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Vettel “nails it” in tight Melbourne qualifying
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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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Great to see Jenson doing well at McLaren, Lewis appears to be missing his dad, which is understandable.

Vettel looking great for a victory.

Strategy will play a massive part tomorrow. I wonder how long hard tyres will last for, whether it's worth pitting for them on the inevitable first lap safety car. Any thoughts James?


Good work by Vettel but my money is on Alonso for the race.


Funnily enough, mine's on Webber with Alonso second.

Vettel looked extremely marginal from turn 14 onwards and I feel he could put it in the wall.

James - great to have you in the pitlane with Tom Clarkson. Both of you make a very effective pair and sound great on TV.


This was the kind of performance Ferrari fans were hoping Alonso could pull out of the bag.

We never got to see whether Alonso was biding his time and preparing to attack in the last 10 laps at Bahrain. I suspect Vettel can turn this pole into a win tomorrow. certainly the red Bull looks to have the edge on raw speed. And with Sebastian gaining in confidence he may well be the man to catch this season.

His biggest challenger could end up being Webber.


wonderful job by vettel but watch out for the Mercedes going longer on the hard tyres will want to see how that strategy plays out.


They will start on the softs as that is the tyre they set the fastest time on. They went out again at the end on hards but didn't improve


Nah! they will start on inters, it's gonna rain!


cannot wait for the first wet race of the season it will be so exciting! what will be interesting is how many safety cars there will be tomorrow just think how many crashes / spins there were at albert park last year!


Yeah. I really didn't understand why they did that. They had set a time on softs and clearly were not going to improve upon it on the hards. Why did they go out then? It made no sense to me.

The Lewis thing was weird too. Is there any kind of technical explanation for what happened that's come out? ...wrong pressures on tyres or something? It seemed very un-Hamilton like.


A bit of a shocker, how Hamilton couldn't make it to Q3. Apparently he was complaining about being held up during his qualy runs, are there any official complaints made by McLaren?


Ted Kravitz reported from the pitlane that Hamilton was fuelled only for 2 laps. I didn't see much traffic during his 2nd run. Something definitely didn't go right between the Q2 & Q3 timeout. But he's the dark horse for the race keeping in mind that he's going to have hard tyre to start with. I still believe that the 1st lap will decide what Lewis can get out of the sunday's race. The soft tyres aren't graining as much in my reckoning


Hamilton a dark horse for the race? What has everyone been smoking?! Starting on hards is only an advantage if like Sutil in Bahrain, you start in the top 10 and, unlike Sutil there, you manage to jump a couple of places at the start. If you start from P11, don't expect much better than Liuzzi's result at Sakhir.

Just keep in mind that between the super fast RB6s and Alonso, who are at least .5 sec per lap faster than Lewis's car, there are 7 other drivers, a few of whom have cars right on par with if not better than the Macca.


Obviously trying to avoid burnouts and didn't get his tyres up to temperature. 🙂


Thought you did a good job on OneHD today.

Offtopic - Could you add some detail about Paul Di Resta and Force India? Clearly something is afoot there...


Well Mercedes like him and would like him to get a chance, but I think Force India believe in him too. I think he's a strong contender for a seat next year and maybe later this year if circumstances go in his favour


This is what makes F1 so exciting, but i hope the Red Bull lasts the whole race or it will become a joke like a race before and last season.

Ron Dennis once said If you have a fast car, then your job is to make it reliable, however, a man with full senses will know that Red Bull have been unreliable. Once again these are facts of history.

I know Red Bull maybe the fastest car, since the points gap is huge, a few DNF's could see McLaren and Ferrari leapfrog.

However, im a pure F1 traditionalist, once McLaren gets their act together, they will be right up there with Ferrari.

One thing for sure, Red Bull look like thirsty cars.


Right up there behind Ferrari maybe. Even that will be a long shot this weekend.


What makes you say they look thirsty?


After this red bull display I would say that unless Ferrari can match or is quicker overall in the race tomorrow this season is over and vetel is champ.


nonesense. the development race is on, and we don't know who is going to win it.


Not over but McLaren have their work cut for them. They're way behind (up to a second per lap at long circuits and at least .5 sec/lap at medium/short ones like Albert Park) and neither RB nor the Scuderia are going to stand still in development either. I think by the second half of the season Macca and Merc will challenge and possible win a race or two but the top two is set in stone for now.


This is looking like a 5 tier championship (in terms of comparable pace of car) at the moment: RBR & Ferrari - Macca & Merc - FI & Renault & Williams - Sauber & STR - Newbies.


Didn't we say the same of Button last year and Alonso in '06?


In the same way that people were quick to right off the spectacle element of F1 after one race, I think its a bit hasty to say the championship is over after one race and two qualifying sessions. Without doubt Vettel has a very good chance - ive got money on him at 8-1 which looks pretty good now, but I put it on more because I thought it represented good value, not that I think he would necessarily win.

Last year you could safely say after one or two races that Brawn would be very difficult to catch, but Red Bull don't have that sort of advantage this year. Ferrari and Mclaren have huge resource to call upon and you have to look at the latter to realise how quickly they can develop mid-season. Major changes to the cars will come when the teams return to Europe in race 5, if you think back to this time last year nobody thought Mclaren could win races at some point but they did and they are alot closer to the front this season. Also in my view Alonso is definitely a more complete driver than Vettel, and so is Hamilton...I think its far from being over.


Alot of wishful thinking going on with McLaren fans. Ferrari's resources are far greater and, their car is much faster at this stage. Alonso is a notch above Hamilton in terms of being a complete driver. So, Ferrari with their resources, better car, and better driver may just have the edge this season. (please save the talk about 2007 and LH "beating" Alonso, it's in the past)


Spotting the Mercs at the harder compound late in q3 I wondered: what if say Nico had set his faster time on the softs but a marginally slower one on the harder compound, would they be able to forego the faster time and asked to start on the harder compound on the slower time set on these?


the progress mclaren have made? you mean by hamilton qualifying 4th and then button qualifying well....4th...i see


Improvement is defined by lap times not grid positions. McLarens were 1sec behind in Bahrain whereas they were 0.7s off the pace in here. Besides, we couldn't able to what Hamilton would have achieved given that he has the upperhand.

Said that, to make a direct comparison, you should look at Button's lap times. In Bahrain, he was 1,5s slower than Vettel, now he is 0,7s off. That's another way of saying that McLaren has improved.


not really, it's just a different circuit so the cars perform differently.


Ali - yes, but the lap here in Melbourne is much shorter, therefore the differential would naturally be less.


But I do wonder about the fact that the lap is bigger in Bahrain? Therefore leading to longer overall times and bigger gaps between the cars as result?


Take into consideration the length of the Bahrain track and this one too...Maybe they havent really improved afterall.


Indeed. If a Bahrain lap is ~1:55, and a Melbourne lap is ~1:24, then the Melbourne lap is ~0.7 of the Bahrain lap. Therefore, 1s behind in Bahrain correlates nicely to 0.7s behind in Oz.


Hamilton has the upper hand? I somehow doubt that, considering he is starting in 11th. And I'm a fan of Lewis.

The circuit was always likely to help McLaren hide their flaws and Jenson will keep improving as the season goes on and he feels more comfortable in the team/car.


Jack_faith , you really have to drink the kool aid to be a Hamitlon fan lately. The guy was trounced by his teammate this weekend (so far at least) and ppl are talking about LH having the "upper hand?" Kovaleinen is no Button. If you have to reach that far back for an excuse for you boy I think that about says it all. While Hamilton is busy doing burn outs, flying in late from LA etc. Button is quietly focusing on the business at hand. His results this w/e bear that out. Well done Jense.


"Besides, we couldn’t able to what Hamilton would have achieved given that he has the upperhand."

Well, we were able to see what Hamilton could achieve:

Q1: Button 1:24.897 Hamilton 1:25.046

Q2: Button 1:24.531 Hamilton 1:25.184

It doesn't look like Hamilton has the upper hand this weekend.

If you look at their respective fastest times in free practice:

FP1: Button 1:27.482 Hamilton 1:27.793

FP2: Button 1:26.076 Hamilton 1:25.801

FP3: Button 1:25.399 Hamilton 1:25.505

So, in 5 sessions, Button had the upper hand in 4 of them this weekend.


well, I recall Kovy getting the better of Lewis as well in practice sessions and qauli and people reading far too much into it. Let's wait and see how Lewis' pace compares in the race to Jenson's, and then say who has the upper hand.


Good to see the HRT cars looking a lot sharper this weekend. Hopefully all the new teams can get at least one of their cars to the finish.


Yes, it was encouraging that there was only (!?) 6 or so seconds between the whole field in qualy 1 this time. HTR has at least closed the gap the other new teams.

Thomas in Australia

This guy is going to end up near the top of the all time greats list.

I think he'll win more tiles than Hamilton or Alonso.


I really rate Vettel, but to be fair he is in the best car, and it's so much easier to look good when that's the case.

I think he will win championships, but I think there are too many good drivers at the moment for one to dominate. I might be wrong on that, but we will just have to wait 5 years to see.


But don't you find it amazing that we can say he's in the best car?

A Red Bull is the best car??!!!

Not Ferrari, not McLaren, not Renault, not even Williams - but the relatively new upstart that sells fizzy drinks has the best car!

That's a fairy tale in itself.

Zami, Australia

Agreed, it is amazing. Just a couple of years ago we could never imagine Red Bull being a contender for the championship. Fernando had the best car in 2005 & 2006. He managed to convert that into championship winning result with the combination of his own briliance. I'm writing this sitting on the Jack Brabham stand in Albert Park right now. The pace Red Bull showed in qualifying is still in a league on its own. I hope they are not going to be like Renault & always take the challange to Ferrari & McLaren for many years to come


he's definitely a good driver but i agree with you he's in the best car

and in qualifying he really only has 3 others to beat, the rest don't have a chance with their ride height gizmos

we'll see later on in the season what he's actually made of when he's got 7 competitors

Zami, Australia

Ride Height claim isn't true. Plus Vettel score good points & won race with Torro Rosso frome pole. Was that the best car as well? Heaps of drivers get a drive in a good car every year, but how many are able to convert that into a result? Vettel is not Button.

Zami, Australia

I agree, he made some crucial mistakes in last 2 corners & still manage to pull out that time!!! Incredible!!!

I've been at Albert Park for the last 2 days. all the practice sessions have been very exciting. I'm just hoping that the race will not turn out to be like Bahrain again.



Is this a flash in the pan for Button V Hamilton or are we seeing Jenson's work rate starting to pay of. Button- Prost like, no fuss just getting on with it..

Well done JB

And Lotus got to Love em. 😉


Absolutely outstanding car control from Vettel - Frank Williams will be drooling over that lap - just the style he loves !

Nice one Jenson Button for proving the "Nay Sayers" wrong & earlier than many expected to boot - In a car with out trick suspension for ride heights :)- bodes well for when Mclaren sort that out for China and get his his car to exactly how he likes it 🙂

Me thinks the lack of Anthony Hamilton's 'rod of steel rule' is already having an effect on Hamilton - He jetted into Melbourne late from LA (wonder who is was seeing there - he's probably still a bit Jet lagged) then starts thinking he's Tiff Needell ! - the shackles are off and he's gonna go through a bit of a"Playboy" process like Button did when he first got into F1 - not the McLaren way but hey the boys gotta live ! Perhaps Button maybe should have a little word in his shell-like and with his experience tell him the two do not mix. 🙂


It is between Alonso and Vettel this year, they both look so confident and composed, especialy Alonso.

Zami, Australia

Looks that way so far. You never know though as we all know how quickly things change in F1


I worry a little that Q3 will become split more and more between the cars that can and want to go for pole, and those that know they don't have the best car, and just consolidate their position ahead of the cars behind (P11 downwards). The fast cars will use soft tyres, whereas the others (Sutil has done this twice), give up on pole, but just do a lap on hard tyres to have better strategy for the race. I think this will be more marked in the hotter races in the summer.


another good effort for Hispania Racing, just a second behind Virgin, what bets they start beating virgin within a few races? webber for the win, would be great!


Hey James, any idea what was going on with Alonso and Schumacher here:


Good qualifying session. The form guide still looks the same after 2 Quali sessions this year in my opinion, except the gaps are slightly smaller given that the track is shorter.

You'd have to say based on what we've seen so far this year, providing it's dry this race is really between the 2 Red Bulls and Alonso. In Bahrain the Red Bull was quicker than the Ferrari in the opening soft tyre stint, but then the Ferrari closed in and appeared quicker on the longer hard tyre stint. So be interesting to see if those patterns repeat themselves tomorrow. Hopefully Button can be a part of that fight but I doubt it, given the pace that he's shown so far. I suspect his fight will be trying to keep Massa behind him, who's really out of position, he shouldn't have been 7 tenths slower than Alonso, but he was. Here's to a good race, hopefully more entertaining than Bahrain.


Michael knows he has a lot of work to do, Michael could have easily come back on top at Ferrari and he is in a wrong team. He has a right to his opinion, he has made Ferrari to what it is today, Ferrari was like Disneyland for Michael, he could play with all the toys and do whatever he wants. Its sad to see him being given a hard time by Nico. This is a man who sacrificed championships and money from other teams and went on to make Ferrari what it is today.

I know impossible things have happened in F1, but I would love to see Michael back at Ferrari even as soon as next year.

I always said someone could have stopped Ross and Michael from leaving, Ferrari can even afford to pay all drivers in a single season, i guess success became too much for Ferrari and they wanted to do things alone. But in F1 it has always been like that, once someone puts you on top, they part ways with you.

You can never take away from what Michale has contributed to F1, drivers and the whole world look up to him with great respect.


MS may have built it up, but then in '08 & '09 he tore it down and left them shamed and desperate as their 'multi-million dollar consultant', but Ferrari let him call the shots. When MS was retired from Ferrari there was nothing stopping him from racing for another team if he wasn’t ready to retire.

Back to the picture from autosport.com, I think this might be referred to as one of those "the pot calling the kettle black" instances...? Or as they say in Nascar, “what goes around comes around”. I will spare you the Biblical principle of "what you sow, you reap". 🙂

Zami, Australia

I've been at Albert Park nearly all day for the last 2 days. The condition is much cooler than what I expected. Last week has been pretty warm over here in Melbourne. Now I hear that it will be raining on the last 10 laps of the race. That is probably the most exciting stuff we are going to witness this season so far. And maybe the first corner, Lewis' long run on the hard tyres & RedBull's reliability could add some more excitement to the race as well.


It's all in the Italian press... Schumi is starting to show some cracks. He confronted Alonso for blocking! He also went to the stewards to complain about Hamilton! Whiting cleared both Alonso and Hamilton.

Kinda ironic no? Anyway, after dining half the time with the Italian squad over the winter, it looks like the gloves are off! lol

He should shut his mouth and drive - he is still behind his teammate...


Does seem like there's been a lot of problems this weekend with drivers getting blocked on quick laps. In most cases I don't think it's been deliberate, they need to do something about those crappy mirrors on the F1 cars. Perhaps the FIA should set a mandatory size and mounting point for the mirrors on the car, so they're more effective. Or if it's possible how about having a screen on the steering wheel, the cars have rear mounted cameras for the TV feed anyway, they could have the live footage fed onto that screen of the rear view. Probably not possible given all the buttons on the steering wheel.


The size is in the regulations, and the visibility provided is scrutinised by the FIA regularly. Here is an example of how they are used for aero etc, which is obviously viewed as more important than visibility! http://scarbsf1.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/mclaren-choice-of-mirror-locations-for-melbourne/


He is asking Alonso if he can have a go in the red car. 😀 ... well, not really. He is talking to Alonso because he thinks Alonso didn't get out of his way in his final run on Q3


Schumacher asks Alonso whether he was told on radio that Michael being was on a hot lop. Alonso answers "no."

Schumacher said after the race that he felt he was held up by both Hamilton and Alonso, and sought for clarification from Whiting.


It's very nice to hear that one of the biggest cheaters of all time (yes yes - Monaco'06, Adelaide'94, Jerez'97) is already complaining to Charlie Whiting about Alonso and Hamilton


Anyone in his right mind knows that in an unhampered market, i. e. a private property order ruled by natural Law rather than by legislated whim, in 2007 two individuals would have been stripped of their super licenses and banned for life from the world of motorsport and joined by Lobato probably expelled from civilization altogether.


Don't think it's fair to call Schumi 'one of the biggest cheaters of all time' -- I just think he was an obsessive win-at-all-costs nutter. But, I too have found his reactions and comments so far quite amusing. Not quite getting his comeuppance yet, though I must admit I'd be one of many grinning when seeing Schumi getting shunted off the track as if the ghosts of Damon Hill and Jacque Villenueve are haunting him!


Oh really how about the spy gate and crash gate Alonso got a way with? Or how about lier gate? With that rate they will outpace his three incidents soon.


I don't really care about any of them. But regarding famous spy gate - let's wait until Nigel Stepney will be officially (not by FIA) punished. Or is it the same story like with FIAs appeal against Briatore and Symonds?

Regarding Schumacher - it's time for him to drive and beat at least Rosberg - not only blame everybody around. There is a huge problem for him - he has many drivers to beat so it would be hard to convince somebody to punish all of them. It's not 2006 Monza anymore and not only Alonso in his way.


Alex P, I think you misspoke. The biggest wiiners of all time are Ferrari. The biggest liars and cheaters...well, we all know who they are. 🙂


Great lap by Vettel the way he controlled that slide was great driving. Rosberg keeps out pacing Schumacher just as I predicted before the season started. Alonso seems to have Massa sorted which is not good for my bet on Massa for the championship. Alonso to win the grand prix.


Hey James

It would be great if you were able to give us a breakdown of who qualified on what compounds for the top 10, the TV director misses a lot of drivers laps in this session. Cheers


James could u let me know the straight line speeds of the leading cars as I heard button say again the mclarens were the fastest in a straight line. Wanted to know how much the f duct brings them and would they be better adding downforce considering they have the f duct



Speed-trap figures are here:


The two McLarens are the fastest - with Hamilton seeming to be running marginally less wing than Button.


Anything about McLaren questioning RedBull's legality James?


Hi James, thanks for your input on the Channel 10 coverage here, your news and analysis really added to the coverage.


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.


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 http://www.formulalobato.net 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 :-))

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?


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.


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. 🙂


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!!


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. 🙂


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.


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.




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 🙂


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?


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.


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!


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?

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


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


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.


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


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?


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


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


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


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.


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.


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

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