Mercedes has confirmed it’s back and better than ever with a scintillating one-two qualifying performance at the Australian Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton led Nico Rosberg by six tenths of a second in a display of crushing dominance, building a gap of 1.4 seconds to the next non-Mercedes car in the process.
“it’s been a great start to the weekend,” said Hamilton. “It doesn’t feel like it’s been a long time since the last race.”
“We’ve already had and a big rush and a huge effort from all of the guys back at the factory to enable us to come here and have this performance, so I feel incredibly blessed to have this car.
“It’s so much fun when you get into qualifying, you have those single laps which you have to push. I’m just massively grateful for all the hard work that’s gone in.”
Nico Rosberg stumbled through the qualifying afternoon, first affected by a spontaneous engine cut in Q2, and then locked up his flying lap in Q3, handing pole to Hamilton.
“The speed was there but I just didn’t get it together today,” lamented Rosberg. “It wasn’t a great day today.
“But of course I’m really thankful to the team for the car that they have given me — it’s unbelievable.
“It’s a pleasure to drive and it’s a pleasure to be in this situation with this team. That’s really great to see where we are again now — leading the pack.
“P2, I have to live with that today, still a long day tomorrow anyway and we still have all the chances.”
Felipe Massa slipped into P3 ahead of the resurgent Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel by just four hundredths of a second.
“It was a very tricky qualifying,” said the Williams driver. “Especially when you have four cars fighting for very similar times, all the time.
“If you see the difference in the lap times between me, Sebastian, Kimi, and also Valtteri, it’s pretty small — but I’m happy.
“I’m happy that I did a good lap. It was the best lap of the day, the last one, which was not so easy, especially with the wind changing. It will be a big fight tomorrow with Ferrari especially but I hope we can do a good job.”
The 2015 Australian Grand Prix starts on Sunday at 4PM AEDT. Follow the race on Twitter with the hashtag #ABCF1