Sebastian Vettel has drawn first blood in qualifying at Melbourne for Red bull with a lap of 1m23.529s, 0.8s ahead of his bewildered team mate Mark Webber who ended up in third. Vettels fastest time came in a lap where he had not used his KERS even once around the circuit. They have started exactly where they left off last year.
Lewis Hamilton finished a surprising second in a rejuvenated Mclaren with Button not very far in fourth. Martin Whitmarsh will be sleeping a happy man after todays performance, considering how winter testing went. Alonso and Massa had trouble getting heat into their tyres and ended up fifth and eighth respectively. Massa was caught out by the cold tyres on his final run and had an embarrassing spin after touching the inside kerb.
Vitaly Petrov pulled one out of the bag with an awsome sixth position in Q3 with Nick Heidfeld ending up a shocking eighteenth position in a Renault that showed quite some promise in the early half of winter testing. Vitaly vindicated the faith put in him by team boss Eric Boullier by giving him a seat for this year are a not so spectacular year in 2010. But he seems mentally stronger now and their is promise of more to come from him.
Nico was the fastest of the two Mercedes cars in seventh, and Michael was beaten by his team mate yet again with a disappointing eleventh position after a promising end to winter testing.
Kamui Kobayashi, with his mad-as-hell driving style, belted his Sauber up to a brilliant ninth with his rookie teammate, Sergio Perez pulling a respectable thirteenth. Sebastian Buemi drove to a surprising entry into Q3, but the Toro Rosso looked quite competitive when compared to last year where they were the slowest of the older teams. He qualified a strong tenth with Jamie Alguersuari two places behind in twelfth, on the tail of Michael Schumacher.
Newboy and current DTM champion, Paul di Resta beat his more experienced stable mate Adrian Sutil, and qualifyied in fourteenth position. Adrian Sutil could only manage sixteenth at opening round qualifying.
Rubens Barichello made a rare mistake in qualifying and spun the car after touching the grass on the outside while approaching turn three. The car was beached and his session was abruptly cut short with him ending up in seventeenth position. Pastor Maldonado had a great debut, starting his debut race in fifteenth position, two ahead of his very experienced teammate.
Team Lotus find themselves exactly where they finished last year, as the best of the new teams, well one year old teams. Kovalinen starting ahead of Trulli will be gunning to get ahead of Heidfeld at the start.
Timo Glock and rookie Jerome D’Ambrosio will take up their place behind the Team Lotus cars, and will be the last row of the grid tomorrow as the Hispania cars failed to complete their laps within the 107% lap time. They are the first victims of the new rule and have not really had any time to test their car and improve it with them only completing 7 laps altogether in the practice sessions. They missed out on the testing sessions and could only begin to run their cars on Friday at Melbourne.
The teams might allow drivers Tonio Liuzzi and F1 returnee Narain Karthikeyan to compete tomorrow since it is the first race of the season. But if they do start tomorrow, it will only be a test session for the Spanish team and they will most definitely not be competing with anyone else on the grid.
Tomorrow is finally the day, we will finally know the pecking order on the pace and through an entire race. Go Scarlets !!!!