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Qualifying - Vettel storms to Sunday pole in Australia 17 Mar 2013

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One Testing, Day 4, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 3 March 2013 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F138.
Formula One Testing, Day 4, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 3 March 2013 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W04.
Formula One Testing, Day 4, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 3 March 2013 (L to R): Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1, pole sitter Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing and Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 17 March 2013 Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR02.
Formula One Testing, Day 4, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 3 March 2013 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F138.
Formula One Testing, Day 4, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 3 March 2013

Formula One racing found itself in a hurry up and wait situation after the weather intervened before qualifying in Albert Park on Saturday afternoon, necessitating a postponement of Q2 and Q3 until 1100 hours local time on Sunday morning.

The conditions were much better then, though early morning showers had left the track still damp in places and everyone started out on Pirelli’s intermediates.

Only the McLaren drivers opted partway through Q2 for the supersofts. Jenson Button quickly took the decision to switch back to intermediates and grabbed the fourth-fastest time behind the flying Nico Rosberg who lapped in 1m 36.194s for Mercedes, Red Bull’s Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton in the other Mercedes, but McLaren’s Sergio Perez was an unhappy 15th after electing to stay on the supersoft tyres.

Nico Hulkenberg was the first who failed to make Q3, lapping his Sauber in 1m 38.067s to head Force India’s Adrian Sutil on 1m 38.134s, the Toro Rossos of Jean-Eric Vergne on 1m 38.778s and Daniel Ricciardo on 1m 39.042s, Perez on 1m 39.900s and Valtteri Bottas’s Williams on 1m 40.290s.

Q3 saw the best conditions yet in the prolonged qualifying session, and after everyone bar Button had done reconnaissance laps on intermediates, they switched to supersofts. Button had them from the start. Hamilton set the early pace from Rosberg, before Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel stamped his authority by a whole second in their first runs on the inters.

Hamilton was again the pacesetter on the second runs, with 1m 29.184s which dislodged Button’s out-of-sequence first suspersoft run of 1m 32.485s, but soon Vettel was there again with an utterly dominant lap of 1m 27.407s. Red Bull’s Mark Webber got closest to that with 1m 27.827s, as Hamilton improved to 1m 28.087s for third.

A late improvement from Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso to 1m 28.493s appeared to have won him fourth place, but then team mate Felipe Massa slipped in with 1m 28.490s to snatch the place. After his earlier speed Rosberg disappointed with only 1m 28.523s for sixth.

The Lotuses were seventh and eighth, Kimi Raikkonen spinning before recording 1m 28.738s, and Romain Grosjean backing him with 1m 29.013s. Force India’s Paul di Resta bettered Button, with 1m 29.305s, as the Englishman improved on his second run for McLaren to 1m 30.357s.

Thus, when combined with the Q1 results of Saturday, the grid will form up as: Vettel, Webber; Hamilton, Massa; Alonso, Rosberg; Raikkonen, Grosjean; Di Resta, Button; Hulkenberg, Sutil; Vergne, Ricciardo; Perez, Bottas; Williams’ Pastor Maldonado, Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez; Marussia’s Jules Bianchi, Max Chilton in the other Marussia and Caterham team mates Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic, who was the only man to miss the 107 percent requirement and hence races at the stewards' discretion.

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