Hamilton on pole after setting new track record

  • Sat,16 Mar 2019 08:43:07 AM

Lewis Hamilton set a new track record – and then beat it again – as he took pole position for the Australian Grand Prix.

The reigning world champion clocked a one minute 21.014-second lap in Q2 and went more than half a second faster to claim his 84th career pole and sixth consecutive at Albert Park.

He will start alongside team-mate Valtteri Bottas who went faster than Hamilton with his first flying lap in Q3 but was pipped by 0.112 seconds to complete a Mercedes lockout of the front row.

Hamilton had been top of every practice session going into Saturday’s qualification under blue skies in Melbourne and set a new track record with a tidy lap in the second qualifying session, surpassing it in the top 10 shootout.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel qualified third, 0.704 seconds behind the five-time world champion, and will be joined on the second row by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who was 0.130 seconds further behind.

Vettel’s team-mate Charles Leclerc starts fifth ahead of Haas drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, while British rookie Lando Norris clocked a lap of one minute 22.304 seconds and will start eighth.

There was to be no home luck for Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo who failed to make it out of Q2 by 0.038 seconds, while Verstappen’s team-mate Pierre Gasly was a shock exit in the first qualifying session and will start Sunday’s race in 18th, ahead of the Williams duo of George Russell and Robert Kubica.

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