MELBOURNE, Australia - Lewis Hamilton grabbed pole for Mercedes for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in a thrilling finish to a rain-hit qualifying session on Saturday.Hamilton saved the best for last with his final lap after Australian Daniel Ricciardo had topped the time sheets only seconds earlier on his first race weekend for champions Red Bull.The 29-year-old Briton's time of 1min44.231 seconds on a wet Albert Park track was just over three-tenths of a second faster than Ricciardo, who upstaged quadruple World champion team mate Sebastian Vettel to delight the home fans.ROOKIES IMPRESSVettel, winner of the last nine races of 2013, set only the 13th best time.Hamilton said: "Today made it so much harder with the conditions, but I'm really happy with the job the team did. These cars are much harder driving in the wet."Mercedes' Nico Rosberg will start third on the grid alongside McLaren's 21-year-old Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen, who underlined his talent with a poised drive in trying conditions.Ferrari's Fernando Alonso qualified fifth with Jean-Eric Vergne sixth fastest for Toro Rosso.It was the first time Vettel had failed to make the final round of qualifying since he started 11th on the grid in Belgium in 2012, before battling through the field to finish the race second.Vettel will move up to 12th, however, with Williams' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas in 10th taking a five place penalty for a gearbox change.The 26-year-old German was in esteemed company, with two other champions - McLaren's Jenson Button and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen - also failing to get into the final group of 10. Button qualified 11th.Raikkonen, the 2007 World champion, was 12th fastest in his first race since returning to Maranello after crashing into the wall at turn 14.Lotus's horror week continued as both Frenchman Romain Grosjean and Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado were among the six slowest failing to make it through the first round of qualifying.Grosjean locked up and spun off after posting the slowest lap time in the opening session, while Maldonado was unable even to trouble the time sheets.Sauber's Mexican Esteban Gutierrez, who qualified 19th, also collected a five-place grid penalty for the race for having a new gearbox. Qualifying from the Formula One Australian GP at Albert Park 1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1:44.231 2. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) RedBull - Renault 1:44.548 3. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1:44.595 4. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) McLaren 1:45.745 5. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1:45.819 6. Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso - Renault 1:45.864 7. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India - Mercedes 1:46.030 8. Danill Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso - Renault 1:47.368 9. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams-Mercedes 1:48.079 10. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams-Mercedes 1:48.147 11. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1:44.437 12. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 1:44.494 13. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) RedBull - Renault 1:44.668 14. Adrian Sutil (Germany) Sauber - Ferrari 1:45.655 15. Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Caterham - Renault 1:45.867 16. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India - Mercedes 1:47.29317. Max Chilton (Britain) Marussia - Ferrari 1:34.293 18. Jules Bianchi (France) Marussia - Ferrari 1:34.794 19. Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber - Ferrari 1:35.117 20. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Caterham - Renault 1:35.157 21. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus - Renault 1:36.993Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus - Renault No TimeQ31. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes 1:44.2312. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull-Renault 1:44.5483. Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes 1:44.5954. Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren-Mercedes 1:45.7455. Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 1:45.8196. Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Toro Rosso-Renault 1:45.8647. Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India-Mercedes 1:46.0308. Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Toro Rosso-Renault 1:47.3689. Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams-Mercedes 1:48.070 10. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams-Mercedes 1:48.147Q21. Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes 1:42.264 (Q)2. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull-Renault 1:42.295 (Q)3. Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 1:42.805 (Q)4. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes 1:42.890 (Q)5. Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren-Mercedes 1:43.247 (Q)6. Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India-Mercedes 1:43.658 (Q)7. Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Toro Rosso-Renault 1:43.849 (Q)8. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams-Mercedes 1:43.852 (Q)9. Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams-Mercedes 1:44.242 (Q) 10. Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Toro Rosso-Renault 1:44.331 (Q)11. Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren-Mercedes 1:44.43712. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari 1:44.49413. Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull-Renault 1:44.66814. Adrian Sutil (GER) Sauber-Ferrari 1:45.655 15. Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Caterham-Renault 1:45.86716. Sergio Perez (MEX) Force India-Mercedes 1:47.293Q11. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull-Renault 1:30.775 (Q)2. Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren-Mercedes 1:30.949 (Q)3. Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams-Mercedes 1:31.228 (Q)4. Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 1:31.388 (Q)5. Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren-Mercedes 1:31.396 (Q)6. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams-Mercedes 1:31.601 (Q)7. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes 1:31.699 (Q)8. Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull-Renault 1:31.931 (Q)9. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari 1:32.439 (Q)10. Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes 1:32.564 (Q)11. Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Toro Rosso-Renault 1:33.488 (Q)12. Adrian Sutil (GER) Sauber-Ferrari 1:33.673 (Q)13. Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Toro Rosso-Renault 1:33.777 (Q)14. Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India-Mercedes 1:33.893 (Q)15. Sergio Perez (MEX) Force India-Mercedes 1:34.141 (Q)16. Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Caterham-Renault 1:34.274 (Q)17. Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia-Ferrari 1:34.29318. Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia-Ferrari 1:34.79419. Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber-Ferrari 1:35.11720. Marcus Ericsson (SWE) Caterham-Renault 1:35.15721. Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus-Renault 1:36.99322. Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus-RenaultStay with Wheels24 for the first 2014 F1 race in Australia this weekend.