Lewis Hamilton looked nothing less than dominant, as he claimed the first pole position of the season.
Hamilton just piped his teammate, Jenson Button, by 0.1 seconds to the top spot. The Younger of the McLaren drivers never really looked troubled in the final session and was even able to abandon his final lap. He will be hoping this is a sign of things to come; Button sounded happy on the radio, as he improved from fifth to second on his last lap.
As a direct contrast form last season, Red Bull struggled to find pace and grip. Mark Webber was the top Bull, in fifth, while Sebastian Vettel had to settle for sixth. Vettel had to recover from an unusual spin, in the final practice session.
Probably the happiest man on the grid, or at least the most smiley, was a certain Romain Grosjean. The Frenchman is making his return to F1, after being dropped by his current team at in 2009. It looks like his two more years in GP2 have done him well and he qualifies 15 places ahead of his teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who failed to make it through Q1. The Iceman wasn’t so cool, as he ran wide on his final hot lap.
It wasn’t a good day for former World Champions and Fernando Alonso was not a happy bunny, as he became the latest driver to be claimed by the gravel trap. Alonso dipped his left wheels into the grass and minimal grip meant he couldn’t collect the car in time. The session had to be stopped, while his car was recovered, and Fernando Alonso returned to the garage, hiding inside his helmet. Despite the off, he still took 12th and qualified ahead of his teammate Felipe Massa.
Back in the top-ten, Michael Schumacher slipped in just behind the Renault-Lotus of Grosjean. However, he might not be there long (if Renault get their way). Team Boss Eric Boullier have promised to go to the stewards and challenge one of the Mercedes’ technical innovations. Nico Rosberg was another driver to fall foul to the low grip and he only managed an 7th place.
HRT had a hideous start to the season, after they have been called to the stewards. The slowest team in the pack became moving chicanes and several drivers were stuck behind them. Neither of the drivers managed to make the 107% cut off and will have to beg, borrow and steal, if they want to make it into the race.