Hamilton 'thrilled' to be on front row
|By Jonathan Noble and Pablo Elizalde||Saturday, March 26th 2011, 07:34 GMT|
Lewis Hamilton said he was "absolutely thrilled" after qualifying on the front row of the grid for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
The McLaren driver surpassed expectations following a difficult winter and put his car alongside pole-setter Sebastian Vettel, who was untouchable in the Red Bull.
Hamilton was delighted with the result and was thankful for the team's decision to change its exhaust layout for the race.
"I am absolutely thrilled to be up here today," said Hamilton. "The guys at the factory have done an unbelievable job. We have really got ourselves on the right track."
He added: "A fantastic and super effort back at the factory, it was a very brave and tough decision to pull back what we did over the winter test. We decided to come back and go in another direction. It was very rare, we have never done that before, but the results from the wind tunnel looked good.
"Th guys work harder than ever, the car feels a huge improvement for us and a great stepping stone for us and a great foundation for us to step on."
The Briton admitted, however, that Red Bull, which didn't use KERS during qualifying, was too far at the moment.
"The gap if they didn't use KERS is another half a second so it's 1.3 seconds which is not normal," he said.
"We as a team have good a development rate over the years. We have seen us come from quite far back. We are at the front - at least we are in the fight and from there we can score good points. Our car feels fantastic so I can't imagine what their feels like."