Australian GP – Qualifying Report


The first qualifying of the 2014 season provided an opportunity to see this years crop of cars out on track and perhaps a chance to establish an 
early pecking order, however it would turn out not to be the case, instead it would be a dramatic hour with rain set to cause mayhem and a few surprises thrown in.

Q1 was the only session that had any dry laps but that would change later in the session, as the rain that had been forecasted closed in on the track, it would be home favourite Daniel Ricciardo that would top the timesheet in the first session however the weekend continues to get worse for troubled Lotus as both Grosjean and Maldonado spent more time in the gravel traps than on the track which meant neither of them progressed to Q2, Caterham driver Kamui Kobayashi put in a great lap to sneak through into the second session, the same couldn’t be said for Esteban Gutierrez as he failed to get out of the bottom six, Max Chilton out qualifies his Marussia team-mate Jules Bianchi, something he failed to do too often last year.

Q2 was more affected by the worsening conditions with drivers struggling around the track, a number of spins and brushes with the barriers was the theme of this session and it would end with three world champions being knocked out therefore failing to reach the top 10 shootout for pole position, the first of these was Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari, he had a spin which sent him into the wall which meant the end of his session and also the waving of the yellow flags, this meant that the drivers would be very unlikely to improve on their current lap times meaning that both Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel would end up in the middle of the grid, in Vettels case it was to the joy of the Albert Park crowd as cheers were loud signalling his failure followed by boos as he walked back to the Red Bull garage, the top ten had a few surprise names, most notably the two Toro Rosso drivers Jean Eric Vergne but most impressive was the Russian rookie Daniil Kvyat.

The top ten battle started with the rain refusing to stop and getting worse it would be a tricky task for anyone to get a good clear lap, it would be a lottery, Mercedes outlined their pace that has been evident all weekend and had looked set for pole with Rosberg but then came a major shock when the sole remaining Red Bull RB10 of Ricciardo crossed the line to move into top spot, it seemed that they had pulled off the ultimate comeback after a difficult winter but there was still one man left to complete his lap.. That man was Lewis Hamilton, known for his ability in the rain and also as this years championship favourite, he showed exactly why as he took pole position by just over a tenth of a second.

Williams struggled to show their pace in the rain and Massa qualified 9th and Bottas 10th although the Finn will fall to 15th because of a penalty, they will be hoping for a dry race tomorrow, the surprise team must be Toro Rosso, the Red Bull juniors secured 6th with Vergne and a great debut from Kvyat that saw him get 8th, on that performance the young Russian looks set to have a long career in F1, after all he is only 19, however not the best rookie on the grid, that would be Kevin Magnussen, he had the pure pace over a lap and starts 4th hoping that he can follow Hamilton in getting a podium on his McLaren debut as the Brit did in 2007.

It is set up perfectly for a fascinating race tomorrow and with the problems that teams have had getting used to the new era in F1 along with the added prospect of rain it will be interesting to see how it all pans out, It should be a good one, Remember the race starts at 0600 GMT tomorrow morning, don’t miss it!

Hamilton
Ricciardo
Rosberg
Magnussen
Alonso
Vergne
Hulkenberg
Kvyat
Massa
Button
Raikkonen
Vettel
Sutil
Kobayashi
Bottas
Perez
Chilton
Bianchi
Ericsson
Grosjean
Gutierrez
Maldonado

 

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2nd Bahrain Test – Day Four Times

Bahrain

1. Hamilton, Mercedes, 1.33.278 (70 laps)
2. Bottas, Williams, 1.33.987 (108 laps)
3. Alonso, Ferrari, 1.34.280 (74 laps)
4. Hulkenberg, Force India, 1.35.577 (74 laps)
5. Vergne, Toro Rosso, 1.35.701 (74 laps)
6. Sutil, Sauber, 1.36.467 (91 laps)
7. Chilton, Marussia, 1.36.835 (61 laps)
8. Gutierrez, Sauber, 1.37.303 (86 laps)
9. Vettel, Red Bull, 1.37.468 (77 laps)
10. Button, McLaren, 1.38.111 (22 laps)
11. Kobayashi, Caterham, 1.38.391 (106 laps)
12. Grosjean, Lotus, 1.39.302 (32 laps)

2nd Bahrain Test – Day Three Times

1. Massa, Williams – 1.33.258 (99 laps)
2. Rosberg, Mercedes – 1.33.484 (103 laps)
3. Raikkonen, Ferrari – 1.35.426 (87 laps)
4. Magnussen, McLaren – 1.35.894 (88 laps)
5. Kvyat, Toro Rosso – 1.36.113 (81 laps)
6. Hulkenberg, Force India – 1.36.205 (115 laps)
7. Bianchi, Marussia – 1.37.087 (78 laps)
8. Ericsson, Caterham – 1.38.083 (117 laps)
9. Grosjean, Lotus – 1.42.166 (33 laps)
10. Sutil, Sauber – No time (1 lap)
11. Vettel, Red Bull – No time (0 laps)

2nd Bahrain Test – Day Two Times

1. Perez, Force India, 1.35.570 (108 laps)
2. Alonso, Ferrari, 1.35.634 (122 laps)
3. Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1.35.743 (66 laps)
4. Massa, Williams, 1.36.507 (103 laps)
5. Button, McLaren, 1.36.901 (52 laps)
6. Bianchi, Marussia, 1.38.092 (75 laps)
7. Hamilton, Mercedes, 1.39.041 (89 laps)
8. Vergne, Toro Rosso, 1.39.636 (61 laps)
9. Gutierrez, Sauber, 1.39.976 (106 laps)
10. Maldonado, Lotus, 1.41.613 (31 laps)
11. Ericsson, Caterham, 1.42.516 (55 laps)

2nd Bahrain Test – Day One Times

1. Perez, Force India, 1.35.290 (105 laps)
2. Bottas, Williams, 1.36.184 (128 laps)
3. Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1.36.432 (54 laps)
4. Rosberg, Mercedes, 1.36.624 (89 laps)
5. Sutil, Sauber, 1.37.700 (89 laps)
6. Magnussen, McLaren, 1.37.825 (109 laps)
7. Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1.37.908 (39 laps)
8. Chilton, Marussia, 1.38.610 (44 laps)
9. Kvyat, Toro Rosso, 1.39.242 (56 laps)
10. Maldonado, Lotus, 1.40.599 (31 laps)
11. Kobayashi, Caterham, 1.42.285 (19 laps)

Testing Review – Part 1

Mercedes
A great test for Mercedes in Bahrain, they were both very quick and reasonably reliable throughout the four days finishing in and around the front for the first half of the test and then with the fastest laps of the final two days with Lewis Hamilton on Friday and with Nico Rosberg today, things are looking very good for them and so far they are the team that the rest of the field will be trying to beat come Melbourne.
Key stats
Hamilton fastest lap – 1.34.263 (Day 3)
Rosberg fastest lap – 1.33.283 (Day 4)
Laps completed – 315

McLaren
Compared to this time last year, McLaren are in a far better situation and look as if they are the closest challengers to Mercedes and have been there or thereabouts throughout the test in terms of lap times, also as Jenson Button showed on Day 3, they are looking very good for reliability as he set 103 laps. Magnussen has quickly adapted to F1 and topped the times on Day 2.
Key stats
Button fastest lap – 1.34.957 (Day 4)
Magnussen fastest lap – 1.34.910 (Day 2)
Laps completed – 296

Ferrari
Ferrari are making steady progress and are the only team not using Mercedes engines to be in and around the top end, although it is clear they haven’t got the speed at the moment to beat the Mercedes and McLaren, they no doubt will improve throughout the season and will be challenging for wins at some point, they may need to get on top of reliability problems first though.
Key stats
Alonso fastest lap – 1.36.516 (Day 2)
Raikkonen fastest lap – 1.36.718 (Day 4)
Laps completed – 287

Force India
Another team with the Mercedes power that are looking good this season with their new pairing of Hulkenberg and Perez, Hulkenberg went quickest on Day 1 and since then have remained somewhat close to the top, as things are they could be looking at their best season so far although they may be slightly disappointed with the number of laps they set over the course of the test.
Key stats
Hulkenberg fastest lap – 1.36.455 (Day 2)
Perez fastest lap – 1.37.367 (Day 3)
Laps completed – 213

Williams
Williams will be very pleased with their switch from Renault to Mercedes engines and from what we have seen in testing, they are on course for a good season and certainly a far better one than in recent years, They will be aiming for a decent haul of points this year.
Key stats
Massa fastest lap – 1.37.066 (Day 3)
Bottas fastest lap – 1.37.328 (Day 2)
Nasr fastest lap – 1.37.569 (Day 4)
Laps completed – 323

Bahrain Testing – Day Four Times

1. Rosberg, Mercedes, 1.33.283, 89 laps
2. Button, McLaren, 1.34.957, 66 laps
3. Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1.36.718, 82 laps
4. Nasr, Williams, 1.37.569, 87 laps
5. Maldonado, Lotus, 1.38.707, 59 laps
6. Perez, Force India, 1.39.258, 19 laps
7. Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1.39.837, 15 laps
8. Vergne, Toro Rosso, 1.40.472, 19 laps
9. Kobayashi, Caterham, 1.43.027, 17 laps
10. Ericsson, Caterham, 1.45.094, 4 laps
11. Sutil, Sauber, no time, 7 laps
12. Bianchi, Marussia, no time, 5 laps