British F1 driver Lewis Hamilton talking to the press after securing pole position in the Australian Grand Prix in Albert Park on Saturday. - EPA
MELBOURNE (AFP): Lewis Hamilton spoke of his pride on Saturday after matching boyhood hero Nigel Mansell's British record of 32 pole positions after a dramatic qualifying session at the Australian Grand Prix.
Hamilton, who also claimed the milestone 100th pole position for Mercedes, snatched the top qualifying time in the dying seconds and said it was "incredible" to equal the mark of the 1992 world champion.
"Another Brit, one of the greatest British drivers we had and (he) achieved so much," Hamilton said.
"I've been racing since my eighth year so to be in Formula One has always been my dream but to get to as many poles as him is an incredible achievement.
"I owe that to all the great people I've worked with through my career at McLaren-Mercedes and now Mercedes and the team, and my family and the good people I have around me."
Hamilton qualified narrowly ahead of Red Bull's home favourite Daniel Ricciardo, with his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg third.
Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff said Hamilton and Rosberg had put the team in position to go after maximum points in Sunday's season-opener.
"The points are won on Sunday and we know that it will be a tough race in terms of fuel consumption and reliability," Wolff said.