15 Mar 2015

Hamilton takes pole for Mercedes in Australia

9:45 am on 15 March 2015

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has taken pole position at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

And in an ominous sign for the competition again, it was another Mercedes one-two, with team-mate Nico Rosberg.

Lewis Hamilton driving for Mercedes.

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton is looking ominous already for Mercedes Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Hamilton's fastest lap of one minute 26.327 seconds was nearly six-tenths of a second quicker than Nico Rosberg.

Williams driver Felipe Massa qualified third, with Sebastian Vettel fourth in his debut for Ferrari, followed by team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

Local hope Daniel Ricciardo qualified seventh in a best time more than two seconds slower than Hamilton after the Australian experienced more troubles on Saturday, a day after missing an an entire practice session while his car's engine was replaced.

During Saturday's practice, Ricciardo's Red Bull Racing car stopped and marshals had to push it back to pits. The Perth-born driver returned to the track to finish the practice session.

And in qualifying, Ricciardo made it through the cut-off stages before posting a solid time with his last lap.

McLaren's Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button were tipped out of qualifying in the first stage along with Sauber's Marcus Ericsson.

And the Manor team, born from the ashes of Marussia after it went into administration in mid-January, were cut after not being able to send their drivers Will Stevens and Robert Merhi on to the track.

Manor, whose new owners took over the team just two weeks ago, were still working through electrical software and computing issues after being unable to test their cars in the off-season.