Qualifying analysis - Red Bull to rule in Australia? 17 Mar 2013
After all the hoopla of the delay on Saturday and the postponement of the Q2 and Q3 sessions, qualifying finally concluded on Sunday morning in very cool conditions which showed that Red Bull - at least this day - have an advantage over everyone else. We take a team-by-team look at how the grid was shaped for this afternoons Melbourne race
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 27.407s, P1
Mark Webber, 1m 27.827, P2
Neither driver reported anything specific apart from avoiding the damp patches that remained in places in the final sector during their best runs on the supersoft slicks. Neither agreed that it was easy, but it certainly looked it in comparison with floundering rivals.
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 28.087s, P3
Nico Rosberg, 1m 28.523s, P6
Mercedes proved that their testing form was genuine. Rosberg was mighty in Q1 on Saturday, while Hamilton put hearts into mouths with a spin and then getting beached temporarily on a kerb before he was able to reverse out. He was also lucky that the rear wing, which had been lightly damaged, was quickly replaced during the Q1 session. Rosberg was again quickest in Q2, but then lost his edge in Q3 just as Hamilton found his and was the closest contender to the dominant Red Bulls.
Felipe Massa, 1m 28.490s, P4
Fernando Alonso, 1m 28.493s, P5
Massa has looked very aggressive all weekend, and just as Alonso had taken fourth place with his second run in Q3, the Brazilian snatched it away by three-thousandths of a second.
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 28.728s, P7
Romain Grosjean, 1m 29.013s, P8
Raikkonen ran over his jack as he left his pit in Q3, then had a spin, but thereafter he was able to push hard and kept himself in play with seventh fastest lap, just ahead of team mate Grosjean.
Paul di Resta, 1m 29.305s, P9
Adrian Sutil, 1m 38.134s, P12
After Sutil had had the upper hand on Friday at Force India, Di Resta bounced back in Q2 to be the teams faster runner, and pushed hard in Q3 to beat Button for ninth.
Jenson Button, 1m 30.357s, P10
Sergio Perez, 1m 39.900s, P15
McLarens desperation was evidenced when Button and Perez tried the supersofts as early as Q2. The Englishman had the experience to swap immediately back to intermediates, whereas the Mexican tried to make do and finished only 15th as a result
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 38.067s, P11
Esteban Gutierrez, 1m 47.776s, P18
Hulkenberg did what he could in Q2 but missed the cut by almost half a second. Gutierrez had looked good against him when things were at their worst in Q1 on Saturday. But later he put a wheel over a wet kerb, and the resultant spin wiped off his front wing and destroyed his chances of qualifying better than 18th.
Jean-Eric Vergne, 1m 38.778s, P13
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 39.042s, P14
Vergne was surprised when he pitted partway through Q2 and received a set of supersofts when hed been expecting more inters. He said that came too early, and was unable to exploit the situation, while Ricciardo complained of a rear-end problem that destabilised his STR08.
Valtteri Bottas, 1m 40.290s, P16
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 47.614s, P17
Neither driver could find any grip as they struggled to get the best from the FW35. Maldonado did his Q1 cause no good by going offroading, and just missing a seagull that was minding its own business. Bottas made it into Q2 on his debut, but an early switch to the supersoft Pirellis hampered his chances and he ended up 16th, a place ahead of his team mate.
Jules Bianchi, 1m 48.147s, P19
Max Chilton, 1m 48.909s, P20
Marussias rookies did a fine job not just to complete the Q1 session without mishap, but to trounce arch-rivals Caterham. Bianchi was the quicker of the two, while Chilton had lost some valuable track time in FP3 when his electrics needed resetting as he experienced problems engaging first gear, and then had what would have been a faster lap spoiled by Gutierrezs yellow flags.
Giedo van der Garde, 1m 49.519s, P21
Charles Pic, 1m 50.626s, P22
Both drivers crunched their front wings. Van der Garde did it early on while running the full wets, got back to the pits for a replacement, and was optimistic of doing better than the back row after changes for FP3 had made the CT03 feel much better. His chances on inters were then ruined by yellow flags. Pic, meanwhile, looked good early on when conditions were at their worst, but put a wheel on a white line while pushing hard on inters, and smacked a wall.
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