Unexpected starting grid for Australia GP?!?
Sebastian Vettel took pole position with ease for the first race of the season in Australia, beating Lewis Hamilton to the top spot by 0.778 seconds. The world champion's dominance never really looked in doubt as he led the way in all three sessions of qualifying and didn't touch his KERS on his final lap. The bigger story, perhaps, is that team-mate Mark Webber was nearly second off and will start the race from the second row of the grid.
Lewis Hamilton denied Red Bull a front row sweep by getting his McLaren up to second in the final moments, pushing Mark Webber back to third. Jenson Button completed the top four in the second McLaren, ahead of Fernando Alonso in the best of the Ferraris. His team-mate Felipe Massa was only eighth after a troubled session that saw him only just make it out of Q1, then spin on his out-lap at the end of Q3.
Vitaly Petrov took a excellent sixth for Lotus-Renault, while the Mercedes resurgence was not as dramatic as the final test had indicated. Nico Rosberg was seventh and Michael Schumacher missed out on a Q3 slot by the agonising margin of 0.089s after a poor run to his final Q2 lap.
Troubled qualifying sesssion for Barrichello,he touched the grass under braking for Turn 3 and spun into the gravel before he could set a Q2 time. Nick Heidfeld season also got off to a poor start. He was unable to get the Lotus-Renault out of Q1 and will start 18th.
Last year's new teams have so far failed to show any progress, with Lotus back in its 2010 position behind the rest of the field, but ahead of the Virgins, which were at least quick enough to make the 107 per cent cut today. HRT finished outside the 107% rule, meaning Tonio Liuzzi and Narain Karthikeyan will have to rely on the good will of the FIA and other teams if they are going to be allowed to start the race. That is unlikely to happen. The team completed just a handful of laps in free practice, meaning its 11 laps of running per car in qualifying is the most the new car has completed since its launch.
P. DRIVER TEAM TIME GAP 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m23.529s 2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m24.307s + 0.778s 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m24.395s + 0.866s 4. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m24.779s + 1.250s 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m24.974s + 1.445s 6. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m25.247s + 1.718s 7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m25.421s + 1.892s 8. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m25.599s + 2.070s 9. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m25.626s + 2.097s 10. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m27.066s + 3.537s Q2 11. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m25.971s 12. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m26.103s 13. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m26.108s 14. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m26.739s 15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m26.768s 16. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m31.407s 17. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth Q3 18. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m27.239s 19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1m29.254s 20. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1m29.342s 21. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m29.858s 22. Jerome D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m30.822s 23. Tonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1m32.978s 24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m34.293s 107% time: 1m31.266s