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Vettel takes pole for Australian GP

News18

Updated: March 26, 2011, 12:54 PM IST
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Vettel takes pole for Australian GP
Red Bull's Mark Webber will start from third and Lewis Hamilton will start from second.

Melbourne: World champion Sebastian Vettel will start from pole position for Sunday's season-opening Formula One Australian Grand Prix after a dominant performance by the Red Bull driver in Saturday's qualifying.

Vettel had a time of 1 minute, 23.529 seconds, more than three-quarters of a second quicker than nearest rival Lewis Hamilton of McLaren.

Red Bull's Mark Webber will start from third in front of his home crowd, with Jenson Button of McLaren fourth as he attempts to win the race for a third straight year.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso qualified fifth while Mercedes' Michael Schumacher was 11th.

The Red Bulls and McLarens were consistently fastest after the first Q1 session, switching between the firmer 'prime' tires and the options to try and feel their way to faster lap combinations.

Troubled constructor Hispania could become the first team to miss out on the race under the reintroduced 107 percent rule, after both its drivers failed post a time under the cut off mark set at seven percent higher than the fastest time in Q1.

With the cut-off time set at 1:31.266, Vitantonio Liuzzi could manage only 1:32.978 and Narain Karthikeyan had 1:34.293. However, Hispania could yet take its place at the back of the grid if other teams agree to give it a reprieve.

Renault's Nick Heidfeld, who ninth fastest in final practice earlier in the day, was also eliminated in Q1 and will start from a disappointing 18th.

In Q2, Renault's Rubens Barrichello ruined his chances of qualifying in the top-10 when he touched the grass coming into turn three, losing control and spinning into the gravel.

Adrian Sutil of Force India was also eliminated, but had a lucky escape when he spun his car 360 degrees coming out of the final turn and narrowly missed a wall before regaining control and continuing his lap.

Renault's Vitaly Petrov put in a strong performance to qualify in sixth place, ahead of Mercedes' Nico Rosberg and Ferrari's Felipe Massa.

Kamui Kobayashi of Sauber and Toro Rosso's Sebastian Buemi also impressed by making it into the Q3 session, and will start ninth and tenth respectively.

First Published: March 26, 2011, 12:54 PM IST
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