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
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
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