Lewis Hamilton targeting Melbourne victory despite George Russell outqualifying him

Lewis Hamilton's last victory came at the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, but he believes he will have a chance on Sunday in Melbourne.

Seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton is targeting victory on Sunday at the Australian Grand Prix, after delivering his best qualifying performance of the 2023 F1 season so far at the Albert Park Circuit.

Since the introduction of the new aerodynamic regulations, qualifying has been a struggle for Hamilton who is, of course, a 103-time polesitter.

The 38-year-old hasn’t claimed a pole position since the start of the new aerodynamic era, with the Brit commonly starting nowadays behind team-mate George Russell.

Hamilton did qualify behind Russell again on Saturday, with the Mercedes duo claiming second and third on the grid respectively.

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Nobody was expecting Mercedes to perform as well as they did in qualifying, with Hamilton now feeling optimistic that he can not only challenge Russell on Sunday but also 2021 rival Max Verstappen who will start from pole.

The Stevenage-born driver wants to give Red Bull “a run for their money” on Sunday and is prepared to “work as hard as I can” to claim at the very worst, a podium.

“This is totally unexpected,” Hamilton admitted after qualifying P3.

“Really proud of the team. George did an amazing job there today so for us to be up on the front two rows is honestly a dream for us.

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“We are all working as hard as we can to get right back up to the front so to be this close to Red Bull is incredible. Hopefully tomorrow we can give them a run for their money and we hope the weather is good. 

“I am super grateful for this position and I am just going to work as hard as I can tomorrow. (My goal) is to get to first.”

The British driver is hoping to make as strong a start to the race on Sunday as he did in his first ever F1 race back in 2007, which also took place in Melbourne.

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Hamilton qualified fourth on that day but was in third after the opening corner, due to having overtaken team-mate at the time Fernando Alonso around the outside.

“I am going to try and see and I will be hoping like my first day here 2007, Turn One,” Hamilton said.

“I don’t know if anybody remembers but hopefully we can do that.”