Jenson Button leads Brawn GP 1-2 (Australian Grand Prix qualifying)

Jenson Button took pole position for the Australian Grand Prix

Jenson Button took pole position for the Australian Grand Prix

A few weeks ago we had never heard of Brawn GP. Now the team that rose from the dead has sensationally locked out the front row of the grid for the Australian Grand Prix.

Jenson Button took pole position – his first for three years – from Rubens Barrichello. Sebastien Vettel claimed third on the grid while Robert Kubica, fourth, demonstrated the KERS-free BMW is rather quicker than the KERS-enabled car of team mate Nick Heidfeld.

But Lewis Hamilton’s nightmares came true as the MP4-24 struggled not only for pace but also reliability – the car failing to get going at the start of Q2. He starts 15th.

Qualifying part one

Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India, Melbourne, 2009

Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India, Melbourne, 2009

Qualifying began with a hectic scrap for honours at the front of the field: Nico Rosberg, Kazuki Nakajima, Fernando Alonso and Rubens Barrichello all took turns at the top of the teimes. But it was Barrichello who stayed there, with a 1’25.816 pipping Rosberg by 0.031s.

Lewis Hamilton surprised by briefly going second fastest, though he used the super-soft tyres to achieve it while many others were using the medium tyres.

Ferrari revealed some pace with Felipe Massa stepping up to take second, then Kimi Raikkonen fourth having been quickest in the first two sectors but making a mistake in the final one. That left the Force Indias, Sebastien Bourdais, Heikki Kovalainen and, surprisingly, Jarno Trulli in the bottom five, facing the threat of being knocked out.

Mark Webebr sprung a late surprise by going fastest, largely thanks to a very neat and rapid final sector, pulling 0.4s clear of Barrichello. But the Brawn duo struck back – Barrichello posting a 1’25.006, 0.2s faster than his team mate.

Hamilton survived by a scant 0.049s, while Nelson Piquet Jnr was eliminated along with the Toro Rossos and Force Indias.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16. Sebastien Buemi – 1’26.503
17. Nelson Piquet Jnr – 1’26.598
18. Giancarlo Fisichella – 1’26.677
19. Adrian Sutil – 1’26.742
20. Sebastien Bourdais – 1’26.964

Qualifying part two

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Melbourne, 2009

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Melbourne, 2009

Any pleasure Hamilton may have got out of scraping into Q2 was extinguished when his MP4-24 suffered a drive train problem, leaving him stuck in the pits and rooted to 15th on the grid.

Once again the Brawns and Williams looked quick but now the Red Bulls were in the mix as well – Sebastian Vettel edged out Rosberg by 0.002s to go fastest. BMW too showed improvement with Robert Kubica briefly leaping up to third.

Heikki Kovalainen was able to do a lap in his McLaren but he was the slowest of the remaining runners leaving him 14th ahead of Hamilton.

Nakajima was half a second slower than team mate Rosberg which was the difference between fourth and 13th. Alonso was also eliminated, as was Heidfeld in the KERS-boosted BMW, while Kubica in the non-KERS car reached the final stage of qualifying.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11. Nick Heidfeld – 1’25.504
12. Fernando Alonso – 1’25.605
13. Kazuki Nakajiam – 1’25.607
14. Heikki Kovalainen – 1’25.723
15. Lewis Hamilton – no time

Qualifying part three

Jenson Button, Brawn GP, Melbourne, 2009

Jenson Button, Brawn GP, Melbourne, 2009

The final session featured the Brawns, Ferraris, Toyotas, Red Bulls, Rosberg’s Williams and Kubica’s BMW.

Button was comfortably faster than Barrichello with his first lap, despite making a small mistake, suggesting the two were on different fuel loads. Even so, Rosberg was a whole second slower than Barrichello.

Rosberg was pegged back by the Red Bulls – Webber ahead of Vettel – and Kubica. The Ferraris, surprisingly, were ninth and tenth after the first round of laps.

Barrichello improved his time to take provisional pole with his final effort – but as he crossed the line Button was lighting up the first sector with a new best time, and one minute later he deposed Barrichello – and cemented a front row for Brawn GP.

Vettel grabbed third ahead of a surprisingly quick Kubica while Rosberg, the star of practice, was fifth. But the Ferraris of Massa and Raikkonen could manage no better than seventh and eighth.

As Brawn GP is officially classed as a new team, this is the first time a new team has taken pole position in its first race since Mercedes 55 years ago.

Top ten drivers in Q3

1. Jenson Button – 1’26.202
2. Rubens Barrichello – 1’26.505
3. Sebastian Vettel – 1’26.830
4. Robert Kubica – 1’26.914
5. Nico Rosberg – 1’26.973
6. Timo Glock – 1’26.975
7. Felipe Massa – 1’27.033
8. Jarno Trulli – 1’27.127
9. Kimi Raikkonen – 1’27.163
10. Mark Webber – 1’27.246

The weights for the ten cars in the top ten should be announced within the next two hours, giving us an idea of what fuel loads they are running.

Update: Starting grid and fuel weights published: Australian GP grid and race weights

Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello, Sebastian Vettel, Melbourne, 2009

Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello, Sebastian Vettel, Melbourne, 2009

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170 comments on Jenson Button leads Brawn GP 1-2 (Australian Grand Prix qualifying)

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  1. Paige said on 28th March 2009, 7:18

    Brawn is going to make Albert Park their team playground tomorrow. My God, they’re quick!

  2. Chris Y said on 28th March 2009, 7:19

    “But the Ferraris of Massa and Raikkonen could manage no better than seventh and eighth.”

    Raikkonen was 9th :)

    Brawn domination anyone?

  3. Congrats to Brawn GP! Awesome Live Quali session and a great forecast for the race tomorrow! Truly exciting!

  4. luky said on 28th March 2009, 7:19

    red bull and kubica on a positive note.
    renault on a negative.

  5. F1Yankee said on 28th March 2009, 7:20

    GO BRAWN GO!!!

    ross brawn and richard branson will have f1 by the throat. they will be known as rosschard brawnson.

  6. Martin Bell said on 28th March 2009, 7:20

    We live in a very rural area and, as usual at this time of year, are surrounded by new born lambs. We always use them to predict the races. This morning, Jenson Mutton appears to have the edge over Rubens Baaarichello. Lewis Lambilton, however, is nowhere to be seen.

  7. dan said on 28th March 2009, 7:21

    “Vettel grabbed third ahead of a surprisingly quick Kubica while Rosberg, the star of practice, was fifth. But the Ferraris of Massa and Raikkonen could manage no better than seventh and eighth.”

    even worse, seventh and ninth don’t you mean :D

  8. hitchcockm00 said on 28th March 2009, 7:25

    So, who’s gonna plough into the Brawns at the start tomorrow and ruin their weekend?

  9. Joe said on 28th March 2009, 7:26

    when will we find out fuel levels

  10. Kallan said on 28th March 2009, 7:27

    I am very excited about these results! however im sure webber could have a done better, unless Vettel truly is the next schuey.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 28th March 2009, 7:32

      What happened to Webber? He was looking good until those final runs at the end.

    • Filipe said on 28th March 2009, 7:44

      It did sound like he did some mistake in his last lap. He was the only driver not to improve at the end (which by the way makes Ferrari looking even worse).

  11. Adam said on 28th March 2009, 7:28

    The lap record for Albert Park is a 1:24.125 by Schumacher in 04′ of course, but Barichello got 1:24.783 in Q2, holy crap!!

  12. Alex-Ctba said on 28th March 2009, 7:28

    F#$% GREAT !!! GO BRAWN !!!!

  13. Mouse_Nightshirt said on 28th March 2009, 7:30

    Button on POLE!

    Great news! Infact, best news I’ve heard in 2009.

    Looking at how that qualy went, these changes were some of the best things to happen to F1 in years. F1 is great and anyone who disagrees is STUPID!!! :D

  14. Great to see Jenson and especially Rubens do well. With all that rubbish about Bruno Senna, Rubens kept his head down, stayed focused and even dropped a few kilos to boot!

    Should be a great race tomorrow, lots of unknowns, particularly if KERS will provide an advantage over race stints as it failed to prove advantageous through qualifying.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 28th March 2009, 7:34

      My money’s on Barrichello having at least two laps’ more fuel than Button. (With my usual sigh of disinterest at how the fuel loads spoil qualifying.)

  15. Mouse_Nightshirt said on 28th March 2009, 7:31

    And now that my excitement is out, a more intelligent musing.

    I’m very pleasantly surprised to see the field so locked together (with the possible exception of Brawn, we shall see when the fuel comes out). 4 or 5 drivers within each tenth should create some fantastic racing, especially if the new aero changes work as intended.

    This is shaping up to a fantastic season. I’m already wishing it was tomorrow!

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