Hamilton in 'shock' after Mercedes dominate Ferrari

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Lewis Hamilton said it was a "real shock" for Mercedes to be so dominant in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix after he took pole ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton clocked a lap record of one minute 20.486 seconds at Albert Park to seal a sixth consecutive pole at the track.

The reigning champion also matched the records held by Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher for the most poles at one circuit, as he will start out in front for an eighth time in the first race of the season.

Hamilton edged out Bottas by 0.112 seconds and was a massive seven tenths quicker than Sebastian Vettel, who took third spot for Ferrari.

The Brit claims the difference between the Silver Arrows and rivals Ferrari took him by surprise.

"I really wasn't expecting to see the performance difference. It is a real shock." he said.

He added: "Yesterday, Ferrari were with us. We were heavy on fuel, and then when we dropped fuel we were on par in terms of performance. Then all of a sudden, they lost some performance this morning, which is not what I was expecting.

"It's a difficult circuit and it's dusty, it could be a number of things [why they were slower]. I'm grateful for where our car is and I know Ferrari will be pushing hard and progressing in the coming days."

Hamilton has won just once from his last five starts from pole in Australia, so all is not lost for Vettel.