F1 Australian Grand Prix: Hamilton beats Vettel to pole position
Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for the Australian Grand Prix, after winning a tense qualifying battle with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton was three tenths up on Vettel after the first runs in Q3, with Bottas just two thousandths of a second slower in third, before Daniel Ricciardo crashed his Red Bull heavily at Turn 14 and caused the session to be stopped.
Hamilton went even faster on his final run once the session resumed, sealing pole position with a 1m22.188s lap – the fastest ever recorded by an F1 car around Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit.
Bottas momentarily held top stop before Hamilton’s improvement despite a scruffy final flying lap, with Vettel then denying Mercedes a front row lockout by posting the second fastest time on his final run.
Despite setting the pace in final practice, Ferrari ultimately didn’t quite have the speed to challenge the best of the Mercedes drivers, with Vettel 0.268s down on Hamilton, but fractionally quicker than Bottas.
The second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen was fourth fastest, more than half a second further back, while the remaining Red Bull of Max Verstappen claimed fifth.
Romain Grosjean produced a stunning effort to qualify his Haas inside the top six, nearly four tenths clear of Felipe Massa’s Williams.
Massa was just 0.044s clear of Carlos Sainz Jr, who in turn narrowly beat Toro Rosso team-mate Daniil Kvyat to eighth on the grid.
Ricciardo wound up 10th after failing to set a time before his crash.
Neither Force India made it through to Q3. Sergio Perez, who complained of a gearshift problem, missed the cut by just 0.074s despite improving by nearly four tenths on his final flying lap, while Esteban Ocon failed to find time on his final run and wound up 14th.
Nico Hulkenberg qualified 12th fastest on his debut for the works Renault team, only 0.010s down on Perez, while Fernando Alonso manhandled the troubled McLaren-Honda to the 13th best time, ahead of Ocon and Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber.
Last-minute Sauber stand-in Antonio Giovinazzi was 16th fastest, after replacing the unfit Pascal Wehrlein ahead of final practice.
The Ferrari reserve was quicker than Ericsson after the first runs in Q1, but went off at the penultimate corner on his final effort, so wound up 0.183s down and failed to make the Q2 cut.
Kevin Magnussen’s difficult first weekend racing for Haas continued, the Dane running off track on his final Q1 flier and failing to improve his time.
He was fractionally faster than the second McLaren-Honda of Stoffel Vandoorne, who completed only one flying lap in qualifying after a fuel-flow problem forced him to return to the pits for most of the session.
Williams repaired rookie Lance Stroll’s car in time to make a late appearance in Q1, following his heavy crash at the end of FP3.
The Canadian was 19th fastest, though faces a grid penalty for a gearbox change ahead of the session, while Renault’s Jolyon Palmer qualified slowest of the 20 runners, more than a second down on Stroll and over three adrift of Renault team-mate Nico Hulkenberg.
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m23.485s||1.297s|
|8||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m24.487s||2.299s|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m24.512s||2.324s|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||–||–|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m25.081s||2.893s|
|14||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m25.568s||3.380s|
F1 Australian GP: Ferrari driver Vettel fastest in final practice
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel broke the unofficial Albert Park lap record on his way to top spot in third practice, ahead of qualifying for the Formula 1 season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Vettel was the early pace-setter as Ferrari decided to complete a burst of swift laps on ultra-softs in the opening minutes of the session, with he and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen setting the early pace.
German Vettel subsequently improved his time midway through the hour-long session, recording a session’s best of 1m23.380s – again set on a set of ultra-soft tyres.
That was enough for him to trump Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, the pair ending up second and third respectively.
Unlike Ferrari, Mercedes decided to wait until later in the session to complete its runs on the ultra-soft tyre.
Bottas and Hamilton both headed to the track with a little under 20 minutes remaining, with Bottas jumping into second with a 1m23.859s and ending the session the faster of the two Silver Arrows.
Hamilton wasn’t far behind in third and tucked in with a 1m23.870s – although he did go fastest of all in the first sector on his flying lap, only to lose time by running slightly wide at Turn 13.
That wound up being the last of the significant improvements in the top order, as a Lance Stroll crash sparked the first red flag of the day when he hit the wall at the exit of Turn 10.
The Williams driver had just started an ultra-soft run with 10 minutes to go when he side-swiped the wall and rolled to a stop half way down to Turn 11.
The stoppage was long enough for the session not to be restarted.
Raikkonen ended up fourth in the second Ferrari, the Finn having suffered a puncture early on in the session – while his engine also cut out on the approach to Turn 13 as he ran up the escape road.
His best time was a 1m23.988s, with that effort more than a second faster than the next best car of Nico Hulkenberg.
Behind the Ferraris and Mercedes, Renault driver Hulkenberg was the best of the rest as he jumped from 10th to fifth late on with a best effort of 1m25.063s, also set on ultra-soft tyres.
That was enough for him to displace Daniel Ricciardo, who was the fastest Red Bull in sixth – the Australian and his team-mate Max Verstappen, who ended the session in 12th, both struggling to find time on their ultra-soft runs.
Ricciardo finished half a second clear of Romain Grosjean who was seventh in the leading Haas.
Toro Rosso pair Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat were next, while Grosjean’s team-mate Kevin Magnussen was finally able to complete finally sufficient running and completed the top 10.
The McLarens were 14th and 15th, with Fernando Alonso finishing ahead of team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne.
Antonio Giovinazzi – who was confirmed as a late stand-in for Pascal Wehrlein before the session – completed 18 laps to end up just over a second behind Sauber team-mate Marcus Ericsson.
PRACTICE THREE TIMES
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m25.092s||1.712s||15|
|8||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m25.948s||2.568s||11|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m26.049s||2.669s||11|
|12||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m26.269s||2.889s||7|
|13||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m26.457s||3.077s||12|
|16||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m27.103s||3.723s||16|
F1 Australian GP: Hamilton fastest once again in second practice
Mercedes Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton continued his Australian Grand Prix stranglehold with the fastest time in second practice in Melbourne.
The three-time world champion was again more than half a second quicker than his nearest opposition, which in FP2 came in the form of Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari.
Vettel was the first driver to dip below the 1m25s mark when he used super-soft tyres to post a 1m24.926s early in the session.
The German’s spell at the top of the times was extended when the session was halted just over 20 minutes in by Jolyon Palmer’s heavy crash at the final corner.
Palmer was set to complete a personal-best lap when he lost the rear of his Renault and slammed backwards into the tyre wall on the outside of Turn 16.
The front left of the RS17 was pulled round into the wall by the impact, before the car bounced off and came to a rest in the middle of the track with substantial damage.
Once the wreckage was cleared Mercedes put Hamilton – who had already lapped within a tenth of Vettel’s super-soft time on soft tyres – and Valtteri Bottas out on ultra-softs.
Their first efforts were thwarted by yellow flags thrown for Felipe Massa’s Williams, which stopped as a result of a suspected electrical problem.
Bottas went quickest on his second run but lost time in the first sector and limited himself to a 1m24.176s.
Hamilton then blitzed that with a 1m23.620s, less than a tenth slower than the fastest ever lap of Albert Park – Vettel’s 2011 pole time.
Mercedes’ hopes of a second Friday practice one-two were dashed when Vettel squeezed ahead of Bottas on a 1m24.167s, but his 0.547s deficit to Hamilton is disappointing after Ferrari’s impressive pre-season testing pace.
Kimi Raikkonen was a further four tenths adrift in the second Ferrari and only just ahead of the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo, the last of sub-1m25s runners on a 1m24.650s.
Max Verstappen ran wide exiting Turn 12 on his first lap on ultra-soft tyres and the bumpy ride over the grass and gravel damaged the floor of his RB13.
It meant his best time of the session, a 1m25.013s, was his earlier effort on super-softs.
Massa’s problem allowed the impressive Carlos Sainz and Toro Rosso to claim best-of-the-rest honours in seventh behind the big three teams, with Romain Grosjean’s Haas, Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg and Sainz’s team-mate Daniil Kvyat completing the top 10.
Fernando Alonso gave McLaren-Honda further encouragement in 12th, 2.3s off the pace, while Stoffel Vandoorne was one of the busiest drivers of the session as the alliance’s recovery from a terrible pre-season continued.
An unknown problem for Kevin Magnussen limited the Haas driver to just six laps, while Marcus Ericsson caused a late yellow flag when he beached his Sauber in the Turn 6 gravel.
PRACTICE TWO TIMES
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m24.650s||1.030s||27|
|6||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m25.013s||1.393s||8|
|7||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m25.084s||1.464s||34|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m25.493s||1.873s||39|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m25.591s||1.971s||35|
|13||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m26.145s||2.525s||37|
Formula 1 Australian GP: Hamilton fastest in first practice of 2017
Lewis Hamilton headed a Mercedes one-two in the opening practice session for the 2017 Formula 1 season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Hamilton led new team-mate Valtteri Bottas as the German marque offered an early reality check in Melbourne after Ferrari dominated pre-season testing.
The Mercedes drivers led as soon as the class of 2017 started posting representative lap times, with Bottas holding the early advantage with a 1m25.142s on super-softs.
The Finn was the first to switch to ultra-soft tyres, and he improved to a 1m24.803s despite a mistake in the final sector on his best lap.
Hamilton made no such error when his turn came, and the three-time champion ended up more than half a second clear as he vaulted to the top on a 1m24.220s.
No other teams ran the softest-compound Pirellis, with Red Bull leading the super-soft charge.
Daniel Ricciardo kicked off his home grand prix weekend with the third-fastest time, 0.6s slower than Hamilton, which made the only non-Mercedes driver to dip below the 1m25s barrier.
Max Verstappen reported an early gear synch problem in the other Red Bull but wound up fourth, just clear of the two Ferraris.
Having led the way in Barcelona testing Kimi Raikkonen was more than a second off the pace in FP1 on a 1m25.372s, less than a tenth quicker than team-mate Sebastian Vettel.
As the leading trio of teams ran two-by-two, the battle to be fourth proved as tight as anticipated.
Felipe Massa was seventh for Williams, but Haas driver Romain Grosjean and new Renault signing Nico Hulkenberg both lapped within half-a-tenth the Brazilian.
Force India’s Sergio Perez, barely a tenth slower than Massa, completed the top 10 ahead of Carlos Sainz in the first of the Toro Rossos.
Further down the order, all eyes were on the two McLaren-Honda drivers to see if the MCL32 would run reliably after a disastrous pre-season.
Rookie Stoffel Vandoorne had a slow start in two ways, waiting almost an hour before setting a time and ending up bottom of the order.
His double champion team-mate Fernando Alonso fared better in 14th with a lap time 2.8s off the pace.
Alonso finished ahead of both Saubers, Esteban Ocon’s Force India and Jolyon Palmer’s Renault, which managed only six laps after a gearbox-related problem.
PRACTICE 1 TIMES
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m24.886s||0.666s||19|
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m25.246s||1.026s||19|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m26.276s||2.056s||29|
|11||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m26.450s||2.230s||24|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m26.514s||2.294s||25|
|16||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m27.656s||3.436s||23|
F1 testing: Bottas fastest on Wednesday as Raikkonen crashes
Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas ended the second day of the final Formula 1 pre-season test at Barcelona on top, as Kimi Raikkonen crashed the new Ferrari.
Bottas set the fastest time of the winter so far on Wednesday morning, a 1m19.310s on super-soft tyres, and this proved enough to keep the Finn on top at the end of the day.
Lewis Hamilton took over driving duties in the Mercedes W08 after the lunch break, and recorded a best time of 1m20.782s on softs, 1.392 seconds off the pace.
That put the three-time champion only sixth on the leaderboard, although he completed 79 laps, including a 20-lap stint on ultra-softs, giving Mercedes a total of 149 for the day.
Felipe Massa remained second for Williams by virtue of his morning time, ahead of Raikkonen, who caused the second red flag of the test when he spun and hit the barriers at Turn 3 just under two hours into the afternoon.
The impact damaged the front and the left side of the Ferrari SF70H, and prevented Raikkonen from running again for the rest of the day. He only managed 53 laps.
There was another red flag when Max Verstappen came to a stop at Turn 12 towards the end of a race simulation with 20 minutes left on the clock.
Despite his stoppage, the Dutchman ended up with 102 laps to his credit, more than any other driver, with his morning time proving enough to keep him fourth in the order.
Williams rookie Lance Stroll took over from Massa during the lunchbreak and set the best time in a smooth afternoon, after an incident-strewn first week.
The young Canadian logged 59 laps, recording a best effort of 1m20.579s on super-soft tyres to beat Hamilton by just over a tenth.
Nico Hulkenberg (Renault), Sergio Perez (Force India) and Carlos Sainz Jr (Toro Rosso) stayed seventh, eighth and ninth with their morning times, while Romain Grosjean (Haas) completed the top 10 with a best time just 0.015s shy of Sainz.
McLaren’s Fernando Alonso failed to improve on his morning time, and ended the day in 12th, between Sauber duo Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson, with 46 laps completed.
Ericsson caused a third and final stoppage just moments after Verstappen’s car had been recovered, as he came to a halt at Turn 7.
Jolyon Palmer, taking over from Renault team-mate Hulkenberg in the afternoon, completed the leaderboard in 14th, some 5.4s off the pace.
WEDNESDAY TEST TIMES:
WEDNESDAY TEST TIMES:
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m20.432s||1.122s||102|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m21.297s||1.987s||100|
|9||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m21.872s||2.562s||92|
Mark Arnall : “Raikkonen non avrà difficoltà con le nuove macchine”
L’allenatore del ferrarista convinto che il pilota si adatterà perfettamente alle nuove vetture
I piloti più esperti si adatteranno più facilmente alla forza delle nuove macchine di Formula 1. Questo il pensiero di Mark Arnall, da tempo allenatore di molti piloti e del ferrarista Kimi Raikkonen.
Secondo lui le nuove regole hanno riportato al centro la velocità con un ritorno allo sforzo fisico totale del pilota che mancava da tanto tempo: “La generazione più giovane non ha mai vissuto delle forze G così forti – ha detto al quotidiano finlandese Turun Sanomat – ma per Kimi o anche Fernando Alonso e Felipe Massa la situazione non è del tutto nuova”.
Dieci anni fa, infatti, i piloti avevano a che fare con condizioni simili: “Nel 2005 e nel 2006 la tensione sui muscoli del collo in particolare era estrema. Negli ultimi anni lo sforzo fisico è stato inferiore, ma il programma di allenamento di Kimi non è davvero mai cambiato”.
“Ora tutto è cambiato di nuovo – ha aggiunto – ma non vedo alcuna ragione per cui Kimi dovrebbe avere difficoltà con le nuove macchine”.
Fiorano test: Raikkonen joins Giovinazzi
Second and final day of data correlation testing
Fiorano – There was a second day of testing at the Fiorano circuit today, with a programme based on correlating simulator data with that gathered on track. Sharing the driving duties on the “standard” SF15-T were Scuderia Ferrari’s third driver, Antonio Giovinazzi, who was behind the wheel in the morning and Kimi Raikkonen, who took over for the afternoon. The weather was far from ideal, especially when Kimi was driving, with the Finn having to deal with rain as well as strong winds. Nevertheless, he still completed several runs.
Ferrari will be back on track next week, on 9th and 10th February, again at Fiorano, when it will be evaluating Pirelli’s wet weather tyres.
Ferrari’s Raikkonen believes speculating on F1 2017 is ‘pointless’
Kimi Raikkonen believes speculating about the likely 2017 Formula 1 pecking order amid changes to the technical regulations is "pointless".
Faster, more aggressive looking F1 cars will be introduced this year, with wider front and rear wings paired with bigger, wider tyres.
Given the scale of the changes, Raikkonen feels judging who will come out on top is tricky as it is impossible for teams to know what their rivals are doing.
"We will know once we get the new cars and hit the track as obviously there’s a lot of rule changes so we have to wait and see," he said.
"It’s pointless to speculate with such a big change, so hopefully we are where we want to be and deserve to be."
Ferrari had a frustrating 2016, contending for victory in the season-opener in Australia, but ultimately failing to reach the top step of the podium all year.
Having targeted a title challenge and starting the campaign as Mercedes’ closest rival, Ferrari dropped behind Red Bull to finish third in the constructors’ standings.
"It was far from an ideal year from all of us but this is how racing goes," said Raikkonen.
"It doesn’t matter if it’s better or not the end result is obviously far from what we as Ferrari, as a team, wanted.
"We did good races and not so good races and there were too many small issues but that’s what happens in racing sometimes."
Ferrari struggled with tyre management, while Raikkonen has said on several occasions that the team needs to improve in all areas.
But the Finn believes Ferrari’s strong end to the season, including Sebastian Vettel snatching a podium in the final race, bodes well for 2017.
"There are for sure positive things like how we’ve been working lately and doing things," he said.
"We all work well together, even if the results are not maybe what we always want.
"But I see a lot of good things from the team and obviously in 2017 hopefully we are where we want to be.
"Obviously it would be a lot more fun for all of us."
Kimi Ambassador for Sport
Finnish Prime Minister honours Raikkonen in Helsinki: “Thanks to my family and the Team”
The Finnish government has never before appointed anyone as an Ambassador for Sport, but it did so at a Sport Gala, held in Helsinki on Tuesday 17 January. The recipient was none other than Kimi Raikkonen, who received the honour from Prime Minister Juha Sipila. Kimi’s presence at the gala had been kept secret right up until the last moment. “I’m not that used to making formal speeches,” said Raikkonen. “But I would like to wish all the best to the winners in every category, as well as those who missed out on the prizes this year. I would stress how important it has been in my case to have the support of my family and help from trustworthy colleagues and the people within the Ferrari Team, with whom I have worked for so many years now.”
In 2017, Finland celebrates the centenary of its independence.