F1 2019: Hamilton snatches Pole as Mercedes streak clear in Australia

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton snatches Pole Position ahead of tomorrow’s Australian GP from team-mate Valterri Bottas with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in 3rd but 7 tenths behind as Lando Norris stars in his debut in F1 for McLaren.

16/03/19

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton will be on Pole Position ahead of the Australian GP having snatched 1st place from team-mate Valterri Bottas. Both Mercedes were in a league of their own with closest rival, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, a full 7 tenths, behind in 3rd.

Having behind his Finnish team-mate after the first runs in the final part of Qualifying, Hamilton clawed back time to set a new lap record of Albert Park, a 1:20:486, to beat Bottas by just over a tenth. It’s Hamilton’s 6th consecutive pole position in Melbourne but the Brit has failed to win round this circuit since 2015.

7 tenths. That’s was the margin from Hamilton, on Pole, to Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in 3rd. The German and 4 Time World Champion said “The car feels all right. There is not anything wrong. There is some homework we need to do to understand. I still think we have a great car.” Red Bull’s Max Verstappen boosted his team’s spirits by splitting the Ferrari’s in 5th ahead of Charles Leclerc in 6th. It was a mixed day for Red Bull as the team lost Pierre Gasly in Q1 in which the Frenchman blamed “unexpected track evolution” for his early exit.

Romain Grosjean was a strong 6th with Haas team-mate Kevin Magnussen in 7th confirming that the American team are pretty much where they left last year off. McLaren’s Lando Norris excelled in his first F1 qualifying by reaching Q3 and placing his MCL34 in 8th place ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen in 9th and Racing Point’s Sergio Perez in 10th. Norris saying that McLaren “definitely weren’t expecting to reach Q3”.

It was a shock exit for the Renault team with Nico Hulkenberg and home-favourite Daniel Ricciardo who will line-up in 11th and 12th. However, Ricciardo predicts that “Renault will sneak into the points” come the race tomorrow.

F1’s second rookie, Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon, will start the race in 13th ahead of the second Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi in 14th and the returning Daniil Kvyat in 15th.

Racing Point’s Lance Stroll was 16th but lost time in the second sector of his lap after being hampered by the Haas of Grosjean. The major shock of Q1 was Red Bull’s Gasly and the second McLaren of Carlos Sainz Jr. Sainz, who’d had been looking good all weekend, was interrupted on his final lap in Q1 after Williams Robert Kubica sustained a puncture which meant that the Spaniard had to back off.

F1’s third rookie, Williams George Russell, will line-up in 19th place just one place of Robert Kubica. The Brit saying “I think I can be pretty proud of myself. we all know where the car is and my only comparison is Robert. I was pretty pleased with myself when the car crossed the line and I can leave today with my head held high.”

Kubica had struggled with grip all weekend but says that on his final lap in Q1, he finally found the grip he had been looking for but over-cooked it at turn 10 suffering a puncture. The Polish driver, who competed in his first qualifying since 2010, was 1.7 seconds behind Russell.

Australian Qualifying Result

1.Hamilton  2.Bottas  3.Vettel  4.Verstappen  5.Leclerc  6.Grosjean  7.Magnussen  8.Norris  9.Raikkonen  10.Perez  11.Hulkenberg  12.Ricciardo  13.Albon  14.Giovinazzi  15.Kvyat  16.Stroll  17.Gasly  18.Sainz Jr  19.Russell  20.Kubica

Qualifying Stats

  • Lewis Hamilton’s pole position is his 58th for Mercedes, equalling Michael Schumacher’s record.
  • It’s the third year in a row that Romain Grosjean starts in 6th place.
  • Lance Stroll has been eliminated in the last 5 qualifying (dating back from 2018) and it’s the longest streak of any driver on the grid.
  • Lando Norris’s 8th place is the highest McLaren have started since 2014.
  • It’s the first time that both Williams cars have been knocked out in Q1.

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