to view full Australian Grand Prix Qualifying results
- Last-gasp laps see Hamilton pip Ricciardo by 0.3s
- Vettel fails to make top 10 in wet Q2 as Raikkonen crashes
- Both Lotus drivers out in Q1 and off the pace as struggles continue
Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the Australian Grand Prix, beating Daniel Ricciardo - on his Red Bull debut - in the wet by 0.3s.
A heavy downpour ahead of Q3 left drivers setting times on full wet tyres, and it was a battle between the two Mercedes and Ricciardo for pole, with Nico Rosberg having gone fastest on his last lap. However, Ricciardo and Hamilton were still on track and the Red Bull - on intermediates - beat Rosberg before Hamilton - on full wets - dashed hopes of a home pole by immediately beating Ricciardo's time.
Ricciardo's performance was all the more impressive due to his team-mate Sebastian Vettel failing to make the top ten shootout. The reigning champion fell in the second part of qualifying, while Kimi Raikkonen crashed out in Q2 and will start from 11th.
Fernando Alonso in the other Ferrari will start from fifth place behind Rosberg and Kevin Magnussen who delivered a strong performance in his first F1 qualifying session to take fourth.
Both Toro Rossos impressed with Jean-Eric Vergne sixth and Daniil Kvyat eighth, although Kvyat hit the wall at the end of Q3 having gambled on running inters for his final lap.
The Williams pair of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas were ultimately disappointing after being marked out as potential challengers to Mercedes, taking ninth and tenth some four seconds off the pace. Bottas will start from fifteenth due to a gearbox change ahead of qualifying.
Heavy rain during the first part of qualifying made for a wet Q2, with the track drying throughout the 15-minute session. The times started to tumble in the closing minutes, and Vettel was outside the top ten starting his final lap when he had to slow slightly for Raikkonen's stricken Ferrari. That prevented him from improving and he dropped out in 13th place.
A late lap from Magnussen – who had been just ahead of Raikkonen on track – pushed his team-mate Jenson Button out, while Kamui Kobayashi will start from 15th after an impressive session for Caterham which saw him outqualify Sergio Perez and finish just 0.2s off Adrian Sutil.
Drivers were keen to get out at the start of Q1 with the threat of rain looming large, and it was a sign of Mercedes' confidence that both drivers went out on mediums rather than soft tyres. With both Lotus drivers struggling, the rain started to fall heavily with six minutes remaining in the session and that stopped Pastor Maldonado even setting a time.
Team-mate Romain Grosjean fared little better, completing six laps with a best almost two seconds off the pace of the Caterham of Marcus Ericsson ahead of him. Kobayashi did well to pip Max Chilton to a spot in Q2, beating the Marussia by just 0.019s, while Esteban Gutierrez also failed to make it through and will start from the back of the grid having had to change his gearbox after FP3.
Gutierrez was also the only driver to go back out after the rain in Q1, running on intermediates to get a feel for conditions in case of more wet weather on Sunday.