Lewis Hamilton has set his sights on challenging Red Bull after achieving an “unexpected” first top three qualifying appearance of the season. Mercedes became surprise challengers for the Australian GP Pole Position, with George Russell eventually finishing two tenths away from Verstappen’s time. Hamilton took third, with Russell claiming a 3-0 qualifying advantage for the 2023 season, but the seven-time World Champion was enthused by the qualifying performance from the W14 car. “I’m so happy with this!” Hamilton told media. “Totally unexpected. Really, really proud of the team. George did a fantastic job today. “For us to be up on the two front rows is honestly a dream for us. We’re all working as hard as we can to get right back up the front, and so to be this close to Red Bull is honestly incredible. “I hope tomorrow we can give them a bit of a run for their money, and we hope the weather is good. “The second lap wasn’t as good as obviously the first one. I did get a little bit further ahead in the last sector but, ultimately, I lost out a little bit at the beginning, but I’m not disappointed.” When asked about his aims for the race, Hamilton responded: “To get to first!”

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