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You are here: Motorsport Formula 1 Hamilton beats Ferraris to Australian Grand Prix Pole

Hamilton beats Ferraris to Australian Grand Prix Pole

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Lewis Hamilton stormed to the first pole position of the 2018 Formula One season at the Australian Grand Prix. With the fastest lap ever at Albert Park, Lewis claimed what is the 73rd career pole position - his fifth consecutive pole in Australia and seventh in total.

A solid team effort for the first qualifying of the season by Ferrari resulted in Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel taking second and third slots on the grid for tomorrow’s race, just one hundredth of a second apart. The weather stayed dry throughout the three sessions, allowing the two SF71Hs to put the softest Pirelli compounds to good use.

Speaking after his Pole run, Hamilton said, "It's the greatest feeling when you live up to your potential and you pull out a lap like I was able to. I'm not always able to do that but I was really happy with today's performance. Up until this point, I haven't thought at all about the race. So tonight and tomorrow morning I'll start to put my focus onto that. Last season, Ferrari ultimately did a better job on Sunday. But we generally learn from mistakes and scenarios like that, so I'm hoping we're better prepared for tomorrow.

"Ultimately it's also how I'm able to manage the tyres at the start of the race. I remember Sebastian was really at my tail towards the end of my stint which forced me to come into the pits and then he continued on for several laps and I got stuck behind Verstappen. So I'll definitely bear that in mind and try my best to make sure that I'm in a better position tomorrow. I know how hard Valtteri has been working and I know the pain he feels right now, but he will recover. He was very quick through practice and he has been putting a lot of effort into growing as a driver and as a member of the team. I have all the confidence in him to pull through again tomorrow."

“Today” said Kimi “we did not really know what to expect from this first qualifying, it was a bit of an unknown. But then I was pretty happy with the car, the feeling was ok. The gap to our rivals is probably bigger than we wanted, but it was not a very straightforward day either. This is a very special circuit in many ways, if compared to “normal” tracks, and these are the early stages of the season. I think we have to wait for the next few races to have a clear picture and understand where the teams are exactly. For sure there are things to improve to go faster; I know there are areas where I could improve on my lap times. This is what we have got today, a decent result in quite tricky conditions. Tomorrow we’ll put our maximum effort into the race”.

After tackling less than ideal conditions on Friday, Sebastian found a great deal of improvement in the car’s handling during Saturday afternoon: “Yesterday it didn’t feel like everything was perfect, so today I am pretty happy that we could put both cars right at the front, very close to pole. I guess it’s a good shot. The gap to Lewis is significant of course, and we don’t want to be so far behind. But the car today was getting better and better: I could feel it was coming alive during qualifying; on my last run I made a small mistake at Turn 13, but it’s ok as second and third position are good for the race and, as we have seen in all the past years, we tend to be closer on Sunday than we are in qualifying”.

The other Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas crashed on his first run in Q3 and will start tomorrow's Australian Grand Prix from P15 on the grid owing to a gearbox change.

The Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo took fourth and fifth place respective.

Verstappen shared, “Even with a small mistake I really enjoyed Qualifying today. It’s difficult to say what I expected heading into the session but it should have been a little bit better. I made a mistake on my last fast lap and went wide at turn 13 which lost me a few tenths compared to my previous run, we were still very close to Ferrari which is positive but maybe we could have been second. Mercedes were quite far ahead as expected, had I not made my mistake I think I would have only been about half a second off Lewis which is closer than in the past. All things considered and with the right strategy I think we can be competitive during the race tomorrow, with Mercedes I’m not sure but I think we can have a good fight with Ferrari. We are hoping to go a bit longer with our tyre selection so if we stay out of trouble at the start we can settle in and have a strong race. I am happy with the pace and feel for the first race weekend, so I’m hopeful we can improve and move forward from here, not just tomorrow but for the rest of the season.”

Rain is not expected for the race either, although Melbourne is notoriously unpredictable when it comes to weather conditions.