Australian GP: Hamilton breaks records to take Melbourne pole
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton produced a stunning late lap in qualifying on Saturday to clinch pole at the Australian Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton claimed an unprecedented seventh pole at the Australian Grand Prix after setting a lap record in Melbourne on Saturday.
Lap record sees Hamilton beat off Ferrari duo for pole
The Mercedes driver appeared set for a battle to claim pole at Albert Park, but produced an incredible lap late in Q3.
Hamilton's time of one minute, 21.164 seconds left his rivals behind, with Ferrari duo Kimi Raikkonen (+0.664s) and Sebastian Vettel (+0.674s) second and third respectively.
The British world champion now has seven poles in Australia, holding the record outright ahead of Ayrton Senna (six), and five straight.
Qualifying proved to be dry after it rained for most of the first half of the day in Victoria.
It looked like Ferrari and Red Bull could challenge Hamilton, but the 33-year-old delivered a stunning lap, smashing the record mark of 1:22.188 that he established last year.
Spain's Fernando Alonso qualifies in 11th
Max Verstappen qualified fourth fastest, ahead of Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, who will start eighth due to his three-place grid penalty for speeding under the red flag during second practice.
Kevin Magnussen (Haas), Romain Grosjean (Haas), Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) and Carlos Sainz Jr. (Renault) made up the top nine, while Valtteri Bottas will start 10th after crashing in Q3.
Bottas crashed at turn two early in Q3, bringing out the red flag and ending his session early.
McLaren duo Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne both missed Q3, qualifying 11th and 12th fastest respectively.
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:21.164
2. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +0.664s
3. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +0.674s
4. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +0.715s
5. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +0.988s
6. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) +2.023s
7. Romain Grosjean (Haas) +2.175s
8. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) +2.368s
9. Carlos Sainz (Renault) +2.413s
10. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
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