Lewis Hamilton made the most of wet conditions as he took the first pole position of the 2014 season at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne today.

The 29 year-old timed his final flying lap well, managing to pip Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg. Dry conditions at the start of qualifying had given way to rain, with the drivers being forced on to intermediate and wet tyres to complete the session.

There were big-name casualties who failed to make the top ten, with Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button all missing out. Button’s rookie team mate Kevin Magnussen put in an impressive drive in the wet conditions to take 4th place on the grid, while Vettel’s new team mate Ricciardo sent the Australian crowd into delight when he took provisional pole, although he had to settle for 2nd on the grid in the end.

It was a qualifying session which highlighted the struggles and reliability issues affecting many teams after the new 2014 regulations. Romain Grosjean, who put his Lotus on the podium in four out of the final six races last season, qualified in 21st ahead of team mate Pastor Maldonado, who failed to set a time.

Toro Rosso rookie Daniel Kvyat and Kimi Raikkonen both had crashes, the latter’s bringing out yellow flags which severely hampered the qualifying times of several other drivers who were on a flying lap at the time, including Vettel and Button.

With the reliability of the new 2014 cars still under question, tomorrow’s race is set to be an unpredictable and thrilling affair.

Full Qualifying Results

1 HAMILTON  1:44.231
2 RICCIARDO  +0.317
3 ROSBERG  +0.364
4 MAGNUSSEN  +1.514
5 ALONSO  +1.588
6 VERGNE  +1.633
7 HULKENBERG  +1.799
8 KVYAT  +3.137
9 MASSA  +3.848
10 BOTTAS*  +3.916

10 KVYAT +2.067
11 BUTTON  +2.173
12 RAIKKONEN  +2.230
13 VETTEL  +4.997
14 SUTIL  +3.391
15 KOBAYASHI  +3.603
16 PEREZ  +5.029

17 CHILTON +3.518
18 BIANCHI  +4.019
19 GUTIERREZ*  +4.342
20 ERRICSON  +4.382
21 GROSJEAN  +6.218
22 MALDONADO (No time set)

*5 place grid penalty