Lewis Hamilton Stuns Ferrari to Win Fifth Pole in Australia

Mar 25, 2018, 01:36
Lewis Hamilton Stuns Ferrari to Win Fifth Pole in Australia

March 24 (ANI): Four-time world champion Lewis Hamilton reeled off a stunning lap during qualification to clinch pole position for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on Saturday.

In qualifying fastest for the seventh time in this race, the Mercedes driver surpassed the previous record held by the legendary Ayrton Senna. It's the 73rd pole of Hamilton's career. The vehicle itself has been behaving so strongly and yeah I'm happy with that.

Hamilton delivered a special flying lap to put a stunning 0.664 second gap on Raikkonen and clinch the pole for Sunday's race.

Vettel: I know but... Red Bull's Max Verstappen will join the latter in the second row after finishing fourth while his teammate Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth Saturday. He said. "I used the same mode in Q2 and Q3". "That was a little bit of a punch in the stomach to everyone. A penalty sure, there are reprimands, fines, other things but to shoot me in the ankle before the season has started - I thought they could have done better", Ricciardo said. "But everyone else is hating it".

Both Hamilton and Vettel took the first two sessions, but just before both could take to the circuit for the third session, Valtteri Bottas crashed his Mercedes into the barriers at turn two with 9:47 left, sending debris everywhere and bringing out a red flag.

Bottas will not start from any closer than 15th on the grid after needing a gearbox change and it will be a long night in the garage for the team's mechanics.

The Finn, who had complained of balance problems during Q1, spun out at turn two and smashed hard into a barrier, leaving his wrecked vehicle and debris scattered all over the track. Bottas walked away without any injuries. But the crash was a blow for the Finnish driver, who had finished last season strongly and was looking to push Hamilton at the start of this year.

"We were lucky because it was a big shunt", Wolff said. "And this in Race 1 is not good for the psychology of the driver, so we're trying to give him all the support we can".

Sebastian Vettel was third fastest for Ferrari but Hamilton was in a class of his own and the Silver Arrows appear as dominant as ever as they bid to sweep the driver and constructors' titles for a fifth year running.

"What was surprising was to see how quick the Ferraris were".

Raikkonen, who will also start off the front row in Sunday's race, conceded that the gap with Hamilton was significant. He's free to have a party tonight and then hopefully Kimi and myself will have a party tomorrow.

Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean of Haas took sixth and seventh places, respectively, followed by Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz of Renault in eighth and ninth.

Ricciardo believes Mercedes is still beatable, despite the speed Hamilton displayed in qualifying.

Like the pole lap, the quip proved too fast for German Vettel, who was only made aware of it when asked how he would respond on Sunday.

"I'm always striving for perfection and that was as close as I could get". "Within tenths (of a second) on some of the laps".

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