Hamilton was in a category of 1 right here at Albert Park in Melbourne as he produced yet one more one-lap masterclass to fireplace an all-too acquainted warning to his rivals within the very first qualifying session of the 12 months.
The defending champion, 33, roared to the highest of the time sheets to complete an eye-watering six tenths of a second forward of the remainder to seal his 73rd profession pole and a document seventh right here in Australia.
Vettel certified solely third after he was overwhelmed to the entrance row by his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen – and Hamilton couldn’t resist a playful jibe in opposition to his chief championship protagonist on the eve of their battle for a fifth Formulation One world title.
Hamilton was requested to clarify a “party mode” radio name from his Mercedes crew which was relayed to the British driver within the moments earlier than his super-quick lap.
The message appeared to indicate that Hamilton might use a authorized energy enhance within the shoot-out for pole.
Hamilton and Vettel posted comparable occasions on their penultimate runs, however the Englishman was nicely away from his rival following their respective remaining timed laps.
“I can assure you we don’t have a ‘party mode’,” Hamilton stated. “There was no extra button.”
“What were you doing before then?” requested Vettel, sitting to the suitable of the Mercedes driver.
Hamilton hit again: “I was waiting to put a good lap in to wipe the smile off your face.”
Vettel didn’t reply to Hamilton’s preliminary jibe, earlier than the incident was re-visited.
“He said it so quick the first time I didn’t get it,” Vettel stated. “But now I do. What goes around comes around.”
Vettel continued: “If that is what he enjoys, doing well on a Saturday…”. Hamilton interrupted: “It really was a joke, man.”
Vettel replied: “I know. He [Hamilton] is free to have a party tonight and hopefully Kimi and I will have a party tomorrow.”