Hamilton qualifies fastest in Melbourne

Published: 24 March 2018 Image credit: Getty Images

Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton has locked up pole position for a record-breaking seventh time in Melbourne - and set a new lap record in the process.

Hamilton clocked a time of 1:21.164 to smash the lap record at Albert Park and finished a massive 0.664s faster than his nearest rival, Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari, who pipped his teammate Sebastian Vettel by just 0.01s.

By qualifying fastest, Hamilton secured his seventh careeer pole position in Melbourne - surpassing Ayrton Senna's record for most poles at the circuit and putting himself into the history books yet again.

The Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth and fifth fastest respectively, but the hometown hero Ricciardo will be forced to start in eighth after being handed a 3-place grid penalty during Friday's practice for exceeding track limits under a red flag.

However, it wasn't all glory for the Silver Arrows as Valtteri Bottas crashed at the beginning of the final qualifying session - which should cause a headache for the Mercedes mechanics on the eve of the first race of the season.

Due to this crash, Bottas will start from tenth on the grid - but could drop even further should the mechanics be unable to get things right with the vehicle.

The Haas of Kevin Magnussen qualified in sixth, but was an entire second adrift of the top five - who have seemingly set themselves apart from the rest of the pack.

Romain Grosjean was next to qualify behind his Haas teammate, while the Renault pair of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz were eighth and ninth.

All eyes now turn to the big race - and you can catch all of the action LIVE and FREE on Ten from 11:00am AEDT, or stream it all on Tenplay.