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Australian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton claims first pole of new F1 qualifying

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Australian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton claims first pole of new F1 qualifying
Mar 19, 2016, 8:13 AM

Lewis Hamilton claimed the first pole position of Formula 1’s new elimination-style qualifying and will start ahead of his Mercedes teammate Nico...

Lewis Hamilton claimed the first pole position of Formula 1’s new elimination-style qualifying and will start ahead of his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg for the opening race of the 2016 season.

Hamilton seized the 50th pole of his F1 career and the world champion was quickest on both of his flying laps in the final part of the session at the Australian Grand Prix.

The British driver’s best effort of 1m23.837s was 0.360s quicker than Rosberg, who could not claim a seventh pole in a row and the German driver made a number of errors throughout qualifying.

Lewis Hamilton

The new qualifying system did not build to a crescendo, as Mercedes was the only team to complete two runs in Q3 and Hamilton’s pole was confirmed four minutes before the final chequered flag came out.

Speaking after the session, Hamilton said: “First I really have to take my hat off to this team [for] what they’ve done to raise the bar once more in our third year to be fighting [above] the rest. It truly inspires me, it motivates me and I enjoyed driving the car in qualifying [and] we got the set-up just right.

“They were some sexy laps. It felt so good – just flowing and no real mistakes. That’s really all you can hope for as a driver [to] always improve and that’s what we did today. [I’m] really happy.”

Nico Rosberg

Rosberg said: “The last lap in Q3 was good, Lewis just did a better job, that’s it. It’s impressive to see how the team [for] the third year running, although it is very early days so lets be careful here this weekend, we seem to be the quickest out there by a good margin.

“It’s amazing to see that because the risk when you’re dominating is always that you start to become complacent and that’s always a big risk. Everybody has experienced that and it seems that we’re able to push through and that’s really awesome.

“Of course [I’m] not happy with second place [but there’s] still a lot of opportunities tomorrow starting from second.”

 Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel finished third for Ferrari, just ahead of his teammate Kimi Raikkonen. The Scuderia’s drivers had split the Mercedes pair after the first run in Q3 but they did not return to the circuit and were both pushed down one spot when Rosberg improved his time.

Max Verstappen finished fifth for Toro Rosso after his solitary flying lap in Q3, which will be his best ever F1 starting position, with Felipe Massa sixth for Williams, just ahead of Carlos Sainz.

Daniel Ricciardo was the first driver to lose out in Q3 and the home favourite will start eighth for tomorrow’s race.

Daniel Ricciardo

Sergio Perez finished ninth and was the last driver to be knocked out of Q2, just after his Force India teammate Nico Hulkenberg.

Neither Force India driver attempted to improve their times and the second part of qualifying ended without a car on the track.

Before that, Valtteri Bottas was eliminated in 11th as he could not improve his time and ran wide at the final corner, the very spot where the Williams driver sustained the injury to his back that forced him to miss the 2015 race in Australian.

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso ended up 12th as the double world champion was out of his car when Sainz improved during the fourth elimination of Q2 and knocked the McLaren driver out of qualifying.

Jenson Button will start 13th in the second McLaren as the British driver did not return to the track to improve his time and became the third driver to be knocked out in Q2. The 2009 world champion later stated he did not have enough tyres left to go quicker.

Jolyon Palmer ended up 14th on his F1 qualifying debut; one place in front of his Renault teammate Kevin Magnussen, who will start in 15th place after the Danish driver was the first casualty of the second segment of the session.

Jolyon Palmer

Marcus Ericsson finished 16th and was the last driver to be knocked out in Q1 after Palmer improved on the final lap in the opening part of qualifying.

Felipe Nasr will start 17th in the second Sauber. The Brazilian driver was sent out within the 90-second elimination bracket but would not have had enough time to put a better lap in and so he returned to the pits.

Daniil Kvyat was the most high-profile driver to lose out in Q1 as the Russian driver was not sent out in time by Red Bull and he was in the pits when the fifth elimination of that segment occurred.

Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean, who had earlier refused to let Hamilton through on the first out lap of Q1, will start 19th for Haas F1 and his teammate Esteban Gutierrez ended up 20th on his return to F1 with the American squad.

Pascal Wehrlein will start last after the German became the first driver eliminated in Q1, one spot behind his Manor teammate Rio Haryanto. The team did not send its drivers back out to defend their positions, and they were both in the pits when the first two eliminations took place.

 Pascal Wehrlein

Qualifying results:

Pos

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m23.837s

2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m24.197s (Q3 gap) +0.360s

3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m24.675s (Q3 gap) +0.838s

4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m25.033s (Q3 gap) +1.196s

5 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1m25.434s (Q3 gap) +1.597s

6 Felipe Massa Williams 1m25.458s (Q3 gap) +1.621s

7 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1m25.582s (Q3 gap) +1.745s

8 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1m25.589s (Q3 gap) +1.752s

9 Sergio Perez Force India 1m25.753s

10 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m25.865s

11 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m25.961s

12 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1m26.125s

13 Jenson Button McLaren 1m26.304s

14 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m27.601s

15 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1m27.742s

16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1m27.435s

17 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1m27.958s

18 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1m28.006s

19 Romain Grosjean Haas 1m28.322s

20 Esteban Gutierrez Haas 1m29.606s

21 Rio Haryanto Manor 1m29.627s

22 Pascal Wehrlein Manor 1m29.642s

What did you make of the new qualifying system? What do you think of Hamilton's performance? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.
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