Button puts Brawn on pole again in Malaysia 04 Apr 2009
Brawn GP's Jenson Button and Toyota's Jarno Trulli fought a tense battle for supremacy in Sepang qualifying on Saturday afternoon, with pole position finally falling to the Briton in 1m 35.181s. It was the second consecutive pole for Button, and the fifth of his career.
Trulli's final effort yielded 1m 35.273s, good enough to take second place from Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull, which the German had lapped in 1m 35.518s.
Rubens Barrichello was fourth for Brawn on 1m 35.651s, ahead of Timo Glock in the second Toyota on 1m 35.690s, Nico Rosberg in the Williams on 1m 35.750s, Mark Webber in the second Red Bull on 1m 35.797s and Robert Kubica in the lead BMW Sauber on 1m 36.106s.
It was not a great day for Ferrari, with Kimi Raikkonen their best runner in ninth on 1m 36.170s, ahead of Fernando Alonso who only did one run for 1m 37.659s in the Renault.
McLaren have taken a step forward since Australia, but the MP4-24s still weren't fast enough. A late improvement put Fernando Alonso into Q3, at the expense of Nick Heidfeld on 1m 34.769s for BMW Sauber, then came Kazuki Nakajima on 1m 34.788s, and Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen in the McLarens on 1m 34.905s and 1m 34.924s respectively. Sebastien Bourdais was 15th on 1m 35.431s.
As the final times were posted in Q1, the shock sank in that Felipe Massa had missed the cut for Ferrari, finishing a glum 16th on 1m 35.642s as he was unable to generate good tyre temperature. He was ahead of fellow Brazilian Nelson Piquet (1m 35.708s) in the Renault, the Force Indias of Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella (1m 35.951s and 1m 35.908s), and Sebastien Buemi's Toro Rosso. The Swiss rookie went off road at the end of Q1 while trying to better 1m 36.107s.
Factor in Vettel's 10-grid place drop from Australia, and Barrichello's five-place drop after his gearbox change on Friday, and the starting order reads:
Button, Trulli; Glock, Rosberg; Webber, Kubica; Raikkonen, Barrichello; Alonso, Heidfeld; Nakajima, Hamilton; Vettel, Kovalainen; Bourdais, Massa; Piquet, Fisichella; Sutil, Buemi.