Stunning Lewis Hamilton lap beats Ferrari drivers to pole
Australian Grand Prix - Qualifying

Stunning Lewis Hamilton lap beats Ferrari drivers to pole

Lewis Hamilton turned in a thrilling late lap to take the pole position at the Australian Grand Prix by 0.66s from the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.

The defending champion was fastest throughout the lap but hammered home his advantage in sectors one and three, where he held margins over Raikkonen of 0.3s and 0.2s, respectively. The lap time was a full second faster than the previous track record he set during qualifying at last year's Australian Grand Prix and underlined the step in performance his Mercedes team has made over the winter.

Prior to Hamilton's hot lap, the top three had been split by 0.1s, making the speed he found on his final effort all the more impressive. Ferrari is expecting to be closer to Mercedes on race pace, however, and Red Bull also will hope to close the gap during Sunday's race.

Raikkonen finished the session 0.010s faster than teammate Vettel, who hasn't been completely at home in his Ferrari all weekend. Nevertheless, Vettel's time was still enough to keep Max Verstappen in the Red Bull at bay by 0.041s. Home hero Daniel Ricciardo was fifth fastest in qualifying but will start eighth once his grid penalty for speeding under red flags in Friday practice is factored in.

Both Red Bulls rolled the strategic dice in Q2 by setting their fastest times on the super-soft tyres, meaning they will start the race on the more durable red-striped rubber while the rest of the top 10 will start on the ultra-softs. It should allow Verstappen and Ricciardo to run longer into Sunday's race before making a pit stop, and it opens up the potential to move forward from their qualifying position via pit strategy.

The second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas was missing from the top six after he suffered a big accident at Turn 2, slamming his Mercedes against the wall. The Finn went deep in Turn 1, touched the grass with his tyres and spun out of control in the second corner. It means he will start the race 10th, but he could drop a further five places if a gearbox change is required.

Haas delivered on its preseason promise with the sixth and seventh fastest times, beating the two Renaults of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz by roughly 0.3s. Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean and Hulkenberg will move up one place ahead of Ricciardo, while Sainz will remain ninth on the grid.

McLaren failed to make the top-10 shootout after Fernando Alonso ended up 0.148s shy of Hulkenberg's time at the end of Q2. Teammate Stoffel Vandoorne finished a further 0.161s off the pace, and he will start 12th, as the MCL33 failed to match the pace of the Renaults and Haases ahead. It will be a disappointing result for the team, which is hoping join the battle at the front this year, after switching from Honda engines to Renault over the winter.

Sergio Perez qualified 13th for Force India, admitting over team radio at the end of Q2 that there is still "a lot of work to do" on the new VJM11 car. He was 0.781s faster than teammate Esteban Ocon, who found himself in 15th and behind the highest-placed Williams of Lance Stroll.

Brendon Hartley missed out on a place in Q2 by 0.029s, after admitting to a mistake on his final flying lap. The two Saubers of Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc finished 17th and 18th, after they both appeared to benefit from Ferrari's fastest engine mode and closed the gap that had existed to the midfield during Friday practice. Sergey Sirotkin had to settle for 19th on his debut and was nearly half a second off Williams teammate Stroll. Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly will start last after running wide at Turn 4 and into the gravel on his hot lap.

Related news

Sebastian Vettel fastest in Abu Dhabi test as Kimi Raikkonen returns to Sauber

Sebastian Vettel fastest in Abu Dhabi test as Kimi Raikkonen returns to Sauber

Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time on the first day of Abu Dhabi's post-season test, as his former Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen completed his first day back at Sauber.

Hamilton caps off 2018 with easy win in Abu Dhabi

Hamilton caps off 2018 with easy win in Abu Dhabi

Lewis Hamilton won the final race of the Formula One season in Abu Dhabi, crowning his championship-winning 2018 campaign with an 11th victory from 21 races.

Lewis Hamilton beats Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel to pole for Abu Dhabi finale

Lewis Hamilton beats Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel to pole for Abu Dhabi finale

Lewis Hamilton will start from pole position at the final race of the 2018 season after securing the fastest qualifying time by 0.162s in Abu Dhabi.

Lewis Hamilton leads Kimi Raikkonen in final practice for Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton leads Kimi Raikkonen in final practice for Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton finished the final practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the top of the timesheets as Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen emerged as his closest competitor.

Valtteri Bottas pips Max Verstappen by 0.044s to top second practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas pips Max Verstappen by 0.044s to top second practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas topped the second practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as Mercedes and Red Bull battled each other for the fastest time under Yas Marina's floodlights.

Max Verstappen leads comfortable Red Bull one-two in first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice

Max Verstappen leads comfortable Red Bull one-two in first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice

Max Verstappen was comfortably quickest after the first practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, finishing the session 0.454s quicker than teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

Dovizioso triumphs in wild rain-hit finale

Dovizioso triumphs in wild rain-hit finale

Ducati MotoGP rider Andrea Dovizioso emerged victorious in a stop-start, attrition-heavy 2018 MotoGP season finale at a wet Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia.

Latvala wins in Australia, WRC title for Ogier

Latvala wins in Australia, WRC title for Ogier

Toyota driver Jari-Matti Latvala won Rally Australia, while crashes for Thierry Neuville and Ott Tanak helped seal a sixth World Rally Championship title for M-Sport Ford's Sebastien Ogier.

Neuville retires, Ogier or Tanak for WRC title

Neuville retires, Ogier or Tanak for WRC title

Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville is officially out of the running for the World Rally Championship drivers' title, after crashing out of the first stage of the final loop.

RELATED NEWS

Sebastian Vettel fastest in Abu Dhabi test as Kimi Raikkonen returns to Sauber
Abu Dhabi test

Sebastian Vettel fastest in Abu Dhabi test as Kimi Raikkonen returns to Sauber

Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time on the first day of Abu Dhabi's post-season test, as his former Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen completed his first day back at Sauber.

Hamilton caps off 2018 with easy win in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Hamilton caps off 2018 with easy win in Abu Dhabi

Lewis Hamilton won the final race of the Formula One season in Abu Dhabi, crowning his championship-winning 2018 campaign with an 11th victory from 21 races.

Lewis Hamilton beats Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel to pole for Abu Dhabi finale
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Qualifying

Lewis Hamilton beats Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel to pole for Abu Dhabi finale

Lewis Hamilton will start from pole position at the final race of the 2018 season after securing the fastest qualifying time by 0.162s in Abu Dhabi.

Lewis Hamilton leads Kimi Raikkonen in final practice for Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - FP3

Lewis Hamilton leads Kimi Raikkonen in final practice for Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton finished the final practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the top of the timesheets as Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen emerged as his closest competitor.

Valtteri Bottas pips Max Verstappen by 0.044s to top second practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - FP2

Valtteri Bottas pips Max Verstappen by 0.044s to top second practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas topped the second practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as Mercedes and Red Bull battled each other for the fastest time under Yas Marina's floodlights.

Max Verstappen leads comfortable Red Bull one-two in first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - FP1

Max Verstappen leads comfortable Red Bull one-two in first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice

Max Verstappen was comfortably quickest after the first practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, finishing the session 0.454s quicker than teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

Dovizioso triumphs in wild rain-hit finale
Valencia Grand Prix

Dovizioso triumphs in wild rain-hit finale

Ducati MotoGP rider Andrea Dovizioso emerged victorious in a stop-start, attrition-heavy 2018 MotoGP season finale at a wet Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia.

Latvala wins in Australia, WRC title for Ogier
Rally Australia

Latvala wins in Australia, WRC title for Ogier

Toyota driver Jari-Matti Latvala won Rally Australia, while crashes for Thierry Neuville and Ott Tanak helped seal a sixth World Rally Championship title for M-Sport Ford's Sebastien Ogier.

Neuville retires, Ogier or Tanak for WRC title
Rally Australia

Neuville retires, Ogier or Tanak for WRC title

Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville is officially out of the running for the World Rally Championship drivers' title, after crashing out of the first stage of the final loop.

11/12/2018
18:55 | Galatasaray - Porto
18:55 | Schalke 04 - Lokomotiv Moskva
21:00 | Club Brugge - Atletico Madrid
21:00 | Monaco - Borussia Dortmund
21:00 | Barcelona - Tottenham Hotspur
21:00 | Inter Milan - PSV
21:00 | Liverpool - Napoli
21:00 | Crvena Zvezda - PSG
12/12/2018
02:05 | Portland Trail Blazers vs Houston Rockets
02:35 | Phoenix Suns vs San Antonio Spurs
04:35 | Toronto Raptors vs LA Clippers
18:55 | Real Madrid - CSKA Moskva
18:55 | Viktoria Plzen - Roma
21:00 | Ajax - Bayern Munchen
21:00 | Benfica - AEK Athens
21:00 | Shakhtar Donetsk - Olympique Lyon
21:00 | Manchester City - Hoffenheim
21:00 | Young Boys - Juventus
21:00 | Valencia - Manchester United
13/12/2018
01:05 | Detroit Pistons vs Charlotte Hornets
01:05 | New York Knicks vs Cleveland Cavaliers
01:05 | Milwaukee Bucks vs Indiana Pacers
01:05 | Brooklyn Nets vs Philadelphia 76ers
01:05 | Boston Celtics vs Washington Wizards
02:05 | Portland Trail Blazers vs Memphis Grizzlies
02:05 | Oklahoma City Thunder vs New Orleans Pelicans
02:35 | Atlanta Hawks vs Dallas Mavericks
03:05 | Miami Heat vs Utah Jazz
04:05 | Minnesota Timberwolves vs Sacramento Kings
04:35 | Toronto Raptors vs Golden State Warriors
18:55 | Villarreal - Spartak Moskva
18:55 | Sevilla - Krasnodar
18:55 | Olympique Marseille - Apollon
18:55 | Lazio - Eintracht Frankfurt
18:55 | Vidi - Chelsea
21:00 | AEK Larnaca - Bayer Leverkusen
21:00 | Celtic - Salzburg
21:00 | Arsenal - Qarabag
21:00 | Olympiakos Piraeus - Milan
14/12/2018
02:05 | Los Angeles Lakers vs Houston Rockets
02:35 | LA Clippers vs San Antonio Spurs
03:35 | Chicago Bulls vs Orlando Magic
04:35 | Dallas Mavericks vs Phoenix Suns
DERBY OF THE WEEK
-
Derby of the week
20:45
31/12/2018
Derby of the week
W -    
   W -
The odds are correct at the time of publishing
- and are subject to change
Football Live Scores
Tennis Live Scores