Daniel Ricciardo looked like grabbing an outstanding pole on his Red Bull debut at his home Grand Prix, only for Lewis Hamilton to steal it at the final moment in a rain-hit qualifying session at the Australian GP in Melbourne.
Hamilton will start in pole position in the first race of the F1 season, after timing 1:44.231 with a gamble to drive on the wet tyres paid off. Ricciardo for all money looked like making it a glorious debut with a time of 1:44.595, after the Australian beat Hamilton's Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg (1:44.762).
"It's been an interesting weekend," said Hamilton, whose Mercedes car has looked a lot better than the Ferraris and the Red Bulls. "Today [Saturday], it made it so much harder for everyone with the conditions. I'm really happy for the job the team did.
"You know these new cars are so much harder to drive in the wet and it was the first time for me driving in the wet, as I'm sure it was for a lot of people. A serious task and challenge today, but for both me and Nico to be up here is a great showing for the team and it's obviously great to see Ricciardo up here for his first grand prix with Red Bull."
Ricciardo's second place is all the more remarkable after his the Red Bull debutant's teammate and four-time defending champion Sebastian Vettel failed to even make it to Q3 and will start 13th on the grid.
"It was exciting out there -- the weather definitely added to the mix and the whole session went well," Ricciardo said. "Q1 looked like it was going okay for us and then, when the rain fell, it's the first time we've driven these cars on the limit in wet conditions.
"It was tricky, but at the same time a lot of fun and it was nice to always be up there. The engineer was always on the radio saying the pace was good and that we were P1, P2 P3 and in the battle for the pole position, so it was definitely a really nice first qualifying session with the team.
"I'm happy for us to have a front row start -- it wasn't looking like this a few weeks ago, so I'm pretty pleased right now."
Formula One: Australian GP Live TV Information (Race starts 5 pm local time, 6 am GMT, 11.30 am IST, 2 am ET):
|India||Star Sports 4, Star Sports HD2|
|United Kingdom||BBC, Sky Sports|
|Middle East and North Africa||Bein Sports Arabia|
|Germany, Italy||Sky Sport|
Formula One: Australian GP Online Live Streaming Information (Race starts 5 pm local time, 6 am GMT, 11.30 am IST, 2 am ET):
|UK||HERE or HERE or HERE|
|Germany and Italy||HERE or HERE|
Fernando Alonso will start fifth, with McLaren's Kevin Magnussen taking an impressive fourth as his teammate - the seasoned Jenson Button - only managed eleventh.
Alonso's Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen also did not fare so well and will be sandwiched between Button and Vettel in 12th.
"Qualifying wasn't straightforward today, especially because of traffic," Raikkonen said on Saturday. "When I was on a quick lap, I had a car in front of me at every corner. That stopped me getting a clean lap and at the end of Q2, I spun off damaging the front wing.
"I don't think I'd have gone quicker anyway, as I had already reduced my speed at this point, because I knew already I wouldn't make it to Q3. It's a shame, because compared to yesterday we have made some steps forward.
"Tomorrow's race will be tough, the weather forecast is unclear and on top of that, with the new rules, it's hard to predict how things will go. But it's only the first race of the year and we will do our best to get a good result."
Force India had a mixed outing in qualifying, with Nico Hulkenberg finishing seventh, while teammate Sergio Perez could only manage the 16th best time.