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  1. Hamilton on pole, Rosberg 2nd, Vettel 3rd, Raikkonen 4th
  2. New qualifying elimination format ends with no cars on the track
  3. Format comes under criticism as drivers choose not to respond to times set
  4. Kvyat out in Q1, McLarens out in Q2, Toro Rossos in Q3
  5. Race live on 5 live and online on Sunday from 03:30 GMT

Live Reporting

By Gary Rose

All times stated are UK

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That seems as good a place as any to put a stop to our coverage of qualifying, but we'll be back for build-up to the first race of the season tomorrow at 03:30 GMT.

Plenty of reaction to come on the new qualifying format, so keep an eye here and hopefully you will join me in the middle of the night tomorrow.


Also, just realised you mentioned Fernando Alonso in your tweet Colin, he wasn't in the original question.

That leads me on to another interesting fact: Alonso has never been on pole in Australia, despite racing in all but one race there since 2001.

Just smashing out the early-morning knowledge here.

Here's the answer to the quiz question I gave at 08:46: What do Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, Mika Hakkinen and Nigel Mansell all have in the common?

They all have three Australian GP poles to their name.

No-one got it right but there was only Colin who played along. Cheers Colin.

The quiz about Mansel , Alonso etc is it they hold the lap record in different engine size eras? #bbcf1

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programming the timer on a vhs #moreconfusingthanqualifying #f1

I never did get the hang of this, which in turn meant I never got chance to find out if re-recording did result in fade away.

Saving tyres

Here's Sebastian Vettel explanation for why he didn't bother going out to try and beat Lewis Hamilton's pole-clinching time:

"We had to go out again in Q2 so I think the fact that we called it off in Q3 was due to the fact that I had a good lap on the first try and we wanted then to save a set of tyres for tomorrow.

"Obviously, we would have liked to do it with only one run in Q2 but it wasn’t strong enough so I had to go out again, so that’s a fact, it was not due to the new format but I think in general, as I said earlier, it’s just wrong when the clock’s ticking and nobody’s on track." 

Just got up? A summary...

As there is a good chance a few of you are just working up, here's summary of what has happened this morning:

  • New format - where a driver eliminated every 90s  - used for the first time in qualifying
  • System results in no drivers on track for final couple of minutes, with Lewis Hamilton having already secured pole
  • Drivers and team bosses criticise the format
  • I ran out of biscuits

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Interesting suggestion...

#bbcf1 For qualifying - maybe just have 3x10 minute sessions where the drivers have to stay out WITHOUT knowing times via radio and pit? #F1

A quiz before we go

Getty Images

Right, we'll be wrapping things up soon but before we do, here's a little quiz question: What do Michael Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen, Nigel Mansell and Sebastian Vettel have in common when it comes to Australian Grand Prix qualifying history?

Let us know via #bbcf1

Wondering what F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone thinks about the new qualifying format, and whether it worked?

Autosport's Ian Parkes has managed to speak to Ecclestone, who is not in Australia, and this is what he had to say:

"It was pretty crap. But this is what we've got, until we can change it," he said.

"I watched it, but I have to say I wasn't enthusiastic about it from day one.

"The only thing about this [format] is that the quick guys could have run off the road, or done anything a little bit silly, and then you would get a mixed-up grid, which is what we wanted.

"It just happens that Mercedes are still very, very good."

BBC Radio 5 Live

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Lewis Hamilton thinks something "definitely" needs to change about the new F1 qualifying format.

"Bring us some tyres, make us all use those tyres, give us more laps so people are constantly watching," he says.

Listen to Hamilton on BBC Radio 5 live here.

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#MoreConfusingThanQualifying #F1 #AusGP #AustralianGP @bbcf1

#MoreConfusingThanQualifying #F1 #AusGP #AustralianGP @bbcf1


Funny word, hopscotch, when you think about it.




Reaction to the new qualifying format is continuing to drop in.

Sebastian Vettel doesn't feel it is the right way to go, adding: "We all knew what was going to happen. I didn't think it was very exciting. 

"And in the end for the people in the grandstands, I don't feel it's the right way to go."

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My #f1 quali solution: 6 minute session: max 2 flying laps. Btm 4 elim. Repeat to final 6 Final 6 showdown for pole Q3 race tyres #bbcf1

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Another Ayrton Senna record Lewis Hamilton is closing in on. 

That pole - the 50th of his career - was his first since the Italian GP last year. That was back in September. 

Quite the wait.

Not good quali for me 👎 Struggled with grip in Q2 for some reason. Tomorrow from P11 the fight is on! #AustralianGP

Not good quali for me 👎 Struggled with grip in Q2 for some reason. Tomorrow from P11 the fight is on! #AustralianGP

Worst decision in F1?

"Worst decision in F1" says Nikki Lauda as he calls on Bernie Ecclestone and Jean Todt to go back to old qualifying system. #F1

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@bbcf1 Fully nonlinear second order partial differential equations are the first things that come to mind. #MoreConfusingThanQualifying

I think you'll find that should be fully nonlinear second-order elliptic partial differential equations. *

* I may or may not have taken the first result that came up on an internet search here, so I could be wrong...

Palmer makes an impression

Jolyon Palmer
Getty Images

Away from qualifying format chat briefly and a shout out to Jolyon Palmer, what a debut!

The Briton was 14th in his first F1 qualifying session, outqualifying his team-mate Kevin Magnussen.

Palmer has quite the story to tell about his path towards racing, having been in a coma and close to death when he was 16. Worth reading more about it him here.

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The elimination aspect of Q3 really did not work for me. Losing that would, in my view, be a step in the right direction to improving the new format.

What are your thoughts? Also, for a bit of light relief, what exists in the world exists that is more confusing than qualifying?

.@bbcf1 #MoreConfusingThanQualifying what is the color of this dress? #AusGP #F1

.@bbcf1 #MoreConfusingThanQualifying what is the color of this dress? #AusGP #F1

Andrew Benson

Chief F1 writer

"For what it's worth, I thought the knock-out format actually improved Q1 & Q2 but ruined Q3."

Polesitter Lewis Hamilton, speaking to Sky Sports: "I miss the old days of qualifying when you would go out and run and run and run. This whole out one lap is neat but I think people were saying it was not exciting for the fans. All my engineers were saying it would be the case, they told the FIA but they ignored them. For me it proved how smart my engineers are, although I knew that anyway.

"I don't have the solution. I didn't see it so I don't know what did or did not work. To improve you have to make mistakes. Perhaps this is a step in the wrong direction but I'm not saying go back to the old system."

Lewis Hamilton

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Feel sorry for the fans who paid good money to see that...#AusGP #F1 #bbcf1

#BBCF1 Have we ever a seen a messier, more manic Q session? The drivers may have been given 90secs to improve but we already knew the result

'A big mistake'

Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda, speaking to Sky Sports: "I fully agree with Christian Horner [about qualifying] - have a quick discussion before Bahrain. Everyone makes mistakes - this is a big mistake."

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, speaking to Sky Sports: "I think the new qualifying format is pretty rubbish. We need to discuss it. Everyone is trying to do their best to improve the show and if we haven't we need to discuss it. 

"The solution is not good in my opinion and that is why we have to look at it again."

Sooooo, the new qualifying format...

I went from a happy face in Q1, loving the chaos of it all, to slight bemusement in Q2, to disappointment in Q3 when we were sat watching an empty track for the final two minutes.

I was expecting pistols at dawn between two drivers at the end, instead it was about as much fun as a water pistol fight in the middle of winter.

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'We've made a step forward'

Sebastian Vettel, who start tomorrow's race third: "Not really [disappointed with the gap to the Mercedes].

"I believe we have made a step forward, especially tomorrow we should be closer. We expected Mercedes to be quick in qualifying. I was very happy to set the lap time I did and we decided to save a set of tyres for tomorrow. We have high hopes for the race, it’s a long year and the car has a lot of potential. Second row is a good achievement and the team’s been pushing hard."

Sebastian Vettel
Getty Images

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What did you think of the new qualifying format?

Shocker of an qualifying idea!! Have to force a minimum fuel load,make them do it on hard tyres to keep them on track #AusGP #F1 #bbcf1

Well F1 qualifying was a damp squib. A shootout of the top two drivers who were sitting in the garage. Sort it out Ecclestone #farce #bbcf1

'Mercedes quickest by a good margin'

Nico Rosberg, who will start second: "The last lap was good in Q3, just Lewis did a better job. It is impressive to see how the team, in the third year running now, appears to be the quickest out there by a good margin. It is amazing to see that. The risk is when you are dominating you start to become complacent but we were able to push through. Of course, not happy with second but lots of opportunities from that position tomorrow."

Qualifying result

11) Bottas 12) Alonso 13) Button 14) Palmer 15) Magnussen 16) Ercisson 17) Nasr 18) Kvyat 19) Grosjean 20) Gutierrez 21) Haryanto 22) Wehrlein

'I did some sexy laps!'

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton, who will start on pole: "I really have to take my hat off to this team. To raise the bar once more in our third year inspires and motivates me. I enjoyed driving the car today in qualifying. There were some sexy laps, they felt so good, that is all you can hope for as a driver."

Qualifying top 10

A 50th pole position for Lewis Hamilton and an early psychological blow for Nico Rosberg.


Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, speaking to BBC Radio 5 live: "It didn't really work did that qualifying for me and we should apologise to the fans here. We didn't put on a great show.

"We need to learn from it. The important things is not to stick our head in the sand, address it properly first. I would prefer to go back to the qualifying sessions we had, but that is my personal opinion."

Chequered flag waved for the end of qualifying - to a totally empty track ! #f1

Tom Clarkson

BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter

"We were meant to be seeing the last two cars fighting it out on the track at the same time. Something does need to change, we need to build to a crescendo."

Chequered flag

The chequered flag is waved and Lewis Hamilton is on pole! 

But we knew that two minutes ago.

Hmmm, not sure what to make of all that...

Both Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton are getting weighed so qualifying is done. 

Still more than a minutes to go though...

Right, this leaves things a bit flat.

Everyone is in the pits, we know who is lining up where and the clock is still ticking down as per the new rules.

Kimi Raikkonen is the latest to be officially eliminated, he'll line up fourth on the grid.


What a lap!

Brilliant from Lewis Hamilton, he's slams down a 1:23.837, 0.360s quicker than Nico Rosberg, and he will take pole position for the Australian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton
Getty Images

ELIMINATED - Verstappen

Max Verstappen will line up fifth on the grid.

Nico Rosberg goes second quickest with his first run on fresh tyres. He's 0.064s off Lewis Hamilton's first effort. 

Here comes Lewis Hamilton...