Lewis Hamilton has described his pole position for tomorrow’s Qantas Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix as a fantastic start to his 2012 campaign.
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The 2008 World Champion endured a difficult time last season, with his year dogged by on-track incidents and unwanted off-track attention.
The 27-year-old Briton has now scored 20 pole positions since making his debut at Albert Park in 2007, and says that today’s performance was one of his best.
“I still can’t believe that I’ve had so many pole positions,” said Hamilton.
“For me, every one has been special, but particularly this one.
“To come straight into the season and start off so well in qualifying, we’ve still got a day ahead of us, but it’s a fantastic feeling and of course with a tough couple of years gone past it’s certainly a good way to start off on the right foot.”
Hamilton will share the front-row of the grid with team-mate Jenson Button after both Red Bull Racing entries failed to shine in the all-important Q3 session.
With both Ferraris eliminated in Q2, the second row will be shared by the Lotus of Romain Grosjean and the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher
“I think we’re all pretty surprised,” said Hamilton of Red Bull’s lack of speed.
“Myself, I always thought the Lotus was going to be quick this weekend, which they are.
“I am surprised that we are so fast. Obviously I knew that we would be competitive this weekend, but I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of how close people would be.”
Saturday provided teams with their first extended dry running of the Australian Grand Prix weekend following Friday’s two rain affected sessions.
Hamilton believes that the resulting lack of data available to the teams has increased the importance of what was learnt during pre-season testing.
“You could always do with more time on the track and more running, but I think everyone is in the same boat generally,” said Hamilton.
“We have to really rely on the data and the information that we got from the tyres in the winter testing at Barcelona, and hopefully that will put us in good stead for tomorrow.
“It’s going to be an interesting race, for sure. We don’t know what these tyres are going to do, but they don’t seem to bad.”
See below for Speedcafe.com’s Australian Grand Prix Race Guide