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Australian Grand Prix Qualifying – Vettel Pipped Webber for Pole

by F1Fan on March 27, 2010

Red Bull literally took the bull by the horns in qualifying today and look to be the team to beat at the Australian Grand Prix. Fastest in all three qualifying sessions Sebastian Vettel claimed Pole position, narrowly beating Mark Webber, his team mate and local favorite in the last seconds of Q3.

Q1 started with Fernando Alonso setting fast lap closely followed by Weber who went back and forward setting the early fast times but at the end of the session Sebastian Vettel showed his true pace and the top six finishing order was: 1 Vettel, 2 Rosberg, 3 Button, 4 Hamilton, 5 Alonso, 6 Weber.

For the first time this season all cars finished the first qualifying session a small step forward for the three new teams that currently are bringing up the rear of the field. Not surprisingly all of the new teams were eliminated in Q1, but it was pretty much a surprise for Vitaly Petrov to be elimiated as he had been quick during the practice sessions. Positions of those eliminated were 19 Petrov, 20 Kovalainen, 21 Trulli, 22 Di Grassi , 23 Senna, 24 Chandhok.

Q2 started the same way as Q1 with Weber and Alonso fighting for fastest lap. With one Lap to go Webber was in the lead but again Vettel put a great lap together beating his teammate with seconds to go. Ending positions of the top 6 were 1 Vettel, 2 Webber, 3 Alonso, 4 Button, with the Mercedes of Rosberg and Schumacher coming in 5th and 6th respectively.

The big surprise of Q2 was Lewis Hamilton who was way off the pace and ended up being eliminated. The Drivers that failed to make it through to Q3 were: 11th HAmilton,12 Buemi, 13 Liuzzi, 14 De La Rosa, 15 Hulkenberg, 16 Kobayashi, 17 Alguersuari.

As Q3 started their were reports of rain in the area and Webber, Alonso & Rosberg were first trying to put in an early fast lap. Alonso gets around Webber and sets fastest lap only to be beaten immediately by Webber and then Vettel again sets fastest lap. During the pit stops to changes tires both Red Bull cars go into the garage and indication that they were runing very light on fuel as no refueling is allowed in pit lane at Albert Park this race weekend. In the last stint on new tires Vettels fastest lap stands and both Alonso and Webber back off on their final lap being unable to match Vettels time.

This is seven career pole for Vettel and his second pole for the season. With the Red Bulls starting on the front row it definitely is looking good for the team, with Albert Park being a notoriously difficult track to overtake on being very green (slippery) offline. Tomorrow should be a great race especially as rain is forecast, if that happens it is really going mix it up and maybe this will be the the best chance Mark Webber will have of winning his home grand prix although he will need a great start being on the dirty side of the track.

In the post qualifying press conference Webber was obviously disappointed that he missed pole position by just eight one hundredths of a second:

“I would love to be on pole. Second is a good result as Seb said for the team. Both of us are up there which is fantastic. It is a lot better than my qualifying in Bahrain. The lap was pretty decent but for both of us there is always a little bit here and there where you can get a little bit more out of it. In the end I did my best. That’s all I could do. The middle sector, turn six and nine, is always a balancing act to get the entries and exit clean, so overall I would say I would like to be one place further up but Seb did a good job for the team, so very, very close and see how we go tomorrow.”

Australian Grand Prix Grid Position

Grid PositionDriver/TeamGrid PositionDriver/Team
1Vettel/Red Bull Racing2Webber/Red Bull Racing
5Massa/Ferrari6Rosberg/Mercedes GP
7Schumacher/Mercedes GP8Barrichello/Williams F1
9Kubica/Renault10Sutil/Force India
11Hamilton/McLaren12Buemi/Toro Rosso
13Liuzzi/Force India14De La Rosa/BMW Sauber F1
15Hulkenberg/Williams F116Kobayashi/BMW Sauber F1
17Alguersuari/Toro Rosso18Petrov/Renault F1
19Kovalainen/Lotus Racing20Trulli/Lotus Racing
21Glock/Virgin Racing22Di Grassi/Virgin Racing
23Senna/HRT F124Chandhok/HRT F1
March 27th, 2010
2010 F1 Season, Round 2
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