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Hamilton starts title defense on pole position

The English Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) begins this Sunday the defense of his title from the first position of the starting formation of the Australian Grand Prix, the first round of the Formula One World Championship, in Melbourne, where the Spanish Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso) , the best of the debutants, will start eighth.

Hamilton, 30, who last year achieved his second world crown in the premier class of motorsport, after the one he won in 2008 for McLaren, achieved his thirty-ninth pole in Formula One on Saturday clearly, with six tenths ahead of his teammate and main rival, the German Nico Rosberg; and after having headed all the time tables of the day.

Lewis, who this Sunday will seek his thirty-fourth victory at Albert Park, a track where he won the year of his first title – and in which he also started from pole last year, before leaving, due to an engine failure. – He pointed out that, for now, in sporting terms nothing has changed at the top of Formula One.

Everything remains the same: Mercedes continues to clearly dominate the rest of the group and Rosberg, winner in Australia last year, who finished second last World Cup, is once again presented as the main opponent to English. After having also done it in the last eight races of 2014, the ‘silver arrows’ will once again take over the first row of the grid and point to another ‘double’.

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Brazilian Felipe Massa (Williams), the last driver who snatched a pole from Mercedes, last June, at Spielberg (Austria), was the one who came closest to his records.

And he stayed a second and a half from the 1: 26.327 with which Hamilton ‘flew’ around the 5,303 meters of the semi-urban Melbourne track, which this Sunday is scheduled to take 58 laps, to complete a route 307 and a half kilometers.

Former Spanish teammate Fernando Alonso at Ferrari qualified just ahead of the two drivers of the (apparently resurfaced) ‘Scuderia’: German quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel, who debuts in red, and Finn Kimi Raikkonen, who will start from the third row next to his compatriot Valtteri Bottas, the other Williams.

Alonso will have to wait to confirm his return to McLaren, the team where he lived the most turbulent year of his career in 2007, when he teamed up with rookie Hamilton and Kimi won the last title for Maranello. The Asturian double world champion -the two previous years, with Renault-, absent in ‘Down Under’ as a precaution, after the accident he suffered on February 22 at the Montmeló (Barcelona) tests, plans to return in two weeks, in Sepang (Malaysia), where he won with three different cars.

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All the preventive measures seem few, in view of what happened this Saturday in Melbourne, where the McLaren of the Danish Kevin Magnussen, substitute of the Oviedo, and the English Jenson Button – world champion, with Brawn, in 2009, when he achieved the first of their three victories in Australia – they marked the worst qualifying times and will start from the back row.

The big news was starred by the debutant Carlos Sainz, son of the double Spanish world rally champion of the same name. He will start eighth at Albert Park, after signing the best result of a Spaniard in his debut in a qualifying, improving the ninth of the Marquis de Portago in the 56 French Grand Prix, in Reims.

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Sainz left behind his Dutch teammate Max Verstappen, at 17 years old the youngest debutant in history – who will start from the sixth row next to another neophyte, the Brazilian Felipe Nasr (Sauber), behind the Lotus of the French Romain Grosjean and Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado-, and the second Red Bull driver, Russian Daniil Kvyat, thirteenth.

The son of «El Matador» faces his first F1 race from the fourth row, alongside the local idol, Daniel Ricciardo, only better than him by 181 thousandths. From there he will look for a debut with points.

Roberto Merhi, called to be the second Spanish debutant, will still have to wait. His team, Manor, registered at the last minute and who confirmed the Castellón team last Monday, failed to leave, so this Sunday a race with only eighteen cars will be seen again, in which Mexican Sergio Pérez will start fifteenth. In Australia, ‘Checo’ will look for the comeback from the penultimate row.

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