F1: Round 2 – Melbourne, Australia – Qualifying

Sebastian Vettel was the class of the field from the outset in qualifying and duly walked away with his second successive pole position, and the kind of performance gap over the rest that means – spark plug problems permitting – he will be difficult to match in tomorrow’s race.

Vettel looked composed and confident throughout, fending off the challenge of his team mate (and local hero) Mark Webber with seeming ease.

The only driver able to come close to matching the pace of the Red Bull duo was Fernando Alonso who was getting the absolute maximum out of his Ferrari and finished well ahead of his team mate Felipe Massa who was back in fifth.

The two Ferraris sandwiched Jenson Button, who – despite never nailing the pace in the last sector – did well to finish in fourth place, especially when compared with his team mate Lewis Hamilton who had a very poor Q2 and ended up finishing in 11th, failing to make the final qualifying period and looking very glum about it when brusquely answering reporters’ queries afterwards. Australia is most definitely not his favourite F1 venue these days.

Generally the running was dominated early on by some quick-dry treatment put down on the track after a supporting DRM race accident left oil on the track; and then by traffic in Q1 and Q2 with the far-slower backmarkers ruining more than a few of the front-runners’ laps.

And over all this was the weather, which rapidly cooled and got windier as the session went on, ending up in the closing minutes looking very dark and stormy and only narrowly failing to deliver rain that would have curtailed everyone’s fun in the last few minutes.

Qualifying positions

Pos Driver       Team                     Q1        Q2        Q3
 1  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault      1:24.774  1:24.096  1:23.919
 2  Webber       Red Bull-Renault      1:25.286  1:24.276  1:24.035
 3  Alonso       Ferrari               1:25.082  1:24.335  1:24.111
 4  Button       McLaren-Mercedes      1:24.897  1:24.531  1:24.675
 5  Massa        Ferrari               1:25.548  1:25.010  1:24.837
 6  Rosberg      Mercedes              1:24.788  1:24.788  1:24.884
 7  Schumacher   Mercedes              1:25.351  1:24.871  1:24.927
 8  Barrichello  Williams-Cosworth     1:25.702  1:25.085  1:25.217
 9  Kubica       Renault               1:25.588  1:25.122  1:25.372
10  Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  1:25.504  1:25.046  1:26.036
11  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes      1:25.046  1:25.184
12  Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:26.061  1:25.638
13  Liuzzi       Force India-Mercedes  1:26.170  1:25.743
14  de la Rosa   Sauber-Ferrari        1:26.089  1:25.747
15  Hulkenberg   Williams-Cosworth     1:25.866  1:25.748
16  Kobayashi    Sauber-Ferrari        1:26.251  1:25.777
17  Alguersuari  Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:26.095  1:26.089
18  Petrov       Renault               1:26.471
19  Kovalainen   Lotus-Cosworth        1:28.797
20  Trulli       Lotus-Cosworth        1:29.111
21  Glock        Virgin-Cosworth       1:29.592
22  di Grassi    Virgin-Cosworth       1:30.185
23  Senna        HRT-Cosworth          1:30.526
24  Chandhok     HRT-Cosworth          1:30.613
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