2018 Australian Grand Prix QUALIFYING – LIVE
Location: Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia
Current Weather Conditions: Dry & Sunny
After winter pre-season testing, the first race weekend is now well and truly upon us as we’re all getting ready for the first qualifying session of the 2018 season ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, taking place tomorrow.
If you haven’t heard already, Daniel Ricciardo has been given a 3-grid place penalty for failing to slow enough when the red flags were shown during yesterday’s free practice 2.
Here’s what he had to say to the Sky Sports F1 Team – “I can agree with everyone, there are other penalties they could have used – they could have given a reprimand, they could have given something. To give me a grid penalty before the season has started is ****house.”
“I slowed down. I knew there was a red flag, I didn’t go slow enough. When I went in there, I said I did break that rule but there are guidelines and one of them is a grid-place penalty, but as well you’ve got to have a bit of common sense.”
This morning, there was rainfall in the paddock – as expected – however for qualifying, it looks like weather conditions will be dry.
Q1 – 2018 Australian Grand Prix QUALIFYING – LIVE
Teams and drivers are now getting ready for Q1 ahead.
The green light goes out and drivers are now making their way onto track – Hulkenberg is currently on his out lap and the first car on-track. Renault are looking confident this year too.
Vettel and Raikkonen are now on their out laps – Ferrari’s are out on track first. Mercedes still in the garage.
Hamilton now makes his way onto the track followed by his team-mate, Valtteri Bottas.
Vettel radioing his team about traffic on the track. Kimi Raikkonen sets the fastest lap time – for now. Vettel currently in P2.
The team is talking to Hamilton over the radio, telling him the time difference to Raikkonen and in different sections as he’s currently at the top of the time sheet.
Alonso radioing the team to ask them to look at an issue with the gears.
Lewis Hamilton now sets the fastest time following his team telling him the time difference to Raikkonen – with just over 2 minutes to go, the top 3 drivers are Hamilton, Raikkonen and Vettel.
Q1 – Knock Out Zone
Q2 – 2018 Australian Grand Prix QUALIFYING – LIVE
Lewis Hamilton is getting back into his car after topping the timesheet during Q1 – Ferrari are looking stronger this qualifying session and it’s close between them and Mercedes.
30% risk of rain – dark clouds are now starting to make an appearance.
The green light is on and Q2 has started. There’s not a rush of cars to get out on track yet.
Max Verstappen is the first car out on track for Q2 – he’s on the supersoft tyres. Kimi Raikkonen now makes his way out onto the track.
His team-mate, Sebastian Vettel now makes his way out onto track – he’s on the ultrasoft tyres.
Lewis Hamilton now makes his way out onto the track, he’s also on the ultrasoft tyres. He sets the fastest lap time as Kimi Raikkonen is now making his way round.
Kimi Raikkonen now sets the fastest lap time – he looks confident during Qualifying.
Lewis Hamilton now goes half a second quicker setting the fastest lap time of 1:22.051
Raikkonen – “OK I need to know who is pushing and who is not.” asking his team for more information.
Alonso – “It’s quite dark out here so I think we will go for the next run quite quickly.” as the clouds have started to gather – no forecast of rain just yet.
In the final few seconds, Sebastian Vettel beats Hamilton’s time – topping the timesheet with 1:21.944
Daniel Ricciardo decided to pit earlier as he got a flat-spot on the tyres he was on and didn’t want to be starting the race on those tyres.
Team telling Alonso that he is P11 – “Ok – that’s ok.” as he has mentioned that the first race won’t be the teams’ strong start.
Charles Leclerc: “It was a positive session overall as we didn’t expect to be where we were. I think we have taken big steps forward and the car is now easier to drive and easier to push forward.”
Sergey Sirotkin: “It wasn’t the easiest way to come here and do the things. We need to make a few changes and we tried working towards the Quali – we were not too bad in the beginning but we still need to go deep in the details and analyse to see what went wrong or what we could do better.”
Brendon Hartley: “It’s a little bit disappointing. The car felt good on the last lap and there was a couple of tenths left on my side. The battle is really tight and today we just missed out but we have a lot of positives and our times show that we can fight the midfield – if not today, we will soon.”
Q2 – Knock Out Zone
Q3 – 2018 Australian Grand Prix QUALIFYING – LIVE
The teams and drivers are waiting to start the final Qualifying session (Q3) and following Vettel’s lap time in Q2, it looks like the pressure is on.
Lewis Hamilton is the first car out on track for Q3.
The sun is shining through the clouds – again and Hamilton now sets the first lap time for Q3. Valtteri Bottas has brought out the RED FLAG as he goes wide and into the barrier.
The session has been stopped – Bottas is out of the car and the track is being cleaned up following the accident.
Hamilton – “Is everyone OK?”
Team to Hamilton – “Everyone is OK, it was Valtteri who had a crash at Turn 2.”
Valtteri Bottas has been taken to the medical centre and the track has now been cleared.
Daniel Ricciardo is waiting at the end of the pit-lane for Q3 to resume.
Team to Ricciardo: “Daniel, there could be some hydraulic fluid on turn 2 – be careful.”
It’s a close battle between Hamilton and Vettel. Verstappen radioing the team following his lap time.
Verstappen: “I need more front grip.”
Team to Verstappen: “Understood”
Drivers are now making their way back out onto the track – Hamilton makes his way through the pits followed by Vettel who’s also making his way onto the track.
Lewis Hamilton sets an all-time lap record of 1:21.164
Lewis Hamilton is on pole for the Australian Grand Prix with the Ferrari’s right behind.
Top 3 Drivers
Lewis Hamilton: “You would think that with the results we’ve had, we would think this was normal but it’s not. You should feel my heart right now. It’s a beautiful city, there’s many British flags here so I’m grateful for all the support. That was an amazing lap though – I was surprised with how quick the Ferrari’s are. I’ve had good sectors before but not like that.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “It was really decent job and obviously the lap time difference is still quite big but with the weather this morning we have to be happy with where we are starting. There’s a lot of work to be done and to improve.”
Sebastian Vettel: “We can be happy – yesterday I wasn’t happy but in the last lap here I tried to brake late and had a moment. Shame that Lewis had quite a big gap but I’m looking forward to tomorrow and seeing what we can do. I hope they did turn it on today (power) so tomorrow they can turn it off (laughs) – I’m happy for the team and it’s a good result so we can keep going.”
Much more coming this afternoon so make sure you check back for all the latest.