IN PICS: Hamilton secures Aus GP pole

Sport360 staff 11:51 25/03/2017

Triple world champion Lewis Hamilton will start off the pole in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix after winning qualifying on Saturday.

Hamilton in a Mercedes clocked a record lap of one minute 22.188 seconds to take his 62nd career pole and sixth in Australia into Sunday’s race in Melbourne.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was second with Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas third.

Hamilton has been on pole in Melbourne in each of the last four seasons, and in five out the last six Australian GPs.

“It’s been a fantastic weekend so far. I’m incredibly proud of my team,” Hamilton said.

“Valtteri did a great job and it’s great for us as Mercedes. It’s going to be a tight race.

“Tomorrow is about putting all the work together and making sure I come back stronger than ever.”

He was pushed in the final Q3 stage first by Bottas and then by Vettel before clinching the fastest lap.

“I lost a bit in turn one and in turn nine I tried a bit too much, but I don’t think it would have been enough,” said Vettel, who claimed Ferrari’s first front row since 2015 in knocking Bottas out of second place.

Hamilton’s pole time was 1.7 seconds quicker than his qualifying time last year.

“Third position is not ideal,” Bottas said.

“In general I’m not happy for the result. But I’m proud of what the team has done.

“I only saw a very small part of the preparation and it’s nice to see the work has pulled off and we’re fighting at the front.”

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