Hamilton claims 2018 Australian Grand Prix pole


Record-breaking Hamilton takes clear opening pole of 2018

Lewis Hamilton secured pole position for the 2018 Australian Grand Prix with a stunning fastest lap in qualifying, his fifth pole in a row at Albert Park and record-breaking seventh.

He beat Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel by more than six-tenths of a second, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen four-hundredths further back. Following the first runs in Q3 Hamilton, Vettel and Verstappen were covered by just 0.06sec until Hamilton’s untouchable final run.

The Briton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas crashed heavily early in Q3 at the exit of the first corner, Jones, comprehensively damaging his Mercedes W09 and took no further part of the session.

Daniel Ricciardo, who set the fifth-fastest time, will serve a three-place grid penalty following a red flag infringement in FP2, when he was found to have not stayed above the mandatory minimum time.

Kevin Magnussen outqualified his Haas team-mate Romain Grosjean to claim sixth, fifth on the grid following Ricciardo’s penalty. Nico Hülkenberg secured eighth, 0.03sec ahead of Renault team-mate Carlos Sainz.

Neither McLaren made Q3, with Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne in 11th and 12th, 0.15sec apart. The all-new Force Indias were also eliminated in Q2, as Sergio Pérez could manage just 13th and Esteban Ocon 15th, split by the Williams of Lance Stroll.

Brendon Hartley missed out on Q2 by 0.03sec in 16th, ahead of the Saubers Marcus Ericsson and debutant Charles Leclerc. Sergey Sirotkin’s first qualifying sees him line up on the back row, three-tenths back from the Saubers and five-tenths slower than his team-mate in the session.

Pierre Gasly completes the grid following a lock-up on his final Q1 lap that took him through the gravel.

Australian Grand Prix qualifying result

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:21.164
2 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:21.828
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:21.838
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:21.879
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:22.152
6 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:23.187
7 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:23.339
8 Nico Hülkenberg Renault 1:23.532
9 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:25.577
10 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes No time set
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:23.692
12 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:23.853
13 Sergio Pérez Force India 1:24.005
14 Lance Stroll Williams 1:24.230
15 Esteban Ocon Force India 1:24.005
16 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 1:24.532
17 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:24.556
18 Charles Leclerc Sauber 1:24.636
19 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 1:24.922
20 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1:25.295

Free practice 3 result

1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:26.067  
2 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:28.499 +2.432sec
3 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:28.890 +2.823sec
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:31.680 +5.613sec
5 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:33.172 +7.105sec
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:34.043 +7.976sec
7 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:34.174 +8.107sec
8 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:34.225 +8.158sec
9 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:34.233 +8.166sec
10 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:34.298 +8.231sec
11 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1:34.990 +8.923sec
12 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 1:35.438 +9.371sec
13 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 1:35.589 +9.522sec
14 Lance Stroll Williams 1:35.828 +9.761sec
15 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:36.171 +10.104sec
16 Charles Leclerc Sauber 1:36.448 +10.381sec
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:36.807 +10.740sec
18 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:38.482 +12.415sec
19 Esteban Ocon Force India    
20 Sergio Perez Force India    

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