It’s a front-row lockout for Mercedes in the first race of the 2019 F1 season as Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas start at 1-2 in the Australian Grand Prix with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel starting third.
Hamilton claimed the first pole of the 2019 Australian Grand Prix, beating teammate Bottas
Mercedes-AMG Petronas driver Lewis Hamilton claimed the first pole of the 2019 Australian Grand Prix, beating teammate Valtteri Bottas. It’s a front-row lockout for Mercedes, while Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel will start in third place in the first race of the 2019 Formula 1 season. Hamilton posted a time of 1m20.486s as he went on to secure pole, 0.112s ahead of Bottas. He has also become the first driver to secure most poles (eight) at a single race track, matching the scores of Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna. The latter was leading qualifying at the start with an advantage of 0.457s but the world champion managed to post a better time with the second set of softs in Q3.
For Ferrari, Vettel finished 0.704s behind the pole-sitter and did not have the pace through qualifying to challenge the Mercedes W10. This, despite putting up a strong show during pre-testing earlier this year. However, the German could save the best for race day tomorrow, making for a duel right from the start.
Coming in fourth was Red Bull driver Max Verstappen who was a tenth slower than Vettel, 0.834s off the leader. Verstappen’s feat does seem impressive in the new Red Bull car powered by the Honda engine and hopefully a sign of good things to come from the team. The Red Bull driver also split the two Ferraris with Scuderia newbie Charles Leclerc starting fifth with a time of 1m21.442s, about a second off Hamilton.
Haas turned out to be strongest of the B-teams with driver Romain Grosjean qualifying sixth ahead of teammate Kevin Magnussen, while Lando Norris put up an impressive pace in both Q2 and Q3 to qualify P8, ahead of the Alfa Romeo (formerly Sauber) recruit Kimi Raikkonen who finished 0.010s behind the McLaren driver. Sergio Perez of Racing Point (formerly Force India) took the tenth spot, 2.295s off the pole-man.
Nico Hulkenberg of Renault was eliminated in Q2 and will start 11th tomorrow with teammate Daniel Riccardo starting in 12th place, who was 0.008s slower. Rookie Alex Albon for Torro Rosso will start in 13th place and was the fastest driver for the team, 0.138s faster than teammate Daniil Kvyat. The latter finished in 15th place, behind Alfa Romeo’s new driver Antonio Giovinazzi.
Lance Stroll in the second Racing Point car was the fastest of those eliminated in Q1 and will start 16th, ahead of Pierre Gasly making his Red Bull debut. Carlos Sainz also had a disappointing start with the McLaren, just half a second behind Gasly and starts 18th. Both Williams drivers will start in the last row with George Russell being the faster than teammate Robert Kubica, who is in his first F1 qualifying session since the 2010 Abu Dhabi GP.