F1 Australia Qualifying: Vettel Leads Red Bull 1-2, Schumacher Starting 7th, Hamilton Unable to Make Q3


What Happens When the Home-Town Boy’s Plans Are Foiled

3:22am EST — Sebastian Vettel led a Red Bull 1-2 in qualifying, with Fernando Alonso starting third for the Australian GP.  Jenson Button and Felipe Massa round out the top five, with Michael Schumacher starting seventh (yet again out-qualified by sixth place starting teammate Nico Rosberg, with both Mercedes’ the only top ten starters on hard tires), and Lewis Hamilton unable to make it out of Q2.  During Q3, rain threatened, but never fell.

After a final practice with Mark Webber topping the timesheets (1:24.794), and Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher close behind, the Force Indias were the first cars out in Q1.  Most of the cars were on track quickly, with Alonso posting an early fast time.  Webber soon overtook him in the Red Bull, but Alonso posted a faster time, then Vettel.  With eight minutes left in the session, it was the new teams and Sebastien Buemi in the knockout zone.  With five minutes left in the session, the knockout zone remained the same, though the McLarens had moved in just behind Vettel, still fastest, and ahead of Alonso, now fourth fastest.  At two and a half minutes left, the top five were in the garage, but everyone else was out, setting times.  At the tend of Q1, it was the new teams and Petrov out.

Knocked Out in Q1:
18. Petrov 1:26.471
19. Kovalainen 128.797
20. Trulli 1:29.111
21.  Glock 1:29.592
22. di Grassi 1:30.185
23. Senna 1:30.526
24. Chandhok 1:30.613

Q2:
Webber and Liuzzi were the first out, with Webber on the harder tire and Liuzzi on the soft.  A third of the way through Q2 and Alonso had jumped to the top again, followed by Webber, Rosberg, teammate Massa, and Vettel rounding out the top five.  de la Rosa had not yet posted a lap time, with Sutil, Kobayashi, Hulkenberg, Alguersuari, Hamilton, and the Spanaird in the knockout zone.  Hamilton had been pushed into the garage while still in the knockout zone and as teammate Button posted the third fastest time.  With six and a half minutes left in the session and rain possibly threatening, only Hamilton remained on-track.  Ferrari was “still not clear 100% which tyre is better.”  At the three minutes left mark, Hamilton moved up to seventh, while Buemi, Sutil, Liuzzi, Kobayashi, de la Rosa, Hulkenberg, and Alquersuari were those to be knocked out.  Soon, Barrichello, Kubica, and Sutil out-paced the world champion, putting him in the knockout zone.  Hamilton was out, with teammate Button posting the forth fastest time, and the Red Bulls (Vettel then Webber) fastest, with Alonso, Button, and Rosberg the top five.  Ferrari noted, “force india looks good today one more pretender to Q3.”

Knocked Out in Q2:
11. Hamilton 1:25.184
12. Buemi 1:25.638
13. Luizzi 1:25.743
14. de la Rosa 1:25.747
15. Hulkenberg 1:25.748
16. Kobayashi 1:25.777
17. Alguersurai 1:26.089

Q3:
Webber was again the first out for Q3, with the teams out on soft tires. Both Red Bulls post fast laps, with Button splitting the Ferarris.  At the end, both Webber and Alonso back down from flying laps enough to keep Vettel on the pole.  Schumacher will be the only Q3 qualifier on the harder compound.

Final Qualifying Times from the Australian GP:
1. Vettel 1:23.919
2.Webber 1:24.035
3. Alonso 1:24.111
4. Button 1:24.675
5. Massa 1:24.837
6. Rosberg 1:24.884
7. Schumacher 1:24.27
8. Barrichello 1:25.217
9. Kubica 1:25.372
10. Sutil 1:26.036

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