Lewis Hamilton will be in pole position to kick off the 2017 F1 season. The Mercedes driver won a tight qualifying which saw Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel take P2 (with a time of 1:22.456) and new Silver Arrows driver Valtteri Bottas claim P3 (1:22.481). Hamilton clocked 1:22.188, a mere 0.268 ahead of Vettel, while Bottas was just a shade behind P2 with a 0.025 difference between himself and the Ferrari.
The pole position is the 62nd of Hamilton’s career. He is in third on the all-time list, and he’s closing in fast on Ayrton Senna with 65. Michael Schumacher is at the top of that list with 68. It’s not outside the realm of possibility for Hamilton to take the top spot within this season, so we’ll be on constant pole-position watch in 2017.
Hamilton remarked how it was amazing to be in his 11th Australian Grand Prix.
“It feels like only yesterday that I came here for my first race in 2007,” Hamilton said. He added heaps of praise for the team, which of course got the car ready for opening weekend after all the training, tuning, and testing in the offseason.
Bottas has been tapped this 2017 F1 season to take the place of retired Nico Rosberg, who won the 2016 F1 drivers’ title. He is eager to prove that he belongs in the elite crop of F1, and getting to P3 off the bat is going to help him for sure. His best finish last year was third at the Canadian Grand Prix, and he finished 8th overall with 85 points total.
? Onboard for the lap that gave @LewisHamilton…
Record-equalling 6th #AusGP pole ?
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 25, 2017
“Third position is not ideal,” remarked Bottas. “I couldn’t quite get a perfect lap in, so I’m not quite satisfied with the result.”
There have been plenty of changes in the sport over the offseason, and seeing Mercedes post great results at the opening qualifiers is great. Even better still, Ferrari seems to be ready to challenge (Kimi Raikkonen took P4), so it’ll be interesting to see what transpires once the five red lights are on.
It sure looks like the 2017 F1 season won’t be a walk in the park for Mercedes as it was last year, but that can only mean good things for the sport and for the fans.