Michael Schumacher began his attempt to win a fourth consecutive Australian Grand Prix by taking the pole Saturday for the season-opening Formula One race.
Schumacher lapped the 3.295-mile Albert Park circuit in 1 minute, 27.173 seconds. That was .245 seconds faster than Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello.
Schumacher didn't seem affected by a new qualifying format. It's divided into two one-hour sessions Friday and Saturday, instead of one hour Saturday. Drivers get one "flying lap," with cars running one at a timem instead of getting up to 12 laps in a session.
Juan Montoya's Williams BMW was third fastest in 1:28.101. Next came Heinz-Harald Frentzen's Sauber in 1:28.274.
After winning 11 times last season, Schumacher is seeking a record sixth world title.