Lewis Hamilton netted the first pole position of the season as he edged Jenson Button and Romain Grosjean in Melbourne...
Lewis Hamilton: "I'm massively proud of my team. We've been working incredibly hard throughout the winter: we've never given up, and everyone has just kept pushing and pushing. We've had some tough years, but everyone in this team wants to succeed: to be the best. I'm proud that I was able to do the job for them today. My first lap in Q3 felt pretty special - at the end of it, I felt it'd be surprising if anyone could push ahead of that. I tried even harder on my final run, but braked a little too late into the first corner and spoiled the lap. After that, I was just hoping that nobody would go any quicker. I just love qualifying, especially when you get the lap just right; when it all flows, the tyres work and you hit the sweet-spot everywhere. It's like heaven. Today we showed that we not only have the most beautiful car in Formula 1, but also the fastest! Of course, there's still a long way to go tomorrow - looking after the tyres will be key - but we're in the best possible position to have a strong race."
Jenson Button: "Lewis nailed a great lap in Q3, but I think the whole team is really happy to have both cars on the front row - it's been a long time coming to have the two of us there together. You always want to be first, but I couldn't quite do that today. Nevertheless, I think we both want to thank the team - it's a big vindication of how far we've come this winter. And that's been crucial: having a good winter can really make the difference. We still don't know exactly how strong our car will be in the race, but yesterday it appeared to be consistent and looked after the tyres during the stint. Tomorrow will be about getting the tyres to the right working temperature and looking after them across the stint. Tomorrow is the important day, and today is about making life easier for tomorrow. Still, this has been a great day for everyone in the team."
Romain Grosjean: "Today is like a dream come true. I only really discovered the Albert Park circuit in the dry this morning and I didn't know what to expect. When I heard my position over the radio I just could not believe it. This third position shows one thing: you must believe in your dreams and hold on to them, whatever happens. Very few people still had faith in me after my first life in F1, but we've all worked very hard to start a new adventure and I'm very happy to be able to put a great performance in right from the start of the season. Thank you also to the team for designing such a nice, tidy and quick little car. I will not get carried away because, as the saying goes, you don't score any points on a Saturday. We all know that Melbourne can be a very tricky race. I hope we can keep going like this all season long and in the end it will be a nice story."
Kimi Raikkonen: "Today didn't go quite as planned. There's no issue with the car; I made a mistake and there was a communication issue so the timing wasn't right to get another lap. It cost us a good qualifying position but that's how it goes sometimes. We should have easily been in Q2. It's not the best start but we'll try to put it right in the race. There's plenty of speed in the car. The steering was fine. It's not perfect for exactly what I want but it doesn't affect my driving. For sure we can do better than 18th tomorrow so we'll have to see what happens."
Michael Schumacher: "The first qualifying session of the year proved to be as tight a competition as we had all hoped for. I am certainly happy with our performance which is a huge step forward, considering where we were in qualifying here last year. I can only thank the guys for all of the hard work that they have achieved over the winter. I also think it is important to stress that Mercedes-Benz have always believed in and supported this project, and I really hope we can deliver the results we all want. We have to take this step-by-step as the competition is very tight, so now we have to continue to work hard."
Nico Rosberg: "We are happy to see that we have obviously improved the car over the winter. It seems that we can be strong in the race as well from what we learned during practice this weekend. Unfortunately I didn't get the most out of it today. I didn't quite find the right set-up as we have a lot of new things on the car and it will take a few races to get it working perfectly. I also made a small mistake on my last lap which cost me some time. Seventh place is still a good position though and I will be doing my best to move forward tomorrow."
Mark Webber: "We knew there were some quick guys out there - McLaren and Mercedes especially and Roman did well too. Everyone always thinks we have special bits to keep coming back, but this year it's opened right up. I didn't have KERS at the end of the session, which affects your rhythm during qualifying - it's a shame as it's been faultless all winter. I'm pleased with my lap in Q3. We can still get on the podium tomorrow, but we have some fast cars around us, no question about "
Sebastian Vettel: "It's the first qualifying of the year, so it's always difficult to know what to expect, but I think what we saw today was not a surprise, the lap times were close. We would have loved to have been closer to the front, but in Q3 I wasn't happy with my lap. I made a mistake at the beginning and lost some time, so that was down to me. I could have been one or two places higher, but that's how it goes. We are not starting at the front, but we are not starting at the back either, so it's far from disastrous and regarding the car we know what we need to do. We have a long race ahead of us tomorrow and a lot of opportunities, so I'm looking forward to it."
Hamilton leads McLaren lock-out in Oz
Any reproduction, publication or redistribution of this material without the written agreement of 365 Media Group is strictly forbidden.