Lewis Hamilton described the gap to Scuderia Ferrari as “surprising” after he secured pole position in the season opening Australian Grand Prix.
The defending champion pipped his Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team-mate Valtteri Bottas on his final flying run in the last part of qualifying to snatch pole position from the Finn.
Hamilton had been fastest in all three practice sessions and said the team did not think they would have as big a gap this weekend to the rest of the field.
“I feel so fortunate to be in the position I’m in today.
“We had no idea that we’d have this gap to the others – we thought we were behind, we thought it was going to be a push, so we gave it absolutely everything and more to arrive here with the best possible package and delivery.”
Mercedes came into this weekend saying they felt Ferrari had the fastest car but was seven tenths clear of Sebastian Vettel and he feels the team are in a great position to start the season with a strong result in the race.
“Valtteri and I have been pushing the car to its absolute limits.
“We haven’t massively changed the car; it’s almost the same set-up we had in Barcelona, so this gap was really surprising to see.
“This is the first time we’ve unleashed the full potential of the car and I’m so happy to have a car that I can fight with.
“This is a really great start to the new season and it puts us in a good position for the fight tomorrow.”