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Dominant Hamilton takes pole in Australia

Lewis Hamilton has taken pole in Australia. Credit: PA

Lewis Hamilton delivered an emphatic performance to stave off a resurgent Ferrari and claim pole position for Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel, who could very well prove to be Hamilton's closest challenger this year, will line up alongside the Mercedes driver in a tantalising front row, with Valtteri Bottas - the Finn who has replaced reigning champion Nico Rosberg - in third.

Kimi Raikkonen was a distant fourth, while home favourite Daniel Ricciardo dramatically crashed out of qualifying after he lost control of his Red Bull and smashed into the tyre barrier.

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Hamilton on pole ahead of Rosberg in Abu Dhabi

Lewis Hamilton will start on pole ahead of Nico Rosberg. Credit: Reuters

A dominant Lewis Hamilton delivered another crushing display over his title rival Nico Rosberg to secure pole position for the championship-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hamilton was in a field of one under the floodlights at the Yas Marina Circuit to finish more than three tenths of a second ahead of Rosberg.

But the German, who is 12 points ahead of Hamilton, will join his Mercedes team-mate on the front row, and should he finish in the top three tomorrow evening, he will be crowned world champion.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo crossed the line as the best of the rest to line up in third with Kimi Raikkonen fourth on the grid for Ferrari.

Hamilton keeps F1 title hopes alive with Mexico pole

Lewis Hamilton (right) must pull out all the stops to beat title rival Nico Rosberg. Credit: PA

Lewis Hamilton kept his slim championship hopes alive by claiming pole position for Sunday's Mexican Grand Prix ahead of his title rival Nico Rosberg.

Rosberg, 26 points ahead of Hamilton in the title race, arrived here in Mexico knowing that a win tomorrow, and 10th or lower for Hamilton, would be enough for him to clinch the championship.

But the German, who has been strangely out of sorts this weekend, was staring at a disappointing fourth on the grid only to save his very best lap of the weekend until the closing moments to join Hamilton on the front row.

The Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo will start from third and fourth respectively.

Rosberg deserves to win F1 title - Verstappen

Nico Rosberg. Credit: PA

Nico Rosberg deserves to beat Lewis Hamilton to this year's world championship, according to Red Bull prodigy Max Verstappen.

Rosberg, 31, is on the brink of claiming his first world title after moving 26 points clear of Hamilton with only three rounds remaining.

And while Hamilton was faster than Rosberg in both practice sessions in Mexico City on Friday, the German knows he can afford to finish second in two of the final three races, and third once, and still clinch the title.

Rosberg, who can win the championship as early as this weekend if he triumphs in Mexico and Hamilton finishes 10th or lower, has enjoyed a relatively trouble-free year. In contrast, the defence of Hamilton's third title has been plagued by a number of mechanical problems.

"Of course Lewis had some bad luck, but Nico has had some very strong races, too," Verstappen told Press Association Sport. "That is racing - it is a mechanical sport - and these things can happen.

"This year, definitely compared to last year, Nico really stepped up and he has some great results. He deserves it and he is definitely fighting hard for it. He is fired up because Lewis won the world championship twice, and he finished second and that is not nice. So, you always try to work harder in the winter and become stronger and even better."

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