Great test-winter, great optimism and euphoria at Ferrari – but ultimately it's Lewis Hamilton again (34).
The Mercedes world champion takes pole position in the first race of the season in Australia (Sunday, 6.10 am RTL / Sky live and ticker on BILD.de) and beats Sebastian Vettel (31) in Ferrari, which is only the third. Second place is Valtteri Bottas (29) in the second Mercedes.
The distance of the Italians to the silver arrows? Almost six tenths. Too much for a real World Cup attack. It didn't look at all during the test runs.
But in time for the first race, the Silver Arrows caught up with their alleged backlog to Ferrari and moved around Vettel and Co. again.
Vettel: "I'm just as surprised as everyone else." Probably Mercedes itself, now we have some homework to understand. I'm still looking forward to the race, we still have a good car. Mercedes is now a clear favorite if you have such a head start. We have to live with it. "
As the new formula 1 could be exciting, it is proposed in the first quarter. The track is improving every minute, the first 18 minutes are stormy. Charles Leclerc has the fastest time ahead of Hamilton and Botta.
Big surprise: Pierre Gasly at Red Bull underestimated the ever-improving tracks in Albert Park and passed the last minutes of qualifying. It starts only from 17th place, disaster for shower set.
Also out: Chancellor Williams, Robert Kubica thundered with too slow Williams and the gang and then dragged themselves to the pit. Likewise, four seconds is missing. Before him Russell lands in the second Williams, Sainz and Stroll.
Silver arrows suddenly appeared in the second quarter (Hamilton before Bottas). After Max Verstappen, who shows the real speed of Red Bull for the first time. Vettel is sixth, Leclerc fourth. Again, it is incredibly tight between all teams.
What is impressive is what young Lando Norris (19) performs at McLaren. He even finishes the ninth in the third quarter and lands ahead of drivers like Nico Hülkenberg (31st / 11th) and Daniel Ricciardo (29th / 12th). How two Renault drivers went: Kwjat, Giovinazzi and Albon.
Final round the field:
Bottas conjures a round of dreams (1: 20.598 min.) And is ahead of all the riders' first attempt. Hamilton followed him, followed by Vettel and Leclerc.
The World Champion in Mercedes has problems with the right front brake, grabbing some curbs quite hard. At 17:57 local time, all drivers go into their last attempt.
Hamilton catches (as usual) his teammate and gets the best time in 1: 20,486 minutes. Vettel and Ferrari are biting their teeth now. They are not British, the Quad Champ is at least a third.
But Lewis Hamilton takes his eighth pole in Melbourne, sixth in a row. World Champion is ready to defend the title. Master added, "We had no idea where we were, they worked so hard at the factory and this weekend."