Lewis Hamilton has underlined he is out to get yet another World Championship title as he qualified quickest for tomorrow's Australian Grand Prix. Hamilton drove with seeming ease and without mistakes, while team mate Rosberg made several during the one-hour session.
The Mercedes immediately set the record straight by going out first, even though Hamilton got surprised by Haas' Grosjean who managed to get past before starting the first flying laps. It didn't put the reigning World Champion off however, as he came back and passed Grosjean again on his flyer about halfway through the lap. That immediately settled him properly into Q2 while Rosberg required another run later as he went through the grass on turn 1.
At the back, it was soon obvious that both Manor cars were slowest, albeit just a few tenths behind Gutierrez who got eliminated in 21st position. Next up was Grosjean, even though he proved more than a second quicker than his team mate. As both McLaren's managed to jump to second and 4th on the board, Kvyat was out and will start down in 18th position after failing to get enough temperature into his tyres.
Sauber's Nasr subsequently got eliminated alongside with team mate Ericsson as Q3 came to an end.
While Palmer only just managed to progress into Q2 thanks to a last minute lap, the Renault driver soon found out there wasn't much more into the car. He still managed to qualify ahead of Kevin Magnussen, who proved a bit slower than his Renault team mate.
Ahead of them will start both McLarens. Both drivers were out of their cars after a single flying lap in Q2, with Button later saying "he'd run out of tyres".
Fastest in Q2 were the Force India's, with Sergio Pérez maintaining his unbeaten record in Australian qualifying by going faster than Hulkenberg. Williams' Valtteri Bottas will start behind them in 11th.
Q3 finally unfolded fairly quickly, with the first lap deciding positions 5 to 8. Verstappen quickly settled into 5th, ahead of the Williams of Felipe Massa. Behind them are the second Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo. Sainz notably made a mistake while braking for the penultimate corner, which likely cost him a closer battle with team mate Verstappen.
That left both Mercedes and Ferraris, with Rosberg initially 4th after yet another mistake. Ferrari however opted not to go out a second time, allowing Mercedes to have a battle among their own. Rosberg managed to improve considerably to move up into second, but another improvement by Hamilton sealed their positions, marking Hamilton's 50th career pole.
|1||44||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG||1:23.837||14|
|2||6||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||1:24.197||13|
|5||33||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso||1:25.434||12|
|7||55||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||1:25.582||14|
|8||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing||1:25.589||15|
|9||11||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:25.753||12|
|10||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:25.865||14|
|18||26||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull Racing||1:28.006||5|