Lewis Hamilton set  the fastest time in qualifying for the Australian GP taking his seventh pole position in Melbourne after driving a record-breaking lap in the second Q3 attempt and leaving Ferrari drivers over six tenths of a second while his teammate Valtteri Bottas crashed in Q3.

In the first Q3 attempts, Hamilton was only three hundreds of a second faster than Vettel, but in the second he  improved his time for more than eight tenths and secured his seventh pole position in Australia and fifth consecutive.

Valtteri Bottas crashed in the first minutes Q3 in the first chicane and seriously damaged his Mercedes W09, which means he could start the last, causing a red flag and a 10 minute break.

Hamilton’s pace was omnoius for his and Mercedes’ competitors as he set 1:21.164, which is the new record for Albert Park, 1.124 seconds faster than the previous record, last year’s Hamilton pole position.

Raikkonen was faster than Vettel in second place with exactly one hundredth faster time, but with a huge gap to Hamilton of 0.664 seconds.

Two Red Bull drivers Verstappen and Ricciardo took fourth and fifth place while Verstappen had 0.273 seconds advantage. Verstappen and Ricciardo used supersoft tyres in Q2, as opposed to others who have used the softest ultrasoft, which means they will start tomorrow race on that tyres if the start is in dry conditions.

Ricciardo will receive a three place grid penalty for speeding under the red flag on free practice and will start eighth, between two Renault drivers Hulkenberg and Sainz.

Haas has justified the status of fourth fastest team in Melbourne at sixth and seventh place, and Magnussen turned the situation during the weekend and defeated Grosjean for 0.152 seconds. Thanks to Ricciardo’s penalty and Bottas’s collision, the American team will sensationally take the third starting row.

Renault took eighth and ninth place and defeated McLaren in Q2 final moments, and Bottas was classified as 10th although he is likely to start the last because of major damage which could force Mercedes to break the parc ferme rules.

Alonso did not meet his own expectations that he would be in Q3 for every race as he qualified in the 11th place, the best place with freedom to pick the tyre compound for the race and Vandoorne was 0.161 seconds slower in 12th.

Stroll managed to qualify in Q2, unlike his teammate Sirotkin in second Williams, two Toro Rosso Honda drivers and two Alfa Romeo Sauber drivers. Canadian separated the two Force Force India drivers Perez (13th) and Ocon (15th).

Hartley was the fastest driver in Q1, ahead of Ericsson and Leclerc, Sirotkin and Gasly.

Rosberg praises Hamilton

Nico Rosberg, who works for Sky Sports F1 this season, praised his former teammate Lewis Hamilton and says that when in this form others have no chance.

“This was the Lewis Hamilton lap,” said Rosberg.

“When he’s in such a form, others can pack things and go  because they have no chance beating him.”

“It looked very special.”

2018 Australian GP qualifying results

1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:21.164
2 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:21.828 0.664
3 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:21.838 0.674
4 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull/TAG Heuer 1:21.879 0.715
5 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/TAG Heuer 1:22.152 0.988
6 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1:23.187 2.023
7 8 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1:23.339 2.175
8 27 Nico Hülkenberg Renault 1:23.532 2.368
9 55 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:23.577 2.413
10 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes
11 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 1:23.692 1.748
12 2 S.Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 1:23.853 1.909
13 11 Sergio Pérez Force India/Mercedes 1:24.005 2.061
14 18 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1:24.230 2.286
15 31 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1:24.786 2.842
16 28 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1:24.532 1.708
17 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1:24.556 1.732
18 16 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 1:24.636 1.812
19 35 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 1:24.922 2.098
20 10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1:25.295 2.471

2018 Australian GP starting grid

1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:21.164
2 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:21.828 0.664
3 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:21.838 0.674
4 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull/TAG Heuer 1:21.879 0.715
5 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1:23.187 2.023
6 8 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1:23.339 2.175
7 27 Nico Hülkenberg Renault 1:23.532 2.368
8 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/TAG Heuer 1:22.152 0.988
9 55 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:23.577 2.413
10 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 2.528
11 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 1:23.692 2.689
12 2 S.Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 1:23.853 2.841
13 11 Sergio Pérez Force India/Mercedes 1:24.005 3.066
14 18 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1:24.230 3.622
15 31 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1:24.786 3.368
16 28 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1:24.532 3.392
17 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1:24.556 3.472
18 16 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 1:24.636 3.758
19 35 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 1:24.922 4.131
20 10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1:25.295

#3 Daniel Ricciardo – 3 place grid penalty for driving too fast during red flag period in free practice

#77 Valtteri Bottas – crashed out in qualifying, still waiting for possible penalty due to new parts

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