In case you have read our 2012 season preview, one will understand that this is really the beginning of the end, The 2012 Formula 1 season has begun with a bang, There were few surprises but they on dotted lines and some of them are expected. The Qualifying season hasn’t sunk in but the rumors are on the full that Renault and Red Bull before the end of the day will lodge a official protest on Mercedes but one man stood tall silencing his critics. It was Lewis Hamilton who will be starting the 2012 Australian GP on Pole
The onus on Lewis has been on the large. Having picked up a very late momentum last season, Lewis ensured 2012 didn’t have to go the 2011 way. His Laptime of 1.24.922 in the early runs of Q3 was the best and it stayed as it is till the end of the session, Even an late surge from Jenson Button didn’t disturb Lewis's laptime and McLaren for once are looking like a mighty opponent to reckon with at the start of the season
Romain Grosjean’s laptime of 1:25.302 was good enough only for P3. Yeah, ‘Only’. It has certainly raised few eye brows and Grosjean has matured himself perfectly from the last time he was on the ‘hot-seat’. Micheal Schumacher certainly with after the huge hype around his ‘Mercedes car’ would have hoped for something better. His laptime of 1:25.336 was just short of potential P3 but nevertheless Schumi would be happy to settle in for P4.
Is this is the pecking order one will see this season? Red Bull might not agree, but with an underpowered engine as compared to its rivals, and a weaker ‘KERS’ unit. Red Bull will have plenty to ponder for them, if they don’t perform well here, It will certainly will be tough on them at circuits like Sepang, Monza and Montreal. Although its too early to judge their pecking order, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel will line up on P5 and P6 respectively with Rosberg on their heels as Pastor Maldonado, Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo completing the Top 10, with Ricciardo not setting a timed lap.
The Toro Rosso duo are closely matched pair on the grid and it was Jean-Eric Vergne who was on P11 and didn’t make a cut into Q3. The first of the Ferrari was on P12. Alonso had a spin which was a costly driver error that put him out in the middle of his Q2 run, he was on the gravel and the session was stopped for few moments. But the video footage showed Alonso asking the marshals to push his car back and he was also seen in a furious mood after he got out of the car. The fastest car on Q1 'Kobayashi' was found wanting for more pace in Q2 and he could get his best only at 13th and he was closely followed by Bruno Senna and Di Resta. Senna and Di Resta will have to rework their strategy for the race as both the drivers are a bit hyped over their teammates but it was Maldonado and the Hulk who squeezed themselves onto Q3 leaving Senna and Di Resta tamed and out.
Massa tried all he could, Once the session was restarted in Q2, He was pushing out onto the track and was a bit aggressive then how he normally is, but the heroics of Massa was not good enough for Q3 and he has to settle in for P16 but again much behind Alonso. Not a great start to an important season for Massa. Meanwhile some problems with his car meant Perez will be starting on 17th.
It was Kimi Raikkonen who had a major chunk or surprise after leaving out to the last minute to get out onto the track in Q1, He made a mistake on his penultimate lap which meant he could not see the flag on time and one has to wonder if it was a strategic error by Lotus or the driver error that cost Kimi a chance in Top 10. Kimi also didn’t have a good Friday Practice to start with.
The Caterham of Heikki and Vitaly Petrov will start the grid at 19th and 20th, Caterham even with a good progress this season fails to see through the Q1 and will have to work out for ways of getting featured beyond Q1 as their rivals Marussia was on a distant land from Caterham after Timo Glock and Charles Pic laptimes were a way off the pace of Caterham as expected. But it was an impressive effort from this team having squeezed themselves onto the race, Will now be looking to build some momentum off HRT. Both Marussia and HRT never had a pre-season testing and started off this season on a similar note by doing filming sessions to get some mileage, but Marussia will start the grid as of now while HRT will have to wait as even the oldest lineup of Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan failed to set a laptime within 107% rule.