Lewis Hamilton insists Mercedes were unaware that they were capable of delivering such a dominant performance during qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix. Hamilton took pole in Melbourne for a sixth year in a row, breaking his own lap record in the process.
Hamilton snatched pole from teammate Valtteri Bottas by a tenth, but was 0.7 seconds clear of title rival Sebastian Vettel.
Mercedes claimed in pre-season testing that they expected to be half a second per lap down on Ferrari, but the Silver Arrows have been dominant so far in Australia.
The moment @LewisHamilton...— Formula 1 (@F1) March 16, 2019
✅ Took his sixth consecutive #AusGP pole
✅ Equalled the record for most poles (8) at one venue
✅ Blitzed the track record in Melbourne#AusGP ???????? #F1 pic.twitter.com/enxH5RMRAt
"I'm shaking, what a beautiful day and thank you to the crowd for a great atmosphere," Hamilton said.
"The team had no idea during testing what we would be up against and they've worked so hard in the factory and here this weekend - the team have worked to perfection.
"Congratulations to Valtteri also. It's great to see the top six teams top within a second of each, it's great to see."
Bottas saw provisional pole snatched away at the very last and said that his second Q3 flyer was compromised from an early point.
"We really made some good progress, I had a difficult practice three and we turned things around for the qualifying," he said.
"The Q3 lap one was really good, I enjoyed that. Fortunately it wasn't enough for pole but Lewis did a great job at the end and I struggled a bit in the first sector on the second run.
"Anyway, it was fun and I look forward to tomorrow."