Melbourne:Briton's Lewis Hamilton in a McLaren claimed pole position for Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix in final qualifying on Saturday.
Hamilton, runner-up to Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen by one point in last year's championship, claimed his seventh career pole and will start from the inside of the grid in the Australian GP.
Poland's Robert Kubica, in a BMW Sauber, almost stole the pole position when he hit the front in the third and final stage of qualifying but spoilt his flying lap when he veered off the track losing valuable fractions of a second.
Hamilton's teammate Heikki Kovalainen was third in qualifying in a great start to the new season for McLaren.
Raikkonen lost his chance when he car dramatically slowed towards the end of the first stage of qualifying and came to a stop at the top of the pit straight and needed to be pushed by his mechanics to the team garage.