Lewis Hamilton beat home hero Daniel Ricciardo in the dying moments of qualifying session to take pole position for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.
With the rain arriving in qualifying, it was always going to be tough for drivers, especially after they had done so little running in pre-season tests.
Daniel Ricciardo earlier took provisional pole , having already topped the first two leg of qualifying to the delight of the home crowd. However, a late 1:44.231 lap by Hamilton was enough to dispose off Ricciardo’s benchmark as the Brit took his first pole position since 2013 Belgian Grand Prix.
Nico Rosberg, who topped the final practice session earlier this morning finished third fastest. However, there is no doubt that the German could have qualified a lot higher had he been able to manage an extra lap in his W05.
Kevin Magnussen showed strong form in first ever qualifying session, putting his McLaren in fourth place Fernando Alonso was fifth fastest, after posting a lap time that was a tenth off a second slower than the Dane.
Both the Toro Rossos made it into Q3 despite having their fair share of problems in pre-season testing. In the end, rain specialist Jean Eric Vergne lined his car in seventh place while 19 year old Daniil Kvyat ended up ninth fastest.
Nico Hulkenberg was sandwiched between the two Toro Rossos as Force India’s sole entrant in Q3. The German deserves credit for putting a storming 1:46.030 to make into the final part of qualifying.
Meanwhile, Williams pair of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas completed the top 10 after failing to display the same pace they had earlier showed in dry conditions.
Earlier in Q2, Kimi Raikkonen crashed in the final minute of the session, bringing out the yellow flags. The yellow flags interrupted running of multiple drivers, including Sebastian Vettel, who subsequently made a mistake on track that prevented him from making the cut into Q3. He starts the race from 13th place, behind Raikkonen himself and McLaren’s Jenson Button.
Max Chilton was the first driver to be eliminated in Q1 after lapping the Albert Park Circuit in 1:34.293. His teammate Jules Bianchi was eighteenth fastest, surprisingly half a second slower than the Brit.
Esteban Gutierrez qualified in19th place in his Sauber but will incur a five place grid penalty after Sauber changed the gearbox on his car earlier in the day. Marcus Ericsson was 20th fastest in his first qualifying session while Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado finished at the bottom of the table, indicating Lotus haven’t got over their pre-season troubles. Maldonado went off track multiple times on a slippery track and he would only be allowed to race at the discretion of Stewards after failing to complete a timed lap.