March 25, 2017

F1 Quals: Australia 2017

It is a before one can race, you must qualify, and that's why the F1 Circus found themselves in Melbourne this afternoon... to begin the 2017 Formula 1 season! Here's the provisional grid for the Grand Prix of Australia!

Pos
Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:24.191 1:23.251 1:22.188
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:25.210 1:23.401 1:22.456
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:24.514 1:23.215 1:22.481
4 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:24.352 1:23.376 1:23.033
5 Embryo Verstappen Red Bull Racing
1:24.482 1:24.092 1:23.485
6 Lettuce Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:25.419 1:24.718 1:24.074
7 Felipe Not Retired Massa Williams Mercedes 1:25.099 1:24.597 1:24.443
8 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:25.542 1:24.997 1:24.487
9 Kid Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:25.970 1:24.864 1:24.512
10 Smiley Ricciardo Red Bull Racing
1:25.383 1:23.989 DNF
11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:25.064 1:25.081
12 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:24.975 1:25.091
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 1:25.872 1:25.425
14 False Esteban! Force India Mercedes 1:26.009 1:25.568
15 Sony Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:26.236 1:26.465
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Sauber Ferrari 1:26.419

17 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:26.847

18 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda 1:26.858

19 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:27.143

20 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:28.244


The more things change, the more they don't change.  Or something like that.  Is anybody really surprised that Lewis Hamilton is on pole?  What might be surprising is that the top three cars would break the track lap record if they turned it during the race.  These cars are fast.  We saw a lot of fishtailing and/or spins during the practice sessions and quals, and in most of those cases it looked like the grip just went away for no reason.  It may be more sinister than that... new compound tires and faster cars?  Hmm... I wonder.

I think the biggest surprise was the difference in performance between Haas teammates Lettuce Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.  Lettuce is a good'un, we know that, but KMag is a useful driver too.  Nearly 1.5 seconds difference in ostensibly the same car?  That's huge, and the difference between Q1 and Q3.

Please note the name at #16, Antonio Giovinazzi, who is pushin' to be called Tony Snazzy.  He's the reserve driver for both Ferrari and Sauber, and is filling in for Pascal Wehrlein.  Wehrlein injured his back during preseason testing, and while he's okay, he wasn't able to work on his fitness during that time.  After driving in the first two practice sessions, he said to the team "I can't do it... the g-forces are beating the hell out of my soft flabby body."  Probably.  In any case, he took himself out of the seat for the race and Tony Snazzy stepped in on zero notice.  He ran in P3, then went right into Quals... and only just missed out on Q2 at the last moment.  Not bad.

So, race late tonight/early morning!  See ya afterwards!

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