News, Culture & Society

Hamilton takes record 7th pole at Australian Grand Prix

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton set a blistering time to take pole position at the Australian Grand Prix on Saturday for a record seventh time, outpacing his nearest rival by 0.664 seconds.

The defending Formula One champion set a time of 1 minute, 21.164 seconds in qualifying at Albert Park circuit, breaking a tie with Ayrton Senna for most poles at the Australian GP. It’s the 73rd pole of Hamilton’s career.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen finished second with a lap of 1:21.828, with teammate Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo rounding out the top five.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain sits on the ground after qualifying at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. Hamilton has poll ahead of Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

The four drivers behind Hamilton were separated by just over 0.3 second, setting up the promise of an extremely competitive race on Sunday between Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

It wasn’t all good news for Mercedes, however, as Hamilton’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas, crashed at the start of the final qualifying session and will start in 10th place.

Bottas briefly veered off the track going into Turn 2 and then lost his traction, sliding into a wall at high speed. The crash did serious damage to the right side of the car, tearing off both tires and scattering the track with debris. The Finn, however, walked away without any injuries.

The crash is a blow for Bottas, who had finished last season in third place in the driver’s standings and was looking to challenge Hamilton from the start this year.

Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean of Haas took sixth and seventh places, respectively, followed by Niko Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz of Renault in eighth and ninth.

Ricciardo will start in eighth position on the grid, however, after being assessed a three-place grid penalty for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session. That will move Magnussen, Grosjean and Hulkenberg up one space on the grid.

Both McLaren drivers, Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne, failed to qualify for the final qualifying session and will start in 11th and 12th positions, respectively.

It’s not the best start for McLaren’s new partnership with Renault after ditching the Honda-made engines the team had been using for the past three years.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain sits in his car during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain sits in his car during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Haas driver Romain Grosjean of France uses an umbrella as rain falls as he arrives at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Haas driver Romain Grosjean of France uses an umbrella as rain falls as he arrives at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly, right, of France is kept dry with an umbrella as he arrives at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly, right, of France is kept dry with an umbrella as he arrives at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Sauber driver Charles Leclerc, right, of Monaco is kept dry with an umbrella as he arrives at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Sauber driver Charles Leclerc, right, of Monaco is kept dry with an umbrella as he arrives at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia has sparks fly from the back of his car during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia has sparks fly from the back of his car during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia has sparks fly from the back of his car during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia has sparks fly from the back of his car during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne of Belgium has sparks fly from the back of his car during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne of Belgium has sparks fly from the back of his car during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland turns a corner during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland turns a corner during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Sauber driver Charles Leclerc of Monaco turns in a corner during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Sauber driver Charles Leclerc of Monaco turns in a corner during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands turns in a corner during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands turns in a corner during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg of Germany races to a corner during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg of Germany races to a corner during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

McLaren driver Fernando Alonso of Spain turns a corner during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

McLaren driver Fernando Alonso of Spain turns a corner during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Force India driver Esteban Ocon of France turns into a corner during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Force India driver Esteban Ocon of France turns into a corner during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland leaves his garage during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland leaves his garage during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Sauber pit crew user blowers to dry the pit lane during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Sauber pit crew user blowers to dry the pit lane during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, bottom, of Germany sits in his car as he prepares to go on the track during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, bottom, of Germany sits in his car as he prepares to go on the track during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg of Germany wrinkles his nose before heading onto the track during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg of Germany wrinkles his nose before heading onto the track during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley of New Zealand prepares to go onto the track during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley of New Zealand prepares to go onto the track during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands checks telemetry screens during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands checks telemetry screens during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland turns a corner during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland turns a corner during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany drives out of turn 2 during the second practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Friday, March 23, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany drives out of turn 2 during the second practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Friday, March 23, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Sauber driver Charles Leclerc, right, of Monaco is kept dry with an umbrella as he arrives at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Sauber driver Charles Leclerc, right, of Monaco is kept dry with an umbrella as he arrives at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia has sparks fly from the back of his car during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia has sparks fly from the back of his car during the practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Saturday, March 24, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Sorry we are not currently accepting comments on this article.



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk