Australian GP: Qualifying

Posted on March 27, 2010

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Red Bull have locked out the front row after Sebastian Vettel secured his second succesive pole position with a blistering 1m 23.919s lap, edging out his team-mate in the process.

It was a supreme performance from the Red Bull squad. The car is clearly quicker than all the others, especially over one lap, and it’s difficult to see any other teams getting a look in during tomorrow’s race. There is some debate swirling in the paddock about whether Adrian Newey has come up with some device to vary the ride height of the car, potentially making it run lower to the ground in qualifying, but they are not confirming anything. Whatever the reason, it’s a long way ahead.

Jenson is well placed in fourth – if he can make any passes. It was very noticeable during Q1 just how busy the track was because Albert Park is a much shorter lap than Bahrain and it forces the cars closer together. Michael Schumacher is talking to Charlie Whiting about the problems it causes but it’s the nature of the beast. 24 cars close together is a good thing! Whether it will be enough to improve the situation tomorrow, we’ll have to see. Lewis had an appalling day, is stuck back in 11th and won’t be a player.

Alonso might be able to have a go from 3rd, but I don’t expect him to be challenging the Red Bulls unless they get yet another mechanical problem. Unfortunately, the most likely scenario is he’ll hold station behind the Red Bulls while staying ahead of Jenson.

Among the midfield Sauber have not apparently got much from introducing an f-duct. Rubens Barrichello has done well to get as far up at 8th in his Williams and Force India will be pleased to have squeaked into the top-10 shootout.

No dramas from the back markers, with all three of the new teams taking a full part in Q1 after a much calmer weekend. Virgin have faced difficult questions in the past 24 hours over the size of their full tank which won’t be helping. It’s reported the team may have to literally cut the back off the car and extend the existing chassis to accommodate a bigger fuel cell, before sticking it all back together. It’s big error and it’s going to distract until they can make the needed changes in several races time.

My podium prediction after qualifying?

1. Sebastian Vettel

2. Mark Webber

3. Fernando Alonso

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Posted in: Qualifying