Coming out of the Free Practice sessions, qualifying for this year’s F1 Australian Grand Prix was bound to be both exciting and up in the air until the last minute. Not only did the famous Melbourne weather raise its standards with silver, though mostly grey, celestial trumpets which heralded the rains that would mark the session at the end of Q1, but the regulation changes equally added to the excitement of today’s highlight.
The rains greatly impacted the routines of the teams and drivers, leaving some like Lotus’ Romain Grosjean (FRA) in the paddock with a back of the line grid place. Other typically top tier drivers like Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen fell quite further back than usual with an accident in Q2. Alongside him in the paddock throughout Q3 was 4 time and defending world champion Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel (GER) who earned the 12th spot, eliminating him from Q3 for the first time since the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix. Likewise Williams’ Felipe Massa (BRA) and McLaren’s Jenson Button (GBR) were eliminated from Q3, having trouble in the second qualifying session.
Q3 was marked by surprise and excitement. Red Bull’s Daniel Riccardo went out to please his home crowd at Albert Park, making an excellent finish at 2nd place in his first race with Red Bull. Riccardo was outrun by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton (GBR) who finished .3 of a second faster than the Australian. Hamilton’s German teammate Nico Rosberg came in third by less than a tenth of a second slower than Riccardo. He was followed by rookie McLaren driver Kevin Magnussen (DEN), and 2 time world champion Fernando Alonso (ESP).
The 2014 Australian Grand Prix will begin tomorrow morning at 01.00 Chicago (17.00 Melbourne, 14.00 London) and will be broadcast on NBC Sports in the United States, BBC1 in the United Kingdom, TEN in Australia, and TSN and RDS in Canada for English and French viewing audiences respectively.
The full qualifying results are as follows (Source F1.com):
01. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes (GBR): 1:44.2
02. Daniel Riccardo, Red Bull (AUS): 1:44.5
03. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes (GER): 1:44.5
04. Kevin Magnussen, McLaren (DEN): 1:45.7
05. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari (ESP): 1:45.8
06. Jean-Éric Vergne, Scueria Toro Rosso (FRA): 1:45.8
07. Nico Hülkenberg, Sahara Force India (GER): 1:46.0
08. Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso (RUS): 1:47.3
09. Felipe Massa, Williams (BRA): 1:48.0
10. Valtteri Bottas, Williams (FIN): 1:48.1
11. Jenson Button, Mercedes (GBR): 1:44.4
12. Kimi Räikkönen, Ferrari (FIN): 1:44.4
13. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull (GER): 1:44.6
14. Adrian Sutil, Sauber (GER): 1:45.6
15. Kamui Kobayashi, Caterham (JPN): 1:45.8
16. Sergio Pérez, Force India (MEX): 1:47.2
17. Max Chilton, Marussia (GBR): 1:34.2
18. Jules Bianchi, Marussia (FRA): 1:34.7
19. Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber (MEX): 1:35.1
20. Marcus Ericsson, Caterham (SWE): 1:35.1
21. Romain Grosjean, Lotus (FRA): 1:36.9
22. Pastor Maldonado, Lotus (VEN): No result