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Summary

  1. Hamilton on pole, Bottas crashes heavily
  2. Raikkonen 2nd, Vettel 3rd, Verstappen 4th
  3. Both McLarens out in Q2, Sirotkin, Toro Rossos out in Q1

Live Reporting

By Gary Rose

All times stated are UK

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Lewis Hamilton will take a familiar position at the front of the pack in tomorrow's race, so are we in for more of the same?

Until that stunning lap Ferrari and Red Bull had looked very close and both were close in the long runs during practice. And Hamilton has only once before turned pole into victory in Australia.

It's far from a foregone conclusion so join us to see how the first race of 2018 unfolds tomorrow morning at 04:30 BST.

Don't forget the clocks go forward!!

What happened in qualifying?

Andrew Benson

BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer in Melbourne

Lewis Hamilton pulled out a spectacular last-ditch lap to take a stunning pole position for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

The world champion was nip and tuck with the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull's Max Verstappen until the final runs of the session only for Hamilton re-set perceptions of the possible to take pole by a massive 0.664 seconds.

Vettel was pipped to second by Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen by just 0.01secs, with the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo fourth and fifth.

Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas crashed at the start of final qualifying and will start 10th at best.

You can check out more statistics and read Andrew Benson's take on the first qualifying session of the year here.

Still work to do

Lewis Hamilton's pole-to-win conversion rate isn't great in Australia, he has only turned one of his previous six pole positions into victory.

Only two other drivers have taken pole at the circuit in the last decade - Sebastian Vettel (three) and Jenson Button (one).

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Alonso happy

Fernando Alonso may not have got involved in the top 10 shootout, but he is feeling positive about doing good things tomorrow from 11th.

"I am happy," he said.

"There is still a lot of performance in the car to unlock and I think McLaren will be quite strong in the coming races."

Hamilton in party mode?

Bit of needle in the post-qualifying news conference.

Lewis Hamilton mentioned being in party mode after producing that sizzling lap. Asked about that, he said: “I can assure you we don’t have a party mode. I use the same mode from Q2 to the end of Q3. There was no extra button or mode I engaged in.”

“What were you doing before then?," asks Sebastian Vettel.

“I was waiting to put a good lap in and wipe the smile off your face," responds Hamilton.

Check out BBC Sport's Twitter moment on qualifying here.

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Qualifying result

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f1.com

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James Doe: Jeeeeeeeeeeeeez! Where did Lewis Hamilton find that from?! What an incredible lap!

Josh Gribby: Hamilton continues to blow you away. What a lap.

Addy YNWA: People should respect Lewis Hamilton from now on. What a driver.

Lewis Hamilton describes that lap - the fastest ever at Albert Park - as close to perfect as he can get. I think he's wrong, it was perfection because I can't see how he could have found more time. Stunning lap.

View more on twitter

'We can be happy'

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F1.com

Sebastian Vettel, third quickest: "I think we can be happy. I wasn't happy yesterday but it got better in qualifying. I had a little moment in Turn 13 on the last lap. Shame Lewis had quite a big gap in the end but his lap was pretty good.

"I hope they turned it on today as it means they will have to turn it off tomorrow. It is not the easiest place to overtake but you never know."

'A decent job'

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F1.com

Kimi Raikkonen, second quickest in qualifying: "It was a decent job, obviously the lap time difference is very big, but we have to be happy with where we're starting the race."

'Intense'

Lewis Hamilton, who secured a record seventh pole position for the Australian Grand Prix: "You would think with these results we have had for years it would feel the norm but it doesn't. That was intense, my heart is racing. I am so happy with that lap.

"What was surprising was to see how quick the Ferraris were."

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F1.com

Qualifying top 10

1) Hamilton

2) Raikkonen

3) Vettel

4) Verstappen

5) Ricciardo

6) Magnussen

7) Grosjean

8) Hulkenberg

9) Sainz

10) Bottas

Chequered flag

LEWIS HAMILTON SECURES POLE POSITION FOR THE AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX.

Lewis Hamilton
Reuters

No they can't Kimi Raikkonen is second quickest, six tenths of a second down on Lewis Hamilton. Sebastian Vettel is third quickest.

When it mattered, Hamilton delivered and delivered in some style.

Kimi Raikkonen
Getty Images

It's a 1:21.164 for Lewis Hamilton. What a lap! Surely no-one can touch that?

Lewis Hamilton is on his flying lap and he's FOUR tenths of a second up in the first sector!

Just 0.061 separating the top three - a Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull. Who's taking pole position? No room for error.

Mercedes
Getty Images

Everyone is leaving the pits to begin their final runs.

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Jack Nicholls

Radio 5 live Formula 1 commentator

This might be the most exciting qualifying session in a long, long, long, long time. Incredibly tight.

Jolyon Palmer

Former Renault driver

How close is that! That's five cars all with a shot at pole.

Not quite enough for Sebastian Vettel as he goes second quickest, just 0.034s down on Lewis Hamilton.

Max Verstappen third quickest after that initial run with Kimi Raikkonen fourth (1:22.251) and Daniel Ricciardo fifth (1:22.386).

Just three tenths of a second separating the top five. We wanted a closer battle and it's looking like we might just have that...

Sebastian Vettel
Getty Images

Max Verstappen is second quickest, 0.061s down on Lewis Hamilton's time.

Here comes Sebastian Vettel...

Max Verstappen
Getty Images

It's a 1:22.051 for Lewis Hamilton but Sebastian Vettel is quickest of all through the first sector...

Lewis Hamilton is the first to start a timed lap. Time to see what he's really got in his locker...

Lewis Hamilton
EPA

Toto Wolff looked utterly exasperated by that crash. A little mistake, where Valtteri Bottas hit the grass, proved hugely costly and leaves Mercedes with a lot of work to do before tomorrow's race.

The clean up job is complete and the session is restarted.

Get involved #bbcf1

Ian qurgatt: I slept in on a Saturday nearly missed Q3 only to find out it was red flagged. At least something good came out of it Bottas.

There's a whole host of marshals on the scene to complete the clean up job where Valtteri Bottas crashed. A fair bit of work for them to do as the crash led to loads of debris spreading across the circuit.

View more on twitter

The recovery truck is on the scene to recover that heavily damaged Mercedes while Valtteri Bottas is picked up and given a lift back to base.

Andrew Benson

BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer in Melbourne

That is a bad start to the season for Valtteri Bottas. A huge crash at Turn Two in the first qualifying session of a year in which he needs to impress early on to convince Mercedes to keep him on for 2019. Now he's in negative territory almost before the season has started.

Jolyon Palmer

Former Renault driver

So much damage to the car. It is a high speed corner there. He got on the grass, there are shards of debris littered from the wall up to where the car came to a rest.

Red flag

Big crash by Valtteri Bottas straight from the off!

He carried too much speed into Turn 2 and slides into the wall.

"Let us know you're OK," he is asked.

"Yep, I'm OK."

Jolyon Palmer

Former Renault driver

You can't see past Lewis Hamilton. I will stick to my guns from pre-season.

Final qualifying starts

Here we go then. The battle for pole position is a go!

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Matthew James Webb: Here we go #AusGP Q3. Let’s see some true pace

Kayleigh: Righto, refocus- Vet/Ham/Bot top 3. Hulk top 7.