The Qualifying session for the Australian Grand Prix was an interesting affair with Max Verstappen on pole. That may not be a surprise but it wasn’t a walk in the park as the real challenge was getting the tires into their prime operating window.
Most of the cars throughout all three sessions were making multiple passes and putting in the laps to find the performance window of the tire. What that meant is that a changing track, coupled with tires that were heating over several laps to find their optimum performance means a grid that is quite unique. It was all down to timing.
The more pleasing surprise was how fast Mercedes was with George Russell and Lewis Hamilton starting the race in 2nd and 3rd place respectively. The cool weather would suggest that the Mercs were able to find their tire window and it does make me wonder what their pace suggests about their ability to generate heat in cool temps vs their performance in hot weather and any potential tire overheating. I’m keen to see their gains in the next few races.
George, or Mr. Saturday, has bested his teammate in qualifying three races on the trot but the race is another story. One would expect that the Mercs may not be challenging Max’s Red Bull but can they maximize their starting positions to hold off the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso and the Ferrari duo behind them?
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1m17.384s||1m17.056s||1m16.732s|
|4||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin-Mercedes||1m17.832s||1m17.283s||1m17.139s|
|6||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin-Mercedes||1m17.873s||1m17.616s||1m17.308s|
|12||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT||1m18.471s||1m18.099s|
|15||Nyck de Vries||AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT||1m18.45s||1m18.335s|
|17||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||1m18.54s|
|19||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||1m18.714s|
|20||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull|