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Hamilton tops final free practice in Australia
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Mar 16, 2019 12:30 AM 1+ week ago

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton blazed to a record-extending eighth pole and sixth in succession at the Australian Grand Prix on Saturday to lead Valtteri Bottas to a Mercedes sweep of the front row of the grid.

Hamilton struggled with a brake problem during the frenetic final session at Albert Park but edged his Finnish team mate by 0.112 seconds with a searing second lap of one minute 20.486 seconds that set a record at the lakeside circuit.

The one-two punch by Mercedes left Ferrari and their championship rivals stunned, with Hamilton's chief challenger Sebastian Vettel, who qualified third, more than seven-tenths of a second off the five-times champion's pace.

"Oh man, I'm shaking it was so close out there," Briton 34-year-old Hamilton said after extending his pole record to 84 on a warm, sunny afternoon in Melbourne.

Hamilton matched Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher for the record number of poles at a single race track.

Four-times champion Vettel, bidding ...

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