Vettel on pole for Australian GP

2013-03-17 02:54

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — World champion Sebastian Vettel produced a flying last lap to grab the pole for the 2013 Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 17.

Vettel trumped Lewis Hamilton's best time in a Mercedes with his fastest lap of 1min27.407 and will start alongside his Red Bull team mate Mark Webber on the front row of the grid.

It was Vettel's 37th career pole and sets up the world champion Red Bull team as favourites heading into the season-opening race at Melbourne's Albert Park street circuit.


Vettel said: "Definitely not easy in these conditions. I had two good runs, on the drys I got into the groove. I was happy and ready to push in the lap."

Hamilton, who has switched to Mercedes from McLaren, had looked set to nab the pole when he lowered the best lap time by 3.3secs to 1min28.087 but Vettel, under the hammer, produced a sizzling final lap to trump the new Mercedes recruit.

Webber, bidding to join Jack Brabham and Alan Jones as home winners of the Australian GP, finished second quickest with 1min27.827.

Felipe Massa was fourth ahead of his Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso, while Nico Rosberg was sixth in his Mercedes. Rosberg was quickest in Q2 from Vettel, while Massa and McLaren's Jenson Button scraped into the final stages of qualifying with flying last laps to beat the cut.


Button was 11th but switched back to intermediate tyres and got to fourth fastest, while Massa improved from 12th fastest to grab fifth.

The six drivers cut after Q2 were Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber), Adrian Sutil (Force India), Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso), Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso), Sergio Perez (McLaren) and Valtteri Bottas (Williams).

The McLaren team's gamble on using tyre slicks cost Perez a chance of qualifying higher up the race grid. Team principal Martin Whitmarsh was seen shaking his head trackside at the team error.

Qualifying session three:

1 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull 1min27.407
2 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull 1min27.827
3 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes 1min28.087
4 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari 1min28.490
5 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 1min28.493
6 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes 1min28.523
7 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus 1min28.738
8 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus 1min29.013
9 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India 1min29.305
10 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren 1min30.357

Qualifying session two:

1 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes 1min36.194 (Q)
2 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull 1min36.524 (Q)
3 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes 1min36.625 (Q)
4 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren 1min36.644 (Q)
5 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari 1min36.666 (Q)
6 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 1min36.691 (Q)
7 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull 1min36.745 (Q)
8 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India 1min36.901 (Q)
9 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus 1min37.517 (Q)
10 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus 1min37.641 (Q)
11 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sauber 1min38.067
12 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India 1min38.134
13 Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Toro Rosso 1min38.778
14. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Toro Rosso 1min39.042
15. Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren 1min39.900
16. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams 1min40.290

Qualifying session one

First practice
Second practice
Third practice
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