Kata Rocks
THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks

Hamilton takes pole at Australian Grand Prix

FORMULA ONE: Lewis Hamilton will lead an all-Mercedes front row after the reigning world champion snatched pole position from teammate Valtteri Bottas at the death.

Formula-One
By Michael Lamonato

Saturday 16 March 2019, 03:36PM


Hamilton will lead the grid at the Australian Grand Prix tomorrow. Photo: Steve Etherington

Hamilton will lead the grid at the Australian Grand Prix tomorrow. Photo: Steve Etherington

Hamilton executed a scruffy first attempt in the top-10 shootout to fall more than 0.4 seconds behind the Finn, who held provisional pole, but the Briton blitzed his second lap to steal pole position by 0.112 seconds.

It was a strong result for Mercedes after preseason testing suggested the reigning titleholder was as much as half a second off Ferrari’s pace, but Hamilton credited the team’s hard work for the improvement.

“I’m shaking, it was so close out there,” Hamilton said. “Coming from testing… we were hoping of course to be where we are – the guys have been working so hard.”

Valtteri Bottas was sanguine about losing pole after holding such a commanding lead after the first runs, pleased mostly by the improvement made over the course of the weekend.

“We really made some good progress,” he said. “I had a difficult practice three and we turned things around for qualifying… [but] unfortunately not enough for pole.

“Of course I’d prefer to be on pole, but the race is tomorrow, and I’m starting on the front row.”

Third-placed Sebastian Vettel was surprised by his 0.704-second gap to the front, but he may have been perversely pleased after having insisted all winter that rumours of Mercedes’s demise at Ferrari’s hands were greatly exaggerated.

Despite the margin, the German said he was anticipating being much closer during the race.

“I think we can [win],” he said. “We have a good race car and we’re in good form. Obviously Mercedes is the favourite after today, but we’re here to race.”

Max Verstappen qualified fourth for Red Bull Racing, capitalising on a scrappy final qualifying effort from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who ended the day fifth.

Romain Grosjean led Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen in sixth and seventh ahead of rookie McLaren driver Lando Norris, who impressed with eighth place.

Kimi Raikkonen put Alfa Romeo into the top 10 in its first Formula One appearance since 1985 with ninth place, leaving Racing Point’s Sergio Perez in 10th.

Zest Real Estate

 

QUALIFYING TWO

Less than one second separated the midfield in Q2, and combined with the setting sun and cooling track temperatures conditions were tricky for drivers seeking to make it into the top 10.

But just as small mistakes characterised the laps of many drivers – Sebastian Vettel had a big run through the grass on his final lap and Nico Hulkenberg’s messy lock-up in the final sector spoilt his best effort – some moments of individual brilliance shone through.

Lando Norris put in a heroic lap to make it through to Q3 for McLaren, and Kimi Raikkonen, ditched by Ferrari last year before finding a home at Alfa Romeo, likewise put his team into the pole shootout.

Renault was hopeful of joining the top-10 fight, but neither Hulkenberg nor home hero Daniel Ricciardo could muster a lap quick enough, confining them to 11th and 12th.

Alex Albon impressed despite falling out of qualifying in 13th; he was more than a tenth of a second quicker than teammate Daniil Kvyat, and the Toro Rosso pair sandwiched 14th-placed Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi.

 

QUALIFYING ONE

The first qualifying session of the season was frenetic, reflecting the closeness of most of the field, and with the Melbourne streets improving throughout the 18 minutes as more rubber was laid into the asphalt, it was advantageous to start a lap as late as possible.

It was impossible to guess which five drivers would end their qualification early – excluding teammates George Russell and Robert Kubica, that is, whose Williams car was around four seconds off the pace and guarantee them 19th and 20th respectively on the grid.

The battle to avoid being one of the three midfielders to miss out on progression was fierce, and when the chequered flag fell Racing Point’s Lance Stroll, Red Bull Racing’s Pierre Gasly and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz were eliminated, their three diverse teams reflecting how tight the midfield competition is in 2019.

 

 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Chinese men use fake taxi ploy to kidnap, rob Chinese woman in Phuket

"damage to the image of... taxi drivers" 555, that's a good one. If it were a real Tha...(Read More)


Tourism still wounded one year on from Phoenix disaster

Last week I had my monthly haircut for 150 thb. In next chair was a chinese tourist getting same hai...(Read More)


Tourism still wounded one year on from Phoenix disaster

Thai are good in marketing themselves, but many times bad in not delivering what they state/preach. ...(Read More)


Tourism still wounded one year on from Phoenix disaster

Despite all the discussion of what Thailand has done to make themselves look better to the Chinese.....(Read More)


Phuket light-rail budget B34.8bn for Phase 1 only, expected to jump 10%

Ben, they never bring in foreign experts to help with any major projects because it would make it mu...(Read More)


‘I only shot him to stop the attack’, says Patong tuk-tuk driver

Oh, so this Chartchai was just being a good citizen trying to protect tourists from this bad guy??? ...(Read More)


‘I only shot him to stop the attack’, says Patong tuk-tuk driver

‘the fight started because Panya has been cautioned over trying to trick and steal tourists’ be...(Read More)


Surf danger warning issued for Phuket

No need for having "ISLA'.There is already that expert pendejo.Just keep publishing his adv...(Read More)


Patong tuk-tuk drivers attack, kill motorbike taxi tout

What on earth is going on?! The guy's just sitting there smiling at the camera? Perfectly happy ...(Read More)


Patong tuk-tuk drivers attack, kill motorbike taxi tout

Ah yes - only recently the head of the taxi clubs was complaining about new taxes driving away touri...(Read More)