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F1: Albert Park Qualifying

687   //    17 Mar 2013, 09:30 IST

With what has seemed like an eternity, Formula One has finally come back. And Mother Nature had a wonderful welcome in mind. Heavy rain fell prior to the start of the session – the storms were severe enough to knock out TV coverage for a time – and ensured the first part of qualifying was delayed on three occasions, until finally getting underway half an hour late.

Q1 and Rosberg emerged as the fastest man on track despite all the accidents scattered about. Massa, Gutierrez, Maldonado, van der Garde and Pic were each involved in their own accidents, ending their qualifying session early.

Caterham’s Charles Pic set a time in Q1 outside the 107% mark but with the torrential rain, it is sure that the steward’s will allow him to race on Sunday.

After a somewhat long break between Q1 and Q2, the drivers and cars reemerged on track. You’ve seen qualifying stopped before it’s even started but to have qualifying run on two different days is something completely different.

Even with this break, the drivers were still fighting the wet track and the slippery white lines. With spray coming off the tyres, most of the drivers took to the track. With rain predicted in the short term forecast, everyone wanted to set a quick lap.

Q2 seemed to be more like a test run. For McLaren at least. Many of the teams and drivers were trying to come to a healthy understanding of tyres versus track. Not wanting to disappoint the fans in the season opener and wanting their new teams to do their best, teams seemed to be changing tyres every few laps or so. But once the track started drying out within the last few precious minutes of Q2, the times started to drop.

Q3 and the first Top Ten Shoot out of 2013 season began.

It seemed like qualifying was set to take shape as previous years. Drivers waiting for the very last second to head out on track and teams conserving tyres as much as possible. Seven minutes passed and there really was not much action on track. Three and a half minutes left and the drivers all pitted for soft tyres. The track had really dried out and each of the ten drivers were set to race for the podium.

Less than a minute left and that is when the action really began. With every driver that crossed the chequered flag, the pole seemed to pass from hand to hand. The moment that Red Bull’s Vettel crossed the start/stop line with a single second left, everyone knew that qualifying was over. The track was dry and the triple World Champion was set and went on to take the very first pole position in the 2013 F1 season.

rbr Sebastian Vettel P1 
rbr Mark Webber P2 
MCP Lewis Hamilton P3
Ferrari Felipe Massa P4
Ferrari Fernando Alonso P5 
MCP Nico Rosberg P6
LRGP Kimi Räikkönen P7
LRGP Romain Grosjean P8
Force Paul di Resta P9
vmm Jenson Button P10
sauber Nico Hulkenberg P11
Force Adrian Sutil P12
rosso Jean-Éric Vergne P13
rosso Daniel Ricciardo P14
vmm Sergio Perez P15
Will Valtteri Bottas P16
Will Pastor Maldonado P17
sauber Esteban Gutiérrez P18
MVR Jules Bianchi P19
MVR Max Chilton P20
lotus Giedo van der Garde P21
lotus Charles Pic P22

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