Lewis Hamilton will lead another McLaren 1-2, as took his second pole of the 2012 season, ahead of Jenson Button.
Apparently they are like buses, with Hamilton and Button never sitting together on the front row of the grid. The younger of the two drivers put in a solid lap early on and didn’t look particularly troubled, for the rest of the session. The elder, in comparison, found himself down in fourth, until he pulled it out of the bag in the final moments. Hamilton has been dominant all weekend, topping the timesheets in two of the three practice sessions.
Michael Schumacher looked like he might take a front row grid slot, for the first time since his return to F1. The German was sitting pretty in second, just over a tenth behind Hamilton, but was ousted at the last minute by Button. Schumacher looks like he is enjoying this year’s car and could really mount a championship challenge in 2012.
This week’s unhappy bunny award goes to Sebastian Vettel. The current and double World Champion found himself behind his teammate, for the second race in a row. Mark Webber looked unlikely to make it through to the final session, but a great last-minute fast lap then got him through and it was another one of those that put him up in fourth. Vettel took sixth, but will move up to fifth; with Kimi Raikkonen taking a five place grid drop for overtaking behind the safety car.
Raikkonen managed to split the Red Bull’s, after enjoying a much better weekend than Australia. The Finn will start in 10th, due to the grid drop. He also managed to win the teammate battle this weekend; Romain Grosjean had to settle for a slightly more modest 7th. Grosjean will be hoping he can improve on Australia’s result and make it around the first lap, at least.
The Ferraris struggled again, with Felipe Massa only scraping out of the first qualifying session. Fernando Alonso restored a little bit of pride and finds himself in 9th, but will move to 8th as Raikkonen moves down.
In Q2 Bruno Senna got a little closer to his teammate, Pastor Maldonado, as the Venezuelan just missed out on making it into the top-ten shoot-out. The Williams definitely looks like a marked improvement on last year’s dog of a car.
The big news in Q3 was that both HRTs managed to qualify, within the 107% rule. Pedro De La Rosa had it over his teammate Narain Karthikeyan, by 7 tenths. Jean-Eric Vergne was the disappointed driver 18th, after such a good weekend in Australia.