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Qualifying analysis - Red Bull to rule in Australia? 17 Mar 2013

Pole sitter Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing celebrates in qualifying parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 17 March 2013 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 17 March 2013 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari and Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari in qualifying parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 17 March 2013 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus E21.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 17 March 2013 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM06.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 17 March 2013 Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren MP4-28 goes across the grass on slicks.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 17 March 2013 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sauber C32.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 16 March 2013 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR8.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 16 March 2013 Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW35.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 16 March 2013 Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 16 March 2013 Giedo van der Garde (NDL) Caterham CT03 crashed into the wall and broke his front wing which got trapped underneath the car.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 16 March 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 afternoon’s Melbourne race…

Red Bull
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.

Mercedes
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.

Ferrari
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.

Lotus
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.

Force India
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 team’s faster runner, and pushed hard in Q3 to beat Button for ninth.

McLaren
Jenson Button, 1m 30.357s, P10
Sergio Perez, 1m 39.900s, P15

McLaren’s 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

Sauber
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.

Toro Rosso
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 he’d 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.

Williams
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.

Marussia
Jules Bianchi, 1m 48.147s, P19
Max Chilton, 1m 48.909s, P20

Marussia’s 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 Gutierrez’s yellow flags.

Caterham
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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