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New Straits Times - - Sport -

since 2015 in knock­ing Bot­tas out of sec­ond place.

Hamil­ton’s pole time was 1.7 sec­onds quicker than his qual­i­fy­ing time last year.

“Third po­si­tion is not ideal,” Bot­tas said. “In gen­eral I’m not happy for the re­sult. But I’m proud of what the team have done.

“I only saw a very small part of the prepa­ra­tion and it’s nice to see the work has pulled off and we’re fight­ing at the front.”

Aus­tralia’s big hope Daniel Ric­cia­rdo crashed his Red Bull at turn 14 look­ing to post a good time in Q3 and will start 10th off the grid.

Ric­cia­rdo dam­aged the rear of his RB13 car and was heard over the team ra­dio as say­ing: “I’m al­right... sorry guys.”

The fi­nal ses­sion of qual­i­fy­ing was sus­pended while Ric­cia­rdo’s car was re­moved from the gravel along­side the track.

“He’s ab­so­lutely fine. It’s a shame. He’s lost the rear of the car at turn 14. He’s come on the ra­dio and apol­o­gised. Just push­ing a bit too hard in that corner,” team prin­ci­pal Chris­tian Horner said.

Ser­gio Perez, Nico Hulken­berg, Fer­nando Alonso, Este­ban Ocon and Mar­cus Eric­s­son all failed to make it through the top 10 shootout.

Red Bull’s Max Ver­stap­pen had a lock-up into turn six on ul­tra­soft tyres be­fore he posted a time to stay alive into Q2.

McLaren’s Stof­fel Van­doorne had a fuel-flow is­sue which sent the Bel­gian to the pits and knocked out in Q1.

Van­doorne was joined by An­to­nio Giovinazzi, Kevin Mag­nussen, Lance Stroll and Jolyon Palmer to be elim­i­nated in the first ses­sion of qual­i­fy­ing. AFP

REUTERS PIC

MercedesAMG Petronas’ Lewis Hamil­ton rides in a car down the pit lane af­ter qual­i­fy­ing fastest at the Aus­tralian Grand Prix yes­ter­day.

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