After setting the fastest time during practice, Mercedes AMG’s Lewis Hamilton has gone on to secure pole position during qualifying today at the Australian Grand Prix, the season opener for the 2014 Formula One World Championship. He managed to edge out local favorite Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull Racing in the rain-affected session, with the difference between the two coming down to just 0.317 of a second in the end.

Hamilton's best time in the dry was a 1:31.699 but due to rain this dropped to 1:44.231 by the time Q3 rolled around. Ricciardo's best time in Q3 was 1:44.548. Confirming the dominance of Mercedes AMG’s new design, Hamilton’s teammate Nico Rosberg was third fastest of the day with a 1:44.595. Fourth spot on the grid for tomorrow’s race has gone to newcomer Kevin Magnussen of McLaren who set an impressive 1:45.745, while Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso will start at fifth after setting a best time of 1:45.819.

Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne will start at sixth tomorrow, followed by Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg in seventh, fellow Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat in eighth, and Williams’ Felipe Massa in ninth. Tenth spot should have gone to fellow Williams driver Valtteri Bottas though a gearbox change means he gets a five-spot grid penalty.

Struggling today was reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull Racing, who was 13th fastest but will start at 12th tomorrow because of Bottas' penalty. One spot ahead of him will be Ferrari’s returning driver Kimi Räikkönen. Failing to set a time today was Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado.

Unfortunately, more of the wet stuff is expected for tomorrow. The current forecast is a chance of rain and 72-degree F (22-degree C) peak temperature. Pirelli has nominated the P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft compounds for the race. though the full wets will be on hand.


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