Formula One F1 driver Lewis Hamilton and his No. 44 Mercedes have taken the pole for the 2016 Australian Grand Prix with a lap of 1:23.837 around the Albert Park street circuit in Melbourne, Australia. For Hamilton, it is his first Pole of the 2016 season and 50th of his Formula One F1 career.
Nico Rosberg and his No. 6 Mercedes was second quick at 1:24.197. Sebastian Vettel and his No. 5 will start third with Kimi Raikkonen and his No. 7 Ferrari at his side. Max Verstappen and his No. 33 Toro Rosso got a big boost over the winter with Ferrari power and it has paid off handsomely.
Qualifying was marked by the debut of a new feature in which the slowest car is knocked out every 90 seconds after half the qualifying has been completed. Fans appeared to enjoy the Q1 & Q2 change based on online feedback, but Q3 was a disaster. One wonders if it was clear what was even happening to fans in the grand stands without the aid of computers and tv screens.
What it did in Q1 & Q2 was create a flurry of activity early in each qualifying session, but as cars were eliminated, the on track activity would slow significantly with drivers out of the cars and walking away before the completion of each session. A bit odd, and extremely anti-climatic.
Overall, it appears that McLaren Honda have improved over the winter. The jury is out for Williams and Red Bull as their drivers appeared to be caught out by the new system in Q1 & Q2.
Next up, the Formula One F1 series will race in the 2016 Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.