MELBOURNE, Australia - Mercedes 2014 Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the season-opening 2015 Australian GP on Saturday (March 14) ahead of team mate Nico Rosberg as the Silver Arrows continued to underline their dominance.
MERC FRONT-ROW BATTLE: Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton grabbed pole position for the 2015 Australian GP. Image: AP / Andy Brownbill
Hamilton recorded a fastest lap of 1mi26.327, nearly six-tenths quicker than Rosberg, to capture his 39th pole on a cloudy, warm and windy afternoon at Albert Park.
He said afterward: "I feel incredibly blessed to have this car. It's so much fun in qualifying."
DISASTER FOR McLAREN
Williams' driver Felipe Massa qualified third ahead of Sebastian Vettel on his debut for Ferrari.
McLaren's dismal winter testing has followed the team to Melbourne, Drivers Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen will line up at the back of the grid after failing to be in the top 15 cars that advanced to the second qualifying session.
Though the sessions produced no major incidents, team radios blared throughout as drivers reported myriad technical problems and occasionally slid off-track. Daniel Ricciardo complained from the outset that his Red Bull lacked power; he will start seventh behind Ferrari's fifth-placed Kimi Raikkonen and Valterri Bottas in the other Williams.
Ricciardo's team mate Daniil Kvyat was knocked out in the second round of qualifying and will line up 13th.
VAN DER GARDE CASE DROPPED
Their team having fought a legal battle with Giedo van der Garde, Sauber's nominated drivers Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr entered qualifying after he elected not to pursue his racing seat at Albert Park.
Ericsson was among the three eliminated in Q1 and will start 16th in front of the McLarens with his team mate five spots ahead.
Only 18 cars will start Sunday's (March 15) race; Manor Marussia was unable to put Roberto Merhi and Will Stevens on the track for qualifying or any of the three practice sessions.
2015 Australian GP at Albert Park results
1 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1min26.327
2 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min26.921
3 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams 1min27.718
4 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari 1min27.757
5 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 1min27.790
6 Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams 1min28.087
7 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) RedBull 1min28.329
8 Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso 1min28.510
9 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 1min28.560
10 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus 1min29.480
11 Felipe Nasr (Brazil) Sauber - Ferrari 1min28.800
12 Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Toro Rosso 1min28.868
13 Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Red Bull 1min29.070
14 Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India 1min29.208
15 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India 1min29.209
16 Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber 1min31.376
17 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min31.422
18 Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) McLaren 1min32.037
19 Will Stevens (Britain) Marussia N/A
20 Roberto Merhi (Spain) Marussia N/A
1-10 -Tthird and final qualifying
11-15 - Second qualifying
16-20 - First qualifying
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