Australian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton take 62nd career pole
By: S.Harding, Xiro Xone News March 25, 2017 Updated: 7:55 PM
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton begins what could be a highly successful year for the Jedi knight of F1. Hamilton took his 62nd career pole finishing 0.268s ahead of Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel and new teammate Valtteri Bottas.
"I’ve been feeling great all week and today felt like a bit of an off-day but as it got to qualifying I felt a lot better. Generally, it went very well and, of course, we can always try to improve. The laps are never perfect, there are little bits of time here and there – but very, very happy with how it’s gone and it puts us in a great state for tomorrow. So, now it’s really about focussing and making sure we do our homework tonight and making sure we’ve got an answer for these guys," said Hamilton.
Vettel’s Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen finished fourth followed by Red Bull's Max Verstappen in fifth. Haas' Romain Grosjean was on fire as he secured sixth a dramatic leap on the teams last year result. The Toro Rossos of Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat in eighth and ninth.
"In the end I was not entirely happy with my lap. I was pretty happy with the end, maybe not the opening of the lap, where we lost a bit too much, but I think Lewis did a very good lap so... I would have loved to but I don’t think pole was out for grasp. But tomorrow I think we can do something in the race, as I said, the car feels good, we’ve improved it, so the pace should be much better than it was yesterday when we had some practice," said Vettel.
Hometown hero Daniel Ricciardo, who had an unfortunate meeting with the wall lost the back end of his RB13 at turn 14, causing the final triggering a red-flag leaving him to start from 10th.
Force India, had a frustrating start to their 2017 campaign, with Sergio Pérez 11th and Renault’s Nico Hülkenberg who ended the day 12th.
McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso finished 13th which is still a long way from where the team hoped they would be this season. Problems with their Honda power unit have left them struggling to find answers to their performance issues.
Esteban Ocon continued Force India's frustrations ending the day 14th with the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson 15th.
Ferrari reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi makes his F1 debut this weekend, after replacing Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein in qualifying. Wehrlein felt that his fitness level was not up to the standard required to finish the race and made the brave decision wait this race out until China. Giovinazzi finished 16th.
Kevin Magnussen who starts his first season with the Haas F1 team qualified 17th, ahead of McLaren-Honda's Stoffel Vandoorne in 18th, F1 rookie Lance Stroll who qualified 19th but will start from the back of the grid after receiving a five-place grid penalty changing his gearbox after losing his car on the exit of turn 10 that put his car in the wall in FP3. Renault's Jolyon Palmer ended his day in 20th.