Australian Grand Prix: Qualifying Recap

Overview

Event: Qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix
Date: Saturday, March 19
Location: Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne, Australia
Layout: 5.303-kilometer (3.295-mile), 16-turn circuit
Weather: Breezy and overcast with occasional bouts of sun, 18 degrees Celsius (64 degrees Fahrenheit)
Track Record: 1:23.529 set by Sebastian Vettel in 2011 with Red Bull Racing.
Pole Winner: Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes (1:23.837)
Result: Romain Grosjean qualified 19th, will start on inside of Row 10
             Esteban Gutiérrez qualified 20th, will start on outside of Row 10

Q1 Rundown:
Lasts 16 minutes, with all 22 drivers participating
After seven minutes, the slowest driver is eliminated
In 90-second intervals thereafter, the next slowest drivers are eliminated until the checkered flag falls
Seven drivers get eliminated, with top-15 drivers moving on to Q2
Gr
osjean: 19th quick (1:28.322) using the Pirelli P Zero Red supersofts
Gutiérrez: 20th quick (1:29.606) using the Pirelli P Zero Red supersofts
Fastest Driver: Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes (1:25.351)
Cutoff: 15th-quick Kevin Magnussen of Renault Sport (1:27.297)

Q2 Rundown:
Lasts 15 minutes, featuring the 15 fastest drivers from Q1
After six minutes, the slowest driver is eliminated
In 90-second intervals thereafter, the next slowest drivers are eliminated until the checkered flag falls
Seven drivers get eliminated, with top-eight drivers advancing to Q3
Fastest Driver: Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes (1:24.605)
Cutoff: Eighth-quick Daniel Riccardo of Red Bull Racing (1:25.599)

Q3 Rundown:
Lasts 14 minutes, featuring the eight fastest drivers from Q2
After five minutes, the slowest driver is eliminated
In 90-second intervals thereafter, the next slowest drivers are eliminated until the checkered flag falls
Two drivers will remain in the final 90 seconds, fastest takes the pole
Pole Winner: Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes (1:23.837)
Second: Nico Rosberg of Mercedes (1:24.197)

Recap
Formula One’s elimination-style qualifying format caught Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutiérrez early, but the duo was still able to outlast the Manor Racing squad of Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto.

Grosjean and Gutiérrez were both poised to potentially advance to Q2, but time ran out on their second runs around the 5.303-kilometer (3.295-mile), 16-turn Albert Park Circuit. That meant the times from those quicker, second runs were not counted, as both drivers were eliminated by the countdown clock.

As such, Grosjean was credited with the 19th fastest time (1:28.322) and Gutiérrez was 20th quick (1:29.606). That’s where they’ll start in the 22-driver field for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.

Romain Grosjean, Driver No. 8, Haas F1 Team
“I was on a good lap and then suddenly I’m out. I don’t even get a chance to go to the end of the lap. That’s annoying because the car was good, our baseline is good, and in terms of performance, we were clearly able to go through. We just missed a bit of speed on the turnaround in the garage, so we were massively out of position. This is one of those races where it’s tricky and you need to finish. That’s our first call for tomorrow though. That’s what Gene (Haas, chairman) wants. From there, everything is possible. It’s a long race and we have new rules with the radio ban, so we just have to try to use the experience.”

Esteban Gutiérrez, Driver No. 21, Haas F1 Team
“It was a little frustrating not to see the lap time we achieved reflected in the results. However, we know the potential is there. Overall, I think we’ve had a very tricky weekend, but with more time we’ll become more efficient as a team. The good thing is we know the lap time was good enough to be further up the grid. Looking ahead, we need to be positive, to keep working hard and moving forward.”

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team
“I think I’ve never been happy and unhappy at the same time. Today showed the potential of the car, but we were unable to use it because when we went out we made a few mistakes. Our first lap didn’t stick, and when we went out again we missed out by a few seconds. However, now we know where everyone is, so tomorrow in the race we’ll try to do the best we can to get up there. It was a challenging weekend to get here, but we didn’t do anything completely wrong, which is a success for us as a new team. Now we look forward to the race, and I can’t wait.” 

This article contains: Australian Grand Prix