Victoria’s sports minister has tried to dismiss suggestions the Australian Formula One Grand Prix could be poached by Sydney.
The event is contracted to Melbourne until 2023, but Formula One boss Bernie Eccleston told the Herald Sun it could go north later if Victoria didn’t renew its contract, while NSW Premier Mike Baird made a 2015 pre-election announcement that the harbour city would poach the prestigious race.
Minister for Sport, Tourism and Major Events, John Eren, said on Sunday it was no surprise others wanted Victoria’s events, key drivers of jobs and growth: “That’s why we want them, and why we do them best”.
Meanwhile, reigning champion Lewis Hamilton has produced a stunning record lap to take pole position for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix.
Local hope Daniel Ricciardo will start from eighth spot after Hamilton dominated Saturday’s qualifying session at Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit.
The Englishman clocked a best lap of 1min 23.837sec – 0.088 seconds faster than the circuit’s previous lap record set by German legend Michael Schumacher in 2004.
Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg will start Sunday’s race from second spot, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen next on the grid.
Australia’s Ricciardo was almost two seconds slower than Hamilton, clocking a best lap of 1:25.589, and being the first driver eliminated in the third and final period of qualifying.
Under new qualifying rules, drivers had a few minutes in each of the three qualifying sessions to set a lap time, before the slowest drivers were eliminated at 90-second intervals.
Manor Racing duo Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto became trivia notes by being the initial drivers to fall in the first period.