Well we’ve finally seen the drivers take to the track with low fuel and battle each other outright with their best efforts, or have we? Despite Sebastian Vettel’s massive pole position gap he wasn’t using KERS and nor was team-mate Mark Webber. This is impressive as the system is worth up to 3 tenths round albert park, and the team were not deploying it. One assumes they have the system in their car as they cannot simply add it after qualifying due to the park ferme conditions.
Read on after the break
If autosport are to believed its rumoured that the team have a start only KERS system that will only be good for one use (IE it doesn’t recharge) but this still doesn’t explain why the team didn’t use it at all. Lewis Hamilton also set his time without using KERS as the system had packed up during Q3, leaving Jenson Button mystified as to where the gap was. Several drivers have struggled to get heat into the tires while others have been taking very leisurely out laps and Massa spun coming out of the pitsin a similar manor to Karun yesterday. Sutil also got it very wrong with the DRS coming out of the last corner (the DRS system can be used at all times during quali and practice) but managed to keep it out of the wall. The most experienced man on the grid dropped out in Q2 by sticking his Williams in the gravel on a out lap after touching the grass, a poor showing for Williams this saturday.
At the other end of the grid HRT start off worse than last year with the cars doing only installation work (1 lap for Liuzzi and about 5 for Karthikeyan) and then failing to qualify. Its the second sloppy start in a row to a season from Hispania, however the car does look like it will make it inside the re-instated 107% rule as Luzzi wasn’t that far off. Considering Liuzzi managed only one lap in practice (Karthikeyan managed 5)and was only 1.7 seconds off the qualifying time, there is hope that they’ll make it into the race next time out. Being only 2 seconds off the virgin is as well encouraging for the team who really need to get some running and fast! Furthermore the team are yet to deploy a DRS rear wing which would see a big gain in times.
Full results from qualifying:
Pos Driver Team Time 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m23.529s 2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m24.307s + 0.778s 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m24.395s + 0.866s 4. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m24.779s + 1.250s 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m24.974s + 1.445s 6. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m25.247s + 1.718s 7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m25.421s + 1.892s 8. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m25.599s + 2.070s 9. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m25.626s + 2.097s 10. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m27.066s + 3.537s Q2 cut-off time: 1m25.882s 11. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m25.971s 12. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m26.103s 13. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m26.108s 14. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m26.739s 15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m26.768s 16. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m31.407s 17. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth Q3 cut-off time: 1m27.222s 18. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m27.239s 19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1m29.254s 20. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m29.342s 21. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m29.858s 22. Jerome D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m30.822s 23. Tonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1m32.978s 24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m34.293s