L&T Motorsport

Hamilton on top as Ricciardo Crashes out

After what seemed like an eternity of a winter break, Formula 1 returned on Saturday morning in Melbourne. The Australian sun beat down on Albert Park, as the wider, faster and meaner cars emerged on track for Qualifying. 
In the final practice session, it was Sebastian Vettel who came out on top, ahead of the Mercedes of Bottas by half a second, with the so far dominant Lewis Hamilton in third, who had taken the top spot in both Friday practice sessions. 
The first session saw yet more issues for the McLaren team, with Vandoorne’s car experiencing fuel flow issues. This resulted in a lack of power and a disappointing P18. Giovinazzi’s debut was ruined by his Sauber teammate, he was pushed into P16 by Ericsson, who managed to escape the drop. Lance Stroll will start at the back after a 5 place grid penalty. He qualified 19th. 20th was Jolyon Palmer. The Haas of Kevin Magnussen occupies 17th, slow compared to his teammate Grosjean in 10th.
Q2 saw a dark sky ominously hovering over Melbourne, but fortunately rain didn’t disrupt proceedings. The final few seconds saw a huge jumbling of order, and Sergio Perez was the first victim, in P11. Behind him, his former Force India teammate, Hulkenberg, who’ll start in 12th place. Fernando Alonso experienced another engine issue for McLaren, completing a woeful Saturday for the struggling team. He’s in P13. Esteban Ocon was in 14th behind him, and the Sauber of Ericsson will start in 15th. 
Q3 began with Bottas on top, who was quickly beaten by Vettel and subsequently Hamilton, before local lad Ricciardo crashed out in the final sector, causing a red flag and a delay in qualifying. After the delay, the final session continued with 8 minutes to go, as the sun began to set over Melbourne. At the tail end of the top 10, ahead of Ricciardo finished the Toro Rosso’s of Sainz and Kvyat in 8th and 9th respectively. They sat behind the not-so-retired Felipe Massa in 7th. Grosjean showed real class to put his Haas into P6, behind the Red Bull of the young Max Verstappen. It was Kimi all about the Ferrari’s and Mercedes at the front, with an exciting climax resulting in a 6th Australian pole position for Hamilton, who will start ahead of Vettel in second, claiming Ferrari’s first front row in over a year. Bottas will start directly behind Hamilton in third, with Raikkonen completing the top 4.
Image: Cumberland News

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