, my emotions are very high at the moment i can’t describe them. You could imagine what Kimi would have produced in that Lotus had he made it to Q3 but let’s not take anything from Grosjean, a refreshed guy he certainly has become, already honestly he seems light years away from the troubled rookie season of 2009 & P3 on the grid for him just confirms that but the points are won on race day, not qualifying so definitely all to play for in the race. Gobsmacked.

      1. The most interesting & fascinating qualifying i’ve ever seen, not just in terms of the results but the surprises that were pulled out of the bag were just….. i couldn’t ask for anymore and i’m sure any F1 fan or associate wouldn’t either. Amazing lap from Lewis, McLaren 1-2, my emotions are very high at the moment i can’t describe them. You could imagine what Kimi would have produced in that Lotus had he made it to Q3 but let’s not take anything from Grosjean, a refreshed guy he certainly has become, already honestly he seems light years away from the troubled rookie season of 2009 & P3 on the grid for him just confirms that but the points are won on race day, not qualifying so definitely all to play for in the race. Gobsmacked.

    47. perhaps it may be too early to say, but Maldonado’s performance in comparison to Senna shows that last years Car was rubbish and Senna might be overrated, or just having a bad week.

      all in all hope the best for Maldonado and Williams to score some good points this year! :)

      1. I share your hopes (however apparently unpopular they might be), and considering Senna hit traffic on his last run in Q2 (according to the team’s Twitter), hopefully the race will look better for him.

      2. It’s feasible if Maldonado finishes near where he qualified Williams could score as many points in Australia as they did in the whole of last season! Glad to see them have a more competitive car, it’s not right seeing them struggling near the back.

      3. Fernando Cruz
        17th March 2012, 13:25

        Last year Williams was really bad and also Maldonado was a rookie. Now he is no longer a rookie, he has more experience. Remember even last year he managed to beat Barrichello in some itens and would have scored many points in Monaco if it wasn’t Hamilton putting him out. He also put the Williams in Q3 for some races, something the vastly experienced Barrichello couldn’ t do.

        1. B…s..t. Pastor put himself out in Monaco by turning in on Hamilton early.

    48. This is going to be a DISASTROUS season for Ferrari fans. At least in the last 3 years we had the consolation of McLaren not winning anything either. This year it looks like the only consolation will be MSC doing okay again.

    49. Yes jonathan189, being a scuderia fanatic, i’m gutted.
      But WOHOO! amazing to see such a close grid!
      Ferrari will sort their **** out

    50. who wants to see schumi on podium tomm? :-D

      1. third place would be awesomesauce

    51. well done to lewis Hamilton he realy deserved that especialy with a one two from mclaren. also impressed with marrusia to it looks like they have made a prety good step in proformance.

    52. what a nightmare for us Ferrari tifosi. I already foresee what they’re going to do halfway in the season: “Oh, well guys, this year’s car is not performing as well as we expected, so we’re now going to focus exclusively on the next season’s car. Don’t worry tifosi, next year we’ll be stronger than ever!”

      1. looool

      2. mate, let me tell u ,ferrari days, ferrari has its reputation because simply at the beginning of F1 they had a great reputation of car making and a great budget, plus they dominated f1 only when shumacher had a over all better car then most rivals, from 2000 to 2004 he had no competant rival to reckoned with, he was winning with no one chasing or making a great competition i’m talking about cars not drivers, mclarens were not fast enough, when senna was in f1 he had 5 rivals and world champions to fight with in order to win.

    53. The Money (@pamphlett31220)
      17th March 2012, 9:36

      Wow what a race we are going to see now!,kimi coming through the field with some audacious moves no doubt.I can see schumacher splitting the Mclarens off the start.I really don’t know what to think of the red bulls now..possibly both finishing off the podium?….surely not!…go lewis.

    54. A brilliant qualifying session, I really enjoyed it!

      It had drama everywhere. Raikkonen failing to get out of Q1, Ferrari making a disaster of Q2 and RBR being slower than we thought, even with the knowledge that McLaren probably had the better car this weekend.

      I’m happy for Grosjean, Rosberg, Schumacher, Ricciardo, Vergne, Maldonado and Senna the most. A marked improvement from Williams, I really hope they keep it up and bring some success back to the team. A double points finish for them tomorrow would be a world away from last year.

      Great debut from both Ricciardo and Vergne. So far it looks like ditching Buemi and Alguersuari has paid off. Of course the real test comes in the race tomorrow.

      A shame that Raikkonen couldn’t challenge more than he did but there’s no one else to blame for that. Grosjean did a stunning job of showing what both he and the E20 are capable of thus far. I expected it to be a good car but third was a surprise.

      Disappointed for Mercedes but I’m confident they do have a great car. A shame Rosberg locked-up on his flying lap, you could see he was really throwing it around.

      Honourable mention to Marussia for making it within the 107% of the fastest lap. That’s a great achievment considering one of the drivers is a complete rookie and the car never touched testing.

      And of course congratulations to McLaren. They were on it all weekend. When I saw Hamilton’s onboard I could tell easily that he was comfortable with this car where others were struggling. A comfortable driver can push the most.

      Looking forward to tomorrow morning!

    55. Grosjean just couldn’t stop having a silly happy face and smiling all the time. It was so amusing to watch.
      It’s like you could read his thoughts : “Wow! Is this for real?! I’m really sitting here aren’t i? I’m third. Damn this is so awesome”

      1. What’s more interesting is he looked very much stoned the same in testing interviews…

    56. If this type of results follow for Force India, surely, Paul is gong to be booted out some time…soon!

    57. Not sure if it showed up on the tv but I was standing on the inside of turn 11 ( start of the quick left right section at the back half of the track) I kept seeing sparks from the front area (not sure if wing endplates, keel or floor or what not) from grosjons car. Make of this what you will…

    58. Take the EBD out = F1’s fun again.

      1. @cyclops_pl I tend to agree, only I’d broaden it to:

        Take the downforce out – F1’s fun again

        1. my idea :

          take the engine development freeze = F1’s fun again

          it’d be nice to see some teams (like ferrari for example) go for mechanical grip and more powerful engines while some choose downforce route.

        2. Indeed, the EBD was just means for creating immense downforce. Taking that downforce out broke Red Bull’s domination and made all cars much less predictable. Despite the fact I like Alonso very much, seeing him spin on a dry track was priceless. That’s what I want to see in F1 – men doing their best to control powerful machines.

      2. @Cyclops_PL
        Take the EBD out = toy broken, angry kid and threats of protests!!! But F1 regains excitement!!!

        Best move ever!! Well done Jean Todt!!!

    59. Nathan Astle (Ex-NZ crickter)
      17th March 2012, 10:25

      My oh my! Just got back to my Hotel from the track, and I have to say, the tv cameras can not do justice to what I just saw. Lewis, at turn 3, was absolutely breathtaking nobody was even CLOSE to the speed he carried through there, it was simply unbelievable, Grosjean was quick through there, but when Lewis did his first lap, on entry into the corner with a snap and a crack coupled with a pop, it looked as though he turned the car in on the rear axle and just glided through there. Unbelievable result, I was yahooing from the grandstand at turn 3 that was absolutely stuffed FULL with Red Bull supporters and I gave it to them all smile.gif what a result! Its been a long time coming that we can start a season strongly, but simply wow!

    60. Amazing, F1 is back.
      So may thing to be happy about (despite being made redundant yesterday); the cars more nervous at the rear, you can see the drivers using there skill more and RBR not dominant so far is like fresh air.
      Great to have some unpredictability and closer fight almost from front to back (sadly except HRT).
      The race will be interesting can Mclaren stay at the front the Merc long run pace looks better????

      1. Since this is a completely different track we can’t draw many conclusions from testing in spain, but didn’t Mercedes have quite severe degredation?…or are you basing this comment on a long run from practice?

    61. Woaw!! Massively disappointed that I missed the qualifying because I had to wake up early! Anyways Keith, thanks for the qualifying report, it was great help this morning and it one of the things that sets your website apart from the rest.

    62. Hollis Graham (@)
      17th March 2012, 12:12

      So happy for the McLaren boys and Grosjean. I hope Schumi can transform the fourth into a win. As for the red bulls It’s nice to have someone else at the front and I just hope Webber can achieve a good race finish. The thing I am most upset about is the Ferraris performance. I hope Massa can do well this season (which I find unlikely) and Alonso can be competitive

    63. A great performance from Lewis and McLaren today, exactly what was needed from Hamilton’s perspective. However, the Ferrari today looked like a horror show on wheels, making it obvious why the Scuderia banned their drivers from talking to the press a few weeks ago. For all the posturing and spin Alonso gave during testing, trying to remain positive, Ferrari’s weaknesses were laid bare today for the world to see. In all honesty, I don’t think I have ever seen a worse Saturday performance from them in the last fifteen or so years of F1. It was that bad!
      Alot of people were looking at Red Bull and Sebastien Vettel for all of the obvious reasons, and for them to be so far off McLaren will raise eyebrows. But for me, the speed of both Mercedes should be a concern for Christian Horner and co. tomorrow. Both Schumacher and Rosberg are carrying alot of speed, and as others have mentioned, if not for a lockup during his hotlap, Rosberg would have been alot higher up the grid.
      I am interested to find out what strategy Ross Brawn and the boys have for the race, but I am convinced that this team is going to put noses out of joint this season. Red Bull are missing something, the blown difuser being the obvious reason, compared to last year, but the car is nowhere near 2011 levels of performance ‘yet’ which has made tomorrow’s grands prix all the more interesting.

      1. You don’t remember Luca Badoer in 2009?

    64. pierre le fleur
      17th March 2012, 12:20

      What an interesting day! Albert Park is a lot of fun and there are some great places to watch the cars.
      Watched FP3 head-on at Turn 11 through 12 which showed some obvious performance differentials between the cars:
      the Macs looked totally sorted through the corners,
      the Lotii were incredibly fast into 11 and took it like they were on rails but may have paid a price for it through 12 and really bounced over the bump (if no podium this weekend then definitely next),
      the Mercs rolled a lot into 11 (the outside front wing endplate touching the ground while the inside wing was way up in the air) – couldn’t see whether they were rolling through 12,
      the Bulls didn’t seem planted like expected and sounded like they had low engine revs through 12 (gearing or traction?),
      the Saubers and FIs looked good but were ultimately outdone by the Williams,
      the STRs need to change their colours, particularly if they’re going to run at the same speed as the RBs,
      the green Cats and the Marussias didn’t look that bad, but
      the HRTs were absolutely horrendous under brakes (but didn’t look that bad when accelerating).
      If I’ve forgotten any teams it’s because it’s too embarrassing.

      1. not sure if your last line was sarcasm or not, but you forgot Ferrari…:D

      2. Thanks for this feedback from the track. Something you can’t get from the TV! Interesting to hear about the Merc’s I presume softish suspension. I’m really interested to see how they are going to treat their tyres tomorrow in the race. If the F-duct works, perhaps Rosberg can win his first race come Sepang.

    65. I’m suprised nobody made a direct comparison with last year’s times:

      1. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 1m 23.529s
      2. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 24.307s
      3. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1m 24.395s
      4. Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 24.779s
      5. Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 24.974s
      6. Vitaly Petrov Russia Renault-Renault 1m 25.247s
      7. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 25.421s
      8. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 25.599s
      9. Kamui Kobayashi Japan Sauber-Ferrari 1m 25.626s
      10. Sebastien Buemi Switzerland Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 27.066s

      Obviously the top teams lost quite a chunk with the banning of directly blowing the diffuser. Last year in Silverstone it showed for McLaren to be a disaster, but with their new car they minimalised the loss to 6 tenths of a second. It’s a bit difficult to get a clear view on the loss of Red Bull; if we take the top times it’s 2.1 seconds, but Red Bull didn’t get to use the full potentional of their car, as Vettel made a mistake and Webber his KERS didn’t work. For the Webber, the same happend last year, so if we focus solely on his times the difference is 1.3 seconds, but as Webber also struggled with the tires last year, this would also not be highly accurate. So Red Bull lost between 1.3 and 2.1 seconds, which we can say is HUGE.

      Interesting is that Mercedes lost nothing, even gained on last year. Schumacher best time was a tenth better then Rosberg his time last year, but Rosberg was set to beat Schumachers time this year if he didn’t made that error.

      I’m not going to begin about Ferrari. Last year they were whining and crying about how unfair exhaust blowing was for them. Now that steps are taken to reduce that significantly, they are even worse off.

      1. Re “Rosberg was set to beat MS’s time”, really? He made a mistake that cost him 3 tenths & he ended up 3 tenths behind MS. What about MS losing a bit of time in the last sector, if not for that he could have challenged for at least 2nd today in my opinion. Its all relative, but the results are what they are.

        1. Rosberg was very dissapointed afterwards, suggesting he could have beaten Schumacher and perhaps gotten very near the Macs. Anyhow, that’s not the point anyway. The point was that Mercedes might even be better then the times suggest and that their improvement is partly masked.

          1. Yeah, and JB could have done a little better too. But he didn’t. And here we are. Great to see NR potentially right up there with MS and the Macs, but the fact is NR didn’t quite put it together. I’m just comforted to see that it was at least there for him within his grasp and that for all drivers any little error is going to be costly due to the cars’ closeness. I’d rather see guys have the equipment and have the deciding factor be within their control to err or not, as opposed to being handcuffed by the car’s inability and have that be the deciding factor as to placings.

      2. Great analysis Andy. I was looking at it also. You can see that the time difference from pole to number 8 was +2 sec last year, this year <1 sec. Maybe this means that it will be easier during the race to reach the top from lower grid positions? With the problems Raikönnen had during training sessions, I don't expect him to come much up through the field.
        But maybe RBR isn't that far of, because last year their best time in P3 was app. 1 sec slower than Q3, whereas this year WEB only improved 0.25 sec and VET only 0.55 sec. This indicates that RBR's could have been 2. and 3. respectively. Can't wait to see tomorrow.

        1. Well, Raikkonen only used 1 set of softs or even mediums. He’ll have quite alot of fresh tires so that’ll play in his advantage. Not sure if it is still there, but the last couple of years the car seems to have great traction so maybe he can have a good start and with the pace of the 3th fastest car on the grid he’ll probably got into the points.

          About Red Bull: let’s assume Webber was able to use KERS. It would mean he would be roughly 0.5 seconds faster. He would be 3th then. So yeah: Red Bull could have been much further up the grid, but as expected the smallest poblem (webber) or the smallest mistake (vettel) makes you drop several places on the grid. I don’t think any of them would have beaten button though.

    66. 10 minutes into the 2012 season and Speed TV commentators are already saying “poor Massa”..*** guys. Ferrari so far is a dud..well, maybe, i saw Alonso up there in 6th place for a while.

      1. ” Ferrari so far is a dud..well, maybe ”

        No, right now it really is a dud. Didn’t you also see the pictures of the Ferrari through the corners ? Both drivers were having to correct massively (and clearly Alonso is a lot better than Massa at doing so).

        If Ferrari can develop it into a driveable package, then it will have speed, but at the moment, there is no real indication that they even know which direction to go in.

        It looks like they have designed a car with high maximum downforce, but which is also dynamically unstable and unpredictable.

        Let’s see how it looks during the race.

      2. I wonder whether the car Ferrari ran at Silverstone last year with a slightly lower nose would be better than this year’s car!

      3. Ferrari needs to sack Massa ASAP. As late as last week, when Alonso said that Ferrari would struggle in Melbourne, Massa would not discount the possibility of a podium finish…he obviously wants to save face with Ferrari, but he is not Ferrari material.

        Lewis will have to be careful with Massa again this year…when he drops Felipe 1 or 2 laps down…

    67. I am thrilled (as you might expect). This compounded by the fact that Ferrari really are in a mess. Mercedes and Lotus have lots of pace, RBR slighty behind them. (Also, makes a mockery of all the press still saying RBR were miles ahead in testing, when really not even the teams knew the order).

      Also, those saying “it’s all about the car” with Lewis, I assume this wasn’t the case with Vettel? Despite the 15 pole positions and 11 race victories last year…

      1. The car – or driving system package – is the most important thing. After that comes the driver, and of course there is great differences in drivers abilities, but no doubt that the world champions are in a special league, along with a few who have not yet had the luck of getting to drive a package, which could provide them with the possibility. But remember F1 is not about finding the best driver – if it was they would all be fitted with a standard car supplied by FIA.

    68. Noooooo.

    69. With all the surprises from qualifying,a very exciting season awaits us.

    70. I would not be at all surprised to see neither Ferrari finish tomorrow, it looks wayward and frustrating to drive, and I am not sure Alsono will have the patience to keep it on the road if he starts to drop back.

    71. Lets hope tomorow Grosjean jumps Button off the line, allows Hamilton to sail off into the Australian sunset, while holding up the pack of Mercs/Redbulls to allow for some great viewing pleasure.. ;D

      1. kenneth Ntulume
        17th March 2012, 15:34

        viewing pleasure is when we are seeing racing, not a blockade, i thought!

        1. What makes you think Roman will cause a blackade eh? I think 3rd place for him is no fluke. The Lotus clearly had potential in pre-season tests, and it showed here!

          Anyways, don’t be surprised if he turns he tables by jumping good ol’ Button at the start and starts hounding Hamilton for the win…!

    72. Hamilton likes a car with a rear end that moves around he tends to turn the car on the rear axle, it’s a karting technique. Last year ebd turned that onto its head and meant that Hamiltons style no longer worked for him as when he got on the throttle he ended up with a stack of understeer and a rear bolted to the track, totally the opposite to how a kart with 0 aerodynamic effect espeacially no ebd. Vettel clearly suited ebd as did Button, this year due to the exclusion of ebds we will a different type of driving/racing dynamics, one that suits Hamiltons preferred driving style. Love seeing Lewis competitive again.

      1. Totally agree with this. It also makes Jenson’s qualifying time actually quite impressive. Hamilton’s right when he says Jenson will be is biggest rival (for this race, but also probably for the season). Expect fireworks between the two with Hamilton going to Mercedes in 2013 after winning the championship!

      2. Perhaps it should also be added that part of a karts unique cornering properties comes from the lack of a differential as much as it does the weight/aero distribution, though your point still stands. Regardless, tomorrow’s race is one that I’m very much looking forward to! :)

      3. Hamilton has always been quick in one lap. Let’s see how he handles the tires (and Button).

    73. Hi all, I’m a real passionate F1 fan who has followed every single f1 race and qualys (and most of practises) for the last 20 years. However due to the BBC cutting out half its races Ive already missed my first qualy and I am set to miss my first race in 20 yrs tomorro — gutted. I cant afford sky and although I did watch the highlights on the BBC, A)- it’s never the same
      B)- the coverage was defnintely below par
      Q3 went down from 20 mins to 11 in the first minute, the old chemistry was missing, no EJ, and the lead commentator didnt feel at ease, gthe whole thing was pretty unexiting especially at the end in q3.
      But the worse thing of all by far is not being able to watch the race live.
      As you are all F1 fans I was wondering whether any of you could suggest a way of watching the coverage legally maybe through the net. I tried Italian rai tv but they scramble the signal.
      help any1?

      1. I think you can buy yourself a SkyGo one month ticket to get the full Sky coverage, not sure on costings but Keith did a few posts on it back when it was first announced that sky had the rights, search this site and there are a few options listed.

      2. The racing was great, but I agree the BBC coverage was very poor. The commentary team was good as is the anchor Humphrey but the production was just awful. I’ve watched the odd race delayed over the years when I couldn’t watch live for one reason or another, but the quality of the BBC output today reminded me of their delayed highlights from the 1980s.

        1. By contrast I was pleasantly surprised by the sky coverage, I was in the fortunate position of being able to take the plunge and subscribe, but getting access to SkyGo will give you temporary access to all their sports stuff and a few of the regular channels as well.

          1. the sky operator tells me its 35 a month for that :(

            1. It may well be, its not an ideal solution but for a lot of people it may be the only legal one, and I think you will be hard pressed finding a pub that will show it at 6 in the morning. Not sure on Sky’s rules or monitoring of it but do you have any friend or family with sky who may let you use their Sky Go for the races ?

        2. I watched both and actually thought the BBC highlights were far, far better than Sky’s live broadcast. The production was much better – Sky’s seems very amateurish to me, and their pre-recorded pieces are rubbish. Better commentary from Edwards and Coulthard. BBC also had the interviews, although I suppose we’ll get them before the race tomorrow on Sky. Not having EJ was fantastic, not only did we not have to listen to his garbled musings but Coulthard is better when he’s not visibly annoyed by his presence. Unfortunately I understand he will be back, which may change my opinion.

          I’m thinking I might watch the 10 races that the BBC has live on the BBC (and then later on Sky!)

      3. Actually, no EJ was probably the only silver lining for me (apart from the fantastic driving and final result of course)

        1. Wholeheartedly agree, he wound me up no end last year. Jake Humphries and DC were good though. Not completely convinced by Damon Hill as a pundit yet but the rest of the team on Sky seem allright.

    74. thanks guys, appreciate that. Although Im gonna struggle to afford to pay for viewing sky for a few different reasons, i am currently checking out how much skygo would set me back per month thanks anyway

      1. I feel for You Marcello. I have to watch it on RTL, where the commentator can’t pronounce Hamilton’s name correctly – it sounds like Amltn or something like that. And even if I do understand German I hate when they dub a realtime interview in English with a German translation on the fly – it becomes very confusing. I’ll check if You can watch it over the internet – often You have to have a VPN solution to get an IP adress in the country of the channels origin (In this way I watch BBC over the net – this is a secret of course;-))

    75. I have a good feeling Romain may challenge for the win. The Lotus with its more fuel efficient Renault engine so he will be starting on a lighter fuel load. That combined with the duel DRS zones and the fact that Romain has been winning races regularly he is confident and could easily have a good year. Of course Schumacher should never be underestimated. It would be beautifully ironic if someone who has never been world champion won the championship amongst 6 other world champions

      1. That would be a very impressive stat, in all honestly though I am struggling to look past Hamilton for the win, he seems to have a calmer head on his shoulders this year, he has not lost any of the pace and for the first time in a couple of years he has a decent car underneath him. As nice as it would be for Romain, I feel he is unlikely to be able to hold onto the podium, very hard to judge comparative race pace though, we could end up with a reverse of last year where RB are unable to qualify but have blistering long run speed, only Sunday will tell us for sure.

    76. i can’t belived,fantastic, all mercedes engine in top ten,but renault too,i think it would be most competitive year in f1 history, i expect all mercedes customers are strong…….don’t mention for ferrari…….

    77. I got everything right! Whos the strongest teammate, strongest car but I never thought that Grosjean who had been beaten by Alonso would beat Raikkonen.

    78. I’m so excited about this season.. Even bought myself a shiny new iPad so I can watch sky sports f1 at work haha :)

    79. I was reading yesterday that McLaren had all but admitted they got it wrong with the lowered chassis. The reduced downforce was supposed to be a major disadvantage of the design. Can we assume that all the other `improvements` they have made, ie the whole package, have counteracted this disadvantage, or were the benefits of the higher chassis, resulting in the odd platypus shape, overstated.

      1. From what I gather the higher front end produces more downforce & potentially has more area for aero development.

        The lower nose allows a suspension setup that produces more mechanical grip but potentially has less room for aero development.

        Melbourne is a track where mechanical grip is fairly important, Especially when the track is lacking grip like it was today so the lower front end may be a benefit this weekend. However in some of the more aero dependant tracks the lower front end could prove a slight disadvantage.

        Overall however the benefits & negatives of both are very marginal so won’t be the reason one team does better than another.

      2. well they must be gaining time somewhere else (other than their nose), beacuse reading track side reports from spain and here rumors suggest they have the best high speed aero….and even whitmarsh himself in an interview from testing said something along the lines that mclaren were strong in high speed corners but lacked a bit in the low speed…Given the pole position (and the fact they looked pretty strong through turns 11, 12) this would have to support these rumors..

        1. and lets be honest ferrari have a super high nose, and where is their downforce?

          1. Ferrari’s problem is not a lack of downforce, Not at the front at least.

            There problems at the front end is a lack of understanding of there push-rod suspension system.
            There problem with rear end grip is part suspension & part there exhaust layout not blowing the gasses where they want it to go.

            Something thats helping rear stability on the McLaren is there exhaust. There exhaust exits are blowing the gasses into the airstream there directing towards the diffuser which is effectively divering at least part of there exhaust gasses into the diffuser. This is why there was a bit of a question mark over there exhaust’s legality before testing.

            I think the exhaust layout is also whats got Red Bull on the back foot a bit as I don’t think there redesigned layout is working as expected so there not getting the rear downforce figures they expected.

    80. I watched the sky coverage live & later on watching the BBC highlights & have to say im really impressed with the sky coverage & dissapointed with the bbc.

      the bbc buildup was lacking, no real discussion about mercedes & how lotus were considering a protect, no mention of why we have the stepped nose, things like the white card intro & bit with button taking up time that could have been used to discuss some of the changes for 2012. also though some of the editing was bad, didnt really mention the red flag alonso brought out & cut out a fair bit of the session.
      im also a big fan of ben edwards, have been since he was commentating on eurosport in the early 90s, however i don’t think the commentary due of edwards & coulthard works, just never clicked for me.

      on sky i thought the buildup was good, like some of the analysis features they have & they could prove very good for races. damon hill seemed a bit nervous in his role but i still think he worked very well.
      on commentary martin brundle & david croft clicked instantly for me, really enjoyed how they worked together they have some great chemestry & were a joy to listen to.

      also love all the extra red button stuff they made avaliable, been able to pick onboard cameras & see the timing data was fantastic & been able to view the various feeds alongside the tv oline using my laptop was brilliant.

      i went in expecting to prefer the bbc coverage & planning to watch the bbc coverage for there live races but have now switched, i’ll be watching sky for every race & am not planning to watch the bbc coverage again this year.

      1. agree with you on all the BBC stuff.
        Very poor, as you said, not much detail on new changes, too much time took up on the intro, cutting out a vast amount of qualy.
        i have to say extremely disappointing on the BBC. Did not think much of the newcomers either, nothing clicked and even David C seemed a bit out of sorts.
        unfortunately for me i couldnt experience sky as i couldnt afford it :<(((

      2. Pretty much agree with that.

        For those wondering exactly whats avaliable on Sky:

        The 4th OnBoard feed will be replaced by an FOM produced pits feed tomorrow that will include additional data & team radio. We will also be getting an FOM produced Highlights feed that will include stuff that may not have appeared on the world feed.

      3. Wow, I had almost exactly the opposite opinion – not saying you’re wrong, different strokes and all that! Taking into account that the BBC one was a highlights show there was always going to be less content. I’m just not sure I like Crofty’s commentating style, and have been going off Brundle for the last couple of years. Coulthard was better with Edwards, I thought. I’ve been very disappointed with Sky, partly because I resent how much I’m paying for it (and on Virgin Media you don’t even get the whole service yet – no red button unless you pay an extra £5/month for TIVO), although I’m sure they’ll get better. Looking forward to the first race that’s live on BBC so I can watch them both and compare directly!

        1. I have had a ridiculously small amount of sleep in the past 2 days so my judgement could be a bit off! Glad I booked a recovery day off on Monday :)

    81. Great that Red Bull don’t look like dominating, was getting rather monotonous.

      I think the myt of “phenomenal Vettel” is about to be exploded. He’s certainly a very good driver, but not as good as Alonso, and nowhere near Hamilton. Easy to llok good when your car is much quicker, no racing, turbulent air, etc. Webber just makes him look good.

      Cant wait to see how he does in the pack, and resurgent Hamilton in a strong car.

      Of course we havnt seen race pace, but looks exciting.

      Mercedes have a car too, should be fun with Rosberg in the mix, a totally underated driver.

      Really need to get Sky.

      1. Webber just makes him look good.

        By beating him in qualifying with no KERS?

    82. Well… I´m up and waiting for the lights to go out…. I sincerely hope Schumi makes his move on the start… It was so nice seeing him up there…. It felt like he was in a red car all over again!

      I hope McLaren is able to stay up there.

      And finally, I hope Alonso is able to squeeze everything out of his F2012 (it shouldn´t be a problem since it seems it doesn´t have much) so we can get a real look at to where it is right now.

      The season looks very promising and I can´t wait for it to begin!

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