The 2015 season of Formula 1 racing got underway officially this morning at Albert Park in Australia, where qualifying for tomorrow’s Australian GP took place. As predicted, Lewis Hamilton proved himself to be in a different league behind the wheel of the 2015 Mercedes/AMG Hybrid, but there were a surprises worth mentioning behind him.
One of the biggest surprises was the stunning pace of Sebastian Vettel, who looked very much a four-times World Drivers’ Champion as he wrestled a (still) underpowered Ferrari on to the second row of qualifying- a result that would have been nearly unthinkable for Ferrari a year ago. Even more impressive than the Scuderia’s changing fortunes in qualifying was the upbeat tone of their drivers in interviews after the session, as they talked about their race pace giving them a potential edge over their competitors.
The biggest surprise, however, was the McLaren-Honda. Despite being in good hands with 2009 WDC Jenson Button and the talented Kevin Magnussen (both of whom ended up on the podium after Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification at the end of last year’s Australian GP), the cars qualified absolutely dead last.
Less surprising than McLaren’s horrorshow qualifying session, but still bad, was Manor. The “reborn” Marussia team completely sat out Saturday’s qualifying, forcing the stewards to decide whether or not they should be able to compete under the 107% rule based on testing and practice times. This, of course, infuriated everyone, but makes sense when you consider the fact that Manor is so strapped for cash that saving a few thousand dollars on gas and tires could mean the crew gets to eat tonight.
A final, pleasant surprise came in the form of the Toro Rosso drivers. Both the seventeen-year-old wunderkind Max Verstappen and his Spanish partner, Carlos Sainz, Jr., put in thrilling drives that wholly cemented a single fact: regardless of their last names or whatever money and sponsorship deals they can bring to the team, they deserve to be in Formula 1.
You can check out the final results of today’s qualifying session, below, and tune in tomorrow for the first race of the 2015 Formula 1 season when the lights go out at Albert Park. Enjoy!
Australian GP Results – QUALIFYING
|Formula 1 2015: Australian GP Results – QUALIFYING|
|Driver||Driver No.||Team||Grid Pos.|
|Daniel Ricciardo||3||Red Bull||7|
|Carlos Sainz||55||Toro Rosso||8|
|Max Verstappen||33||Toro Rosso||12|
|Daniil Kvyat||26||Red Bull||13|
|Nico Hulkenberg||27||Force India||14|
|Sergio Perez||11||Force India||15|
|107% Time = 1:34.787|