Vettel beats Webber to Melbourne pole (Australian Grand Prix qualifying)

Sebastian Vettel heads a Red Bull one-two at Melbourne

Sebastian Vettel heads a Red Bull one-two at Melbourne

Sebastian Vettel denied team mate Mark Webber a pole position start in front of his home crowd at Melbourne.

Vettel edged his team mate by less than a tenth of a second in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.

But the biggest surprise of the session was Lewis Hamilton failing to make it into the top ten.


With 24 cars on-track at once teams were working overtime on the pit wall to get their drivers onto clear parts of the track to get their laps in.

The Red Bulls, McLarens and Fernando Alonso all made it through into Q2 by making just one run. And the rapid RB6s managed it without having to use the soft tyres.

The three new cars took up their already customary places in the bottom six, Lotus ahead of Virgin and of HRT. Jarno Trulli’s performance was hindered by a broken seat.

Sebastien Buemi escaped the bottom seven in the dying stages, dropping Renault’s Vitaly Petrov out of qualifying. The Russian driver might have made it into Q2 but for a wild moment in the high-speed turn 11 and 12 chicane.


After both McLarens had made it into Q2 with a single run it was a surprise to see Lewis Hamilton fail to progress any further.

He did two efforts on the soft tyres he was 11th, 0.062s behind Robert Kubica. Hamilton’s team mate Jenson Button made it through, courtesy of his first time on the soft tyres, and he did his second run on the hard compound after that.

Ferrari also sent Alonso out on the hard tyres for his second run after going fast enough on his first attempt to guarantee he would get through to Q3.

Webber was fastest earlier in Q2 but Vettel showed his pace with a late lap that beat Webber’s time.

Rubens Barrichello took Williams into the final part of qualifying, beating team mate Nico H???lkenberg by seven tenths of a second.


Webber was quickest to begin with, beating Alonso’s time to head the field. But Vettel went faster in the first two sectors and clung on through a wild final sector to snatch provisional pole position from Webber.

They had enough time for an extra set of runs but there were no significant improvements. Webber beat Vettel in the first and third sectors but couldn’t beat Vettel’s time in the middle part of the lap.

Nor were there many changes further down the order. The Mercedes drivers were the only ones to try a run on hard tyres at the end of the session but neither driver improved their time.

Felipe Massa was the only driver to move up the order, taking fifth place some seven tenths of a second slower than Alonso.

Vettel described his pole lap as being “spot on everywhere – until I reached the last three corners”. The gap between the Red Bull drivers may be much smaller than it was at Bahrain, but it’s still Vettel who holds the upper hand.

Overall times

Pos. # Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’24.774 1’24.096 1’23.919
2 6 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’25.286 1’24.276 1’24.035
3 8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’25.082 1’24.335 1’24.111
4 1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’24.897 1’24.531 1’24.675
5 7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’25.548 1’25.010 1’24.837
6 4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’24.788 1’24.788 1’24.884
7 3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’25.351 1’24.871 1’24.927
8 9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’25.702 1’25.085 1’25.217
9 11 Robert Kubica Renault 1’25.588 1’25.122 1’25.372
10 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’25.504 1’25.046 1’26.036
11 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’25.046 1’25.184
12 16 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’26.061 1’25.638
13 15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’26.170 1’25.743
14 22 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1’26.089 1’25.747
15 10 Nico H???lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’25.866 1’25.748
16 23 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’26.251 1’25.777
17 17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’26.095 1’26.089
18 12 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’26.471
19 19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1’28.797
20 18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’29.111
21 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’29.592
22 25 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1’30.185
23 21 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’30.526
24 20 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1’30.613

2010 Australian Grand Prix

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102 comments on Vettel beats Webber to Melbourne pole (Australian Grand Prix qualifying)

  1. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 27th March 2010, 10:22

    At least one comment has been removed from this thread for racist content. Such comments will not be tolerated.

  2. rob from inverness said on 27th March 2010, 10:44

    From the moment refuelling was banned, it seemed to me clear that control of ride height would be the over-riding challenge for 2010 F1 cars. The problem of the difference in weight at the end of Q3 and then at the start of the race was clear, given the crucial aero importance of (1) a low ride height and (2) a non-variable ride height. Looking at the Red Bulls on TV, it is clear that they are running very low R.Hs in qualifying. It occured to me that you could use conical shaped torsion bars ( even a threaded torsion bar if you could work out how to unwind the thread as the weight reduced.) I haven’t figured it out but then I don’t work with a € 100m budget and didn’t have a whole winter to “go figure.” Can one of the high quality engineering contributors to Keith’s site give us some ideas on how you would engineer non-driver operated ride height control?

  3. Schumi_the_greatest said on 27th March 2010, 10:51

    Bearing in mind that Rosberg is one of the fastest qualifying drivers, if not the fastest, you gotta admitt that Schumacher is now doing very good.
    Yes, I think he’s getting up to speed

    Id say hamilton and vettel are the quickest over 1 lap to be honest!

  4. rob from inverness said on 27th March 2010, 10:51

    I forgot to say “thanks” to Keith for entirely the best summary of Qualifying on the F1 internet. Better than all the rest put together and concise. Thanks for giving us “facts” which answered a lot of the questions instead of just re-cycling drivers’ comments which are just PR talk or pages from the book of excuses, depending on which end of the grid they occupy.

  5. Mclaren said on 27th March 2010, 11:08

    Im in oreof Red bull. A 1-2 is not a bad shout.

  6. steph said on 27th March 2010, 11:27

    Ferrari starting on the clean side is good…well I think it is anyway! :P I think the RBR is showing itself to be a monster of a car. I don’t think the engine is a problem, it has its benefits by being so good with fuel so that maybe cancels out to some extent, any lack of power. I knopw there are reliability issues but maybe that is more Newey’s design, many of his cars have been quick but unreliable, than Renault’s fault as Renault don’t seem to have any issues really.
    I hope Vettel doesn’t dance off into the sunset with his car again and there is some action but he put in a stunning (well 2/3d stunning 1/3 bonkers) lap. I got the pole prediction right so I’m happy :) I wouldn’t begrudge Webber a home win.

  7. Magnificent Geoffrey said on 27th March 2010, 11:36

    Wow, what a great day’s action!

    Was on the start/finish straight today, saw everything apart from the GT crash while I was grabbing lunch! Was really hoping for a Webber pole but super excited about the race tommorrow, purely from a neutral’s perspective. And a 1.23.9?!? Seriously? Good god. Those designers and aero guys are simply unbelieveable.

    Can’t wait for tomorrow. Expecting that we’ll all get to see yet another classic race – I’m almost hoping for a first lap Safety Car deployment just to see the resulting mayhem that it will cause due to pit stops! Really wouldn’t be surprised to see the heavens open again as well as it’s been threatening to REALLY pour down the past two days – and that’d really shake it up.

    Only things I’ll be missing out on are all your comments on the blog and BBC commentary but I guess I’ll manage! If I get any good pics or video from Turn 1 tomorrow I’ll try and share them with you all – although it’ll probably take me a couple of days, mind.

    Enjoy the race, all!

    • Darren said on 27th March 2010, 12:15

      Nice to see a ‘happy’ comment Magnificent Geoffrey after reading all these negative comments from other so called fans, cant wait to see the race and Go Webber! PS I live in Melbourne the weather is gonna be crazy tomorrow!

  8. Rolo said on 27th March 2010, 11:57

    Don’t get me wrong Vettel is a brilliant driver but why does he keep doing that really annoying finger celebration every 2 seconds once he gets out of the car. It should be banned by the FIA because even though he’s P1 for the race he’s not THE NO. 1 greatest driver which he looks to be almost arrogantly expressing through his index finger all the time. Once he’s maybe a multiple world champ I’ll forgive him for doing then but for now it’s just gets under my skin.

  9. Younger Hamilton said on 27th March 2010, 12:01

    i just dont get it with Mclaren and their Downforce problems if they want more downforce,why dont they just use the adopted upgrades they always us for monaco especially the one with the flaps and different profile on the front wing and the one with the widened central spoon do that more airflow enters the front wing and therefore ADDS ‘DOWNFORCE’ on other High Downforce tracks e.g Austraila,Spain and Bahrain.

  10. The Limit said on 27th March 2010, 12:45

    Looking at this in a positive light, it may prove a good thing that Hamilton is so far back in the pack. We may see some overtaking, and lost tempers, some drama for a change. Anything would be an improvement on Bahrain.
    Yet again the Red Bulls look pretty mighty, and I am pleased Mark Webber is up there alongside Vettel, with Alonso there for good measure. Although it is early in the season, Christian Horner and co. must be feeling quite confident. Their car is obviously fast and, leaving aside any mechanical screw ups, should prove hard to beat.
    My pick for tomorrows podium.

    1. Vettel
    2. Alonso
    3. Webber

  11. I’m dissapointed with petrov, he doesn’t show promise and probably he will be the first driver who will be replaced. He is here just for his millions, there are better drivers outside the paddock e.g. villanueve, sato, heidfeld etc.

    • steph said on 27th March 2010, 13:10

      Petrov had a disappointing day today but at Bahrain he did move up to 11th at one point. He’s also up against the highly rated Kubica. I think Petrov shwos promise although not a clear star just yet but there is still the issue of lack of testing.
      Jacques is past it, Sato crashes too much even though I’d like him back and quick Nick made his choice.

    • Has he ever driven that track before though?

  12. Stuart H. Otman said on 27th March 2010, 14:02

    “Whitmarsh said McLaren do not have ride height adjustment system on their car – as they thought it would be illegal”

    This is not a good excuse; they should have had a system ready to go in Bahrain when it was deemed legal. We now know that the ‘spirit’ of the rules doesn’t count for much.

  13. F1Fan said on 27th March 2010, 15:55

    Funny how the Webber crowd has silenced after Q. I said there was no way Webber would beat Vettel. Alonso will blow by Web at the start and it will be a Vettel-Alonso race again. It will be interesting to see how the front runners manage the SC periods. I predict Chandhok will crash within the first 3 laps, there will be another crash before the pitstops and a third crash once the leading cars start lapping the amateurs.

    Ferrari is faster on the hards and kinder on the softs, so I am looking for Alonso to stay out longer on the softs (than Vettel) … IF the softs don’t grain too much.

  14. I think McLaren must be scratching their heads on mediocre one-lap pace of the MP4/25. Being beaten by the trick-suspension equipped Red-Bull is one thing. But being regularly beaten by the Ferrari, and by the Mercedes is quite another.

    I think the MP4/25, like its predecessors, is lacking downforce in the medium speed corners. This is a DNA problem in all recent McLarens. Just like all Saubers were/are perennial understeerers. Mclaren must do something to bury this problem once and for all. But I suspect it is a transient aero problem that is difficult to tackle. I think this really highlights Adrian Newey’s unique ability and expertise in this area of F1 car design.

    A ratchet suspension height mechanism is not too difficult a device to put in place for a resourceful team such as McLaren.

  15. With qualifying now about the quickest driver on pole because of light fuel. I can see Vettel dominating qualifying this year, he is ridiculously quick over a single lap.

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