Vettel beats Webber to Melbourne pole (Australian Grand Prix qualifying)

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Sebastian Vettel heads a Red Bull one-two at Melbourne
Sebastian Vettel heads a Red Bull one-two at Melbourne

Sebastian Vettel denied team mate Mark Webber a pole position start in front of his home crowd at Melbourne.

Vettel edged his team mate by less than a tenth of a second in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.

But the biggest surprise of the session was Lewis Hamilton failing to make it into the top ten.


With 24 cars on-track at once teams were working overtime on the pit wall to get their drivers onto clear parts of the track to get their laps in.

The Red Bulls, McLarens and Fernando Alonso all made it through into Q2 by making just one run. And the rapid RB6s managed it without having to use the soft tyres.

The three new cars took up their already customary places in the bottom six, Lotus ahead of Virgin and of HRT. Jarno Trulli’s performance was hindered by a broken seat.

Sebastien Buemi escaped the bottom seven in the dying stages, dropping Renault’s Vitaly Petrov out of qualifying. The Russian driver might have made it into Q2 but for a wild moment in the high-speed turn 11 and 12 chicane.


After both McLarens had made it into Q2 with a single run it was a surprise to see Lewis Hamilton fail to progress any further.

He did two efforts on the soft tyres he was 11th, 0.062s behind Robert Kubica. Hamilton’s team mate Jenson Button made it through, courtesy of his first time on the soft tyres, and he did his second run on the hard compound after that.

Ferrari also sent Alonso out on the hard tyres for his second run after going fast enough on his first attempt to guarantee he would get through to Q3.

Webber was fastest earlier in Q2 but Vettel showed his pace with a late lap that beat Webber’s time.

Rubens Barrichello took Williams into the final part of qualifying, beating team mate Nico H???lkenberg by seven tenths of a second.


Webber was quickest to begin with, beating Alonso’s time to head the field. But Vettel went faster in the first two sectors and clung on through a wild final sector to snatch provisional pole position from Webber.

They had enough time for an extra set of runs but there were no significant improvements. Webber beat Vettel in the first and third sectors but couldn’t beat Vettel’s time in the middle part of the lap.

Nor were there many changes further down the order. The Mercedes drivers were the only ones to try a run on hard tyres at the end of the session but neither driver improved their time.

Felipe Massa was the only driver to move up the order, taking fifth place some seven tenths of a second slower than Alonso.

Vettel described his pole lap as being “spot on everywhere – until I reached the last three corners”. The gap between the Red Bull drivers may be much smaller than it was at Bahrain, but it’s still Vettel who holds the upper hand.

Overall times



15Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’24.7741’24.0961’23.919
26Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’25.2861’24.2761’24.035
38Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’25.0821’24.3351’24.111
41Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’24.8971’24.5311’24.675
57Felipe MassaFerrari1’25.5481’25.0101’24.837
64Nico RosbergMercedes1’24.7881’24.7881’24.884
73Michael SchumacherMercedes1’25.3511’24.8711’24.927
89Rubens BarrichelloWilliams-Cosworth1’25.7021’25.0851’25.217
911Robert KubicaRenault1’25.5881’25.1221’25.372
1014Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’25.5041’25.0461’26.036
112Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’25.0461’25.184
1216Sebastien BuemiToro Rosso-Ferrari1’26.0611’25.638
1315Vitantonio LiuzziForce India-Mercedes1’26.1701’25.743
1422Pedro de la RosaSauber-Ferrari1’26.0891’25.747
1510Nico H???lkenbergWilliams-Cosworth1’25.8661’25.748
1623Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’26.2511’25.777
1717Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso-Ferrari1’26.0951’26.089
1812Vitaly PetrovRenault1’26.471
1919Heikki KovalainenLotus-Cosworth1’28.797
2018Jarno TrulliLotus-Cosworth1’29.111
2124Timo GlockVirgin-Cosworth1’29.592
2225Lucas di GrassiVirgin-Cosworth1’30.185
2321Bruno SennaHRT-Cosworth1’30.526
2420Karun ChandhokHRT-Cosworth1’30.613

2010 Australian Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    102 comments on “Vettel beats Webber to Melbourne pole (Australian Grand Prix qualifying)”

    1. Hopeless driving from Hamilton. Nice one for Jenson though, but generally I’m pretty disappointed…

      But this is looking very bad in general for McLaren. Jenson obviously drove great and finished 4th in quali. I think its time for McLaren to start to think about next season, they’re clearly behind Red Bull and Ferrari (remember that this is the track that should suit McLaren more than Ferrari).

      1. Whitmarsh said McLaren do not have ride height adjustment system on their car – as they thought it would be illegal – but are going to introduce it for China – this will make a massive difference and should put them right up there with the Ferrari’s and Red Bulls

        Nice one Button – proving the “nay sayers” wrong earlier than many expected – bodes well for when McLaren sort his car to how he likes it :)

      2. What kind of spirit is that ?
        Quali for Race 2: time to think about next season ???
        I’d rather say: move your #@$ and get the car right ! There are still 17 or 18 races to come !

      3. don’t your father told you to never give up?
        Don’t worry, the will come back, and win again, the title it’s another matter.

      4. cabbagesVScarrots
        27th March 2010, 9:25

        ‘Hopeless driving from Hamilton’ come on lets get some prespective here. Hamilton came into the circuit under pressure from a racist media manufactured hopla over nothing. Webber starts comparing him to Tiger woods!? Hamilton is not a golfer, he didn’t cheat on his wife or have a car crash. I cant really see the connection between the two, or is there ;)
        He had been faster than his team mate all weekend and then maclaren send him out on the wrong tyre pressure at a crucial stage, he has to pit and then is sent out with with a bizzare fuel strategy
        The Red Bulls and possibly the Ferrari of Alonso, are running essentially illegal ride hight controls and the FIA is looking the other way, again! its a joke

        1. a racist media manufactured hopla over nothing

          An F1 champion gets pulled over by the police for bad driving? The same weekend all the cars are carrying ‘make roads safe’ stickers? It’s a story. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it isn’t a story. I don’t think ‘racism’ is relevant here.

          The Red Bulls and possibly the Ferrari of Alonso, are running essentially illegal ride hight controls

          There will always be room for interpretation in the technical rules. Plenty of teams didn’t develop McLaren’s F-duct because they thought it might be illegal. That’s just the way it is.

          1. cabbagesVScarrots
            27th March 2010, 10:49

            1st of all the F-duct is an innovation that Maclaren introduced within the boundaries of FIA regulations, its without precedent and the FIA investigated it and found it kosher.

            2nd Hamilton spun his wheels, he didn’t break a speed limit or drive dangerously. There were no ‘doughnuts’ like the tabloids are saying. He disengaged his traction control and made some smoke spinning his rear tyres. Ok its unnecessary, but in no way does it deserve this media hate storm!

            Personally what I find problematic is why weren’t the teams who, allegedly, have essentially an active ride hight control device given any scrutiny FIA, when such devices clearly go against the spirit of the non refueling rule change. Its a carbon copy of ‘Diffuser Gate’ from last year, except it seems like its Ferrari and Red Bull that got the nod and the wink this time round.

            Last year the rule changes were meant to improve overtaking and then the diffusers killed that off. This year we were meant to have no refueling and qualifying on fumes in order to show up the drivers speed and car control under pressure and what we get are teams, who are more favoured than others, allowed to develop a mechanism that lets their drivers by pass the entire raison deter of the rule change! This is clearly given away by the relatively massive down force that Vettel and Webber have in lower speed twisty section of the race track

            And look what we’ve had so far, two almost identical starting grids and I predict that if doesn’t rain tomorrow, the combination of double diffusers, heavy cars, crowded race track will make for another static procession with occasional back marker falling off the track. I’m sorry but it just feels like there is something not quite right with Formula 1 at the moment.

            1. Re Hamilton: if its good enough for anyone else to get pulled up for doing a burnout, then its good enough for Lewis. That said, the police are a little “over enthusiastic” about applying the rules…

            2. Melbourne has had trouble with hoon drivers, so stict (bu fair) laws are in place, Basically put, He broke the law, he got pulled up like anyone else could (and should) it was his own fault and the media did what the media does (Blimey imagine if Schumacher did it!!!)

              Then for whatever reason he buggered it up, no reason to panic, nor to get over excited.

            3. Were the police being that strict?

              I am sure the killing of a local bar-owner might have made them a little more strict into enforcing law (read about that i think on Pitpass).
              If any other citizen or foreigner had been cought, they would have hardly brought them to their hotel.
              I am sure a lot of those guys were actually happy to arest him and tak an autograhp.

              The contrast with the “make roads safer” campaing is painfull though.

            4. “2nd Hamilton spun his wheels, he didn’t break a speed limit or drive dangerously. There were no ‘doughnuts’ like the tabloids are saying. He disengaged his traction control and made some smoke spinning his rear tyres. Ok its unnecessary, but in no way does it deserve this media hate storm!”

              Dangerous driving is dangerous driving. He should have gotten in trouble for his sear lack of maturity.

              “1st of all the F-duct is an innovation that Maclaren introduced within the boundaries of FIA regulations, its without precedent and the FIA investigated it and found it kosher.”

              Lmao, you defend one thing that discourages overtaking, and then bash something that does. All because you’re Lewis Hamilton is going to be stuck in traffic.

          2. “That’s just the way it is.”

            Keith, why is there no ruling on adjustable ride heights?

            Why don’t the FIA make clear rules on something that was so obviously going to be an issue to anyone who thought about it for even a minute?

            1. There is:

              In the last two seasons when refuelling was not allowed in F1 – 1992 and 1993 – many teams solved this problem using active suspension technology, which could be programmed to compensate for the ever-decreasingly fuel load by gradually reducing the ride height.

              But two clauses in the 2010 rules prevent those kind of systems from being used:

              “10.2.2 Any powered device which is capable of altering the configuration or affecting the performance of any part of the suspension system is forbidden.
              10.2.3 No adjustment may be made to the suspension system while the car is in motion.”
              FIA Formula 1 Technical Regulations 2010

              The regulations appear not to rule out teams designing mechanical systems to adjust ride height during pit stops, but that may prove too complicated and time-consuming to achieve.

              See here: Five problems F1 designers face in 2010

            2. It does seem a bit unfair that when Mclaren’s duct was implemented there was a storm brewing, Renault especially mad at it. But there is no speculationa bout legality about these active suspension devices.

        2. “He had been faster than his team mate all weekend ”

        3. Maybe Mark was just getting a crack at Lewis for Lewis speculating on Webber retiring after this year.
          The ol’ man battles the golf pro 8-)

      5. How can they “clearly [be] behind Red Bull and Ferrari” when Jenson qualified better than Massa?

        Last year the McLarens would be at the bottom with HTRs and Virgins, yet they were winning races at the end of the season. Now they qualify 4th and you start moaning like it’s the end of the world.
        Get a grip on yourself son.

        1. Massa had problems in qualifying, the difference between Jenson and Fernando shows the performance difference better.

      6. Next season!?!?! But it’s just the second race!?!

    2. Prisoner Monkeys
      27th March 2010, 7:57

      I hope traffic isn’t going to be compromising everyone for the rest of the season … maybe they should ater the format of Q1: the top twelve drivers in the championship get the first ten minutes, and then te bottom twelve drivers in the champonship get the second half. The slowest seven times from both sessions are then dropped because as it stands, everyone from Alonso to Petrov got shafted.

      1. I quite like it actually. F1 drivers need to earn their money and with only one established car dropping out at Q3 they should get on with it.

        If they thought about it catching a bottom 6 car if they are on a flying lap isn’t the end of the world if you’re in a top car stop abandoning laps, get past them and get the hammer down. I need to look back but even if Rubens hadn’t put another lap in in Q1 his original impeaded lap was fine.

        Talking of which did I see a McLaren out on soft tires in Q1?

      2. please do not give any more ideas to change the rules again.

    3. I’m not surprised the Red Bulls are up there but I’m disappointed by Lewis’ performance. Jenson’s in 4th which is pretty good but McLaren in general really need to step up a gear now already.

      1. With Toyota gone, McLaren have become the number 1 wasters of financial resources.

        For a top team like McLaren,being contended with a 4th place is a disgrace.They’ve got their basic design of the car totally wrong.

        Martin Whitmarsh must owe up & quit.

        1. lol a ‘disgrace’

          settle down

        2. What utter, utter rubbish!

          So when Red Bull and Ferrari were struggling at various points last season their CEs should have quite in shame? If it was as simple as buying world titles we would only want to look at the team spend at the beginning of the season.

          As far as I can tell McLaren have some time to make up in all areas however in the right conditions (see Friday practice) on certain types of tire (see Bahrain) they are on the pace. The car is not a dog however it is a bit shy of downforce at the profit of top speed at the moment. Something to work on.

          And lets remember Ferrari have already burnt a pair of engines and have to carry a lot more fuel to get through the race, and Red Bull still have signficiant and obvious reliability issues to work on.

          Button has beaten a Ferrari on the grid and it’s a diaster – hilarious!


            1. And I hadn’t heard the news (your post above) about the ride height upgrade. I think the question now is how many points can McLaren pick off before China and whether Ferrari and Red Bull reliability keeps them from getting too far ahead. Then we’re likely to have a proper 3 or 4 team battle at the top.

          2. Actually I believe Ferrari can still use those engines and probably will eventually even if there were issues

        3. chill out. It’s too early to start cutting heads. You are worst than torquemada.

          1. agreed! everyone qualified, those are the times they got, well done to those at the top! end.

        4. Come on!

          Take it easy Shun… This is Formula 1, its good times and bad times

    4. It’s good to see Button is doing a lot better than most predicted, and also to see de la Rosa competitive..the race should (better be) a good one

      1. (better) be*, sorry, it’s 10AM over here

    5. Younger Hamilton
      27th March 2010, 8:12

      i think Lewis needs his dad back now giving that extra luck and inspriration.If it were for his dad lewis would’nt have been F1 World Champion and be in F1 right now!!!.No Mclaren wont be thinking about next season its very early in fact too early to be thinking about that.They would be thinking right now how to catch Red bull and Ferrari and get back in the title hunt, i mean right now at the moment they’re not in it as well as Mercedes.WE need to step our Game to a complete new Level now

    6. Kubica and Sutil side by side on the grid – again!

      1. yeah! lets make a poll! who or what will sutil crash in?
        1) KUB
        2) BAR
        3) a wall :)

        1. How about a Rabbit ?

          1. His team-mate…then a wall…followed by the rabbit

    7. Vettel’s on pole so unless Webber can sneak in at the first corner i’m predicting a Bahrain borefest.

      1. don’t bother watching then; what a terrible ‘fan’ – if thats what you like to be called – of F1

        1. he isn’t bad, just burned out.

        2. I don’t know about other telecasts but I’ve become aware this weekend that the Aussie commentators are obsesssed with past trends. “The last time someone was on pole here blah..” “The last time an Aussie did this blah..” “The last time Schumacher got second fastest in third practice blah..” So just using that criteria I look at the last 5 times Vettel’s gotten pole.

          China 2009 borefest
          Turkey 2009 one mistake otherwise borefest
          Great Britain 2009 mind blowingly boring
          Japan 2009 Bahrain boring without the spark plug problem
          Bahrain 2010 Saved by a spark plug

          This doesn’t include Abu Dhabi where he inherited the lead from Hamilton’s mistake then went on to a boring win. The trend is that if Vettel’s on pole then he wins a procession, people have made that claim before me that they’d like to see if he can win from behind.

          I never said anything about not watching I’m just predicting the result based on past instances. Having said that tho I can’t stand Vettel, he’s the new Schumacher in the way he leads from the front and no one can touch him and it makes the races boring, thats my take on it and I really hope I’m wrong thus my hope that Webber can get him at the first corner cos that’s the only chance for a change-up

          1. If you thought China 2009 was a borefest, then you need to find another sport. I mean, seriously, stop wasting your time watching F1.

            1. Ok i’ll admit my memory of China 2009 is haziest of all and looking at Wikipedia reminds me there was some action (mainly due to the rain and mainly back in the field) but also shows that Vettel had the race in the bag the whole time except for potentially an issue with hitting Buemi which is as artificial an excitement machine as a broken spark plug.

              This is the season we should have been seeing 8 top drivers dicing the whole way every lap and mixing it up in the qualy all the way. Im jumping to conclusions after two qualys but thus far it looks like a year of Vettel plonking it on pole when he chooses. The Formula Fords and Formula 5000s look to hold more excitement.

              Please don’t tell me to stop watching my favourite sport. It’s my passion for the sport that has me so angry at the procession its become. I can watch any number of YouTube videos of past seasons and only dream the racing was of that standard. I lay my blame at Vettel’s door which is unfair but hey that’s how I am. I did the same thing between 2000 and 2004 with Schumi. At least this time maybe Webber can pull something out as he isn’t as obviously number 2.

          2. Completely agreed, Lachie.

      2. no this time vettel will win the race ……
        expecting some rain ….

        1. Rain is the key to make the race really interesting! Would love to see Hamilton weave his way up the pack on a wet track and Button take a place or two in the pits!

    8. I was pretty disappointed for Sutil tbh. I was expecting a lot more, atleast a P7. I’m glad for Button though. But I agree that McLaren are looking hopeless again, what a shame for such a massive team! Ferrari, well, who knows, they might win again tomorrow, although its very unlikely. A Red Bull 1-2 is looking pretty indispensable. Its looking a Ferrari vs Red Bull season. McLaren are again looking like they’ve got a lot of catch up to play all season.

      Force India, well, I don’t know what to say. I think they’re stronger than Renault and Williams, but a strong result needs to come out in order to keep me believing that.

      On other thoughts, I think if Liuzzi continued like this, he might get replaced by Di Resta towards the 2nd half of the season. A 2 points finish in Bahrain is only as good as he does in the following races. Getting constantly out-qualified by Sutil is not helping his case either.

      Robert Kubica is proving yet again that he’s a brilliant driver and deserves much better than that R30.

      Also, I felt really sad to see Quick Nick watching the proceedings from the corner. He deserves a good race seat, he’s much better than useless grandpa (De La Rosa) and certainly better than all those newbies. Its sometimes so hard to understand the reason for certain things! Hope to see him back in action sooner than later.

      And finally, good to see Schumacher gradually getting up to speed.

      1. Jarred Walmsley
        27th March 2010, 9:22

        Sutil is the number one driver in Force India though and it is only the second race so ‘Getting constantly out-qualified’ is hardly an issue after two quali sessions is it?

        1. Constantly out-qualified and out-paced should I say? There hasn’t been a single occasion when Liuzzi’s outperformed Sutil, except maybe the last race at Bahrain, but even then it was Sutil’s sheer bad luck. He still overtook half the field, banged in the second fastest lap of the race and finished 12th. Liuzzi doesn’t have long imo, especially after seeing how good Di Resta is, or rather looks. If he doesn’t deliver in the next couple of races, then he very well might see the door. I for one, want either Di Resta to take his seat or the team roping in Heidfeld for the seat. It’s unfair on the team after putting in a hell lot of hardwork to produce a fantastic car and not have the deserving results because of a poor driver. Imagine what Heidfeld could do in that car!
          I have nothing against Tonio, but the fact is he’s got to deliver.

          1. i agree that sutil is faster than liuzzi, but liuzzi driver a lot wiser. Sutil crashes a lot :/

      2. Whilst I agree about Heidfeld, yeap he should be driving – there’s no need to be ageist! De La Rosa’s twice out-qualified his (highly rated by some) team mate Koybashi now… good luck to him I say

        1. C’mon, that Kobayashi guy’s such a rookie and terribly overrated! While Liuzzi’s no rookie at all. Last year he had some defense having not raced for more than a year, but now he doesn’t have that defense anymore. And both De La Rosa and Kobayashi were worse than the new cars y’day and today! Infact, for a change, in Tonio’s defense, De La Rosa spoiled his flying lap. That is true. But Tonio seriously needs to put his foot down. That team seriously means business now (as is evident from their rapid rise and major changes at the top level), and they won’t linger around with him if he doesn’t deliver soon enough.

    9. Anyone have any idea why they send the cars out a 2nd time in Q2 on hards? It never seems to achieve anything in terms of times so I just wonder why they waste a set of tires and engine/gearbox wear and tear on it.

    10. STRFerrari4Ever
      27th March 2010, 8:32

      Woo Vettel does it again that lap was just incredible balanced for 3/4’s of the lap then he was really fighting to control that RB6 and managed to get pole, with the fastest lap ever around Albert Park.
      Webber missed an opportunity to get pole infront of his home crowd but I’m sure he’ll be determined to put things right tommorow during the race.

      STR well I’m pretty pleased with how things went Buemi 12th is a good place to start from & I’m hoping that he can sneak into the points tommorow somehow.

      1. points for buemi? no chance without any top ten DNF. BAR, KUB, SUT – much faster than buemi.

        1. I don’t agree with your “no chance” sentiment. Albeit rather unlikely that’ll he’ll get points I wouldn’t rule out a first lap incident causing some people to lose places, Sutil’s in the mix and Hamilton who’ll be trying to get up the grid. Perhaps Buemi will capitalise on this, perhaps not.

          I’m hoping he might be able to get a point or two for Toro Rosso :)

    11. Schumi_the_greatest
      27th March 2010, 8:37

      amazed at some of the so called fans here saying mclaren looking hopeless again and should give up on this season, last season at this point mclaren couldnt get into the top 10! theyr the 3rd quickest team behind ferrari and reb bull and look how they improved the car last year? dont count them out yet there’s a long way to go in thic championship

      it defiantley looks like we could see a battlew between vettal and alonso for the tittle unless mclaren and/or mercedes catch up.

      stunnin lap form vettel good to see a driver really going for it hes looking very good this year

      1. and watching how hamilton manages his race from the middle of the pack, it’s interesting as well.

        1. That will be very interesting indeed. He’ll attack Sutil from the word go(doesn’t matter if they’re the best of friends!), and that’s a BIG concern on Sutil and Force India’s part considering Sutil’s infamous bad luck. I hope Sutil can defend his place and get through the field to a higher position ahead of the Renault and the Williams atleast. Both Sutil and Hamilton are aggressive drivers, and good at overtaking. It’ll be fun, just don’t want to see Sutil spin or crash or some similar ****.

    12. Button nice job, shame about the 3 cars in front of him.
      Qualifying Button : Hamilton 1:1

      Rosberg beat Schumacher again, but the difference is getting smaller. Schumi gets up to speed?

      1. Bearing in mind that Rosberg is one of the fastest qualifying drivers, if not the fastest, you gotta admitt that Schumacher is now doing very good.
        Yes, I think he’s getting up to speed :)

        1. the fastest?!! i don’t think so. Vettel is.

        2. Schumacher starts from the clean side of the grid tomorrow while Rosberg from the dirty side.

          If Schumi manages to get ahead and leaves Rosberg well and truly behind, we can be sure that he is doing as well as he was before.

          I kinda had a feeling that in Baharain Schumi was faster than Rsoberg in the race.

          1. Rosberg the fastest qualifier? Really? He’s usually pretty quick but I think you’d have to put Vettel, Webber, Massa, Hamilton and probably Trulli up there at least with and probably ahead of him. Rosberg was outqualified by Nakajima on more than one occasion during their time together remember…

    13. Good stuff from Button, I think he will fancy his chances from there, given Red Bull’s reliability issues, Webber’s aggressive driving and problematic overtaking history, and the good possibility of safety cars wiping out Hamilton’s “choose your tyre” advantage.

      It’s still interesting how basic information like qualifying times, practice times etc are presented to us by a lot of the media, and the teams themselves. For example, after Prac 1&2 the BBC website had “Hamilton beats Button” as the headline article – stating that Button was 0.25 sec behind Hamilton’s fastest time of the day. Whereas the truth is that the score was 1-1 as Button had beaten Hamilton earlier in the day. Apparently the results of P2 are more valid than those of P1? Equally, reading The Race 1.0b on the McLaren website (which is a fantastic thing in itself) showed a marked disparity:
      “Jenson sets the fastest lap.”
      “Lewis immediately eclipses it.”
      “Lewis sets fastest lap – he’s really on it.”

      Bland and factual vs thrilled and enthused.
      The language you use gives you away……

      1. Ah well, we can still love Jenson.

        Maybe it is down to personality. Jenson is much more calm and collected in front of the media as well as in his driving style. Maybe the media picks up on this. Whether it is a good/bad thing, I personally am not too bothered, he’s still a good driver!

    14. Are these the fastest cars ever? Vettel, Webber and Alonso beat the previous track record. Did they not?

      1. Yes they did. The previous record was Schumacher in 2004 with a 1.24.125s. Now it’s due to the insane amounts of downforce and the super-sophisticated front wings and the double ‘bloody’ diffuser. The 2004 cars were definitely more powerful!!!

        1. Shows also what advances in technology and CFD can do for you!

          1. Also remember the 2004 cars had traction control and there was an ongoing tyre war aswell!

    15. In a way, its good that Hamilton has qualified 11th.

      He is one of the best overtakers on the grid. And Mclaren should be better on race day than in qualifying (going by Baharain).

      So, if he fails to make sufficient progress upwards tomorrow, we can say for sure if the 2010 rules are to be blamed.

    16. At least one comment has been removed from this thread for racist content. Such comments will not be tolerated.

      1. Exactly! Thanks for doing that Keith. Some people are just awfully stupid.

    17. rob from inverness
      27th March 2010, 10:44

      From the moment refuelling was banned, it seemed to me clear that control of ride height would be the over-riding challenge for 2010 F1 cars. The problem of the difference in weight at the end of Q3 and then at the start of the race was clear, given the crucial aero importance of (1) a low ride height and (2) a non-variable ride height. Looking at the Red Bulls on TV, it is clear that they are running very low R.Hs in qualifying. It occured to me that you could use conical shaped torsion bars ( even a threaded torsion bar if you could work out how to unwind the thread as the weight reduced.) I haven’t figured it out but then I don’t work with a € 100m budget and didn’t have a whole winter to “go figure.” Can one of the high quality engineering contributors to Keith’s site give us some ideas on how you would engineer non-driver operated ride height control?

    18. Schumi_the_greatest
      27th March 2010, 10:51

      Bearing in mind that Rosberg is one of the fastest qualifying drivers, if not the fastest, you gotta admitt that Schumacher is now doing very good.
      Yes, I think he’s getting up to speed

      Id say hamilton and vettel are the quickest over 1 lap to be honest!

    19. rob from inverness
      27th March 2010, 10:51

      I forgot to say “thanks” to Keith for entirely the best summary of Qualifying on the F1 internet. Better than all the rest put together and concise. Thanks for giving us “facts” which answered a lot of the questions instead of just re-cycling drivers’ comments which are just PR talk or pages from the book of excuses, depending on which end of the grid they occupy.

      1. Cheers Rob :-)

    20. Im in oreof Red bull. A 1-2 is not a bad shout.

    21. Ferrari starting on the clean side is good…well I think it is anyway! :P I think the RBR is showing itself to be a monster of a car. I don’t think the engine is a problem, it has its benefits by being so good with fuel so that maybe cancels out to some extent, any lack of power. I knopw there are reliability issues but maybe that is more Newey’s design, many of his cars have been quick but unreliable, than Renault’s fault as Renault don’t seem to have any issues really.
      I hope Vettel doesn’t dance off into the sunset with his car again and there is some action but he put in a stunning (well 2/3d stunning 1/3 bonkers) lap. I got the pole prediction right so I’m happy :) I wouldn’t begrudge Webber a home win.

    22. Magnificent Geoffrey
      27th March 2010, 11:36

      Wow, what a great day’s action!

      Was on the start/finish straight today, saw everything apart from the GT crash while I was grabbing lunch! Was really hoping for a Webber pole but super excited about the race tommorrow, purely from a neutral’s perspective. And a 1.23.9?!? Seriously? Good god. Those designers and aero guys are simply unbelieveable.

      Can’t wait for tomorrow. Expecting that we’ll all get to see yet another classic race – I’m almost hoping for a first lap Safety Car deployment just to see the resulting mayhem that it will cause due to pit stops! Really wouldn’t be surprised to see the heavens open again as well as it’s been threatening to REALLY pour down the past two days – and that’d really shake it up.

      Only things I’ll be missing out on are all your comments on the blog and BBC commentary but I guess I’ll manage! If I get any good pics or video from Turn 1 tomorrow I’ll try and share them with you all – although it’ll probably take me a couple of days, mind.

      Enjoy the race, all!

      1. Nice to see a ‘happy’ comment Magnificent Geoffrey after reading all these negative comments from other so called fans, cant wait to see the race and Go Webber! PS I live in Melbourne the weather is gonna be crazy tomorrow!

    23. Don’t get me wrong Vettel is a brilliant driver but why does he keep doing that really annoying finger celebration every 2 seconds once he gets out of the car. It should be banned by the FIA because even though he’s P1 for the race he’s not THE NO. 1 greatest driver which he looks to be almost arrogantly expressing through his index finger all the time. Once he’s maybe a multiple world champ I’ll forgive him for doing then but for now it’s just gets under my skin.

    24. Younger Hamilton
      27th March 2010, 12:01

      i just dont get it with Mclaren and their Downforce problems if they want more downforce,why dont they just use the adopted upgrades they always us for monaco especially the one with the flaps and different profile on the front wing and the one with the widened central spoon do that more airflow enters the front wing and therefore ADDS ‘DOWNFORCE’ on other High Downforce tracks e.g Austraila,Spain and Bahrain.

    25. Looking at this in a positive light, it may prove a good thing that Hamilton is so far back in the pack. We may see some overtaking, and lost tempers, some drama for a change. Anything would be an improvement on Bahrain.
      Yet again the Red Bulls look pretty mighty, and I am pleased Mark Webber is up there alongside Vettel, with Alonso there for good measure. Although it is early in the season, Christian Horner and co. must be feeling quite confident. Their car is obviously fast and, leaving aside any mechanical screw ups, should prove hard to beat.
      My pick for tomorrows podium.

      1. Vettel
      2. Alonso
      3. Webber

    26. I’m dissapointed with petrov, he doesn’t show promise and probably he will be the first driver who will be replaced. He is here just for his millions, there are better drivers outside the paddock e.g. villanueve, sato, heidfeld etc.

      1. Petrov had a disappointing day today but at Bahrain he did move up to 11th at one point. He’s also up against the highly rated Kubica. I think Petrov shwos promise although not a clear star just yet but there is still the issue of lack of testing.
        Jacques is past it, Sato crashes too much even though I’d like him back and quick Nick made his choice.

      2. Has he ever driven that track before though?

        1. On a Playstation! Hahahahaha!

    27. Stuart H. Otman
      27th March 2010, 14:02

      “Whitmarsh said McLaren do not have ride height adjustment system on their car – as they thought it would be illegal”

      This is not a good excuse; they should have had a system ready to go in Bahrain when it was deemed legal. We now know that the ‘spirit’ of the rules doesn’t count for much.

    28. Funny how the Webber crowd has silenced after Q. I said there was no way Webber would beat Vettel. Alonso will blow by Web at the start and it will be a Vettel-Alonso race again. It will be interesting to see how the front runners manage the SC periods. I predict Chandhok will crash within the first 3 laps, there will be another crash before the pitstops and a third crash once the leading cars start lapping the amateurs.

      Ferrari is faster on the hards and kinder on the softs, so I am looking for Alonso to stay out longer on the softs (than Vettel) … IF the softs don’t grain too much.

    29. I think McLaren must be scratching their heads on mediocre one-lap pace of the MP4/25. Being beaten by the trick-suspension equipped Red-Bull is one thing. But being regularly beaten by the Ferrari, and by the Mercedes is quite another.

      I think the MP4/25, like its predecessors, is lacking downforce in the medium speed corners. This is a DNA problem in all recent McLarens. Just like all Saubers were/are perennial understeerers. Mclaren must do something to bury this problem once and for all. But I suspect it is a transient aero problem that is difficult to tackle. I think this really highlights Adrian Newey’s unique ability and expertise in this area of F1 car design.

      A ratchet suspension height mechanism is not too difficult a device to put in place for a resourceful team such as McLaren.

    30. With qualifying now about the quickest driver on pole because of light fuel. I can see Vettel dominating qualifying this year, he is ridiculously quick over a single lap.

    31. So if I got it right all drivers from Q3 are going to start the race on soft tyres, right?

    32. I am not surprised by the top 3 but I didn’t expect a pole record time by Vettel, we could’ve expect a McLaren on 4th and a Mercedes on 6th and 7th. Massa didn’t do bad, Albert Park isn’t his favourite track (only finished twice out of seven).

      The biggest surprise is Barrichello who did an awesome job qualifying 8th in front of Kubica and Sutil, which I reckon to be faster than the Williams. Ofcourse Hamilton’s fail to pass Q2 is also a surprise for me, although he had some off-track troubles.

      Buemi did very well on 12th holding off Liuzzi, perhaps Di Resta will debut this year? The others didn’t really surprise me, only Hülkenberg a bit down on 15th but he’s a rookie we can’t claim miracles.

      1. Renault was just slow today, Petrov failed to go out from Q1 even with soft tyres and Kubica said he has extracted everything form his car during qualifying. Is Renault really heading in right direction or they just didn’t get optimal setup for this track?

    33. I don’t agree on the Petrov critics, he did his fastest lap in Q1. At the end it wasn’t enough by 0.220 of a second, but can you blame him?

      If you compare his time with Kubica’s 1:25.588 in Q1 you probably would. But Petrov didn’t test as much as Kubica, and when Petrov tested it was mostly in wet conditions. Besides I don’t think Renault is focusing on Petrov, if the FIA allowed having one car/driver in the championship they’d probably consider it.

    34. This proves the RBR is definetly the fastest car of the field, closely followed by the Ferrari. I think Massa’s performance was quite disappointing, he got trashed by Alonso here (7 tenths is quite a difference) ánd he was slower than Button. Hamilton’s performance was the worst of the top teams though. 11th! Perhaps he’s trying out the tyre-rule? He can start on new tyres and I for one wouldn’t be surprised if he was at least in 8th position before the pitstops. Now Schumacher again beaten by Rosberg, it already gets under his skin a bit since he was critisizing Hamilton and Alonso for being in his way, which might be, but it was very crowded on track anyway!

      My first prediction (Vettel on pole) was correct! (admittedly, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist or have Nostradamus-like prediction gifsts to see that one coming, but it’s nice for me anyway, so bite me :p) Now let’s see how the other prediction is going to go. I think Alonso will pass Vettel and Webber near after about 70% of the race, the Ferrari is just more consistent, the RBR is fast over one lap but they can’t keep that pace up all race long where the Ferrari can. I don’t think Hamilton will be 4th though.. Placed a bet on the wrong McClaren!

    35. just imagine if this was the old days with it being a 2 team race Ferrari vs Mclaren it wouldn’t be so bad, but now Red Bull are equal to the top teams, Mercedes are back and Force India are starting to make a shout for points, you have to expect the drop zone for a poor drive to be alot bigger then previous years.

      hamilton would be 6th atm if red bull, Force india and mercedes didn’t exsist and nobody would of said anything about him being on the 3rd row, just: “he has a good chance to get podium yack yack he can do it”.

      what you really should be saying is: “hamilton is at a respectful 11th place”

    36. What a lap by Vettel.

    37. Form my view on the TV, qualifying was a mess, and even with live timing was very confusing to follow. And i’m a seasoned viewer…

      i think with that many cars on track in Q1, Quali should be reformatted. nothing too drastic. just get back to the one hour 12 flying lap limit of the old days…

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