Qualifying revealed a close battle may be on the cards at the top, but Lewis Hamilton once again had tenths to spare, and may only be caught out at the start of the race if Vettel can beat him on the clutch. Elsewhere on the grid, there are a few drivers that look like likely climbers at the start of the race.
Five drivers we expect to climb the order in the Australian Grand Prix:
Two drivers who will be hoping that they can hold on to their solid qualifying performances are Haas’ Romain Grosjean and Williams’ Felipe Massa. Lining up 6th and 7th for the Australian Grand Prix, they have their work cut out, and might have to focus on their defensive game around Albert Park. After an uplifting Q3, Grosjean said,
“It was quite an unbelievable qualifying session for us. It’s a shame that we didn’t get Kevin there, but the car is looking good, even better than what we’ve seen recently. We’ve made some good progress over the weekend. There’s a lot more we can understand and analyze but, generally, it’s a great start for us.
It’s always good to start with a strong qualifying session. It tells you that if you keep improving the car, you could be in a good place very soon. If that’s our baseline, and you can fight between sixth and 10th position, where it’s so tight, it would be great to be there most of the time and enjoy some good times.
Tomorrow’s start is a big unknown. We’ve been practicing and some have been good, others not so much. Hopefully, we’ll get the first one right tomorrow.”
– Romain Grosjean
Felipe Massa has confirmed that he was right to u-turn on his retirement, the Brazilian veteran has given Williams something to cheer about with a very strong starting point to work from tomorrow. Lining up 7th for the Australian Grand Prix, he will have his work cut out keeping the Toro Rosso’s behind him, both of which qualified within a tenth of Massa’s time. On his first qualifying session as an un-retired Formula One driver, Massa said,
“It was a good qualifying session. I am happy with my qualifying and the laps I was doing. It’s the first qualifying session of the season and the first time I have used the new ultrasoft tyres, after missing some laps on those yesterday. All in all I was happy with qualifying. Sixth would have been a great position for us today but I think Romain did a very good lap, which I was not able to beat. That said, I am sure we can fight in the race and I’m really looking forward to making the first race of the season a good one.”
– Felipe Massa
These two drivers are going to have to do something special to keep our five climbers behind them during the race. It will be fascinating to see the battle between Mercedes and Ferrari throughout the race, and it will finally put to bed the speculation regarding where they are relative to one another. But the action in this new era firmly looks to be the battle for points in a very tight looking midfield.