MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS claimed a front-row lockout for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton on pole and Nico Rosberg second at Albert Park.
Pole position for Lewis marks the 39th of his career and his 4th at the Australian Grand Prix. The result also marks the 36th Formula One pole position for the Silver Arrows and the 20th front row lockout for Mercedes-Benz. Both drivers completed a single run in Q1 (prime) and Q2 (option) before two runs in Q3 (option). In total, Mercedes-Benz power secured six of the top ten positions in qualifying this afternoon.
Lewis Hamilton: It’s been a great start to the weekend and, honestly, it doesn’t feel like such a long time since the last race! It’s been a huge effort from all the guys and girls at the factories to have this kind of performance from our car and I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to drive it. I’ve worked hard with the engineers yesterday and today to find a good balance. Then, in the session, I just tried to push hard and put the pieces together. It’s so much fun when it works right, because this is the competition that I live for. And I’m immensely grateful to everybody at Mercedes for the hard work that has gone into it so far. But there is still a lot to do tonight to study for the race tomorrow because it will be a huge challenge to try and fight for the win. We will be working as hard as we can to make sure we have a good race.
Nico Rosberg: Lewis did a good job today, he drove like a champ. I also felt that I had the speed in the car but I didn’t get together the perfect lap. In general I’m happy that the team again gave us a great car. It’s fastest out there this year, too, so many thanks to the factories back home. But tomorrow I still can make it happen because it will be a long race. A lot can still happen and I will put on a great show. My long run pace on Friday was better than Lewis but he did quite a few set-up changes on his car, so there may be more to come from him.
Toto Wolff: It was a great day for the team and it’s clear now that we have a very quick car. But you always have to stay careful – there are no points awarded on Saturday so we need to keep our feet on the ground and do our job properly tonight. It was a mega Lewis day out there on track. Both laps in Q3 would have been enough for pole position and he totally deserved it. For Nico, it was a bit messy today in Q3. He lost the car on his first run and had to pit, then decided to do his second run earlier so he could have some safety margin. He had a slow first sector – but the final sector was the quickest of anybody. He just didn’t put the pieces together today but P2 is still a strong result. Looking to tomorrow, we will not be getting carried away. Sebastian looks strong and the Williams are very competitive, on the straights particularly. We have the pace in the car – but any mistakes from our side will cost us dearly. We will keep our heads down, prepare the best we can and see what Sunday brings.
Paddy Lowe: It’s a great result for the team. The two laps from Lewis that were, in all honesty, much quicker than we had expected. And while it was a tricky session for Nico after the problem on his first run, he made a good recovery to lock out the front row. Overall, it hasn’t been an easy day running the cars. P3 proved much hotter than any other session of the weekend, with high track temperatures and the challenge of adapting to them. Then, in qualifying, we saw temperatures falling rapidly and a gusting breeze that was also frequently changing direction. That made it a real challenge for the drivers to put in clean laps, so credit to them both for a superb first qualifying result of the season and credit to the teams at Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart for what appears to be a great car.
Source: Mercedes AMG