Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton
kept up the monopoly on Australian Grand Prix pole positions that he has
held since 2014 with another fastest time in qualifying, using the soft tyre
from start to finish of each session. Hamilton’s pole position time broke
his own lap record at Albert Park from last year.
The Mercedes driver was presented with Pirelli Pole Position Award by Alan
Jones: the 1980 Formula 1 World Champion.
In theory, the quickest strategy for the 58-lap Australian Grand Prix is
actually a two stopper: two stints on the soft tyre of 21 laps each,
followed by a shorter 16-lap final stint on the medium.
In practice, the teams are more likely to adopt a one-stopper, which is
extremely close in terms of overall time anyway and carries less risk,
especially as Albert Park is not so easy to overtake on. The optimal
one-stop strategy (from the information we have so far) is to start on the
soft tyre for 27 laps, then run 31 laps on the medium tyre to the end.
Very close to that is an alternative one stopper: start on the soft tyre for
24 laps, then go for 34 laps on the hard to the flag.
KEEP AN EYE ON
In Q1, exactly one second separated P1 and elimination – the qualifying
fight has rarely been closer.
This year’s incredible speeds: the lap record was already broken in Q2 and
then lowered again in Q3, despite the cars being heavier.
Ferrari: the only team to run the medium at the beginning of qualifying.
Pierre Gasly: the Red Bull driver will start 17th after being eliminated in
Q1 and could be able to use strategy to make his way up the field tomorrow.
The new rule that awards a point for fastest lap (for those finishing in the
top 10) might push some drivers towards a two-stopper, under the right
MARIO ISOLA - HEAD OF F1 AND CAR RACING
“As usual, the quickest times came at the end of each session, with track
temperatures dropping all the time and plenty of action; underlining just
how close the margins are at this first race of the season. The tyre
performance was strong on each compound, with Ferrari showing plenty of
speed on the medium in Q1 as well. With all three potential race strategies
very close on paper, as usual it will come down to track temperature and
degradation of the soft tyre in particular on race day. With higher
temperatures, the degradation of the soft tyre also tends to be higher –
pushing teams towards an earlier switch to a harder compound, or more than