2015 Qualifying & Race Reports: Rounds 1-6
|Choose a Race Report Below|
|Round 1: Australia - Melbourne|
|Round 2: Malaysia - Kuala Lumpur|
|Round 3: China - Shanghai|
|Round 4: Bahrain - Sakhir|
|Round 5: Spain - Catalunya|
|Round 6: Monaco - Monte Carlo|
Round 1: Australia - Melbourne
It's a 58 lap race and the race start is 0500 local time, Nico Rosberg in his Mercedes was last years winner beating Kevin Magnussen in his McLaren. Pirelli brought the Medium (Prime) and the Soft (Option) tyres to this race.
Here we are for the first qualifying session of the year in Australia. Judging by the pre-season tests, Mercedes look very impressive with Williams, Ferrari and Red Bull behind. In Q1, Nasr set the pace with a 1:32.540. Räikkönen however, on the soft-tyre knocked over two seconds off that time with a 1:30.188. Vettel, now at Ferrari went P1 with a time of 1:29.307. Next was Rosberg, on the medium tyre, he went four tenths quicker than Vettel with a time of 1:28.906. His team-mate Hamilton then crossed the line with a 1:28.586, three tenths quicker than Rosberg. Max Verstappen, the 17-year-old rookie put in an impressive 1:29.307 which put him up to third. It was a bad day for McLaren though as Button and Magnussen (who was standing in for Alonso) couldn't make it through into Q2, they were both out. Also out of Q1 was Ericsson.
Out of Q2 were: Nasr, Verstappen, Kvyat, Hülkenberg and Perez.
In the final part of qualifying, Hamilton was the first to lay down a marker, a 1:26.419. Vettel went second with a time of 1:27.757 followed by Massa, Räikkönen, Maldonado, Ricciardo, Grosjean and Sainz. On Rosberg's flying lap, he was already around six tenths down from Hamilton on the first sector alone, the lap time was a 1:26.921 which put him second on the grid. It was Hamilton however who secured pole position here in Australia with his team-mate behind him, Massa in third, Vettel in fourth and Räikkönen in sixth.
Lights out in Australia! Both of the Mercedes drivers got good starts and held their positions into the first corner. It all got tight into the first corner and Maldonado was involved, but for once, wasn't the culprit. He got tapped and as a result, headed off into the wall. The first Safety Car of 2015 was called out. On lap four when the Safety Car went back into the pits, Hamilton caught Rosberg by surprise and got a great restart. Behind Rosberg was Massa, Vettel, Nasr and then Ricciardo. On lap five, Hamilton clocked the fastest lap of the race, a 1:32.765, he led Rosberg by 2.4 seconds. An update on Verstappen, the youngest ever Formula 1 driver at aged 17. He was in ninth place followed by the other rookie, Sainz.
Further down the field, Button and Perez were having a little battle. Perez was in 13th place, six tenths off Button. On lap 14, they made contact down into Turn 3. Perez span but was able to recover. On lap 17, Räikkönen pitted for another set of the soft tyres. Meanwhile, out in front, the gap between Hamilton and Rosberg was 2.5 seconds. Hamilton again posted the fastest lap of the race on lap 21, a 1:31.940. Ricciardo pitted on lap 24 for the medium tyres and the leader Hamilton pitted on lap 26. Due to Räikkönen's new soft tyres he was putting in fast laps and was on his way back up the field. Fastest lap times were constantly changing between the two Mercedes drivers.
Räikkönen pitted yet again but this time for the soft tyres but a few corners later we saw him pull aside from the track, Räikkönen was out of the Grand Prix. Vettel was in third at this point with Massa 2.5 seconds adrift. However, at the front, it was Lewis Hamilton who took the chequered flag here in Australia. What a fantastic start to the season for Hamilton and Mercedes as Rosberg took second place with Vettel in the revitalised Ferrari third on the podium. Massa finished in fourth, Nasr in fifth (a great debut in the Sauber) and Ricciardo in sixth. The next race takes places in Malaysia, Sepang on the 29th of March.
View pictures from the Australian Grand Prix in the 2015 F1 Gallery.
Round 2: Malaysia - Kuala Lumpur
It's a 56 lap race and the race start is 0800 local time, Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes was last years winner beating his team-mate, Nico Rosberg. Pirelli brought the Hard (Prime) and the Medium (Option) tyres to this race.
Here we are in Malaysia where the weather can be so unpredictable, the sun can be shining one minute, and the next, it can be raining. In Q1, it was Verstappen the first out of the pits followed by Rosberg and then Button. Eight minutes into the session, Hamilton was on top, he had put in a lap time of 1:39.269, a shade quicker than his team-mate Rosberg. Vettel's first lap was a 1:39.814 which put him third fastest while his team-mate, Räikkönen was fifth fastest. The weather started to change as thunderstorms loomed around the track. Kvyat in his Toro Rosso managed a time of 1:40.546 which put him up to eighth. Hamilton finished Q1 the fastest but both of McLaren's, yet again, failed to make it into the next session.
Out of Q2 were: Räikkönen, Maldonado, Hülkenberg, Perez and Sainz.
At 1015 GMT Q3 started after a pause due to heavy rain. Some drivers were on the intermediate tyres while some were on the full-wets. Hamilton, on the intermediate tyres, set a lap time of 1:49.834. Vettel was in second while the rookie, Verstappen put in a great lap and was up in third position. Rosberg nudged Vettel down a place with his lap time of 1:51.066. Ricciardo was in sixth, ahead of Kvyat and Ericsson. Grosjean, Bottas and Massa had yet to set a time. Hamilton was behind Rosberg gearing up for another lap but Rosberg delayed him a little by not moving off the racing line. However, that didn't matter as Hamilton's first flying lap was enough to secure pole position for the Malaysia Grand Prix. Vettel split the Mercedes with Rosberg behind him. Ricciardo was in fourth, Kvyat in fifth, Verstappen in sixth and Massa in seventh.
Lights out in Malaysia! Hamilton got a great start and held his lead down into the first corner. Vettel didn't get away well but held his position against Rosberg. After the first lap, Hamilton had a 0.7 second lead over Vettel. On lap two, Räikkönen got a puncture and had to crawl his way back to the pits, he had only just started the lap too. On lap four the Safety Car got called out as Ericsson had span down into the first corner and was beached. Hamilton and Rosberg pitted and went on to the hard tyre, Vettel meanwhile, stayed out. On lap six, the race resumed. Rosberg was now in ninth place and had Massa ahead of him. By lap eight, Vettel had increased the gap from Hülkenberg (who had yet to pit) to 6.8 seconds. On laps nine and ten, Hamilton overtook Sainz and Grosjean respectively and was back up to second place. By lap 13, the gap from Vettel to second-placed Hamilton was 9.4 seconds.
On lap 18, Vettel pitted for the first time and put on another set of medium tyres. It was a 2.4 second pit-stop from Ferrari and he was back out in third. Hamilton, by lap 19 had a 7.3 second lead over Rosberg. Due to Rosberg's tyres, Vettel overtook him with ease, Vettel was now up to second place. Another disappointing day for McLaren as Alonso, in his first race of the season, had to retire the car on lap 22. By lap 24, Vettel was right on Hamilton and just when he was about to make the overtake, Hamilton pitted. Are Mercedes stumped by the pace of the Ferrari here? Hamilton returned to the track on another set of the medium tyres and was back out in third.
Verstappen was having a great race as he was up to sixth by lap 33. On lap 37, Vettel made his second pit-stop and returned on-track just ahead of Rosberg. On lap 39, Hamilton pitted but this time was put on to the hard tyre, was that the correct decision? The gap between Vettel and Hamilton was around 11 seconds by lap 45. Rosberg was on fresher tyres than Hamilton and was closing the gap lap-by-lap. However, it was Ferrari's day as Vettel took the chequered flag here in Malaysia. What a race by Vettel and Ferrari. They have stunned the Mercedes today and beat them by outright pace. Hamilton did manage to stay ahead of Rosberg. Räikkönen finished fourth, Bottas sixth and Massa seventh. The next race takes places in China, Shanghai on the 12th of April.
View pictures from the Malaysian Grand Prix in the 2015 F1 Gallery.
Round 3: China - Shanghai
It's a 56 lap race and the race start is 0600 local time, Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes was last years winner beating his team-mate, Nico Rosberg. Pirelli brought the Medium (Prime) and the Soft (Option) tyres to this race.
Alonso was the first out of the pitlane and posted a time of 1:40.327 on the soft tyre. Hülkenberg managed to set a time of 1:39.324 on his first attempt. Both of the Williams' drivers went straight on to the soft tyres, Bottas and Massa were second and fourth respectively. Hamilton and Rosberg set their times and the medium tyres while the Ferrari had to settle for the soft tyres. Out of Q1 were: Hülkenberg, Button, Alonso, Stevens and Merhi.
Out of Q2 were: Maldonado, Kvyat, Verstappen, Sainz and Perez.
Hamilton's first flying lap was a 1:35.782, a brilliant lap. Rosberg was next and he was three tenths slower than Hamilton. The Ferrari's were staying put for the moment. A couple of minutes later, both Ferrari's came out of the pits. Bottas meanwhile set a time of 1:37.9. Massa went third but was 1.5 seconds off Hamilton. Vettel's time was a 1:37.776 which put him in fourth. Räikkönen's first lap was scrappy so he would need to do another lap. His team-mate Vettel managed third on the grid but Räikkönen could only manage sixth. It was Hamilton though who took pole position here in China ahead of Rosberg and Vettel.
Lights out in China! Hamilton got a great start and held his position into the first corner. Räikkönen got a brilliant start as he made up two places and passed both of the Williams. He was already up to fourth. After the first lap Hamilton had a 1.1 second lead over Rosberg. Sainz had a moment at the start of lap two as he span his car. By lap eight, Hamilton still led with Rosberg, Vettel and Räikkönen behind. On lap ten we had our first retirement, it was Hülkenberg, he had a gearbox issue and was out of the race. Vettel was the first to pit from the front-runners, his pit stop was 2.3 seconds and was put on to another set of the soft tyres. The race leader, Hamilton pitted on lap 14 and came out well in front of Vettel. Rosberg now led the race from Räikkönen.
Kvyat was our next retirement of the race as smoke poured out from the back of his car on lap 17. It was another engine problem for Red Bull. By lap 23, the gap from first to fourth was only 3.8 seconds. For a minute it looked like Sainz was out of the race as he was going very slowly on the back straight, it was a gearbox issue but the team managed a reset and he was back to racing at full speed. Ricciardo wasn't having a great race, after several laps he eventually passed Ericsson for 11th place. At the end of lap 30, Vettel made his second pit-stop for a set of the medium tyres. This time Rosberg was called in before Hamilton as he was losing time with Vettel so close behind. Hamilton then put in back-to-back fastest laps to increase the gap, he then pitted and came out six second ahead of Rosberg.
Räikkönen pitted and became the last of the top four to make his stop. That cleared thing up a little. Hamilton led Rosberg by 5.4 seconds with Vettel 5.6 seconds behind Rosberg. Räikkönen was 3.0 seconds behind Vettel. Verstappen was having a great race as he made a dive down into turn six to overtake Perez in the Force India. Verstappen was now in eighth place. Verstappen's race then came to an abrupt halt. On the start/finish straight he had pulled to the side of the track, it was yet another engine problem. As a result the Safety Car was called out but came back into the pits on the final lap. It was Hamilton who took the chequered flag here in China with Rosberg in second, Vettel in third and Räikkönen in fourth. The next race takes places in Bahrain, Sakhir on the 19th of April.
View pictures from the Chinese Grand Prix in the 2015 F1 Gallery.
Round 4: Bahrain - Sakhir
It's a 57 lap race and the race start is 1600 local time, Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes was last years winner beating his team-mate, Nico Rosberg. Pirelli brought the Medium (Prime) and the Soft (Option) tyres to this race.
Here we are in the desert for round four. In Q3, it was Räikkönen who was first out of the pits. Rosberg's first lap was a 1:35.657, three tenths faster than his team-mate, Hamilton. Meanwhile towards the back, Button had stopped on track, he was out of qualifying, what a tough time McLaren are having at the moment. His team-mate Alonso was in ninth place but won't stay there as other cars were still out and going faster. It was good stuff from Williams as Bottas was only two tenths off Hamilton while Massa was in fourth. Can you believe it? Alonso made it through! He was in Q2.
Out of Q2 were: Maldonado, Kvyat, Stevens, Merhi and Button.
Ricciardo was the first man out of the pits. It was Vettel who set the early benchmark though and set a time of 1:34.522. His team-mate went a fraction slower. Ricciardo went on provisional pole with a 1:33.850 but then Hamilton crossed the line and set a time of 1:33.522. Towards the end, all drivers were in the pits and getting ready for their final runs. Vettel's last lap was a 1:32.982. Rosberg couldn't beat Vettel and was in second place. Hamilton then crossed the line and went first, Hamilton is on pole for the Bahrain Grand Prix with Vettel splitting the Mercedes. Rosberg in 3rd with Räikkönen in 4th.
On the formation lap, Massa didn't get away from the line and had to start from pit-lane. It's lights out in Bahrain!! Hamilton got a great start and held his position into the first corner. Rosberg however lost a position to Räikkönen. On lap four, Hamilton ran wide a little allowing Vettel to close in a little but Hamilton stayed out in front. Down into the first corner, Rosberg launched an attack on Räikkönen and overtook the Finn. By lap 10, Hamilton had a lead of 5.3 seconds from Rosberg. Vettel was the first of the front-runners to make his first pit-stop. On the next lap, to cover Vettel, Mercedes pitted Rosberg but he came out behind Vettel. The undercut worked for Ferrari there. The race leader Hamilton then pitted, it wasn't a great stop, 3.7 seconds but he came out of the pits still in the lead but Rosberg and Vettel were much closer.
Räikkönen pitted on was put on the medium tyres. Somehow, he was finding time and was even closing the gap on the top three who were all on the soft tyre. Meanwhile, down the grid Massa was having issues. He had been hit by Maldonado and had floor damage. Sainz was out of the Grand Prix, it looked like a problem with a wheel. Vettel made his second stop and was put on the medium tyre with 24 laps remaining. Hamilton then pitted and was also put on to the medium tyre. Rosberg led the race from Räikkönen, both who had yet to make their second stop. Rosberg did pit and Vettel managed to undercut him yet again! However Vettel ran wide on the last turn and it was an easy overtake for Rosberg.
Vettel pitted yet again, it seemed he had received front wing damage. It was another torrid race for Toro Rosso, their other driver Verstappen pulled into the garage. Both Toro Rosso's out of the race. Towards the end of the race, Hamilton overtook Räikkönen on the main straight, Räikkönen's car was in need for new tyres. Räikkönen pitted and came out ahead of Vettel but behind Rosberg. On lap 42, Hamilton led by 4.5 seconds over Rosberg. Räikkönen on his new tyres was putting in brilliant lap times and was closing the gap to Rosberg each lap. Down into the first corner, Rosberg ran wide and Räikkönen overtook him for second place. On team-radio Hamilton reported a brake issue and was going at a reduced speed and was also weaving on the track, however, it was on the last lap and it was Hamilton who took the chequered flag here in Bahrain!! Räikkönen finished in second with Rosberg in third, Bottas in fourth and Vettel in fifth. The next race takes place in Spain on the 10th of May.
View pictures from the Bahrain Grand Prix in the 2015 F1 Gallery.
Round 5: Spain - Catalunya
It's a 66 lap race and the race start is 1300 local time, Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes was last years winner beating his team-mate, Nico Rosberg. Pirelli brought the Hard (Prime) and the Medium (Option) tyres to this race.
Merhi was first out on-track in Q1, he was on the medium tyre. He kicked things off with a 1:32.038. Hülkenberg then crossed the line with a 1:28.677. Both of the Mercedes drivers headed out on the hard tyre. Hamilton warmed up with a lap time of 1:35.685 while his team-mate Rosberg put in a time of 1:27.677. Both of the McLaren drivers Alonso and Button, with their new livery headed out on the medium tyres and managed fifth and sixth respectively on the leaderboard. Räikkönen, on the medium tyre, managed a 1:26.490. Hamilton then crossed the line, on the slower tyre and set a time of 1:26.382. For the first time this season, both of the McLaren drivers made it through to Q2. Out of Q1 were: Ericsson, Hülkenberg, Perez, Stevens and Merhi.
Out of Q2 were: Grosjean, Maldonado, Alonso, Button and Nasr.
Bottas was the first out on-track with Hamilton and Räikkönen out shorty after. Hamilton's first lap was a 1:24.948 but his team-mate Rosberg first flying lap was a 1:24.681. Vettel was six tenths off the Mercedes drivers. It looks like it'll be between Hamilton and Rosberg for pole here in Spain. Vettel's next lap was 0.777 seconds slower than Rosberg. Räikkönen was way off the pace as he set a time of 1:27.172. Hamilton's last flying lap wasn't good enough to take pole position. It was Rosberg, he will start the race on pole position. Vettel was in third, Bottas in fourth and a brilliant performance from Sainz who will start in fifth in his Toro Rosso.
Lights out in Spain! Rosberg got a great start and held his position down into the first corner. Hamilton didn't get the greatest of starts and fell behind Vettel and almost fell behind Bottas. Hamilton fell into fourth for a brief moment but regained third. By lap five, Rosberg had a five second lead over Vettel. By lap 11, the lead from Rosberg to Vettel had grew to seven seconds. Hamilton was inching closer to Vettel and was only 0.7 seconds behind, he was now in DRS. Hülkenberg was the first to make a pit-stop. Kvyat and Button also pitted suggesting that they were doing a three-stop race. Hamilton made his pit-stop but it wasn't quick by any means, the left-rear took an age to be bolted on and as a result he returned to the track behind Maldonado. Ferrari reacted and pitted Vettel, it was a brilliant stop from Ferrari and as he made up three seconds in the pits alone, the undercut was made easy for Vettel.
After Vettel's stop, the race leader Rosberg pitted, it was a 2.5 second stop from Mercedes. Räikkönen now led the race but he then pitted and was put on to the hard tyre. McLaren were having a good race as Alonso was running in seventh. Hamilton was yet again trying to overtake Vettel. He was in the DRS zones but couldn't capitalise. Alonso was called into the pits but missed the pit box by a mile! Luckily, no-one was hurt but they had to retire the car, it was a brake issue. Rosberg was enjoying this race, he was all out in front by himself. Hamilton pitted on to the hard tyre and came out behind Räikkönen. On the next couple of laps Hamilton put in some blistering lap times and this time it looked like Hamilton would make the undercut on Vettel. Ferrari didn't react straight away and Vettel was kept out for a few laps longer but thanks to the lap times Hamilton put in, Vettel came out behind him after his pit-stop.
Räikkönen pitted on to another set of the medium tyres and at this point, we had 23 laps remaining. Race leader Rosberg came into the pits and was put on to the hard tyres. He came out just behind Hamilton but was told on team-radio that Hamilton would have to stop again. Hamilton made his final stop and came out comfortably in front of Vettel. Hamilton kept putting in great laps time but it wasn't enough. Rosberg won the Spanish Grand Prix by 16 seconds. Hamilton was second with Vettel in third. Next up is Monaco!
View pictures from the Spanish Grand Prix in the 2015 F1 Gallery.
Round 6: Monaco - Monte Carlo
It's a 78 lap race and the race start is 1300 local time. Nico Rosberg in his Mercedes was last years winner beating his team-mate, Lewis Hamilton. Pirelli brought the Soft (Prime) and the Super Soft (Option) tyres to this race.
In Q1, Verstappen and Sainz, both of the Toro Rosso's were first out on-track. Ricciardo, Stevens and the two Mercedes' drivers also headed out. Verstappen was the first to set a time, a 1:19.803. It didn't take long for the Mercedes' to jump straight to the top of the leaderboard. Hamilton set a 1:16.884 with Rosberg one tenth of a second off. Rosberg then clocked another lap, a 1:16.528, fractions faster than Hamilton. Towards the end of the session, Sainz went in fourth but could be in a bit of trouble for apparently failing to stop at the FIA weighbridge. Out of Q1 were: Nasr, Bottas, Ericsson and both of the Marussia drivers.
Out of Q2 were: Grosjean, Button, Hülkenberg, Massa and Alonso.
Q3 starts with both of the Mercedes' drivers heading straight out. Hamilton is off the mark but it wasn't a quick lap, he set a time of 1:20.611. Perez shortly crossed the line with a time of 1:17.912. Hamilton's second lap was much faster, a 1:15.304 put him top. Rosberg couldn't beat that as he went 0.136 seconds slower. This was it. All drivers were on their final flying laps. Hamilton's first sector wasn't great, nor was Rosberg's or Vettel's. On team-radio Mercedes told Rosberg to box as he wasn't going to beat Hamilton's time. Hamilton is on pole position for the Grand Prix! Rosberg was in second with Vettel in third and Ricciardo in fourth.
Lights out in Monaco! Hamilton held his position into the first corner from Rosberg. Vettel tried to sneak past Rosberg but couldn't manage the pass. It wasn't a great start for Hülkenberg as he went into the barrier at Mirabeau, he needed a new front wing. It was Alonso who collided with Hülkenberg and as a result he got a five-second stop and go penalty. On lap 10, Hamilton led the race by three seconds. It looks like McLaren are finally getting their engine running well, both were in the top 10. On lap 24 Hamilton put in a sub 1:20 and was 4.6 seconds ahead of his team-mate. Rosberg was only 1.5 seconds ahead of Vettel. On lap 40, Hamilton pitted, it was a clean stop and he came back out 11.5 seconds ahead of Rosberg.
Räikkönen was in fifth but locked up which allowed Ricciardo to pass him. Alonso locked up at Ste Devote and came to a stop on the escape road. He was out of the Grand Prix. On team-radio, they said it was a gearbox issue. By lap 45, Hamilton was 10 seconds in front of Rosberg. Verstappen went into the wall at turn one at high speed, he was okay but the Virtual Safety Car was deployed followed by the Safety Car. This would reduce the gap Hamilton had over Rosberg.
On 67, Hamilton pitted but came out behind Rosberg and Vettel! Can you believe it? What looked like a certainty for Hamilton to win in Monaco turned on its head in just a few seconds. Rosberg was the new race leader! With 10 laps to go the Safety Car was still out as the lapped cars had to un-lap themselves, what a stupid rule that is by the way. At the end of lap 70 the Safety Car went back into the pits and the race resumed. Hamilton had much better tyres on than anyone else out there but could you use them to his advantage? While he was trying to pass Vettel, Rosberg kept extending his lead. On team-radio Hamilton was heard saying "Impossible to pass". With two laps to go it was Ricciardo in fourth who was inching closer to Hamilton. However, it was Rosberg who took the chequered flag here in Monaco with Vettel in second and Hamilton in third. Mercedes' have a lot of making up to do with Hamilton. After the race, Hamilton dealt with the situation and said he'll come back and win the next race. It's Canada in two weeks' time.
View pictures from the Monaco Grand Prix in the 2015 F1 Gallery.