Formula 1 got it’s first qualifying session of 2016 and with it, a new qualifying format. The issue at hand is whether the teams just experienced a steep learning curve and missed out on the 90-second immediate elimination process (with a lap of the Albert Park circuit at 1:25+) or if the new format is a damp squib.
Lewis Hamilton secured his 50th pole position but there was over 2 minutes left in Q3 and not a car was running. In fact, both Ferrari’s had parked their cars with 5 minutes left in the final session.
There are a lot of befuddled looks on many team bosses faces. In short, the final qualifying grid is really not much different than what many folks would have expected or what we saw last year but in getting to this result, we had much less actual running and much less action on track.
Teams may come to grips with the new format very quickly and while Q1 was interesting, it seemed to have neutered Q3 and that’s not the best option for fans at home. The building anticipation of Q3 was one of the best features of F1.
The social media response has been scathing regarding the new format and even drivers were critical when interviewed after being eliminated in Q1.
If you’re keeping score at home, Mercedes looked comprehensively dominant and the margin between Mercedes to Ferrari is still big. Let’s see how race pace pans out.