Vettel “nails it” in tight Melbourne qualifying
Scuderia Ferrari
Vettel “nails it” in tight Melbourne qualifying
Posted By: James Allen  |  27 Mar 2010   |  8:35 am GMT  |  115 comments

Sebastian Vettel took pole position for the Australian Grand Prix with a stunning lap, where the car was right off the outer edges of the kerbs in the final corners. Red Bull team mate Mark Webber finished second 8/100ths of a second behind and Fernando Alonso was a similar margin behind in a qualifying session which lived up to the pre-season billing of being for closeness. It is the first all Red Bull front row. “We just had to nail it,” said a delighted Vettel afterwards.

Vettel pulled off a great lap (Darren Heath)

The session was also remarkable for the disappointing performance of Lewis Hamilton, who managed only 11th on the grid, despite a clean lap. It was a major shock as Hamilton had been very confident about his car’s performance after third practice. Jenson Button underlined the progress that McLaren has made in one lap performance with fourth place, while Felipe Massa recovered from a difficult start to qualifying where he couldn’t get the tyres to warm up. Meanwhile Nico Rosberg again outqualified Michael Schumacher, this time by just 4/100ths of a second.

After the lap, Vettel said on the radio “We will show them” and it was clear from talking to him afterwards that he was talking about Webber to some extent, but more to the F1 community and the public after what happened in Bahrain. Vettel is extremely pumped up this weekend and very motivated to beat Webber on his home soil just as Webber did to him in Nurburgring last year.

“We are all trying to push so hard and get evry single bit out of the car. It’s very easy to overshoot on the entry to the corner and have a bad exit. I like the circuit, it’s very bumpy and rough. With Mark second it’s the best result for the team, “said Vettel. “It’s a great achievement and better than having two Ferraris up here.”

Webber bore his disappointment well, but he was very disappointed. He was faster than his team mate in sectors one and three, but lost one and a half tenths in the middle sector, “We got the optimum out of the car today and were looking for lap time that wasn’t there. I didn’t want to repeat the Bahrain mistake. I’m not happy with the order but Seb did a great job today. I took pole off him in Germany last year and we go again tomorrow.”

Interestingly the Red Bulls were the slowest cars through the speed trap, so must be making up the time on sheer downforce, while the McLaren continues to top the speed trap times thanks to it’s “stalling” rear wing.

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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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

It now appears that all possible causes of the failure on Vettel’s car have been eliminated, so maybe it never happened!


Back in the day,I didn’t mind if a winner had a dour attitude,or wouldn’t do an interview.Today is different,they wish to show how much it means to them.And the governing body sees to it they are accessable to the media.That’s fine.

If the Red Bulls do indeed have a reliability problem in terms of fuel consumption we could see Alonso again,and a pattern established for at least the early part of the season.And RBR will be looking for answers,that is a very fast car.

I do expect this field to tighten up race by race.Maybe we can see multiple winners and contenders for the prize.But I must say that Fernando Alonso is in a good position as we start the second round.


Great for Red Bull, Vettel and Webber.

Webber needed that pole; hope he gets a good start and pips Vettel into the first corner!

Fantastic for Button, well deserved in ‘Hamilton’s team’….

Always fascinates me watching the team-mates jostling for positional supremacy.

I wanted Massa to kick Alonso’s butt here, he must do it soon or the big red F will put all the effort behind FA as they used to MS..

Similarly Schumi will need to kick Rosberg’s very soon, although considering his time off doing a fantastic job. Missed that MS was blocked, but he’s the last guy I’d expect to complain, however I suspect that he’s now showing his hand to FA and LH and has warned them!!!

We know that Schumi isn’t afraid to use his car to halt another’s progress, so those two better be careful…..

Gotta hand it to the new teams, especially HRT with considerably less mileage than the rest!

Lotus really evoking old memories, no-one can write off Gascoyne.

Virgin made it without running out of fuel, bet ol’beardy was relieved about that!

Alonso for win, Vettel 2nd, Button 3rd, Webber 4th


“…he (Massa) must do it soon or the big red F will put all the effort behind FA as they used to MS.” They already have. In regard to the Bahrain race first lap move over by Massa for Alonso: “But Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo played down the significance of the move. ‘The team comes first, before the two drivers,’ he is quoted as saying by Spain’s El Pais.” i.e., Alonso & Massa were following team orders, Massa moved over Alonso. After 2 years of disgrace, Ferrari is going back to putting performance & their best driver 1st, as they did with Schumi & unlike they have done to Kimi for the past 2 years when they made their best driver, 2nd & it did not work. Kimi could have won the WDC in 2008 if he had been 1st. He wasn’t and Ferrari got behind, and it cost them in 2009, with the F60.


Great to see Mark on the front row of the grid. I have been following him since his karting days in the early 90s. Great to have a local driver, I am in Canberra, in Formula One.

Vettel’s lap was special though.

Great to see you back on One HD. Looking forward to your comments James


What will be interesting to watch is the rate of attrition, and the safety car periods. I’m sure one or two drivers of the big teams will get caught out by the safety car


looks like Schuey and co have their work cut out again. I expect hamilton to be all over the back of schuey tomorrow!


I have a question here:

It is established that Ferrari have the most thirsty engines out there in F1. I wonder if Ferrari would be able to qualify even more quicker if they manage to put even less fuel than required.

I am talking in the lines of the fuel load just enough to do a warm up and a hot lap and retiring at the start of the in-lap.

It would seem embarrassing for the team but I just want to know if it could be a possibility?


James. Is it to early to say that Jenson picked the right car to be in out of the Macca or Brawn/Merc this year ??

Hope he has a good run tomorrow.


Well on the one hand yes, because McLaren has already improved the car to be a bit better than the Merc in quali trim, but long term McLaren will miss Mercedes’ money


Having seen the piece on the BBC intro with Jenson showing us around the McLaren factory. That place must have cost more that NASA spends !!

Zami, Australia

And they will try to make up that by selling sports car, which is unlikely. Because Merc, Ferrari, Maserati, Aston Martin and other established companies are not going to let that happen so easily


What’s going on with Lewis? Are McLaren starting to favour Button with their mods and set-up?

The fact is Lewis Hamilton has had his father by his side throughout his whole career, as much as I can’t stand him maybe Lewis needs him a lot more than he thought?


No, of course not. Lewis had a bad day. Which is surprising because he was so happy with the car in practice.


Did anyone else notice that Seb broke the lap record set by MS in 2004 with that qualifying lap ?

Willie renaissance


Whats this about Williams and VW? I hope there is something to it. When is another manufacturer going to realise the untapped potential and class of Williams, and when are Patrick and Frank going to realise that time waits for no man, and 51% of a leading team is better than 100% of a team that will be behind well funded outfits of Fer, Mcl, Red, Merc!!

Come on lads, lets get VW in and blow the doors off! BMW were never going to work with a british team, they cant do it at any level.. rover, land rover, williams….

However VW are a much savvier outfit and really can make anything work, Bugatti, Seat, Skoda, Lambo, Bentley, and latest suzuki!!

It all makes perfect sense to me!


Certainly seems to be a possibility there. Would be a good place for VW to go, but Red Bull’s Mateschitz has spent a lot of money backing Audi and VW motorsport programmes and has been working that relationship hard. If Newey stays then RBR would be the best place to come in


It will be very interesting if ‘inters’ are the way to go at the start of the race. How long will they last/be appropriate and will Sebastian be a rain master again like in Monza ’08?


I don’t think the comment was for Mark Webber… I think it was for Ron Dennis(relating to his comment about red bull fuel effiency) and the General F1 community who probably think the red bull is fast but fragile!


By the way, i’ve noticed that DESPITE ALL FIA’s efforts to reduce speeds in F1, Vettel’s lap time was almost 2 tenths faster than the track record set by Schumi in 2004! (of course, i think it’s unofficial becoz it’s the qualifying time, but still….). The engineers will never stop surprising everybody! wow!


Agreed! Less aero, less power and they still have qo quicker now. They do have a lot more mechanical grip this year though compared to 04.


He’s like Kimi Raikonnen – only more committed.

Also I know the weather forecast for Melbourne is heavy showers for tommorow – but does anyone know roughly what the forecast at the time of light out?


It’s really interesting to see that the Red Bull cars are making up their winning times in the slow sections. Lewis is not “happy” about the rear bouncing around, as the TV commentator said this morning. He’s good at coping with it, sure, but he’s definitely frustrated about the McLaren’s rear downforce – in fact he said at Bahrain that it’s never yet been the best rear setup all the time he’s been driving it. This suggests to me that McLaren don’t have the talent to solve the problem… no wonder they’ve gone for a high-speed trick instead, the wing-staller. Another intrigue is the controversy about adjustable ride height, with Whitmarsh suspecting it and Horner swearing on a stack of bibles that he hasn’t got it. Looking forward to finding out more about that one during the next few weeks. By the way, one reason why Vettel did so many pole-victory signals is that press photographers kept yelling “Sebastian! Just one more over here please!”. Otherwise he’d have stopped after the first 4 or 5 🙂


This kid is amazing….. I think for raw speed there is no one to touch him in F1 right now…


That is right, Kimi is in WRC this year.




That display of Vettel’s after he got pole – is he a child or an adult? Way too much fist punching and number one signals. That can’t be for real. I wish he’d just get over it and race – he can do the #1 stuff when he is champion. It was embarassing to watch.


I agree, Stephen.



he is 22. Give him a brake.


James, if it stays dry tomorrow what do you think Lewis’ strategy will be? Start on hards and see how long he can go or start on the softs and pit early for the hards and then hang on late? Rain of course will throw this all out the window but what do you think?


Chuck, his starategy will be to lose. 🙂


What happened to Lewis? Was he just unhappy in the car or was there a balance problem? I don’t understand how after such good practice, he failed to make it into the 1.24’s!!


In Bahrein it was said that the car behind couldn’t get close to the car in front due to turbulence. That was what Vettel was told on the radio regarding Alonso, that the later was going to burn out his tyres.

Will they have the same problem in Barhein. If not, my money is on Alonso.

I mean, if I had any money. 🙂


Q1 especially is going to be busy but everyone should be able to go for their best time without having blue flags constantly waved.

My suggestion – drivers only have to give way, and have blue flags waved, during sector 1 of their out lap and sector 3 of their in lap.

All other times they’re considered to be going as fast as they can and have no need to defer to anyone else.

It’s then up to everyone to judge the best time to go for their laps.

Quick Nick Rules

James, how likely do you think it is we might get a repeat of what happened in Malaysia 09 tomorrow – with the cars a lot slower than last year and safety cars almost guaranteed, i’d imagine the race will be very close to the 2 hour time limit, thus not finishing until 7pm. With dark skies and showers around at that point is there not a strong likelyhood the race might have to be stopped before full distance due to decreasing light?


James, any specifics on why there was such a large gap between Massa and Alonso? Massa didn’t seem to be on it for almost the whole weekend. Heard that Massa was making a lot of trips and constantly tweaking his setup.

Roger Carballo AKA Archtrion

I’ve read on that Massa’s engineer was pushing him to brake late because he was breaking too early from Alonso’s breaking point. He seemed to have tyre temperature issues too, although both setups were pretty equal.

He mentioned too that the word “masacrato” was widely spread between Ferrari’s garage, although you know, Lobato always is a bit over-exuberant (I’m still under the Hamilton’s over-exuberance way :-))


Hamilton out qualifies button at the 1st gp and it’s all over the press. Button does Hamilton at the 2nd race and there’s hardly a mention????

Well done JB. A podium position awaits….


Excellent point.

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