Australian Grand Prix: Champion Lewis Hamilton takes pole in farcical qualifying

Melbourne: Champion Lewis Hamilton took pole for Mercedes at Formula One's season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Saturday but condemnation for the revamped qualifying was almost as quick as the Briton's fastest lap.

The new format, based on progressive elimination during the three sessions rather than at the end of them, was intended to instill more excitement but instead proved a monumental flop.

Rather than battle to the finish of each session, drivers posted early laps and then were content to return to their garages.

File photo of  Lewis Hamilton. Getty Images

File photo of Lewis Hamilton. Getty Images

The last few minutes of both the final sessions petered out with no drivers on track, sapping the entire process of suspense.

Hamilton celebrated his 50th pole after posting a lap of one minute 25.351 seconds, with second-placed team mate Nico Rosberg nowhere near his time.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen are third and fourth on the grid, having confined themselves to the garage after one flying lap apiece, not bothering to even attempt to catch Hamilton's time.

The new qualifying format, which eliminates the slowest drivers at 90-second intervals, came under immediate fire from racing pundits as a system that rewarded those with better timing than superior racing skills.

Max Verstappen will line up fifth for Toro Rosso with Felipe Massa sixth for Willliams.

Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz is seventh on the grid, with Daniel Ricciardo eighth.

Renault rookie Jolyon Palmer snuck into Q2 after the clock had run down on the first 16-minute session with a last flying lap that tipped Sauber's Marcus Ericsson out.

Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat was among the first seven eliminated, along with both drivers from Manor Racing, Haas and Sauber.


Updated Date: Mar 19, 2016 14:33 PM

Also Watch

Watch: The true stories from Dharavi that inspired Rajinikanth's Kaala
  • Thursday, March 8, 2018 Watch: Cyrus Khan talks about Parkour, jumping across walls and why he hates sitting
  • Thursday, May 31, 2018 Unwind: India's basketball sensation Amjyot Singh has his eyes set on becoming an NBA regular
  • Monday, May 28, 2018 First Day First Showsha — Review of Solo: A Star Wars Story in 10 questions
  • Saturday, May 19, 2018 Social Media Star: Rajkummar Rao and Bhuvan Bam open up about selfie culture, online trolls

Also See