Hamilton denies Ricciardo dream home pole position

2014 Australian Grand Prix qualifying

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The cars may not make as much noise as they used to but the Melbourne crowd more than made up for that when, for a few fleeting moments, it looked like their home driver was going to get pole position.

The chequered flag was already out in Q3 when Daniel Ricciardo, bravely risking intermediate tyres on a wet track, went fastest in his Red Bull.

But seconds later Lewis Hamilton arrived to spoil the party and give Mercedes the pole position everyone expected them to start the season with.

An action-packed qualifying session saw rain showers, a world champion in the barriers and some impressive rookie performances.


With the track dry but the skies darkening the drivers were eager to take to the track as qualifying began. Some were queued up at the pit lane exit including the two Mercedes drivers.

Nico Rosberg was advised to let Hamilton leave first – the rules state that the first driver to arrive in the queue has priority – and the team also warned him to set a lap quickly as rain was on its way.

It took a little longer to arrive than expected, giving all the drivers the chance to set a time in dry conditions. The only one who failed to take advantage was Pastor Maldonado, though from the difficulty he was having with the Lotus you’d have been forgiven for thinking the track was wet.

Romain Grosjean was also struggling in the other Lotus. Even before the rain arrived the pair looked likely to be the two slowest qualifiers.

Aside from Lotus’s struggles Q3 had a familiar look. Both Marussias failed to make it through – though Max Chilton unusually out-qualified Jules Bianchi – and Marcus Ericsson’s Caterham also failed to progress.

Team mate Kamui Kobayashi, however, bounced back from the team’s dire problems on Friday to take his car into Q2.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

17 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1’34.293
18 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1’34.794
19 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’35.117
20 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1’35.157
21 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’36.993
22 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault


Rain was not what most drivers wanted as they contemplated their first qualifying session of the year on a parkland circuit in new cars with brutal power delivery and often unpredictable braking characteristics.

The latter definitely applied at Toro Rosso, whose drivers had struggled with their brakes in practice. Jean-Eric Vergne was particularly apprehensive ahead of Q2.

It turned out he needn’t have been. Remarkably, both Toro Rosso drivers claimed a place in Q3, including rookie Daniil Kvyat.

Both Williams drivers also progressed though Valtteri Bottas found the conditions a handful, sliding off at turn nine and then spinning at turn one – though the latter happened moments after he set fastest time.

With conditions improving rapidly towards the end of the session the timing of the final laps was crucial. While Fernando Alonso took the fastest time in the Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen caught traffic at the end of his lap and could only manage eighth.

His attempt to improve further was scuppered when his car got away from him at turn four. The Ferrari wiped its nose off against the barrier and with most of the other drivers already ahead of him and on their last laps, Raikkonen was doomed to elimination.

He wasn’t the only world champion to miss the cut. Jenson Button, three times a winner at the Melbourne track, was also knocked out – though his team initially misinformed him that he’d made it into Q3.

But the biggest surprise was Sebastian Vettel. While team mate Ricciardo frequently popped up near the top of the times the reigning world champion could only manage 13th.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’44.437
12 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’44.494
13 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’44.668
14 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1’45.655
15 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1’45.867
16 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’47.293


Further rain fell as the extended 12-minute Q3 shoot-out began, leading most drivers to take to the track on wet weather tyres. Alonso was an exception: he started the session on intermediates but switched to wet weather tyres for his final run.

But Alonso didn’t figure in the fight for pole position. That was conducted between the Mercedes drivers as expected and – surprisingly – Ricciardo’s Red Bull. He put intermediate tyres on for his final run, indicating the Red Bull wants for nothing in the area of downforce.

Rosberg went off at turn nine shortly after beginning his first run. The time lost hear would cost him later – he completed his final lap moments after the chequered flag came out, while Ricciardo and Hamilton had just begun their final runs on an improving track.

Massa’s Williams nearly got away from him on the curved run to turn ten. But the same area caught out Daniil Kvyat who clipped the barrier in his Toro Rosso. Fortunately for his rivals, the yellow flags were not needed.

Ricciardo hesitated slightly at the final corner, feeling a strange sensation at the front of the car which he thought might be related to debris, but when he crossed the line and took the fastest time off Rosberg the crowd went crazy.

They were subdued somewhat by Hamilton’s subsequent improvement, which denied Ricciardo his pole position, but a front row start for the Red Bull driver was beyond the team’s expectations heading into the weekend.

Kevin Magnussen also stood out on his debut for McLaren, claiming fourth on the grid having been their only representative in Q3.

Top ten in Q3

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’44.231
2 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1’44.547
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’44.595
4 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1’45.745
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’45.819
6 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1’45.864
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’46.030
8 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1’47.368
9 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1’48.079
10 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1’48.147

2014 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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    141 comments on “Hamilton denies Ricciardo dream home pole position”

    1. First time I heard the new engines by the way. They sound great IMHO, quieter but the sound itself is deeper and more pleasant.

      1. Best thing about the new engines? Hearing the roar of the crowd as the drama unfolded. Quieter engines lack the shock and awe factor, but they bring F1 closer to the fans.

        1. Yeah but hearing the crowd sheer when Vettel don’t make it into Q3 … I’m not sure I want to hear things like that ^^’ But maybe we ‘ll be closer to the feeling of the fans on track from our TV, which is great indeed.

          On the sound again, I didn’t hear any differences between the engines (Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault) but I will be paying more attention to that tomorrow.

          1. I had a right old barney with a bunch of Australians under the podium in Singapore. They need to grow up. He risks his life for their entertainment and they boo. I’m a LH fan and I would never think of booing another driver.

            1. In response to the booing of Lewis, it was not aimed at Lewis because of dislike, it was because he had just knocked the home boy off the top spot. Daniel has fans as well

            2. It’s strange that ‘civilised’ nations have this culture of booing in a lot of sports.

            3. @Jason:
              “It’s strange that ‘civilised’ nations have this culture of booing in a lot of sports.”

              Only “civilized nations have this culture of booing… really? Have you ever been or even seen a football match, motor race or other sporting competition held in any “uncivilized” country? I’m sure you just as much booing in sweden, usa, india, russia, nigeria and sri lanka…

            4. @funkyf1

              Australians are not mature about this kinda thing.

          2. @paeschii

            hearing the crowd sheer when Vettel don’t make it into Q3 … I’m not sure I want to hear things like that

            Next to me During Qually was an Aussie bloke who seemed to know his F1 stuff when he talked. His friend was some British bloke who was openly spoken that he had no clue what was going on.

            When Vettel was confirmed out in Q2, The loud Aussie guy initiated the mockery cheer as Vettel drove by and his British friend asks “What’s wrong with him?” the aussie bloke turns around “Because he’s the German bad guy”


            1. Sport was pretty much invented as a way to compete with other communities (including countries) without killing each other and sparking wars. Getting exasperated at stuff like this is to misunderstand human nature.

              Also i really dont think they’re significantly risking their lives, none has died in 20 years. The danger is no greater than say what a firefighter would face and I’d expect them to take competitive chat on the chin if I was playing rugby or something with one.

              Finally i think the cheering was more just because vetted destroyed webber and hadnt got the best of ricciardo, not necessarily anything to do with vetted you could’ve put any driver in that situation (having beat an outgoing aussie driver and then being out qualified by the new one) and expect a cheer.

          3. I think cheering a changing of the guard is much better than booing. Far less vindictive to me.

        2. The fans were outstanding what a magic saturday!

        3. But what happens when we go to Shanghai? When the tracks are deafeningly empty? Brazil will be a dream though!!

        4. I was only listening on Five Live but the crowd going crazy when Ricciado took pole was great, and you could hear the dissapointment when Hamilton snatched it off him. This could be a massive uninteded consequence of the qieter engines – that you can now hear the buzz, the atmosphere or lack therof of the crowd.

          Silverstone, Monza, Catal and Interlagos will have no problem with that, and Im sure that even with only 50,000 at Spa, the Kemmel Straight is rocking on race day. One of the great experieces in sport is the sound of the crowd react to events on the pitch/arena etc.
          I can imagine that any races (cough Bahrain) that have nobody attending can no longer be glossed over with clever angles as the lack of buzz will be absolutely deafening, and with how bad that comes across on TV, it may force Bernie to actually do something sensible regarding race allocation/fees.

          Hopefully, anyway.

      2. Same here. First time that I heard the engines and you know what? We are paying too much attention to that habit. I mean of course the engine noise was for a century a big part of car racing but is it the main reason why we like racing? It will take some time to get use to it but F1 was always pioneer in many engineering revolutions so expect the others to follow their example. I mean it could be all electric in the not so far future. What would be our comments than? I love F1 in which ever form it comes.

      3. There are two things about the noise that is leaving me a bit confused.
        When the cameras are filming the track the noise is not very good and actually reminds me of the “onboard” footage from MotoGP bikes.
        When seeing onboard footage of the cars, the sound is great.

        And there is no doubt the reduced decibels will allow for new experiences. Earlier in Q1 Alonso locked his fronts whilst braking for T1 and it was clearly eared. Never before I have noticed so loudly a locking tire on track!

        1. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
          15th March 2014, 9:49

          Just thinking. After pre-season testing we were likening RB’s 2014 season to Ferrari’s 2005 season. I could be more like Ferrari’s 2006 season.

        2. @bakano I agree totally with your comments, there are many more things that are now audible which is great, but to not be able to hear a car approaching is a concern. Sitting at the end of the main straight the only way I knew a car was coming was by watching the big screen, something I have never had to do before. Not a fan

          1. In regards to the sound, I miss the very loud engines from previous years.. I reckon that was the thing about F1. I understand that racing is not about how much noise you make, but many people corelates F1 and big noise and for some people that are not really into F1, they will be “Oh that’s it!? the V8 supercars sounds louder!”.
            Watching my videos from previous years, the sound cannot be compared!

            There was quite a lot of booing to VET today at the circuit.. Well, seems F1 fans are also similar to soccer fans haha

            Today when RIC got provisional pole the crowd went nuts! Subsequently, when HAM got pole, I went nuts only by myself.. hahaha If I were in a soccer stadium standing at the opposite crowd and did that, I might have been in the hospital by now ;P

            Excited for tomorrow’s race!
            Go Lewis! Go Kamui! Go Massa!

      4. I really think that FOM need to record them better. I know they’re quieter, but often I could barely hear them over the commentators. They aren’t that much quieter, but they seem to be doing a poor job of either catching or playing the audio.

    2. Fantastic effort from Dan today, qualifying is his specialty and we saw that today. Now he just needs to keep a cool head in the race and bring home the points.

      1. why do you say qualifying is his specialty? he will keep a cool head in the race, lets home the Renault engine and ers stay cool so he can finish the race. if it rains, I think he has a chance at the win.

    3. Now that’s how you impress your new boss at your new job. This boy just might ruffle Vettel like Webber never could!

      1. @blackmamba He would not be rubbing Vettel the wrong way… Webber was a grumpy old cat

    4. The Blade Runner (@)
      15th March 2014, 7:43

      Very exciting quali. We’ll worth getting up for!

      Superb drive from Danny but have to mention K-Mag.

      1. @thebladerunner I don’t think Hamilton stole the pole from Riccardio, it was Riccardio stealing P2 from Mercedes

    5. Awesome effort by Magnussen today. Like Hakkinen he outqualified his world champion teammate in his first race for McLaren, like Hamilton he puts it in P4 in his first race for McLaren. Meanwhile Perez qualified behind Kobayashi. Perhaps McLaren called it right?

      1. McLaren should have hired Hülkenberg instead of Perez in 2013 …

        There were a lot of surprises today, Magnussen outqualifying Button, Ricciardo outqualifying Vettel but one thing didn’t surprise me: the Hulk crushing Perez :)

        Great job by Koba too, he put the Caterham in Q2 in a regular way, not like last year when their Q2 appearances were due to luck or gambles.

        1. @paeschli Well it sort of was a bit of luck for Kobayashi I think, because Gutierrez didn’t have a clean lap as far as I know, but still, great performance from him too alongside the many drivers mentioned here before me.

      2. @craig-o @paeschli

        It was a great drive by Magnussen in Q3. Unfortunately his driving in Q2 may get him into trouble (and Vettel):

        Vettel and Magnussen face yellow flag investigation

        1. @keithcollantine Oh? That’s such a shame if that’s the case.

      3. @craig-o Let’s not compare Magnussen with Hamilton, who had more than 22,000 km in testing in a F1 car, prior to his first GP

        1. Yes lets not as Hamilton had a better teammate to go up against not some washed up guy

          1. excuse me? washed up? don’t forget button finished with more points in his time as hamiltons team mate – the same Hamilton you are defending. you can not compare the too but, because the formula is different now – Hamilton was fast in 2007-08 when the tyres were easy for the drivers… oh except for Hamilton who chewed them up at the end of 07 and lost the championship.

            1. @dkpioe. Not this again, how did Button outscore Hamilton ?, was it because his own effort or benefitting from Hamilton’s misfortune ?

            2. You need to remove those blinders mate.

            3. @jason12

              Button scoring more points is a poignant statistical stat.

    6. I saw someone note on the live blog, how its curious that Magnussen qualified in 4th for his first race at McLaren, just like Hamilton did 7 years ago.

      Also, this session sets up both the race tomorrow and the season nicely. Mercedes seems not to be as far ahead as feared, while Red Bull are not as far off as feared. But Vettel will have something new to worry about if Ricciardo has a good race, because it seems he has met his match in qualifying that Red Bull!

      1. @bascb A little difficult to take too much out of todays qualifying from the teams. Most were trying to ‘survive’ the conditions. Rosberg was imho set to take Pole until he ran off at turn 9, but that is why this is a sport, because at the end of the day anything can happen.

        1. I am sure that the wet helped the Renault engined cars for qualifying, because when its wet and you can’t get the power down, having less of it is not so much of a problem @dragoll. I read that Hamilton did his lap mostly in the top gears, showing how he was not comfortable appying the torque. I agree that had it been dry we would have most likely have seen a Ros-Ham front row quite a bit clear of the rest.

          1. I watched HAM’s pole lap, he was very much on the edge of adhesion, all credit to him for getting the pole, he did well :)

          2. @bascb To complete the difference dry-wet … important mention to cooling, much more effective when moisture in the air (or wet) probably limiting overheating and bringing the engine back toghether (also due to unavailable full power as you mentioned)

        2. 1:0 in Quali in favour of HAM so far.

          Let’s see what happens at Bahrain in the next race.

      2. @bascb Let’s not compare Magnussen with Hamilton, who had more than 22,000 km in testing in a F1 car, prior to his first GP

        1. so you are saying he did even better than Hamilton then @oneBHK?

      3. I disagree with your assessment about the performance deficit. Had it been dry conditions the Mercedes would have stormed to pole by a very comfortable margin.

        1. which shows the drivers in their squad are not the best, to be split by ricciardo…

        2. Well, but if it had been dry than its pretty likely that the Williams would have been far closer @72defender and likely Alonso could have come a bit closer too. As for the race – apart from not knowing much about who uses more fuel, I do think that Mercedes are likely to have a solid long run pace advantage.

      4. Magnussen did better than Hamilton did in 2007 because in those days, it was a McLaren and Ferrari front 2 rows 90% of the time unless of course in special circumtances. And the McLaren was way better than the 3rd best car. And if memory serves, Lewis wasn’t fuelled too much.

    7. Brilliant to watch live, being in the stands when Dan briefly went to P1 was an incredible experience.

      1. I was also amazed how quiet the cars are live. I was expecting them to be quieter, but didn’t think the Carrera Cup cars were going to be louder! The RB7 running in the Ultimate Speed Challenge made the contrast rather stark.

      2. I reckon! We were cheering like drenched-maniacs! Couldn’t hear any of the trackside commentary even with earphones it was so loud.

      3. @tdog Good day for you sir

    8. My prediction a month ago that Red Bull will be on the front row came true and I wonder what the people that wrote sarcastic remarks on that say now , Kvyat , Riccardo and Magnussen were the real stars

      1. It’s good to see the new boys pull more than their own weight and shake up the sport’s pecking order a bit.

      2. @ean Yep those 3 did a great job, but mention to Hulkenberg (biggest difference between team mates) , Hamilton (not always that easy to deliver in such conditions) and Kobayashi

      3. @ean Australian GP should not be considered to show an ideal grid, over the years we have seen many anomalies… Having said that, it were the rookies (and Riccardio) who impressed me the most

    9. such a pity that the author chose not to write how vettel was eliminated, be impartial….. “But the biggest surprise was Sebastian Vettel. While team mate Ricciardo frequently popped up near the top of the times the reigning world champion could only manage 13th.”

      1. @rajesh I’ve seen 2 interviews with VET himself, and another 3 with RIC post Qualy and none of them know why… A little rough, its not like RAI who binned it.

      2. You are kidding right? Vettel looked uncertain the whole session. Kimi’s off did not play a part.

      3. I sat at turns 1-2 and Vettel seemed not to get on the power as confidently, and the car was very unstable compared to Dan, who’s throttle application was beautiful out of turn 1.
        Obviously a setup issue, but I haven heard any of the interviews.

        1. Vettel is a good guy, despite what people think of him. I think he doesn’t want to say something like “It’s the team’s fault, they messed up my setup.”

          1. “It’s the team’s fault, they messed up my setup.”

            @paeschli When did he say that?? Source please

            1. @onebhk – can you read? Patrick said “I think he DOESN’T want to say…” Meaning Vettel’s thinking it, but too much of a team player to say it.

        2. Its rather more likely that his car ran into some kind of trouble because in Q1 Vettel was pretty much there or thereabouts, but in Q2 he was just nowhere compared to the other car, sliding all over, having to correct and seeming to be unsure of himself @nackavich

    10. Might rhyme a lot here…

      But I have to say..

      I’m a fan of Dan, he was the man in Qualifying.

      Rhyming aside I am a total Hamilton fanboy. I’m hyped about Ham’s pole but man Dan’s performance impressed me most today. And that smile, you can’t hate anybody that smiles like that!

    11. Vettel on Q2? Williams on the points zone? Two rookies at Q1? Well, thats some good news for F1 2014 folks, this year going to be a hell of a championship! The turbos noises are amazing, btw! Can’t wait sunday!

      1. indeed… :)

      2. Hold your horses till the race is over

    12. All the fuss about Renault-powered cars and we get three of them in the top ten. The woes of Lotus seem to be about more than just the engines…

      Though I suppose the big test will be how they perform in race trim. Lots of unknowns. I feel like we know no more than we did at the end of testing.

      1. I think the woes of Lotus began with their money problems late 2013. They’re not just 1 month behind, they’re a long way behind because they couldn’t develop their car.

      2. 3 Renault engines in the top 10, only one Ferrari … which engine is a dog now? :)

        1. Tino (@tinohoinach)
          15th March 2014, 10:29

          It was just the first Q in an unusual weather, anyway let`s see which engines can finish the race?

      3. we know one thing and that the top drivers are the ones that can drive the pants off a car when needed,
        the rest are not happy when it comes to having to perform above the car rather than just push it to the limit of the designer.

        1. @lethalnz “…when it comes to having to perform above the car…”

          This is not possible. To go fast a driver has to find the limit of control and stay on it. This is more difficult and more work in some cars than in others, but the concept that you can outperform the car is nonsense.

      4. @red-andy I reiterate, Australian GP throws throws up anomalies regularly… Wait till China to see the first real glimpse of the pecking order

      5. It seems that Red Bull is not far off the truth when they mention being down on power but having good downforce. The rain seemed to make that downforce advantage a bonus and with power not mattering that much because no one was able to fully use that in the slippery conditions anyway they were suddenly there (well, not they, rather Ricciardo and the STR to an extent). I guess its safe to say that both the STR and the RBR will be very good once they get their power unit to work better with their cars.

        As for Lotus, yeah that is looking bad. Maldonado was slipping around just like everybody else was doing in Q2 but during the dry part of Q1! That car is defenitely far from ready.

        1. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
          15th March 2014, 18:22

          Lotus have become F1s newest back markers.

    13. Well disappointed with Vettel’s qualification. Although there have been some rumor running about that the engine mapping software went to pot.

      Really happy to see Daniel really push that RB10 and show his true skill! I predict (although tentatively) that RBR are well in the running for the WCC by driver quality alone. I feel a little more secure in that the RB10 isn’t looking quite like the dog that it was predicted to be.

    14. To explain Riccirado surprise qualifying, could it be he is more used to running a car that struggles a bit coming from a Toro Rosso with less downforce?

      1. your onto it Patrick,
        the impression is the cars need to be driven not just pushed to the limit of the design,
        it has been such a long time coming, at last we can see the driver who can drive the pants of a car, this season will show possibly the best drivers up front rather than the best cars.

        1. I agree with you, but this doesn’t prove Vettel is not a good driver yet. His car is more than 2 seconds of Ricciardo’s pace and that isn’t normal, I believe Horner when he says there something wrong on Seb’s car.

          However it could be really strange with Ricciardo taking the championship this year ^^

          It’s a pleasure to see the drivers struggling with the car like that, I’m all in for 2014.

          1. I think the championship is much more about the mental pressure. Being the underdog has the luxury of no pressure. Being a championship contender could be much more stressful especially if someone’s breathing down your neck. Remember the Massa-Hamilton or Vettel-Alonso fights recently, when any mistake could tip the balance towards the other. It was probably 2 teams and 2 drivers having heart-attacks at every corner in those last few months.

            Also, I’m not a fan of double points, unfair to the smaller teams, but from a driver’s perspective it should really be steadily increasing points in every upcoming race. But that would only work nicely if all the cars were the same and only driver ability and development would matter.

          2. And let’s not forget my favourite, Schumacher’s last season at Ferrari. The second half of that season made me like Schumacher, when I was never a fan before.

      2. @paeschli – After the qualy was over, Alan McNish (in the BBC highlights) compared Vettel’s driving with Ricciardo’s. He did this by looking at onboard footage of both drivers in the cockpit.

        Vettel was clearly fighting the car, judging by the way he was working the wheel. Ricciardo, on the other hand, was much smoother and he seemed to have much less need to correct the car through steering inputs.

        Quite what that means is impossible to say. We’ve heard that Vettel’s car suffered from a software issue and that may explain the difference in styles – on this occasion. Regardless of the reason for the difference in the styles of the two drivers, there was no doubt that they were very different in the footage shown by McNish. Ricciardo seemed to be able to coax the car through the corners without any untoward sliding around: Vettel had his hands full.

        So you could be right; maybe Ricciardo’s previous experience is a factor. I don’t think it was just the wet conditions that caught Vettel out. We know Vettel can drive well in wet conditions. I suspect Ricciardo is better suited to this style of driving – low downforce.

          1. I’d have to collect it on behalf of Alan McNish @full-throttle-f1 :b His analysis was pretty good.

            Vettel was certainly struggling with the car whereas Ricciardo was not. Can’t be the wet weather because Vettel drives well in the wet and Ricciardo didn’t find the car nearly as much of a handful as Vettel did. Unless Vettel’s car had a software problem that affected the handling, Ricciardo seemed to be the better driver today. Apart from possible wonky software, both drivers were driving the same car in the same conditions, albeit Vettel’s set up might have been radically different.

            If the cars were set up (roughly) the same, and Vettel’s software issue wasn’t significant to the handling of his car, Ricciardo seems to have driven much better than Vettel did today. McNish’s comparison showed the difference in style quite clearly.

    15. The first round of the fascinating inter-team battles. As I expected, Hulk smashed Perez, Alonso made a mockery of Kimi and Kobayashi did a great job. The rookies all did such a good job! The Lotus is a dog, holy crap.

      1. Mashiat (@)
        15th March 2014, 8:39

        Yeah. I wonder where all the people that kept saying “Alonso will know what it feels like to be Number 2” and “Kimi will definitely out-qualify Alonso as he is better over one lap” have gone. Gone to cover their faces in shame presumably

        1. Haha..thats exactly what I said. Where are all the Alonso haters now? He’s wiped the floor (ok thats probably a bit much)..with Kimi so far. Having said that, Ferrari is not quick enough, as usual. When will they ever start with a quick car? Sigh…

        2. I think most of it was wishful thinking. But Kimi is not yet comfortable with the car and I believe he will push Alonso more than Massa ever did in qualifying as well as in the race.

          Will need to wait for the European leg to start to see the trend arising.

    16. I think that 2014 is going to be a lot tighter WDC and WCC chase than previous. Mercedes have a head start, lets see if they can capitalise on it early and get enough of a lead before RBR and RIC and VET come back at them later on in the year.

      1. …RIC … come back at them later on in the year.

        He’s on the front row. He already came back!

    17. I think VET had troubles with the car, he was off Dani’s pace by 1.5 secs in the dry and 2.4 in the wet – Dani is an excellent driver and can challenge VET but this margin is too big.

      1. Vettel has had only one trouble-free practice session, in which he was 0.2 seconds faster than Ricciardo. Whatever’s happening under the hood of that car, something’s not working right.

        1. @mnmracer: Let’s hope they can fix it somehow before the race because Parc Fermé doesn’t allow it normally.

          Being slower than Ricciardo in all sessions on Saturday (also in Q1 when it was dry, he was 1s slower), implies that something has been different on Vettel’s car that made it slower.

    18. Red Bull were bluffing to some degree, since last week they have made huge improvements.

      Button is an old dog, his time is up.

      1. Button is an old dog

        @howard Easy there kid..

    19. Kevin – is that Danish for Bruce?

    20. Great show, loved the tensions and uncertainty. Great efforts by Ricciardo, Kvyat and Magnussen.

      However I suspect the running order might be quite different in a dry race spec. Can’t wait for tomorrow to come.

    21. A million tries and I still wouldn’t have got the top 3 right. Good that we only need to predict the pole winner.

      Alonso again in a familiar position but with unfamiliar cars around him. Two relative rookies ahead of him, if he can get his usual start, he might fight the Mercs.

      Seems like a unusual start to the season’s qualifying with the rain being a great leveller. Hope the race gives us some idea of the running order.

      1. Why does everyone wants a dry race for tomorrow? If its dry tomorrow, and Mercedes laps everyone twice like Horner said, I don’t think I’ll watch the rest of the season.

        I’d rather have rain tomorrow and not know who’s really on top as long as possible.

        1. As a Hamilton fan I want dry so he has a great chance of a win, wet and the aerodymics come into play, which, as everyone has said all along, the red bulls are in front…

        2. If its dry tomorrow, and Mercedes laps everyone twice like Horner said

          @paeschli Don’t believe in everything that Horner says

    22. 23kennyboy23
      15th March 2014, 9:34

      Every year Hamilton has a decent chance there’s always a ton of wet races to mix it up lol. Glad he’s still on top.

    23. joc_the_man
      15th March 2014, 9:38

      Congrat’s to…
      Lewis that showed what a qualifier he is
      Dan – really a surprise in many dimensions
      Kev’s debut was stunning

      Tears for…
      Kimi’s (my man) mistake…sh-t
      Marcus (my countryman) struggling in the green
      the noise by the TV-set…was like watching Prius racing
      Lotus, well what can you say…other than Kimi made the right decision

      1. Thanks for the word of the day .. “Prius”..
        I would be using that from now

      2. Hope Marcus also my countryman has a decent race tomorrow. in his Gp2 days the first races always ends early

    24. Somebody must tell RB that Webber has gone out of the team and that they should stop messing with the second car. Even if you have perfected the art, you can still do the job on the wrong car like today.

      1. My comment was intended for humor. Not to be taken seriously to begin a fight. Like it, have a laugh; Don’t like it, move on.

        1. @evered7 You should add a smiley like ;p at the end for your defense… Learned this art here at F1F, where you can say and get away with almost anything

    25. Well done Daniel. He drove brilliantly but needs to follow it up with a podium finish tomorrow. If they can sort Vettels car out he should carve his way through the field. He’s one of be best over takers but fuel burn could be an issue for him though compared to the front runners. Magnussen and Kvyat performing this well on debut shows that the new cars has levelled out the field.

    26. If you think about the bigger picture Vettel will be pleased that a Red Bull was capable of getting front row. 2 weeks ago everyone would have laughed if you’d told them that. But importantly it was raining. It does show that the design of the RB is almost certainly still the best out there by a distance, but they are struggling with gremlins related to that Renault power train. I still think when they iron them out in say 3 races time RB will be the quickest car. Reliability will be their problem I reckon. The rain meant we still can’t really tell where everyone is.
      But these cars look a big handful in the wet. That won’t change all season and we could get some really odd results when it rains.

    27. Great qualifying session. We finally got to see drivers properly wrestling the cars, and some absolutely brilliant performances as well. Couldn’t ask for a better start to the new era of F1.

    28. Danil Kvyat turns out to be the good decision for Torro Rosso, chucking out Felix Da Costa

    29. I was at the qualifying today !! what a disaster!! silent cars at a snail pace . Consider this guys, the lap record is 1min 24 secs. Today the fastest lap in the dry was about 1 min 31 secs and Ham’s pole time was some 1min 44 secs (wet). DIDASTER!!!!! I’m debating whether to go for the race tomorrow.

      1. You were obviously not one of the Australians at the track…

      2. could you tell the difference in speed from last years cars to this years from your seating position? if you could you are a genius. you are looking at the numbers too much, just watch the cars and enjoy the racing. it is not a disaster. don’t go to the race tomorrow, someone else who enjoys the sport will gladly take your seat, they – being aussie will root for Ricciardo and not care about numbers like you.

      3. Give me your ticket then you ingrate! :)

      4. ..feel sorry for you Gerry. Nothing sensational as this debate has been ongoing for quite long now. Sure, the magic is gone. I will not waste my money on grandstand tickets anylonger either. Unfortunately the 2014 version of F1. Sad times.

    30. The drivers seemed to be working so much harder to keep this years cars going where they want them. I am loving all the sliding and the clearly visible way the cars have to be wrestled around corners; and that’s before it started to rain! I am also extremely glad the engines are no longer as loud – the sheer volume of sound was too much for me.
      Even disregarding the actual results this years F1 gets a big thumbs up so far. I am still worried that fuel saving will ruin the actual race but I guess we will see tomorrow.

      If it rains for the a good deal of the race I assume fuel consumption will be less?

    31. At the track for today – exit of T2 for the F1 sessions.
      – Cars were incredibly quiet and the first impression when we heard the cars the first time was big disappointment. Aside from the Mazda 3 celebrity race, the cars seemed to be the quietest on track all day. Nice sound, but just far too quiet; don’t know if they can revise the exhausts to improve the sound.
      – Luckily, atmosphere was amazing in qualifying. The roar when Ricciardo continually topped the times was great, and we went berserk when he was on pole. Vettel not only got cheered when he didn’t make Q3, but also booed heavily as he passed and had plenty of middle fingers raised at him by the thousands at the exit of turn 2.
      Great day in the end. Good on Ricciardo and good on the crowd.

      1. “…don’t know if they can revise the exhausts to improve the sound.”

        Loud noise is wasted energy, so nobody will be modifying their cars to make them more wasteful. Just think of it this way, the loud noises of previous years were power being dissipated into the atmosphere, this year all of that power is being redirected into the wheels.

        “…but also booed heavily as he passed…”
        Stay classy Australia.

        1. I meant whether the could revise the exhaust regs or something related to force teams to increased the sound and ‘the show’ as they always like to talk about because everyone who has been to the GP have said the cars are too quiet and all were disappointed as a first reaction to the sound.

          I don’t see anything wrong with Australian fans cheering for the Australian hope, and booing the enemy of the last 4 years. Happens in every single sport in the world – why not in F1? Creates a better atmosphere at the track, and it is good to see fans are so emotionally invested in what is happening.

      2. Vettel not only got cheered when he didn’t make Q3, but also booed heavily as he passed and had plenty of middle fingers raised at him by the thousands at the exit of turn 2.
        Great day in the end. Good on Ricciardo and good on the crowd.

        Classy, really classy. Best thing is booing a driver

    32. A cracking qualifying session where “just about the right amount of rain for F1” brought on the drama. Great atmosphere, a plus side to the not very loud, not very good sounding engines is you can hear the crowd around you. Great stuff at the end between Riciardo and Hamilton. Was in the stand at turn 3 – didn’t hear anyone actually boo Vettel but plenty of people cheered when he failed to qualify for Q3 – hey its a competitive sport so why not? As to reading into the result given the conditions hard to tell much from this session. Moving away from the front would have anyone have put Kobayashi in 15th, given his Caterham basically didn’t work at all the day before. Think it’ll be a bit random for a while this season.

    33. Absolutely brilliant qualifying! So many surprises and the cars looked great sideways in the wet

    34. 2 years ago redbull were .7 seconds off the pace for first few races and won the championship. this year it looked like they might be 3 seconds off the pace. they have done an amazing job in 2 weeks. hope the car comes home tomorrow. they can afford to lose several races, as they will no doubt make the most progress as the year goes on and hopefully win again – I like their drivers, vettel because he is the fastest driver in f1, and ricciardo as he has a nice charm and seems fast too, I also love the redbull car, it looks the nicest of all the cars to me.

      1. I think maybe some wishful thinking on your part about them possibly closing the gap this year. The Mercedes engine is head and shoulders above the rest and the works team actually have a good chassis to compliment it. What Red Bull might do is lower the deficit fractionally on account of better aero but nothing more.

        1. well the Renault power already seems better. Renault cars were 30kmh down in Bahrain testing on the straights, today they had faster speeds on shorter straights, and less then 10kmh slower then merc. redbull have best drivers and best aero – and yes, that alone might make up the deficit.

    35. I wished Ricciardo had not changed to inters, he was consistently fastest in the first 2 quali sessions and the start of q3. he needed one more lap on those inters to clinch pole. Hamilton lucked in, he wasn’t the best in qualifying.

    36. Paul (@frankjaeger)
      15th March 2014, 15:01

      Absolutely loved the season’s first quali session. Hope Jenson gains back a few places in the race tomorrow. Well done to Kobayashi, best of the back

    37. Same old, same old from Jenson, come on, sort it out!

      Funny that for the most part, the regulation changes have made 0 difference to the grid order.

    38. Hulkenberg quietly sitting there in 7th on the grid – will capitalize if its a wet race and move his way slowly up the order.

    39. Absolutely no mention of Vergne’s brilliant effort in the comments section?? Guess it’s down to me then. Hat’s of to JEV, 3rd row of the grid, what a result for him and Toro Rosso. Great job by Kvyat too.

      1. I’ve been critical of Vergne in the past but I have to agree, he did a great job today, as did Kvyat.

    40. Rewatching qualy and seeing the info on the steering wheel screens (for the cars that had them, Toro Rosso being one) is quite interesting. Lots of different data displayed as they would flip through settings.

      As for the engine noise, i like the sound. i bit quiet and can be hard to hear the cars on the long shots. In car audio sounds great, hearing crowd reactions, and being able to watch in the middle of the night without practically muting your tv is nice.

    41. After their disastrous pre season testing, Not in a million years i would have thought a Red Bull would be on Front row for the first race. Great Great Great Job by Dan !!!!! wonderful job in front of his home crowd.

      now that Ferrari was showing all the promise in the pre season but not sure what happened !!!!

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