Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton believes that qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix was the first occasion that Mercedes were able to ‘unleash the full potential’ of the W10.
Hamilton led a Mercedes 1-2 in qualifying around the streets of Albert Park, almost a tenth of a second ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas and seven tenths ahead of third-placed Sebastian Vettel.
It was the Brit’s eighth pole position in Australia, equaling Michael Schumacher’s record of the most poles claimed at one circuit.
“I feel so fortunate to be in the position I’m in today,” Hamilton said. “We had no idea that we’d have this gap to the others – we thought we were behind, we thought it was going to be a push, so we gave it absolutely everything and more to arrive here with the best possible package and delivery.”
Mercedes came into the first race of the year with many saying that Ferrari held the advantage over the Silver Arrows based on their form in pre-season testing; Hamilton thus expressed his surprise at the performance of his car in qualifying.
“We haven’t massively changed the car; it’s almost the same set-up we had in Barcelona, so this gap was really surprising to see,” he said. “This is the first time we’ve unleashed the full potential of the car and I’m so happy to have a car that I can fight with. This is a really great start to the new season and it puts us in a good position for the fight tomorrow.”
[Featured image – Steve Etherington]