Vettel takes dominant pole in Melbourne
Sebastian Vettel has taken pole position with worrying ease, beating his teammate by more than 4 tenths. Lewis Hamilton put in a great performance in his Mercedes as well as he will start from 3rd, ahead of Massa and Alonso.
At 11:00 AM local time, Q2 got kicked off without delay this time. The track was almost dry and cars were queuing up at the end of the pitlane to get going. All of them were fitted with intermediates. As more rain was expected, teams were seeking to get a banker in early.
Jean-Eric Vergne was the first to take the track, ahead of his teammate, both Mercedes cars, Webber, Grosjean and many, if not all other cars (except of course those eliminated during Q1 yesterday).
Nico Rosberg got into it immediately and overcooked turn 1 slightly, although he easily managed to get back on track and continue with his first flying lap. DRS was also enabled from the word go, contrary to during Q1.
After the first lap, Rosberg is fastest, despite his slight mistake, ahead of Pérez, Webber, Alonso, Button and Raikkonen.
Halfway into the session, as times tumble without further rain, Vettel posted a 1:37.640, a full second faster than Alonso's time set a few seconds earlier. While impressive compared to the Ferrari, Webber soon got closer and Rosberg even improved, only to see a further improvement by Vettel a few minutes later.
At that time, McLaren decided to switch its cars to supersoft dry tyres but soon found out that was a little too early to call. Pérez entered the pits for a new set of supersofts 2 laps later with only 2 minutes left.
Meanwhile, Alonso improved to second after pitting for a new set of intermediates. Many drivers improved in the final minutes, including Massa who saved himself on his final lap. The 10 fastest in Q2 were Rosberg, Webber, Hamilton, Button, Massa, Alonso, Vettel, Di Resta, Raikkonen and Grosjean. Eliminated are therefore Hulkenberg, Sutil, Vergne, Ricciardo, Pérez and Bottas.
Note that McLaren immediately apologized to Pérez after getting him eliminated due to a bad tyre call, while Button switched back to inters in the final moments to secure a place into Q3 in the dying seconds.
Williams meanwhile appear to be struggling badly, with Bottas now 16th and Maldonado to start from 17th on the grid.
By the time Q3 kicked off, the racing line appeared nearly fully dry, but still the first runners chose to go out on intermediates.
Halfway into the session, Vettel is a massive 1.8s ahead of anybody else. Hamilton is second, Rosberg third, followed by Webber, Alonso, Raikkonen and Massa. Button then comes on track, immediately with the supersoft tyres.
Everybody else then opts to switch to supersofts as well, but with Button the first to have them, he's also the first to go faster. Hamilton however is faster again a minute later, ahead of Massa and Di Resta than.
As soon as Vettel posts his lap on dry tyres however, it's clear who takes pole, as again he's 1.8 seconds ahead of Hamilton. Webber gets closest to 0.4s, but there's nobody who can beat this Red Bull. Hamilton gets third place, ahead of Massa and Alonso.
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:44.657||1:36.745||1:27.407|
|2||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:44.472||1:36.524||1:27.827|
|3||10||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG||1:45.456||1:36.625||1:28.087|
|6||9||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||1:43.380||1:36.194||1:28.523|
|9||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:45.601||1:36.901||1:29.305|
|12||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:47.330||1:38.134|
|21||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:49.519|