The first qualifying of the 2017 season and finally the battle we all had crossed our fingers for looks set and Twitterati sure seems to agree.
Hamilton stormed to his 6th pole in Australia and his 62nd career pole beating new teammate Valtteri Bottas by 3 tenths of a second. However Vettel pipped Bottas too by the margin of a whisker as Ferrari seems to be closer but not quite. It’s still early to say and the race is tomorrow. Raikkonen lined up 4th to make it an all Finnish second row
Kimi struggled in qualifying to line up behind Bottas ultimately.
Red Bull has a lot of catching up to do and their chances were not helped by home hero Daniel Ricciardo putting his car into the gravel in Q3 ending up in 10th place leaving Max Verstappen to line up P5
Behind the top 3, the star of Qualifying has to be Romain Grosjean who wrangled everything out of his Haas to go best of the rest in 6th place, while his team-mate could only manage P17.
Felipe Massa also silenced his critics on his comeback who put his Williams into P7 after a disappointing show from team-mate Lance Stroll.
The Toro Rosso pair were right behind them and put in a strong performance lining up P8 and P9.
Behind the Top 10 the fight got even closer especially between former teammates Perez and Hulkenberg who traded times with each other throughout Q1 and Q2 with Perez ending ahead at P11 by only 1/100th of a second. Perez’s team mate Ocon was half a second adrift of him at P14. However Perez could end up in trouble following an alleged rules breach, but expects to keep 11th place.
Alonso once again punched above his weight to finish P13 while rookie Vandoorne encountered engine troubles meaning he had to contend with P18.
Another star was newcomer Antonio Giovinazzi. Drama ensued early on Saturday when just an hour before FP3, Pascal Wehrlein ruled himself out citing fitness issues saying that he won’t be able to go the distance during the race. Giovinazzi had only one session to get up to speed and he did that impressively and was on course to beat his more experienced team-mate before a rookie error on the penultimate corner at the dying moments of Q1 on his hot lap allowed Ericsson to just squeeze into Q2 ahead of the Italian.
The biggest disappointment of the qualifying session was Palmer who finished dead last especially compared to Hulkenberg who showed that the Renault is very close to Force India in terms of performance. But this is what he had to say:
And this tweet sums up the tail enders effectively
So this is what the Grid looks now for tomorrow.
All eyes set for Sunday then!