Australian GP, Qualifiers: Lewis Hamilton back on pole 

Written by David on March 15th, 2008 at 8:57 amLast Update: March 15th, 2008 at 8:57 am

Lewis Hamilton and Heikki KovalainenMcLaren-Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton achieved the first pole position of the 2008 Formula 1 Word Championship. In Q3 qualifying session for the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, Lewis set a time of 1’26”714 and took his seventh career pole one year after his first ever Formula 1 race. His teammate Heikki Kovalainen qualified third fastest with a time of 1’27”079 which is the Finn’s highest ever Formula 1 qualifying position.

Lewis Hamilton: “I couldn’t have wished for a better start to the season, and it’s great to see Heikki and my friend Robert doing well, and the team has done a super job in getting all the necessary parts ready in time. During Q1 I was held up in traffic, but everything just came together when it mattered in Q3. The track conditions were a bit easier today compared to yesterday as it wasn’t as hot. I think the start will be interesting tomorrow due to the change in regulations. Last year it was relatively easy where as now it’s dependent on the driver, so I want to get that right. Fortunately I am starting from the clean side of the track for once, and hopefully that will help a bit, but it will be a long and tough race.”

Heikki Kovalainen: “I am pleased to qualify third, but there is still room for improvement. It was a fairly smooth lap, and the balance of the car felt good. At the end I didn’t nail a perfect lap, but throughout the weekend I have just been taking things steady, not making any mistakes and keep pushing harder and harder. Last year I didn’t make the best start to the season, so today’s result is a great beginning to my career as a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver. The guys in the team are working so hard, staying at the track until the early hours this morning fixing a small problem with the gearbox – that is dedication for you. I think we are looking strong for the race, and I am looking forward to tomorrow.”

Norbert Haug: “A perfect start to the season. Lewis’ pole position and Heikki’s third place are good preconditions as both their cars will be starting on the line with the better grip. Both drivers did a great job and the team worked perfectly. Our strategy is good, and our speed looked OK so far. Congratulations to BMW who with second place make it an all German power front row. We are looking forward to a challenging race tomorrow.”

Ron Dennis: “A great outcome of the first qualifying of the season which reflects the hard work put in by the entire team during the winter. Both Lewis and Heikki have done an excellent job so far this weekend. Hopefully today’s result represents our performance for the future and we will be focussing on maintaining this throughout the rest of the season.”

source: McLaren-Mercedes 

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