Qualifying – Hamilton on pole as Ricciardo crashes out

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Lewis Hamilton on Australian Grand Prix pole position

There was huge disappointment for the Melbourne crowd on Saturday afternoon, as local hero Daniel Ricciardo ended his qualifying session for the 2017 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix in the wall. Ahead of him, Mercedes and Ferrari juked it out for pole, with Lewis Hamilton edging Sebastian Vettel by a quarter of a second.

Vettel’s result means the Scuderia will start a race from the front row for the first time since Singapore 2015. On the second row will be the respective Mercedes and Ferrari of Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen.

With rain threatening, Ricciardo lost the rear of his Red Bull at Turn 14, skating across the gravel and planting the back of the car into the tyre barriers. That brought out the red flags with eight minutes of Q3 to go and the Australian ended up 10th on the grid.

Max Verstappen was thus left to uphold Red Bull’s honour, which he duly did in fifth ahead of Romain Grosjean, who was a superb sixth for Haas. Williams’ Felipe Massa took seventh, followed by the Toro Rosso duo of Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat.

Q1 had seen Hamilton fastest on 1m 24.191s from Raikkonen on 1m 24.352s and Verstappen on 1m 24.482s, all three on ultrasoft tyres, ahead of Bottas, Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Force India’s Sergio Perez, with Williams’ Felipe Massa pipping supersoft-shod Vettel for seventh.

Q1 had seen Hamilton fastest on 1m 24.191s from Raikkonen on 1m 24.352s and Verstappen on 1m 24.482s, all three on ultrasoft tyres, ahead of Bottas, Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Force India’s Sergio Perez, with Williams’ Felipe Massa pipping supersoft-shod Vettel for seventh.

Perez was the first to lose out, for Force India, on 1m 25.081s ahead of Renault’s Hulkenberg on 1m 25.091s. Alonso was 13th for McLaren on 1m 25.425s despite loss of power, as Esteban Ocon took his Force India to 14th on 1m 25.568s ahead of Ericsson’s Sauber on 1m 26.465s.

Thus the provisional grid will line up: Hamilton, Vettel; Bottas, Raikkonen; Verstappen, Grosjean; Massa, Sainz; Kvyat, Ricciardo; Perez, Hulkenberg; Alonso, Ocon; Ericsson, Giovinazzi; Magnussen, Vandoorne; Palmer, Stroll.

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