Lewis Hamilton provided the best proof of his return from the malaise of 2011 by blitzing the field to take pole position for season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

The Briton's opening salvo in the final phase of the session was enough to confirm him in top spot and, as his rivals fell short one-by-one on their final attempts, he felt comfortable enough to pit without taking the chequered flag. Only world champion Sebastian Vettel was left on track by that point but, such was Red Bull's speed deficit, the German could not improve on his existing mark and had to settle for sixth.

Hamilton will be joined on the front row by McLaren team-mate Jenson Button, who fired the final volley in a string of second place runs that also included Michael Schumacher and Romain Grosjean, while Mark Webber also got the better of team-mate Vettel to complete the top five.

Nico Rosberg blew his chances of pole for Mercedes by locking up on his final run, and will line-up just ahead of Pastor Maldonado, Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo, the Australian electing not to set a time and save his tyres for his first top ten start in front of his home crowd.

Full report and times to follow....

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