Australian GP 2016
MARCH 19, 2016
Qualifying Report - It's not a knockout
The first ever Formula 1 knockout qualifying format was staged on Saturday afternoon in Melbourne to determine the grid for the Australian Grand Prix. It fizzled to an end, however, with there being no real knockout drama as Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg qualified first and second.
The ambient temperature at the start of qualifying was 63 degrees Fahrenheit (17 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Centigrade.)
The line-up for the session was: Mercedes - Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Ferrari - Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. Williams Mercedes - Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas. Red Bull TAG Heuer - Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat. Force India Mercedes - Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez. Renault - Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer. Toro Rosso Ferrari - Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz. Sauber Ferrari - Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr. McLaren Honda - Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. Manor Mercedes - Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto and Roberto Merhi. Haas Ferrari - Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez.
Q1 lasted 16 minutes.
There was a line of drivers waiting at pit exit for the session to begin, and all were soon on track and going for it.
The slowest driver who was eliminated at the end of the first 7 minutes of running was Wehrlein.
For the remainder of the session the slowest driver was eliminated every 90 seconds in this order: Haryanto, Gutierrez, Grosjean, Kvyat, Nasr and Ericsson.
The fastest 15 drivers who moved on to Q2 were: Hamilton, Massa, Alonso, Hulkenberg, Raikkonen, Perez, Button, Verstappen, Rosberg, Vettel, Ricciardo, Sainz, Bottas, Palmer and Magnussen.
Q2 began after a 6 minute break and lasted 15 minutes.
This time, all the drivers did not rush out at the start of the session as the Renault drivers stayed in the garage for a couple minutes. All were on the super soft Pirelli tires.
The slowest driver who was eliminated at the end of the first 6 minutes of running was: Magnussen.
For the remainder of the session the slowest driver was eliminated every 90 seconds in this order: Palmer, Button, Alonso, Bottas, Hulkenberg and Perez.
The fastest 8 drivers who moved on to Q2 were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Sainz, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Verstappen and Massa.
Q3 began after a 7 minute break and lasted 14 minutes. All eight drivers headed out immediately.
The slowest driver who was eliminated at the end of the first 5 minutes of running was: Ricciardo.
For the remainder of the session the slowest driver was eliminated every 90 seconds in this order: Sainz, Massa, Verstappen, Raikkonen and Vettel.
But they were sitting in the pits as it happened after setting their best laps early in the session.
The two remaining drivers with a chance at pole position were Hamilton and Rosberg, but Hamilton's time of 1:23.837 was far quicker than Rosberg's 1:24.197. So that was that.
The top eight qualifiers were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Massa, Sainz and Ricciardo.