GP Australia, prove sabato–14/03/2015
Australian GP: Lewis Hamilton takes dominant pole for Mercedes
Reigning Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton got his title defence off to a strong start by claiming a comfortable pole position for the Australian Grand Prix.
Hamilton beat his Mercedes F1 team-mate Nico Rosberg to the top spot by almost six tenths of a second around the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne.
The Briton laid down a marker with a 1m26.419s lap on his first run in Q3, while Rosberg had to abort his first effort after running wide onto the grass at the penultimate corner.
Hamilton improved by just under a tenth on his final run to apply further pressure on Rosberg, who had the edge during Friday practice but struggled on Saturday.
Rosberg set the fastest final sector time of all on his last flying lap of the session, but lost too much time in the first sector to challenge Hamilton’s superiority.
Felipe Massa claimed third spot on the grid for Williams, edging out the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel by just 0.039s on his final run.
The Scuderia looked to have the edge over Williams in the early stages of the qualifying, but Massa found a crucial improvement at the end.
Kimi Raikkonen made it two Ferraris in the top five, lapping on the same tenth as Vettel and Massa, while the Williams of Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top six.
The Finn looked strong through the early stages of qualifying, but struggled with the brakes on his FW37 in Q3 and wound up over three tenths slower than his team-mate.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo recovered from a torrid set of practice sessions to bag seventh spot on the grid, ahead of Toro Rosso rookie Carlos Sainz and the Lotus E23s of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado, which rounded out the top 10.
Sauber’s Felipe Nasr fell less than a tenth shy of beating Maldonado into the top-10 shootout, on what has been a miserable weekend off-track for the Swiss team, but the Brazilian’s best lap was good enough for 11th on the grid.
Toro Rosso rookie Max Verstappen looked a genuine Q3 contender early on in qualifying, but complained of some discomfort in the cockpit of his STR10 in Q2 and suffered a "big moment" at Turn 5 on his final flying lap, which was only good enough for 12th.
Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat couldn’t recover sufficiently from a difficult final free practice session to make the top 10.
The Russian wound up a lowly 13th, two tenths clear of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez.
The Force India team-mates were separated by just 0.001s as both VJM08s dropped out in Q2.
Manor GP failed to get its cars running in time for qualifying, meaning only three of the remaining entries could be eliminated in Q1.
Both Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen failed to make it through, as McLaren-Honda’s woeful start to the season continued.
Button managed to lap within 0.046s of Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber, which was the other victim of the Q1 cut-off.
However, the Swede lapped almost a full second slower than his team-mate Nasr, who was the slowest of the drivers to make it through to Q2.
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m28.329s||2.002s|
|8||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m28.510s||2.183s|
|12||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m28.868s||–|
|13||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m29.070s||–|
|14||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m29.208s||–|
|15||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m29.209s||–|
Australian GP: Lewis Hamilton fastest in final free practice
Lewis Hamilton set the pace in the final free practice session ahead of qualifying for the opening race of the Formula 1 season in Australia.
With most drivers completing qualifying simulation runs in the final 10 minutes of the session, this was the first time that there was a chance to compare the raw speed of the 2015 cars.
The world champion had set the pace during the first part of the session, when drivers were running on the slower medium-compound Pirellis, over two tenths faster than team-mate Rosberg.
But with Rosberg only able to find a half-second improvement when he switched onto the quicker soft rubber in the closing stages of the session, the way was clear for Hamilton to secure top spot.
Hamilton’s first flier on the softs was good enough to take P1 by 0.696s ahead of Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, with Rosberg’s qualifying simulation run only good enough for third overall.
On his second quick lap of the run, Hamilton set the best time of the session in both the first and second sectors before aborting his run and heading to the pits.
Williams pairing Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were fourth and fifth fastest, with Kimi Raikkonen in sixth, only three-hundredths off the Brazilian.
Lotus, now with Mercedes power, continued to show top-10 form, with Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado seventh and eighth.
Carlos Sainz was ninth fastest despite a trip through the gravel while on his qualifying run late in the session, with Toro Rosso team-mate MaxVerstappen 11th.
They sandwiched Sauber driver Felipe Nasr, with the second Swiss machine of Marcus Ericsson 12th after the Swede survived a high-speed spin at the exit of Turn 12.
Force India, still lacking in experience of its 2015 car, ended the session 13th and 14th with Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez both anticipating a difficult weekend.
Red Bull had a dire session, with Daniel Ricciardo completing only 10 laps on top of the nine he managed yesterday thanks to an engine failure.
Ricciardo was 15th fastest, 3.318s off the pace, with his session being interrupted by stopping on track close to the pit exit before being recovered by marshals and returning to action shortly after.
His team-mate, Daniil Kvyat, also had a troubled session, managing only six laps, leaving him down in 18th behind the struggling McLaren-Hondas of Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button.
With Manor still battling to get its cars up and running, both Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi were again unable to run.
|9||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m29.869s||2.002s||19|
|11||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m29.952s||2.085s||16|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m30.741s||2.874s||14|
|14||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m30.993s||3.126s||17|
|15||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m31.185s||3.318s||10|
|18||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m32.830s||4.963s||6|