Formula One News
McLaren take front row in Australia
By Jens Marx Mar 17, 2012, 7:43 GMT
Melbourne - Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button secured the front row for McLaren for Sunday's Australian Grand Prix as they posted the fastest time in qualifying on Saturday.
Hamilton took the season-opening pole with a time of 1 minute 24.922 seconds, to beat his team-mate, who had a time of 1:25.074 into second place.
Hamilton thanked his team after the qualifying. 'I believe it is our first one-two in qualifying and I am massively proud of that.
'It will be a very tough race tomorrow and looking after the tyres is the key.'
Button added that he was looking forward to the race. 'It will be a competitive season. It is only the beginning, but it is a great first result for us. I think we can look forward to a very exciting season ahead.'
There was disappointment for Red Bull as world champion Sebastian Vettel, who last year dominated qualifying, had only the sixth-fastest time and finished one place behind his Australian team-mate Mark Webber.
Vettel said that he was a bit disappointed with his qualifying. 'I should have done a bit better, but we have a long race and possibly I can move forward.
'I think it was difficult to know in advance how it would finish. But we knew that McLaren was very fast, possibly we did not think they would be that fast. Also Mercedes has become faster, that showed.'
The Lotus of Romain Grosjean was a surprising third, followed by seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher in a Mercedes, who achieved his best-ever qualifying result for the team he joined after coming out of retirement.
Grosjean, whose last Grand Prix was in 2009, said it felt good to be back. 'It is really nice. I am proud of what we achieved in qualifying and I now hope we can keep it going throughout the season.'
The top ten are completed by Schumacher's team-mate Nico Rosberg, who had the seventh-fastest time, followed by Pastor Maldonado in a Williams, Force India's Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo in a Torro Rosso.
The two Ferrari's, who are hoping to challenge for the title this year, failed to make it into the final round of qualifying as Fernando Alonso slipped off the track and ended up in the gravel after posting the 12th-fastest time.
His team-mate Felipe Massa was only 16th-fastest.
Some of the teams were considering putting in a protest against the Mercedes team, as they believe the car's f-duct rear wing system does not comply with the regulations.
Sunday's race around the Albert Park circuit is over 58 laps of 5.303 km for a race distance of 307.574km.
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