Vettel gets second successive pole at Australian GP


Melbourne: Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel secured a second successive pole of the season Saturday when he posted the fastest-time in qualifying for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.

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The German clocked a time of one minute 23.919 seconds on the 5.308 kilometre-long lap of the Albert Park course and will start alongside his team-mate Mark Webber.

The local hero, who was hoping to secure his first-ever pole in his home race, was 0.106 seconds behind Vettel.

Vettel, who screamed: “We have shown them” into the team radio after securing pole, said that he had gained some small sense of revenge after Webber had secured his to-date only pole in the German Grand Prix last year, which the Australian then went on to win.

“I am very satisfied. Yesterday I was not as happy, but then we managed to improve. But anything can happen in the race, so we will have to see what happens.

“But obviously it is clear that after securing pole my goal for the race has to be first place,” he said.

Webber, who had posted the fastest time in the final free practise, admitted that he was slightly disappointed. “I would have loved to be on pole, of course, but I tried my best and that is what came out. It is a good result for the team, even though I would have preferred to be one place further up.

The second row of the grid belongs to Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and world champion Jenson Button in a McLaren, while Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari and Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg start from the third row.

Alonso said that he knew it would be very difficult to beat the Red Bulls. “It would have to be something magical if we wanted to be first on the grid. The race is still very long though, so anything can happen.”

Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher in a Mercedes was again beaten by his team-mate and will start from seventh, alongside his former Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello, who now drives for Williams.

However, Schumacher said he was happy with his performance. “I think so far I have had a good weekend and am doing better than in the first race, which is not surprising, as I needed to come back into it.”

The top ten is completed by Renault’s Robert Kubica and Adrian Sutil in a Force India.

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, who won the race in 2008 and finished third in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix was surprisingly knocked out in the second round of qualifying and will start from 11th on the grid.

The three new teams again disappointed as all six drivers failed to progress beyond the first round of qualifying and will start from the last six positions on the grid.

Alonso leads the championship standings after the first race with 25 points from his team-mate Felipe Massa, who has 18.