HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014
Hamilton takes pole as Grosjean throws up first surprise of season
Melbourne, March 17, 2012
First Published: 13:35 IST(17/3/2012)
Last Updated: 13:44 IST(17/3/2012)
Hamilton pole position in Melbourne was the 20th of his career, while Grosjean managed a top three starting position for the first time in his career.  Getty Images

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton took his 20th career pole position for the season opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne ahead of his teammate Jenson Button as defending champion Sebastian Vettel struggled with just the sixth fastest time.

While the McLarens locked out the front row, Lotus F1's Romain Grosjean took a surprise 3rd place, just narrowly beating Mercedes' Michael Schumacher. The German outqualified his teammate and compatriot Nico Rosberg, who qualified seventh.

Williams' Pastor Maldonado took eighth in his Renault-powered Williams while Force India's Nico Hulkenberg and Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top ten.

Hamilton, champion in 2008, has vowed to bounce back from a disappointing series last year when he was distracted by personal problems and finished fifth in the standings.

And Vettel is launching his bid to become only the third driver to win three Formula One championships in a row, after the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher.

Narain struggles
Narain Karthikeyan and Pedro De La Rosa struggled with their HRTF1 cars and ultimately both drivers failed to make the cut-off time to be allowed to start the race. Hydraulic problems hampered the team's running on Friday and both drivers had to go into the race unprepared.

Pos Driver Gap Team Time
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m24.922s
2 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m25.074s  + 0.152
3 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m25.302s  + 0.380
4 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m25.336s  + 0.414
5 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m25.651s  + 0.729
6 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m25.668s  + 0.746
7 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m25.686s  + 0.764
8 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m25.908s  + 0.986
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m26.451s  + 1.529

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