Saturday’s debut of the new Formula 1 qualifying format was intended to spice up the session, get more cars out on track and shake up the grid in a bid to improve the racing come Sunday.
Instead, what unfolded was one of the most disappointing qualifying sessions in the recent history of F1, ending with a massive anti-climax as pole position was settled with four minutes remaining in the day.
After being voted through by the F1 Commission despite being opposed by the drivers, the addition of quickfire eliminations to qualifying came into force on Saturday.
Although it did spice up Q1 and Q2, it also robbed many drivers of the chance to complete a quick lap, leaving fans to watch drivers either crossing the line for nothing or aborting a fast effort.
The biggest blow came in Q3, though, as only Mercedes completed more than one run and Lewis Hamilton was able to take his 50th career pole with four minutes remaining in the session.
The immediate reaction from both in and out of the paddock has been highly negative, with Red Bull team boss Christian Horner suggesting that F1 should scrap it for the second race of the year in Bahrain.
In this video, NBCSN’s Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett share their thoughts on qualifying, and consider just how long it will last.
“For me, it just did not feel like qualifying,” Diffey said.
“We all said at the time, why of all the things in Formula 1 that need changing, why change qualifying that has been an unmitigated success for years,” Hobbs added.
“It didn’t need tinkering with. I think what we saw today was absolutely a disaster.”