GP Australia, prove sabato–15/03/2014
Australian GP: Hamilton denies Ricciardo pole in damp, Vettel 13th
Lewis Hamilton claimed the first pole position of the 2014 Formula 1 season in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, while world champion Sebastian Vettel failed even to make Q3.
The Mercedes driver, on wet tyres, knocked Vettel’s Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, who was on intermediate rubber, off top spot by three tenths of a second in the final seconds of a rain-hit session.
Nico Rosberg, who had briefly taken first place before Hamilton and Ricciardo improved late on, was third ahead of McLaren’s rookie Kevin Magnussen.
Both drivers, as well as fifth-placed Ferrari man Fernando Alonso, set their times on wet rubber with opinion split among the 10 runners as to which tyre compound was preferable.
Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne showed his wet weather prowess with a superb sixth place ahead of Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg, both setting their times on intermediates.
Behind the pair was debutant Daniil Kvyat, who impressed despite an off in Q3 on the run between Turns 10 and 11.
He took eighth place on wet rubber, ahead of Williams drivers Felipe Massa (intermediates) and Valtteri Bottas (wets), although the latter must serve a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change before qualifying.
Several of the drivers who failed to advance from Q2 to Q3 were unable to improve thanks to yellow flags caused by Kimi Raikkonen’s late crash as rain returned in intermediate conditions.
The Ferrari driver lost the rear at the exit of Turn 3 and spun into the wall, with Vettel among those who were attempting to jump into the top 10 at the time.
With both failing to make the cut in 12th and 13th, Jenson Button made it three world champions to fail to make the top 10 shootout in 11th.
Sauber’s Adrian Sutil, Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi and Force India driver Sergio Perez, who ran through the gravel at Turn 2 on his final flying lap, also fell in Q2.
Marussia driver Max Chilton was the fastest of the drivers to be knocked out in Q1, which was effectively ended at a point when most had managed only one run thanks to rain at the halfway mark.
Chilton was just 19 thousandths of a second slower than Kobayashi, who did make the cut but was unable to do better than 15th in the second stage of qualifying.
Chilton’s eam-mate Jules Bianchi, Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez (who will be hit with a five-place penalty for a gearbox change) and Caterham rookie Marcus Ericsson were also eliminated in Q1.
Joining them were the two Lotus E22s of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado, the latter not able to attempt a lap until the damp conditions late on and having two off-track excursions before aborting his run.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m44.231s 2. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m44.548s +0.317s 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m44.595s +0.364s 4. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m45.745s +1.514s 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m45.819s +1.588s 6. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m45.864s +1.633s 7. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m46.030s +1.799s 8. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m47.360s +3.129s 9. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m48.079s +3.848s 10. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m48.147s +3.916s Q3 cut-off: 1m44.331s ** 11. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m44.437s +2.173s 12. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m44.494s +2.230s 13. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m44.668s +2.404s 14. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m45.655s +3.391s 15. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m45.867s +3.603s 16. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m47.293s +5.029s Q2 cut-off: 1m34.274s *** 17. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m34.293s +4.118s 18. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m34.794s +4.619s 19. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m35.117s +4.942s 20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m35.157s +4.982s 21. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m36.993s +6.818s 22. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 107 per cent: 1m37.129s ** Gap to 1st in Q2 *** Gap to 1st in Q3
Australian GP: Rosberg dominates final practice in Melbourne
Nico Rosberg was comfortably quickest for Mercedes in third practice for the 2014 Formula 1 season-opening Australian Grand Prix, eclipsing second-placed Jenson Button by 1.391s.
The Mercedes W05 was clearly the fastest car on both of the available tyre compounds as both Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton led the times during early running on mediums.
Rosberg was the first to lap under 1m30s after swapping to softs, lowering the bar to 1m29.375s, and while Hamilton was fastest of all in the first sector in response, he lost time in the middle sector to end the session fourth quickest, 1.501s off Rosberg’s best.
Even though there were spots of rain before the green flag and it was generally cloudier than yesterday, with a gusting wind, the top runners quickly got into the groove and began to improve their times.
Button reported a litany of imperfections in his McLaren’s performance, from locking rear brakes to poor balance on corner entry and exit. But on soft tyres at the end he found enough speed to go second fastest overall, just over a tenth of a second quicker than Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard was the most assured of the Scuderia’s drivers, lapping comfortably while team-mate Kimi Raikkonen ran off-track more than once as he struggled with his car’s balance and finished the session 1.7s off the ultimate pace.
Daniel Ricciardo was quickest of the Red Bulls with 1m30.970s, accomplished on the soft tyres, but Sebastian Vettel was a full 2.880s off Rosberg’s best and finished final practice complaining of a lack of acceleration.
Williams had a less positive session than yesterday, with Felipe Massa propping up the top 10 and Valtteri Bottas completing just two untimed laps before parking his FW36. He will incur a five-place grid penalty after the team confirmed it would have to change his car’s gearbox.
Those teams whose new cars are in a less mature state of development continued to struggle. Esteban Gutierrez returned to the Sauber garage after reporting a gearbox problem and sat out the remainder of the session.
Both Lotus and Marussia had to use one of their six permitted ‘jokers’ to break the curfew on garage working hours, but they, along with Caterham, at least ran more laps than yesterday.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m29.375s 15 2. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m30.766s +1.391s 20 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m30.876s +1.501s 11 4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m30.919s +1.544s 13 5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m30.970s +1.595s 13 6. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m30.978s +1.603s 16 7. Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1m31.156s +1.781s 12 8. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m31.251s +1.876s 22 9. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m31.665s +2.290s 17 10. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m31.723s +2.348s 20 11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m31.925s +2.550s 17 12. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m32.255s +2.880s 14 13. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m32.417s +3.042s 16 14. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m34.184s +4.809s 15 15. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m34.188s +4.813s 16 16. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m34.413s +5.038s 19 17. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m34.717s +5.342s 15 18. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m34.754s +5.379s 15 19. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m36.159s +6.784s 21 20. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 2 21. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 2 22. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 4