Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were surprised with Mercedes advantage over their competition in the first qualifying session of the new 2019 F1 season in Australia and believe that it’s a consequence of a better understanding of the car and its settings since the pre-season testing in Barcelona.

Ferrari was marked as the favorite after the pre-season tests, but Hamilton and Mercedes secured the pole position for the sixth consecutive season in Australia while Bottas confirmed the Mercedes dominance in the second place.

The third-placed Vettel had huge seven-tenths of a second gap to Hamilton, similar to last year, while Bottas and Hamilton said they did not expect to have such a big advantage.

“I’m somewhat blown away by today’s performance,” said Bottas, who held the provisional pole position after the first Q3 attempts.

“We looked good yesterday, but this was just a practice session, this is the first qualifying session of the season and I do not think anyone in the team could imagine that we would be in this position after the testing we had.”

“But everyone’s been working so hard. that made this possible. But it’s only one session, tomorrow is the main day.”

Hamilton didn’t expect such a difference

Lewis Hamilton won a record eighth pole position at Australian GP and sixth for Mercedes, but he did not expect Mercedes to have an advantage like it had today.

“I really did not expect to see such a difference in performance that we have here, it was so close between us all weekend,” said Hamilton, who was the fastest in all three free practice sessions.

“My second lap was definitely a lot better than the first one, which is not always the case.”

“It’s always hard to find so much time in the second lap.”

“But in the first lap I made a mistake [in the first corner] which is unusual for me. But it was OK and I just brushed it off and kept moving.”

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