Formula 1

Hamilton secures 50th career pole in Mercedes 1-2

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Lewis Hamilton took his fiftieth Formula 1 pole position and broke the Albert Park lap record during the new-look qualifying session on Saturday.

But the biggest talking point was how much of an anti-climax the new elimination rules regarding qualifying were, with drivers sitting in the pits while being eliminated.

Many drivers took to the track early during each session, which left the slowest runners not enough time to be able to return to the track for a second attempt at a qualifying lap.

This was most widely seen during Q3, with Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo being eliminated on his way back to the pits after his first flying lap, with only the two Mercedes drivers returning to the track for a second attempt.

The new rules were introduced with the hope of mixing up the grid, but Mercedes AMG PETRONAS locked out the front row as expected, with Hamilton’s 1m23.837s beating team-mate Nico Rosberg by 0.360s, ending the German’s six-race pole position streak in the process.

Sebastian Vettel will lead an all-Scuderia Ferrari second row ahead of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, with the duo 0.838s and 1.196s back on Hamilton respectively.

Max Verstappen will start an excellent fifth for Scuderia Toro Rosso, beating Williams Martini Racing’s Felipe Massa, the second Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz Jr and Ricciardo’s Red Bull in Q3.

Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg will form an all-Sahara Force India row five, with both drivers falling in Q2 along with the second Williams of Valtteri Bottas, the two McLaren-Honda’s of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, and the two Renault’s of Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen.

Marcus Ericsson out-qualified Sauber F1 Team team-mate Felipe Nasr but both were eliminated in Q1, while Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat was perhaps the only driver to be truly out of position after being unable to get enough heat into his tyres during his runs.

Romain Grosjean secured nineteenth for the Haas F1 Team ahead of team-mate Esteban Gutierrez, while Manor Racing duo Rio Haryanto and Pascal Wehrlein were the first two drivers eliminated in Q1, with both sat in the pit lane while the clock ticked down to zero.

Australian Grand Prix Qualifying Result

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