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Qualifying - a Red Bull front row in Melbourne 27 Mar 2010

Post qualifying parc ferme (L to R): Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing, second; Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing, pole position; Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari, third.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 27 March 2010 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 VJM03 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 27 March 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/25 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 27 March 2010 Lucas di Grassi (BRA) Virgin Racing VR-01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 27 March 2010

Red Bull annexed the front row of the starting grid for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix, courtesy of poleman Sebastian Vettel and local hero Mark Webber. The German set the fastest time of the weekend on his first runs in Q3, with 1m 23.919s. Webber’s best was 1m 24.035s. Neither improved on their second runs.

Fernando Alonso put Ferrari a lot closer than they had been in Bahrain with third fastest time of 1m 24.111s, then there was a gap to Jenson Button’s second-run best of 1m 24.675s for McLaren. Felipe Massa challenged that for Ferrari on his second run, but came up short with 1m 24.837s for fifth.

Nico Rosberg once again outqualified Mercedes partner Michael Schumacher, with 1m 24.884s, but the multiple champion was a lot closer than of late with 1m 24.927s. Rubens Barrichello put Williams eighth in the line-up with 1m 25.217s ahead of Robert Kubica for Renault with 1m 25.372s, while the faster Force €ndia of Adrian Sutil completed the top 10 with 1m 26.036s.

The surprise of Q2 was Lewis Hamilton’s failure to get through to Q3. The Briton’s McLaren was clearly not au point when he lapped it in 1m 28.586s on his first run, and though he was able to get out towards the end, 1m 25.184s missed out on Q3 by 0.064s.

Behind the 2008 world champion, the times were incredibly close. Sebastien Buemi was 12th for Toro Rosso with 1m 25.638s ahead of Force €ndia’s Vitantonio Liuzzi on 1m 25.743s, BMW Sauber’s Pedro de la Rosa on 1m 25.747s, Williams’ Nico Hulkenberg on 1m 25.748s and Kamui Kobayashi, who had a great catch as his BMW Sauber oversteered viciously through the final turn, on 1m 25.777s. Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari was 17th on 1m 26.089s.

Out in the first session went Renault’s Vitaly Petrov, whose 1m 26.471s left him 17th. Once again Heikki Kovalainen led the new teams, with 1m 28.797s for Lotus. Team mate Jarno Trulli backed him with 1m 29.111s, just ahead of Virgin’s Timo Glock on 1m 29.592s and his team mate Lucas Di Grassi on 1m 30.185s.

Both HRTs kept running and weren’t far off Virgin’s pace, with Bruno Senna taking 23rd ahead of Karun Chandhok, 1m 30.526s to 1m 30.613s.