Hamilton secures dominant Australian GP pole

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Lewis Hamilton started his title defence in fine form as he claimed a dominant pole position for the 2015 Australian Grand Prix.

The 2014 world champion posted a lap of 1:26.327 to beat his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to pole by over half a second.

Hamilton clocked a 1:26.419 on his initial run in the final part of qualifying as Rosberg was forced to abort his lap after running wide at the penultimate corner.

The Briton improved again on his second run to lower the benchmark, while Rosberg could only record a best lap 0.594s shy of Hamilton on his one and only clean lap.

Felipe Massa was third for Williams, edging out the two Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen by less than a tenth of a second.

Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top six in the second Williams, but the Finn struggled with his brakes in the final part of qualifying, recording two scruffy laps in the FW37.

Home favourite Daniel Ricciardo bounced back from a miserable series of practice sessions to take seventh on the grid for Red Bull, ahead of Formula 1 rookie Carlos Sainz, who was eighth on his qualifying debut for Toro Rosso.

The two Lotus’ of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado rounded out the top 10, at the expense of Sauber’s Felipe Nasr, who missed out on a spot in Q3 on his debut by just a tenth of a second in 11th.

Max Verstappen impressed in the opening part of qualifying, but failed to progress into Q3 after a big moment at Turn 5 on his final flier, leaving him 12th overall.

Daniil Kvyat managed just six laps in a troubled final practice, and will start his Red Bull debut just 13th on the grid, ahead of the two Force Indias of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez.

Marcus Ericsson was eliminated in Q1 in the Sauber, while McLaren-Honda suffered a miserable qualifying session, and Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen will start from the final row of the grid.

The two Manor cars failed to appear on track and will not start Sunday’s race after failing to qualify.

Image courtesy of Mercedes AMG PETRONAS

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