The Red Bulls proved they do have wiings at the Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne as they locked out the first row at the Saturday Qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel notched up his second successive pole position as he drove the wheels off his car on his first flying lap in Q3 and that proved more than enough.
Teammate Mark Webber grabbed the second fastest time and would hope this time around he’ll have a fulfilling home race. Fernando Alonso took P3 as Ferrari couldn’t quite match up to the pace of the Red Bulls. There seemed to be some rain falling at the end of the qualifying session and probably that put off the drivers from going all out at the fag end of the session.
McLaren’s Jenson Button took P4 and Felipe Massa only managed P5, ahead of the Mercedes’ of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher in P6 & P7 respectively. Rubens Barrichello put his Williams on P8 ahead of the Renault of Robert Kubica and the Force India of Adrian Sutil.
Q1 saw the rookie teams/drivers drop out as the HRT team propped up the end again with Bruno Senna just marginally ahead of teammate Karun Chandhok at the back of the grid. Renault’s Vitaly Petrov, the two Lotuses of Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli and the two Virgins of Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi joined them at tail-end of the grid.
Q2’s surprise dropout was McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton as he just couldn’t get his tyres – or his car – working well to his liking. The two Toro Rossos of Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Algersuari, the two BMW-Saubers of Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi, along with the Williams of Nico Hulkenberg and the Force India of Vitantonio Liuzzi occupied the mid-places of the grid.
Melbourne always produces a cracking start and as ESS has been advertising, there promises to be carnage at the first corner. Especially with Hamilton stuck in the mid part of the grid, I expect to see some cracking overtaking manoeuvres and some biffs and bangs along the way too. Red Bull look good for the win here, though I do hope its for the home hero of Mark Webber. Yeah, it would be heartbreak for Sebastian Vettel to lose his second race in a row but he can always make up for it later
My predictions (out of the top 10 only):
Best performance of the race: Nico Rosberg
Ones to crash out: Jenson Button, Felipe Massa
Affected by Mechanical/Hydraulic/Brake/Misc problems: Kubica