Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa, Albert Park, 2015

Hamilton leads Mercedes rout in qualifying

2015 Australian Grand Prix qualifying

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Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa, Albert Park, 2015Lewis Hamilton got his championship defence off to the best possible start by claiming pole position for the first race of the season in Australia.

Nico Rosberg was over half a second behind his team mate after a troubled qualifying session, but this was still a dominant performance for Mercedes.

Their closest rivals Williams were well over a second slower, as Felipe Massa narrowly beat the two Ferrari drivers to third place.

Q1

The Mercedes pair easily secured their passage through to Q2 and they didn’t even have to use a set of soft tyres to do it. The only other driver to achieve the same was Valtteri Bottas, but Williams team mate Felipe Massa found it necessary to use a set of softs.

Pastor Maldonado languished in the drop zone as the final minutes of Q1 began but the Lotus driver found a substantial improvement on the soft tyres to guarantee a place in Q2. But as he and the Toro Rosso drivers moved forward, McLaren slipper perilously down the order.

Jenson Button managed a cleaner lap than team mate Kevin Magnussen, but it still left him five-hundredths shy of a place in Q2. And then a difficult task became impossible.

The Red Bull of Daniil Kvyat had been struck with a technical problem late in final practice which delayed his start to qualifying. Once he put a time in both McLarens lost another place and were eliminated, along with Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber.

Joining the trio were the two Manor cars, which failed to run at all in Q1 or practice.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’31.376
17Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda1’31.422
18Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Honda1’32.037
19Roberto MerhiManor-Ferrari
20Will StevensManor-Ferrari

Q2

Felipe Nasr, Sauber, Albert Park, 2015Hamilton led the way in the second part of qualifying, lowering the fastest time of the weekend so far to a 1’26.894 after switching to the soft tyres. Rosberg was two-tenths of a second slower after feeling his engine cut on the approach to turn 15. The two W06s had the luxury of only having to run once.

After scraping into Q2, Kvyat was unable to get any further in the Red Bull, but the other RB11 in Ricciardo’s hands made it through. The Toro Rossos were split as well – Verstappen owned up to an error at turn five on his flying lap, while Sainz replied “nice one!” when told he’d made it through into Q3.

Having beaten his team mate into Q2 Felipe Nasr took an impressive 11th for Sauber. However the two Force Indias had the distinction of being the only Mercedes-powered cars not to reach the final ten.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari1’28.800
12Max VerstappenToro Rosso-Renault1’28.868
13Daniil KvyatRed Bull-Renault1’29.070
14Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’29.208
15Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’29.209

Q3

Hamilton came out fighting at the beginning of Q3, taking almost half a second off his best time up to that point. Rosberg’s troubles at turn 15 continued, however – he ran wide at the exit and aborted his lap.

Bottas was unable to capitalise on the benefit of having saved a set of soft tyres as he struggled with a lack of bite from his brakes on his first run, and like Rosberg headed back to the pits without setting a time.

Vettel therefore took up second place, albeit over 1.3 seconds slower than Hamilton before the first runs began. And the Mercedes driver stretched his advantage even further with his final run.

While Hamilton lowered his best to a 1’26.327, Rosberg could only try to make up for lost time. He ended up over half a second behind his team mate.

A lairy moment from Bottas limited him to sixth on the grid and allowed Massa to take the ‘best of the rest’ spot, nearly 1.4 seconds slower than Hamilton. The pair were split by the Ferraris, Vettel narrowly out-qualifying Raikkonen.

Ricciardo briefly held third with his final run before being bumped back to seventh. He’ll share row four with Carlos Sainz Jnr, who said he was pleased with his car’s set-up. The Lotus pair finished the top ten.

Top ten in Q3

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’26.327
2Nico RosbergMercedes1’26.921
3Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’27.718
4Sebastian VettelFerrari1’27.757
5Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’27.790
6Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’28.087
7Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault1’28.329
8Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Renault1’28.510
9Romain GrosjeanLotus-Mercedes1’28.560
10Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Mercedes1’29.480

2015 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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161 comments on “Hamilton leads Mercedes rout in qualifying”

  1. You just have to feel for Alonso.. Wow. as a Ferrari fan, I am ecstatic now that they are tied with Williams for 2nd best.. And absolutely depressed as an Alonso fan. His wrong career-decisions will leave him with numbers that don’t reflect even a tenth of his true abilities. The best possible driver, in the worst possible car.

    1. The thing is Ferrari aren’t going to win the title either. So with the limited amount of time Alonso has left in the sport it was right to take a punt on Honda. It might yet pay off. He is not interested in being the best of the rest like a Vettel or a Bottas who have eons of time left to build their careers. It might yet prove to be an inspired choice although it’s not looking likely at the moment. But ofcourse one would expect McLaren to be in the top 5 even at their worst!

      1. Yeah I agree @blackmamba. 3rd is no use to Alonso.

        It’s still not impossible the Mac will come good this year, though surely Honda need to change their leadership to match the facilities. I’m concerned JB said it lacked downforce but that could change too.

        1. @lockup The faster a car goes, the more downforce it generates, so let’s wait till Honda picks up the speed!

          1. @optimaximal:
            Sorry to burst yout bubble, but that’s not how it works … at all.

          2. @nase yes, because I was speaking with total sincerity! :)

          3. @nase well, yes, that is how it partially works. Do you deny that a car at rest has less downforce than a car at speed?

          4. @optimaximal:
            Sorry m8! I’ve read sincere statements that definitely made less sense than yours, so my sense of sincerity must’ve got out of touch with reality.
            I blame my “sleeping” schedule of last weekend!

            @pastaman:
            Isn’t that obvious? Why else would they go slower in the corners?
            (scnr)

    2. Probably Alonso saw this coming and therefore wasn’t too keen to hurry up his recovery.

      1. Conspiracy theory mode on, what if the ‘accident’ Alonso had was just a way to keep himself away from this embarrassment?

    3. @ssm0304 it’s easy to judge “with monday’s newspaper in hand”, as we say in Argentina, the decisions you make. Alonso maybe knew that Ferrari would improve… but he doesn’t have the time to wait for them 5 more years. I also think that Ferrari needed a complete change to make those improvements work, you need a clean sheet, and Vettel is exactly that. A new driver, willing to put more effort, and make it work. Alonso did that in 2010, and for 5 years… it’s hard to do it again.

      I’d not say that he made wrong decisions. He almost nailed it after moving to McLaren (Renault entered a slump), and then he almost nailed it after moving to Ferrari. He had near misses but at the time, they were quite risky decisions and he made it work, very nearly winning the championship in both ocassions.

      This time, the task is even harder. Not onlt McLaren needs to improve, but also Mercedes is so far out of reach that you need a massive step forward to compete with them, which I don’t think it’s ever going to happen under this engine formula.

      1. @fer-no65

        with monday’s newspaper in hand

        The (less poetic) English equivalent would be “in hindsight”, I think.

        1. @davidnotcoulthar I know, I just wanted to throw a local saying to spice it up :P you know, exotic is better…

      2. @fer-no65 But likewise, nor does Alonso have the time to wait for Mclaren to improve. This season isn’t going to be enough time. Nor will be 2016. Maybe 2017..mayne not. Alonso is 33. 2017 will most probably be his last season in F1,if not earlier.

        1. @ssm0304 he had to take the gamble. The only thing that would’ve accelerated that process would’ve been Honda’s engine. And we could argue it still is, since they still have 9 tokens.

          1. I have always been optimistic, but now I’m not anymore. 9 tokens? They had a year extra of full freedom. What would 9 tokens do now eh?

      3. Exactly.
        Alonso had been there for so long that everyone there knew about his urge to win. It was another element of pressure for the team. And the guy himself was a timebomb ready to explode, like on Q3 of Monza 2013.

        Vettel is a new face, and for him is much more acceptable to be 1.5s off mercedes than Alonso, who got stuck on this situation for 5 seasons.

  2. Well its clear tomorrow is going to be a bigger massacre than last year

    1. @bezza695 For a little perspective, Mercedes are 1.61% faster than anyone else here. That’s a bigger margin than they had at any circuit last year – they peaked at 1.24% in Spain:

      http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2014/12/12/mercedes-2014-dominance-outstripped-red-bulls-2010-3/

      Their rivals will be holding to the hope that this is partly a Melbourne aberration (we do so ‘outlier’ results here) and that they can make bigger gains on Mercedes by doing more engine development later in the year.

      1. I really didn’t think Merc could increase their advantage, what with the laws of diminishing returns and everything. But they have done it and that pole time was just 5 tenths (.5) behind 2012 pole time set in similar conditions. That’s impressive!

        1. Well it’s a law with many assumptions @blackmamba :)

      2. @keithcollantine I don’t think it is the engine development that’s going to save the rest of the field, I think reducing to 4 PU’s and having PU 52% frozen is what will always hold back Merc opponents until the end of the season. I think the reason why Merc is so far ahead is simply because they could build up on a good platform from a very early stage, if you look at most of the grid everyone’s still trying to crash test a new nose!

        1. @peartree engine homologation didn’t start from 2014 though did it? Why are some people suddenly finding it unfair now? Sometimes you just have to take your hat off to the leading team and say ‘well done’.

          1. Exactly. The part about nose crash testing also underlines that Merc’s superiority is a combination of many factors – the engine being one of these, but as one can see, Force India didn’t achieve more than P14 and P15 with the very same engine.

  3. Much expected from the home crowd. RIC a very popular driver but do RBR have enough arsenal to be the best of the rest. Not ruling out lotus they are likely in top 5 ifbthe drivers go sensibly. Happy for Ferrari they have pulled out some thing and will likely get a podium. All geared up come race day.

  4. Wow, Rosberg is the new Webber. Good enough to keep the seat, but that’s about it.

    1. I’d be careful to make such a statement so early on, last year he was out-qualified by Lewis 4 out of 5 times early on in the season, and occasionally by some big margins.

      With that being said, I agree that he was terrible today. Not 2013-Webber levels of terrible, but still pretty woeful.

      1. You are so often wrong that I can’t say I care what you’d be careful about or not.

        1. LOL!
          I agree with Nx, although I think Rosberg will probably me more like a 2011 Webber.

          Rosberg threw everything he had at Hamilton last year (including Monaco & Spa) and was given the benefit of doubt for minor infringements (red flags incidents British GP, cutting chicane Canadian GP).

          He has run out of ‘cheat tokens’ and I suspect (un)reliability wont play that big of a role this year for the Mercs.
          That just leaves the racing and I think Nico cannot consistently perform at the level he did at last years Brazilian GP.
          Therefore Lewis will beat him comprehensively this year and Nico will have nowhere to hide.

        2. Lewis said it himself last year…..Rosberg does not enjoy pressure. I think that’s why Kewis decided not to let Nico out first but to beat him going out on track and lay down a huge marker to say, ‘here you go mate, beat that if you can!’ And the pressure just got to Rosberg.

          1. Jean-Christophe
            14th March 2015, 9:41

            The order is decided by the team before hand and they take it in turns

          2. No, Merc let the drivers take it turn deciding who goes out first, It was Lewis’s choice this race so he could of known where he was going to find time and not shown his hand until the time was ticking and Nico, who has shown not to deal with pressure well in the past, against the clock to find the missing time.

            Whether he did on this occasion who knows, But although Sky have tried on a few occasions to make comment on Lewis’s lack of smiling in pre-season and weekend interviews, He just looks so focused at the moment. I think todays performance has just reaffirmed that mental focus.

            Long season and a long way to go yet. Let’s see how tomorrow goes.

          3. Rosberg’s antics last season also gave Hamilton all the motivation he’ll need for this season and beyond to beat him. He very clearly channeled his anger over Spa into beating Rosberg over the rest of the season, ceasing any verbal mind games and focusing strategically on the race and being aggressive at key moments (like his Austin pass). Various commentators reckoned the non-smiling Lewis on Friday meant he was distracted and Rosberg focused. Completely wrong. He’s simply found a mental space he can call on now to reach the kind of ‘zone’ where he beat Rosberg off the grid at Abu Dhabi or in qualifying today. It will now take a lot more for Rosberg to undo that concentration and determination, while the prospect of succeeding over the season will seem much more remote.

      2. Kingshark but as you said last year it was wet this year it is dry. Ham is only one who seems to have the big gao aswell, they are always close but Nico never seems to crush him.

    2. Mr win or lose
      14th March 2015, 8:46

      I think you’re jumping to conclusions. Apart for the first corner, Rosberg’s lap was quite ok, especially since he only had one chance in Q3. The big difference between Hamilton and Rosberg is that Hamilton is faster when it really matters, possibly because he is stronger under pressure. This year, Hamilton’s confidence seems to be better than ever. But the race is what matters and we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see whether or not Rosberg has improved his racecraft.

      1. We’ve had two years of Hamilton beating Rosberg. Last year convincingly so. Jumping to conclusions? Nope.

        1. Sorry mate, make it 5 years including their jr categories. If Nico couldn’t do it in 5 attempts there is no reason whatsoever to suggest he will do it at the 6th attempt. Nico’s best hope is a 2011 like season for Lewis, although based on how he bounced back in 2012 to crush JB despite numerous retirements, team incompetency and being taken out by other drivers I highly doubt that will be the case. Lewis seems more mature and more balanced than he was in his early years.

          1. Di Resta once beat Vettel in their jr category.

          2. @ Breno indeed he did. Of which there is nothing to suggest that Di Riesta couldn’t get the job done had he been in that Red Bull between ’09-’13 and he could well be the 4 time champ. But there is also nothing to overwhelmingly suggest he could have beaten Vettel in F1. However with Hamilton and Rosberg there is 3 years of jr categories to compare along with two years of F1. That is more than enough evidence to draw a conclusion is it not?

        2. Mr win or lose
          14th March 2015, 15:34

          Calm down. The reason the 2014 season was so interesting, was because Hamilton and Rosberg were so evenly matched (Rosberg was generally faster in qualifying, Hamilton was faster in the race). Except for 2010, Webber didn’t get that close to Vettel.

          1. They weren’t evenly matched, at all. Other than Monaco, Hamilton’s race pace was always drastically superior to Rosberg’s.

            Qualifying ahead means nothing if you lose your place almost immediatly.

          2. What? As I recall it, Webber was leading Vettel for a significant period in the season. In fact, Webber went into the last race (Abu Dhabi) at the summit of the table. When you look at qualy and race performances it was very much give or take between the two. If that isn’t being evenly matched then please educate me on what is. In fact I would say had Red Bull played it fair Webber would have been champ (tyre strategies in Abu Dhabi ’10- pitted Webber too quickly when the tyres were graining yet they came back for other drivers) and Silverstone ’10 (wing gate springs to mind).

          3. They weren’t evenly matched, at all. Other than Monaco, Hamilton’s race pace was always drastically superior to Rosberg’s.

            You mean like Bahrain, Spain, Austria, and the opening lap of Belgium?

          4. @Kingshark, as I recall it in Bahrain and Spain Nico was on the faster tyres. No?

      2. Take note, Hamilton this year will win all the races where he hasnt car failures. So i expect Hamilton to win like 14races more or less. Rosberg 2 races and the rest of races outsiders may be Ferrari 1, Williams 1, Red Bull

    3. Plot Twist: Nico setup his car solely for race (as he knew he’d be second in quali in worst case LOL)

    4. You mean Barrichello.

  5. Apart from how smooth and fast Lewis was my biggest impression of qualifying was watching how fast that FI caught Jensons McH on the finish straight, that Honda PU is seriously down on power despite Jensons polite comments. Next impression, the Ferrari-Williams battle is going to be very entertaining, next, STR looking good and lastly that pay-driver in the Sauber looks pretty handy.

    1. I had fears that Sainz was going to be drowned out by everybody’s love-in with the Max story, but what a way to make a loud bang. Good on him, they won’t ignore him now!

        1. The problem with Max is that he really doesn’t have much to win and everything to lose. With all the pre-season fuss about his performance and ability means that an expectation has been thrust upon him and if like today he make a mistake and loses out to his teammate then his mistakes are shown up more than otherwise would have been.

          Sainz on the other hand has everything to gain, If he can regularly beat his much hyped teammate that will be great for his progression in Red Bull.

          It will be interesting to see if Max can live up to all the hype and the massive pressure of being as supposedly talented as he is. Time will tell and best of luck to him. Good to see talent coming into F1 though.

  6. That was a fun end to qualifying. Really nice to focus on the on-track action again after so much negativity off-track over the winter.

    Can’t help but feel that Hamilton is going to drive away to a commanding victory tomorrow, but I hope that Rosberg is able to provide him a decent challenge.

    Behind the Mercedes, it’s looking like we’re going to have an enthralling battle for third between Williams and Ferrari. I’ve been pretty critical of Massa over the years, but he deserves credit for saving his best til last – it was a great little victory for him. I’d have been interested to see where HMS Bottas would’ve ended up without running wide on the final corner and it was a good start for Vettel to put one over on Raikkonen at the first attempt too.

    As for McLaren, well. That has to be humiliating, even if this car has all this alleged potential. I can’t help but find it amusing that Ferrari’s fortunes appear to have turned around and McLaren’s have gotten even worse almost around the exact point that Alonso decided to bail out of Marenello, but we’ll see if he has the last laugh. It’s probably not going to a fun year for McLaren at least for quite a while…

    1. I wasn’t surprised TBH. McLaren had the fastest engine last year and they were nowhere. Now they have the worst engine of the grid.

      1. 3 seconds off the pace…

        Either the car is really atrocious or they are running the PU on 50% of its power.

        It seems “Size zero” was meant to describe the amount of success of team this year.

      2. I doubt Macca had the full support of Merc last year. I think only Williams had the same kind of support, based on fuel usage vs performance.

        1. They didn’t have as much access to the code as some other customer teams, but this only thing they could of expected really, given where they were heading and already working with.

          Access to code though doesn’t explain why they were more often than not the worst performing Mercedes team. Fighting with FI might be good for FI to some degree but it’s nothing short of embarrassing for Mclaren, and this year well embarrassing would be very kind.

          Mclaren and Honda will improve, but the timescale to that improvement is what’s important. Mclaren can only really afford one more season in the middle of the pack and even less at the back. If they don’t perform next season, some serious questions will be asked if they aren’t already.

          1. Is there any statement from anyone trustworthy to back up the story about limited access to code, or is this speculation?

          2. Ron Dennis said so himself last season.

    2. As a Hamilton fan, I’m hoping Rosberg gets the better start and leads into T1. I think that’s tge only way we’ll get a fight for the lead.

      But even if that’s not the case, the fight for 3rd should provide plenty of entertainment!

  7. Ex_McLaren_Fan
    14th March 2015, 7:22

    Bet Alonso’s 1995 kart goes faster than this piece of junk called the mp4-30. Ron Dennis must go. He is still stuck up in the 80’s nostalgia. So embarrassing.

    1. Jamesluke2488
      14th March 2015, 7:44

      Exactly the opposite Ron is man who they need to get themselves out of this mess

      1. Ex_McLaren_Fan
        14th March 2015, 8:44

        No sir, as a long time Mclaren supporter i say Sir Ron Dennis is the part of the problem. McLaren must stop getting all nostalgic & get back to the real world. Partnering Honda was never going to work. Honda is a spent force in motorsports. the Brawn with honda engine would have lost the 2009 title to red bull. McLaren have made a huge mistake. They must borrow engine from Renault if Ron’s ego prevents him from making a deal with Ferrari or mercedes.

        1. And you expected partnering with an engine provider who’ve got their own Factory team to work?

          Seriously? You expect them to win like that?

        2. They must borrow engine from Renault if Ron’s ego prevents him from making a deal with Ferrari or mercedes.

          Would the chassis even fit?

        3. Seems like you’ve chosen what’s best for you then to be an ex-fan.

          Sit it out until the winning returns/RD leaves.

        4. The thing is, an engine deal with Renault would still have some major drawbacks to it, as can be seen over at Red Bull.

          Marko has been fiercely critical of Renault this weekend – he is furious that they’ve potentially already lost one engine for Ricciardo’s car after barely 50km of use and already had to change the energy recovery system on Sainz Jr.’s car, both drivers have complained that the drivability of the engines is significantly worse than in pre-season test and it appears that problem has been getting worse, not better, during the race weekend.

          Although Renault have more development tokens, the power deficit to Ferrari and Mercedes is thought to have grown, rather than shrunk, since last year. Furthermore, Renault reportedly charged their customer teams the most for their engines in 2014 – McLaren would have a sizeable chunk taken out of their budget, which would effectively be a subsidy for Red Bull (who, as the works team, get free engines from Renault).

          The fact is, Red Bull are in a situation where, although they are currently in a better position than Honda are, they are desperate for Renault to either improve significantly or to get out of their current contract and get another engine. However, neither Ferrari nor Mercedes are willing to cut a deal with Red Bull, so they are stuck with the Renault engine by necessity rather than by choice.

          As for a Ferrari engine, you’re assuming that Ferrari would be willing to supply them with an engine in the first place. Whilst Ferrari are happy to sell engines to Sauber and Manor, that is in the knowledge that they are very unlikely to be beaten by those teams – McLaren, however, would be a very different proposition.

          To put it bluntly, it is not in Ferrari’s interests – and, in fact, likely to be counter productive for Ferrari’s interests – to sell an engine to McLaren. It is exceptionally unlikely that they would agree to an engine deal, even if McLaren were willing to enter into a deal with them.

          As for Mercedes, whilst it may have been possible for McLaren to have done a deal with them, the issue there is that, from Mercedes’s point of view, McLaren is effectively surplus to requirements now that Mercedes has its own works team.

          If anything, Mercedes now view McLaren as a rival and a threat rather than an ally, so there is a question over how willing they’d be to supply them with an engine (whilst they did so until 2014, that was under an existing contract that McLaren and Mercedes had signed before the Mercedes works team came about).

          They could probably negotiate a deal there, but given Mercedes would be in a much stronger position, it is likely that the terms they’d offer McLaren would not be especially favourable. The marriage with Honda, therefore, is kind of out of necessity for McLaren in some ways, so for the future they probably have to stick with it and hope that Honda can turn things around in the future.

          1. Ex_McLaren_Fan
            14th March 2015, 15:56

            Sir I completely agree with your observations. But Honda is not the solution. When was the last time a mclaren was 6 sec slower than the car on pole? Not even the disastrous mp4-19 from 2004. I doubt honda have the capability to overhaul such power deficit. Not unless sir ron Dennis can do politics like Luca di Montezemolo did back the the early schumacher glory days. I feel really bad for Prince Fernando Alonso. He’ll end his career as a double world champion.

          2. Prince Fernando Alonso? That’s a little over the top isn’t it. He has basically edned up with Mclaren because he couldn’t form Ferrari and their new management around his will as he has done in previous years. A fantastic driver for certain, one of the best yes, but a prince? IMO Not even close.

            Drivers can only play the same hand so many times before a team has enough and calls their bluff.

  8. Quite a few surprises here:

    I was expecting Nasr to be faster than Ericcson, but not by that much.

    Also Kvyat out in Q2, quite shocking.

    The two Toro Rosso drivers are doing a pretty good job. With a bit of luck, they’ll be able to score some points tomorrow.

    Also, Force India is clearly the slowest Mercedes powered car on the grid. Lotus have done a good job this year.

    And Ferrari is back, finally.

    1. And Ferrari is back, finally.

      Last year’s best Ferrari was 5th on the grid, 1.8s behind the fastest Mercedes.
      This year’s best Ferrari is 4th on the grid, 1.6s behind the fastest Mercedes.

      While I’m certain that the car is a lot better this year, they’re far from being back.

      1. @dh1996: Totally different weather in both qualifying sessions (2014 vs. 2015). You can’t really compare anything regarding qualifying-pace until Bahrain.

    2. Renan Martinuzzo
      14th March 2015, 9:52

      Expecting Ericsson to lap on the same pace as Nasr is an ofence to the young brazilian. That Marcus should not be allowed to race in F1 at all. Even a kid straight out of karting would be faster than him,

      1. The thing is: Caterham screwed up Kobayashi’s car so much last year, Ericcson seemd OK at some races. Now we truly see how bad he is.

        1. Renan Martinuzzo
          14th March 2015, 14:23

          And now we see how good Nasr was doing going against the DAMS of Joylon Palmer last year in GP2. Have a look at the pace of the DAMS compared to almost everyother car in last week’s GP2 pre season tests.

          I also have a theory that the Marussia was never a better car than the Caterham last year. It was all Jules Bianchi doing.

          For Kobayashi, I hope he wins the F-Nippon title this year.

        2. @paeschli:
          My thoughts exactly. Ericsson may be an OK driver, but hardly F1 material. Now, at Sauber, the situation is very different. They’re not dead last on the grid, so there’s always some roome to drop back significantly. Both cars are going to be more or less equivalently equipped (unlike Caterham in 2014, where the differences became painfully obvious, especially considering the nose update that was never given to Kobayashi), and Nasr is also a valuable sponsor for the team. All the ingredients for a clean comparison are there, and Nasr has only just begun showing us who really deserves a seat in F1 and who doesn’t.

  9. They were saying on TV that Seb’s final run was on used softs, and that he saved an extra set of new ones for the race. Don’t know if that’s true, and what difference it could make.

    1. Q3 time was set on new softs. Vettel did his first run on new and Kimi did his second/last on new. That is what I heard on Sky.

    2. That’s incorrect, he doesn’t have a new set available, because he used one in Q1..

      He set his first lap in Q3 on his last set of options and kimi did the opposite. For their 2nd run, he used an old set and Kimi used his final new one.

      1. So it was a half-truth then. Kimi’s way sounds more reasonable, the final laps tend to be faster.

      2. How do you explain the Extra set available in Q3

        1. I am actually confused a lil now. Hearing that they start on Q2 tires. Can someone explain the tire changes and allocations for Qualifying please?

        2. They are given an extra set just for Q3 that they have return back after qualifying.

          1. Well Yes Thats the point they used the extra set for Q but reserved one set for race its simple

          2. @harsha No. Vettel used 3 sets of soft tyres in Q1 and Q2. So when he went into Q3, the only new set he had was the set given to Q3 runners, yet cannot be used during the race. So Vettel has 0 new sets of softs, and 3 new sets of mediums

          3. @mashiat

            Did they run 2 sets of new softs in Q2 with VET and RAI? Or did they use their Q1 tires again?

            Either way, it was strange for Ferrari to send them out a second time in Q2.

  10. This was certainly no “nip and tuck” as Nico predicted. It was more cut and slash…

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      14th March 2015, 14:33

      Cut and slash… With a hammer.
      Lewis well and truly trashed Rosberg today. 6 tenths, holy cow.

  11. larry onyekwere
    14th March 2015, 7:36

    IMO, from LH44 Q3 stonking lap times, i am 100% certain that the reason why he hasn’t signed a new contract by now must be his obvious demands that his telemetry shouldn’t be shared with his team mate. lol, just made that up. LH44 is unbeatable when he is in his ‘zone’

    1. Please don’t call him
      LH44. Please.

      1. larry onyekwere
        14th March 2015, 7:59

        pardon me?

        1. It sounds like a plane, like in MH17 …

        2. I think its nicer to call “Lewis” or “Hamilton” and also some people defines capitals as a shouting, which is not really nice to see.

      2. larry onyekwere
        14th March 2015, 8:02

        LH for Lewis Hamilton. 44 for his racing number. am i missing something here @ Nx?

        1. It sounds ridiculous. Like a cheap hip-hop singer/gangsta-style rapper. Like “CR7”.

          His name is Lewis Hamilton, we are adults, let’s talk about him like adults.

          1. larry onyekwere
            14th March 2015, 8:42

            first off, i would like to believe you know CR7 is not a name of a gangster or rapper or whatever but the name of 2015 FIFA Ballon d’or winner. But i do get your point. No pun intended. Big Lewis fan here

          2. “Like CR7” as in CR7 also sounds like a cheap rapper’s name. I’m well ware who C. Ronaldo is, but CR7 sounds still like a cheap rapper.

            Which, funnily enough, is what Ronaldo seems to enjoy dressing like. Just like Lewis, also funnily enough.

          3. ‘Dressing like a cheap rapper’

            You sound ridiculous.

          4. Yeah, do you know how expensive it is to dress like a cheap rapper?
            Yo!

          5. VERY expensive, I assume. That doesn’t make it look any less cheap though.

      3. NR6 guys or VB77?

        Perhaps we can add in FM19.

      4. I like it, it’s a good way to memorise the less memorable drivers. Obviously we all know 44 is Hamilton but still a good way to remember.

      5. Makes him sound like a car.

    2. Patrick means it’s silly and sounds ridiculous. Yes, LH44 is unbeatable when he is in his zone, but also when he is in a car that is up to 2 seconds faster than anything else. SB5 though, thoroughly wiping the track with KR7 exhaust, and showing that Ferrari’s problem was FA14. Completely transformed that team in just one winter. But yes, LH44 will be champion again this year in a dominant car (as always).

      1. Oops, should have been SV5 up there! Not very good at this gangsta-busta-rap talk…

        1. There used to be this app for learnin’ how talkin’ getto style, yo

          1. That’s awesome, I’m going to pass all my comments through that filter before submitting them now!

      2. @beowulf2 Would you care to explain how EXACTLY “FA14” was Ferrari’s only issue? And also how “SV5” transformed the team over the winter?

      3. @beowulf2 How do you come up with that? SV5 joined the team in January, by which time the team had already made 90% of the car. If anything, FA14 deserves some credit.

        1. @mashiat Yes, it took FA14 only 5 years to help develop a car that was 1.4 seconds slower than the leaders.

          On a more serious note, I think that the influence of two ‘Northern’ drivers and a British engineer (James Allison) is good for Ferrari. It has changed the mentality of the team.

    3. I can’t believe that people are actually complaining about you calling him LH44…
      People will indeed complain about anything these days. I can’t believe anyone even stopped to think about how you should call him. It’s not insulting and we all know what LH44 means, so I can’t for the life of me understand why would anyone complain about you calling him that way.

      1. I think calling the drivers HAM, VET and BOT is stupid but I accept it. LH44 is where I draw the line though.

        1. There’s nothing like repetition to help memory, referring to initials plus number will help us recognise all the drivers numbers, not just the top 6, which is after all the whole point (other than just adopting features of money-making US sports).

    4. Renan Martinuzzo
      14th March 2015, 14:25

      Right it as you want, pal. Don’t give a damm about all these complaints.

    5. Lufthansa flight number 44 (Frankfurt-Bremen).

      By the way: CR7 is a Bombardier Canadair Jet 700.

    6. LH44….I like the nick name :-)… someone said he’s not a plane… But the way he thrashed the whole field, maybe he is like one! A rocket!

  12. Thats probably how it was. Raikkonen improved too much on his 2nd try. And Vettel aborted his.

  13. I’d like to think this is how a relaxed Lewis with less to prove performs against a team mate and hopefully without relationship distractions I’m going to be bold and say he’s going to raise his game still further. Will Rosberg return to a Monaco style pro cheat out of desperation or will someone turn the engine off as happened in his rookie year?

  14. Great job as expected from HAM, but ROS seems to be feeling the pressure already-going wide near the pit entry is not how you psychologically want to start!!!

    I’m certain BOT would be 3rd had it not been for the final corner drama. Ferrari are back, happy to see RAI close to the pace of VET.

    I think there were 3 big surprises this qualifying session:

    SAI jr. had a wonderful session, for a while there the little bulls were running better than the big boys…it’s all a relative term, the average age across those four drivers is really low!

    Lotus have been jumpstarted back to life with those Merc engines, they are in for a complete turnaround this season.

    But the most (expected) surprise has got to be the Mcgonedas rearing the field. Oh my god. I wonder what Alonso must be thinking-why get back in the car in Malaysia? Of course he’ll do everything he can to bring Mclaren to a respectable position, but this is really worrying. I guess it doesn’t hit home until you see it first hand.

    This will be a very interesting season to say the least, with HAM on his way to potential 3rd title, VET getting lucky wherever he goes, and ALO still fighting for the 3rd title.

    The front of the grid will remain the same but the battle behind will be one to watch for sure.

    1. My take, Vettel is a better “Development Driver” for a team than Alonso as we already see how much he did for Redbull and now with Ferrari. It seems to me that Alonso wants to be given the best machine instead of pushing (working) the team into the best machine. Hamilton would be the bench mark at the moment in pushing a team to deliver the best car. The W05 & W06 are certainly ham cars not ros cars. I feel Alonso with all his good racecraft is just a political car development driver. In that order Hamilton, Vettel, I would actually put Bottas ahead of Alonso too…its a pity such a good racer (Alonso) cant influence a top team to deliver the best car…always waiting for the team to give him the monster machine… now with Honda struggling to give the horsepower, reliability and driverbility needed…I fear Alonso’s career is over.

    2. My take, Vettel is a better “Development Driver” for a team than Alonso as we already see how much he did for Redbull and now with Ferrari. It seems to me that Alonso wants to be given the best machine. Hamilton would be the bench mark at the moment in pushing a team to deliver the best car. The W05 & W06 are certainly ham cars not ros cars. I feel Alonso with all his good racecraft is just a political car development driver. In that order Hamilton, Vettel, I would actually put Bottas ahead of Alonso too…its a pity such a good racer (Alonso) cant influence a top team to deliver the best car…always waiting for the team to give him the monster machine… now with Honda struggling to give the horsepower, reliability and driverbility needed…I fear Alonso’s career is over.

    3. The only thing I want to add to this discussion is:
      https://twitter.com/Gianlu_DAle/status/576718227969060864

      Say what you want but we never had this type of team last year. Everything has changed, not only one of the drivers, but the spirit of the team. Let’s hope it stays like this for a while.

  15. Congratz to Lewis! He totally dominated the qualy beating Rosberg by 0.6 second. As some have stated here before, it really brings back memories about Webber’s lack of performance compared to Vettel. As for Vettel and Ferrari I think he is relatively happy despite losing the third spot only by margin. Ric performed also quite well taking into account the car he has right now. I hope that Hamilton would not drive away tomorrow, but it is hard to believe that. At least we have Ferrari and Williams battle..

  16. I think we are making too much of the pace difference between Ham and Ros. Ros didn’t have a banker and had to be cautious to get the second place. Not saying he would have beaten Ham but the gap wouldn’t have been this large.

    Looking forward to segregated battles at top and for 3-10th places.

    1. He only didn’t have a banker because of his mistake on the first run, if you remember when Rosberg out qualified Lewis by 0.400 in Abu Dhabi last season, Much was made but it was the same situation, Lewis made a mistake and he lost time.

      If you listen to Rosberg he says that he isn’t worried about his pace at all, yet after qually his body language showed something quite different. I don’t think he was expecting that at all. What came out of his mouth didn’t really match what his face was saying.

      I’m sure Rosberg will learn from footage and data but the problem with doing that is, you are normally already one step behind. But that’s natural talents VS developed talent.

  17. I was just looking at the sector times. Kimi could’ve been way ahead of Vettel and the Williams.
    He could’ve gone 0.4 sec faster than his actual fastest lap in Q3, but he lost too much time on the first two sectors. He was 2nd in S1, 5th in S2 and 3rd in S3. What a pity.
    But he has good race pace, so I expect him to jump on to the podium tomorrow.

  18. I’m intrigued that Lewis gained most of his time, in Q3 at least, by taking 4th through T1 where Nico used 3rd (as Johnny Herbert showed us on the skypad).

    That is exactly the kind of thing Nico would be copying, surely? So did Lewis save that to the end as a secret weapon, or was Nico simply unable to emulate it?

    1. It’s not the first time that commentators have noticed a difference in the way that the two drivers go through the gears either.

      In the 2014 Italian GP, Peter Windsor noted that Hamilton went through the first chicane in a higher gear than Rosberg (and, in fact, was the only driver to go through that corner in 3rd gear, whereas everybody else dropped to 2nd).

      Hamilton seemed to be relying more on being able to carry more apex speed through the chicane, whereas Rosberg was dropping down a gear and trying to power out of the corner. That, in turn, seems to have contributed towards the problems Rosberg had with his rear tyres overheating in that race, whereas Hamilton was able to manage his rear tyre wear more effectively.

      I would not be surprised, therefore, if Hamilton is adopting a similar tactic here and Rosberg’s driving style is such that he is struggling to mimic Hamilton.

  19. We can finally see Ferraris true colors now that they’ve stopped trying to build a car around a driver that just wasn’t good enough.

      1. Very true actually.

  20. Just a note on the sound of the 2015 cats vs 2014. They are definately louder.
    I was in the Jones stand at turn 1.
    Last year the cars coming down the straight could sneak up on you. But this year you can hear them coming both down the straights and out of the pits. You can hear them for longer after the have gone past too. Its actually the perfect volume as its loud enough to excite but you dont need ear muffs, so kids can enjoy it more.
    Crowds are good, maybe up on last year too so last years sound didnt kill the crowds either.
    Me and my 10 year old son really enjoyed the the cars today. The crowd was really engaged too.

  21. Hamilton’s pole time was only 0,4s slower than the fastest time in Melbourne in 2013.
    Are they really that close already, or were the sessions rain affected in 2013?

    1. Hamilton got a 24.9 in 2012, so not there quite yet. Thankfully more speed to come from these cars.

  22. I briefly looked at the times, and it seems that potentially we are back at the speed of the 2012 cars, this being the last non turbo, non rain affected qualifying session. Obviously, Lewis’ time is a lot faster than his pole then, but the rest of the grid is closer to that (the Mercedes is an anomaly). This is pretty impressive, looking at the amount of downforce that’s been lost.

    1. Apologies, I completely had a stupid moment for whatever reason, Hamilton’s time is 2 seconds off, seems I got the 4 confused with a 6… Just replace 2012 with 2009

      1. You havê to look for Q2 times to compare properly with 2009.

        1. Barrichello was faster with 1.25.0, much faster than anything by Mercedes.

          1. HamiltonNumber1
            14th March 2015, 12:08

            Why Q2 lol? Nothing dif about Q2 and Q3 atall.

          2. In 2009 they qualified with fuel for the first stint of the race, not only for a flying lap.

  23. Does anyone know which brakes Lewis is using this year?

  24. HamiltonNumber1
    14th March 2015, 12:06

    Just imagine a reliable Mclaren in 2012, Ham probabaly does not leave lol. So what a blessing those horrible races where when he kept retiring from the lead, thank you very much Mclaren:). Shows luck is also needed. But i suppose you could say he earned it anyway after moving to what many ridiculed, me inclueded i did not expect this. I though he was going to be a 1xWC, so glad i was wrong. He could easily win 3 or 4 now.

    Also since Ham and Vet have been in F1 Alo has won zero championships, does he deserve that? No i would say not but history will show some of that is his own fault there was nothing in Ham Alo fight really he should came back for 08 and then who knows what would happen. Also crazy how Ham could catch Vet for poles, only a few years ago it looked like Alo and Ham were gonna be upstaged. Now Ham is catching up. In terms of raw stats he is already a F1 legend so is Vet. Alo probably too but id say Ham and Vet are going to be along way clear.

    Alonso is not old but he is not in his peak it certainly does not get better now, father time is undefeated only way is south just depends how quickly. I just hope he gets 1 more. Although as a Ham fan i would like him to get 4 or 5 first lol.

    1. There is a chance that if the 2012 Mclaren was reliable he would have gotten the 2nd WDC and then have a horrible year in 2013 with the bad Mclaren and then move to Merc in 2014 and win his third.
      So he could have been 3 times champion and going for fourth now.

  25. Well, i have a different theory about the alonso missing the start of the season. We all know, that alonso is not good with a car development. We saw that in Ferrari and that was the reason he got ditched out of, Mclaren right now needs someone responsive, which will provide the right amount of usefull data, which aparently Kevin is able to do (he was aknowlidged by the team last year, about his quality to help with development)…not something alonso fans want to hear, but i think its the case here….the accident was probably a very good cause for him to step back, without PR damage for him and the team

    1. I think the reason you were looking for was that Alonso had to fulfil his Illuminati obligations this weekend and Kevin was free, since he’s only a level 4 thethan in Scientology.

      For crying out loud..

  26. I have to say, despite ‘knowing’ the outcome for the top two at least, it was a very interesting session and I think has shuffled the deck in a way that could lead up to a very interesting race and perhaps season. Both Ferrari drivers were as far up as you can be, not being Mercedes, but were beaten by Massa who just put together a better lap. Personally I’m really looking forward to Ferrari versus Williams.

    Red Bull are looking like they’re having a (now) typical slow start to the season, but I expect them to crawl up pretty soon. I expect more problems for McLaren, but right now I wouldn’t want to judge their pace. Force India looks like they’ve got a bit to gain, while Sauber looks pretty decent right out of the box.

    Toro Rosso does seem to have a the biggest hype around the team mate battle and Sainz will be happy to get the first blow in, but Verstappen has looked very ready so far, who knows where he’ll be in a few races. Very excited, even more so after today.

  27. I get all the hype about Bottas but I find it odd that people are quick to rule out Massa.
    How good is Button as a development driver? When Hamilton left Mclaren for Mercedes, Mercedes seemed to progress while Mclaren regressed. I remember Button saying he would relish being in the #1/more experienced driver. Too bad Perez was shafted for it

    1. Its quite good Perez did get kicked out, because he would just been kicked out last year for Alonso and Force India might not have been there to pick him up like they were in 2013.

  28. As much as I’m impressed Mercedes have increased the gap to the rest – it’s an impressive technological feat – I’m disappointed as a fan. With that kind of advantage you could argue it’s a forgone conclusion that Mercedes will win the constructors with little fight and the championship will be either Hamilton or Rosberg again. (And looking at it, I’d say Lewis is on for #3 easy)

    Some could say it’s too early to tell but that was the impression this time last year – and it was – and the gap appears even larger than in 2014. I really hope the others catch up soon, I really can’t see one team and just two drivers being so far ahead being particularly healthy for the sport.

    Also, disappointed but unsurprised by McLaren-Honda. I expected bad but last was rather shocking.

  29. i say bring back double points…..because lewis will /may win title by suzuka japan otherwise..

  30. Lewis was saying in the BBC interview that he had a new race engineer, has Bono been promoted to replace Jock Clear? Typically of the interviewer [Suzy] she never asked him who the new man was..

  31. my decision is final, this year I m not watching F1, come on! Merc should race alone! By the way congrats to Carlos Sainz Jr. for his brilliant debut.

    1. See you next year.

  32. Renan Martinuzzo
    14th March 2015, 15:08

    At the start of the first race of 2014, I thought every team would suffer to get to the end of the race, but most of them actually made it through, which was quite a pleasing surprise.

    Still, I don’t think Mclaren will be able to perform at the same level in tomorrow’s race. There is clear potential in the car as we can see. If you take their Q1 lap time and put it on the grid of last year’s qualifying, they would still go throught to Q2. That is, even with a detuned engined, they have a pace similar to the middle field of the 2014’s Aussie GP, where all the teams were at a situation similar to then.

    This may not be a very precise way to analize things, but it shows Woking has done its part of the bargain. Honda, though, is another story.

    They failed at their last F1 attempt. They never had the car nor the engine to be WCC.
    The same goes for their Indycar program. How on hell do come from being the only engine make in the series to being beaten by Chevrolet on their “first” attempt? I know Ilmor is behind the chevy engine and those guys are really good at what they do, but I was sure as hell Honda would be the maker to have on the back of a DW12. That disappointment broke my faith in Honda. When Ron announced they would be back together, I felt sorry for Mclaren because I know they wouldn’t beat the Merc engine with Honda. Maybe with VW. Or BMW. But not Honda.

    Lets see if this new F1 journey get Honda back to its feet. Lets see if the promise of winning will inspire their current engineering talents and attract new ones, because the japonese mark lack of performance is painting an image of a ever decading Mclaren, when, in the reality, Ron’s team may have made a car that could put whipe out the bad memories of the last two seasons.

    I want Honda to win, but more than that, I don’t want them to destroy Mclaren. Nor Alonso. Nor Button.

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