Mercedes and Hamilton in 'party mode' after pole stunner

Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo reveals his first ever car

For Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo, his day job is all about speed.

Ricciardo therefore entered qualifying with the sanction hanging over him, and was a low-key fifth in Q3, meaning he will drop to eighth on the grid.

"I feel like I've answered already so many contract talks [questions] and we haven't even got the first race of this year done, so I'm just going to put all those talks on hold for a while", he said.

At Mercedes, which has won 63 of the 79 races since F1 dumped normally aspirated V8 engines for V6 turbo hybrid power plants in 2014, Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas has been retained for 2018 after a debut season with the team past year that produced three wins, but a third-place finish in the drivers' championship behind Vettel in a vehicle demonstrably better than the Ferrari.

Was that question answered Friday at Albert Park? "That was the time I was starting to see more of the world and actually appreciate what it is, and how I fit into it".

Champion Lewis Hamilton grabbed a record seventh pole at the Australian race for Mercedes, surpassing Ayrton Senna's six and leaving a gap of more than six-tenths of a second to Ferrari's second-placed Kimi Raikkonen.

Sky F1's Ted Kravitz speaks to Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo about his three-pace grid penalty.

More news: Jonathan Martin charged with making criminal threats

"Does that really rob me of a front-row start?"

Following video and data evidence and a conversation with the driver, the stewards decreed that the Red Bull driver slowed significantly in the final turns.

"The stewards also found that Ricciardo slowed by as much as 175km/h from his fast times at Turn 12 and was consistently and significantly slower in the final three turns, indicating that he was fully complying with the requirements of Appendix H of the International Sporting Code".

A year ago, Ricciardo received a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change before retiring early. However, an error in reading his dash meant he still completed the lap too quickly.

"Breach of this regulation is seen to be an extremely serious matter".

Saturday's Formula 1 action is due to start at 2pm, with a 60-minute third practice session.

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