Hamilton grabs pole, Vettel raises Ferrari hopes

"It is a wonderful feeling coming into a new era of Formula One to have a auto that is so strong", Hamilton said.

Ferrari are back to winning ways after getting one over on Mercedes in 2017's season opener and Ted analyses where and how the Melbourne race was won and lost.

Vettel edged out Hamilton to win the opening race of the year on Sunday in Melbourne, with Mercedes and Ferrari looking to be very evenly matched in 2017 following the overhaul of the technical regulations.

Lewis Hamilton has already delivered the faster speeds that Formula One rule changes were created to achieve, going under the racing lap record during practice Friday for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

The Briton's Finnish teammate, Valtteri Bottas, posted a best time of 1:24.176. "I'm incredibly proud of my team", Hamilton said.

Lewis Hamilton will look to put his stamp on the new Formula One season at this week's Australian Grand Prix, as he seeks to regain the world title following the shock retirement of reigning champion Nico Rosberg.

Hamilton took charge of his own fitness and nutrition programme at the start of this season after previously employing a personal trainer. Past year you could do that for the first couple of laps, then the tyres would drop off.

This is Vettel's third season with Ferrari, and it was at this track two years ago that he made his debut, and he qualified fourth, 1.4 seconds off Hamilton, who took pole.

"I'm super happy to be back in the vehicle - particularly after a first day like that".

Red Bull drivers Dan Ricciardo and Max Verstappen were third and fourth-quickest in the first session, but dropped down the timesheets to fifth and sixth-fastest in the second.

"Ferrari are still right there with us and Red Bull have picked up a lot of pace. Usually I stay out in Asia [before the next race in China] but I am going home to get my head down, rest and make sure I come back fighting for the next race because I believe I can win".

"We've got a real race on our hands and it's a challenge we will relish". As a team I think we did a good job with the auto we had. "They've obviously done a great job over the winter". I think, strategy-wise, from what we see, you can do different things, definitely.

The German pitted at lap 23 and exited the pit-lane just in front of Verstappen, who was still gamely holding off Hamilton while riding his tyres thin. I think since then, since day one, he proved he is very, very quick, very talented and also working hard.

  • Carolyn Briggs