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Published: 11:23 | 19/3/16

Hamilton on pole for Australian Grand Prix

Mercedes on top in chaotic session

Lewis Hamilton will be on pole for the Australian Grand Prix tomorrow following a chaotic qualifying session in Melbourne.

The Briton, who earlier was quickest in the final practice session, secured his 50th pole of an illustrious career, with Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg second and Ferrari pair Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen in third and fourth respectively.

But the session will go down as something of a farce as the new elimination rules caused chaos among the teams and their drivers. It ended without the fastest cars on the track as both Ferrari and then Mercedes opted to save their tyres for the race rather than go for a quicker qualifying time as the clock counted down.

That meant the track was empty for the final minutes of the session which prompted Mercedes boss Toto Wolff later described the new system as "rubbish".

However, the new system did ensure that the opening two sessions were more exciting as drivers fought to avoid elimination. A countdown clock had been promised but only appeared after Manor drivers Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto had been eliminated along with Esteban Gutierrez of Haas.

But perhaps the only major surprise of the first session was the elimination of Red Bull's Daniil Kyvat in 18th place.

The second session was a more tentative affair as the issues with the new system became all too apparent with cars spending long periods in their garages. McLaren duo Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button qualified in 12th and 13th ahead of Renault pair Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen.

This continued into the final session which saw Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen qualify in fifth ahead of Felipe Massa for Williams, with Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso in seventh and Daniel Ricciardo eighth for Red Bull.

The Force India pair of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg completed the top ten.

Australian Grand Prix Qualifying Results:

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1min 23.837secs

2. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1:24.197

3. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1:24.675

4. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 1:25.033

5. Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso) 1:25.434

6. Felipe Massa (Williams) 1:25.458

7. Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso) 1:25.582

8. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 1:25.589

9. Sergio Perez (Force India) 1:25.753

10. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India 1:25.865)

11. Valtteri Bottas (Williams) 1:25.961

12. Fernando Alonso (McLaren) 1:26.125

13. Jenson Button (McLaren) 1:26.304

14. Jolyon Palmer (Renault) 1:27.601.

15. Kevin Magnussen (Renault) 1:27.742.

By: Kieran O'Daly

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