F1: Round 2 – Sepang, Malaysia – Qualifying

Jenson Button secured a second consecutive pole position for the first time in his F1 career, confirming the tremendous form he and the Brawn team are in right now. It was no easy matter, with Toyota pushing extremely hard and Williams and Red Bull also right on the pace.

Button always looked like the man to beat for pole, but it was a coin toss between him and a flying Jarno Trulli at the end. If Trulli had driven straight for the line and not swept across the start/finish straight, it may even have made up the four hundredths of a second deficit that kept Jarno from the top slot.

Sebastian Vettel’s fine run of form continued with 3rd (although he will drop ten places for the accident at the end of the Australian GP after qualifying an impressive 3rd) just ahead of Rubens Barrichello (who himself will go down five spots on the grid for a gearbox change.)

But it was a poor display from the traditional Big Two, with Ferrari disastrously caught out thinking Felipe Massa was safe in Q1 only to see the times tumble in the last minutes and for Massa to end up 16th – and out of qualifying. Massa’s picture looked like a tropical storm at this fumble. His team mate Kimi Raikkonen squeezed through in 14th and then did enough to get into Q3, but the Ferrari looked sluggish – running wide and off track on multiple occasions – and he ended up only 9th on the grid.

That’s still ahead of both McLarens. Lewis Hamilton himself only just rescued his Q1 session in the last moment to avoid joining Massa on the sidelines, but it never looked likely that either he or Heikki Kovalainen would make it into the top ten.

BMW left it late in Q1 to record competitive times and at one stage looked like they might both go out. Nick Heidfeld eventually just missed going through to the final qualifying session, while Robert Kubica did – but could only score 8th.

Pos  Driver       Team                       Q1        Q2        Q3
 1.  Button       Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:35.058  1:33.784  1:35.181
 2.  Trulli       Toyota                (B)  1:34.745  1:33.990  1:35.273
 3.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:34.935  1:34.276  1:35.518
 4.  Barrichello  Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:34.681  1:34.387  1:35.651
 5.  Glock        Toyota                (B)  1:34.907  1:34.258  1:35.690
 6.  Rosberg      Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:35.083  1:34.547  1:35.750
 7.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:35.027  1:34.222  1:35.797
 8.  Kubica       BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:35.166  1:34.562  1:36.106
 9.  Raikkonen    Ferrari               (B)  1:35.476  1:34.456  1:36.170
10.  Alonso       Renault               (B)  1:35.260  1:34.706  1:37.659
11.  Heidfeld     BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:35.110  1:34.769
12.  Nakajima     Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:35.341  1:34.788
13.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:35.280  1:34.905
14.  Kovalainen   McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:35.023  1:34.924
15.  Bourdais     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:35.507  1:35.431
16.  Massa        Ferrari               (B)  1:35.642
17.  Piquet       Renault               (B)  1:35.708
18.  Fisichella   Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:35.908
19.  Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:35.951
20.  Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:36.107

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