Sport Motorsport Hamilton pips Ricciardo for Aussie GP pole
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Hamilton pips Ricciardo for Aussie GP pole

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Englishman Lewis Hamilton grabbed pole position for the Australian grand prix after surviving foul weather to post the quickest qualifying time on Saturday.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo was second fastest on a rain-soaked Albert Park track, with Nico Rosberg in third spot.

Ricciardo led Red Bull Racing’s qualifying campaign after his teammate, reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel, bombed – he’ll start Sunday’s race from 13th position after not even making the final cut in qualifying.

Ricciardo held pole position until Mercedes’ Hamilton snatched the lead on the final lap of qualifying.

Hamilton clocked 1m44.231s, with Ricciardo (1:44.548) and Rosberg (1:44.595) just behind.

Formula One debutant Kevin Magnussen qualified fourth in his McLaren and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was fifth.

Ricciardo logged the fastest lap in the initial of three phases of qualifying – a hot lap coming before rain lashed the track.

The West Australian clocked 1m30.775s before the bad weather hit, with McLaren’s F1 debutant Magnussen next best and Williams’ Felipe Massa third quickest. Reigning world champion Vettel was eighth.  

Teams changed to wet weather tyres in a second phase notable for Vettel’s continuing problems and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen crashing out.

Vettel, the four-time world champion, placed 13th, meaning he was struck out of the final phase of qualifying in which only the quickest 10 cars participated.

And Raikkonen spun out in the wet, crashing into a barrier and destroying much of the front end of his Ferrari.

Conditions remained challenging for the final phase but Ricciardo flourished and, with some 15 seconds remaining of qualifying, held first place.

But Hamilton came flying home to dramatically pinch pole position.

-AAP

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