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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Vettel on pole in China

Throughout the diffuser flap, Red Bull was lurking. While other teams complained about unfair advantages, the Adrian Newey-designed RB5 was keeping the Brawn boys in sight, without the benefit of a fancy double-decker diffuser.

Sebastian Vettel made good on that promise Saturday, taking his second career pole and giving the team its first P1.

Formula One - F1

It looked set to be a Red Bull front row, as well, until Fernando Alonso pulled out all the stops to split Vettel and Webber. Granted, it was later revealed the Spaniard is the lightest fueled car in the field, but it was a stunning performance just hours after team boss Flavio Briatore was quoted saying the championship is a mockery.

Renault powered cars locked up the top three spots.

Rubens Barrichello was fourth and Jenson Button fifth in the heavier-fueled Brawn cars. Top 10 regulars Jarno Trulli and Nico Rosberg are present, as usual.

Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton both made the final shootout this time. Ferrari is still admitting they are not fast enough, while Hamilton has shown spurts of promise this weekend.

And the field's only rookie, Sebastien Buemi, put his Toro Rosso in 10th.

There was a fair share of disappointment, but none likely more so than Robert Kubica, a victim of Q1. Timo Glock will have wanted to done better than a Q2 elimination, as the German also gets a five-spot grid penalty for a gearbox change.

Just three cars will apparently be running with KERS: Nick Heidfeld in the BMW Sauber and the two McLarens.

The word from Formula1.com is the chance of rain during the race is fading, so we should be left with some pure racing as we wait to see if Brawn still has the advantage or if the field is starting to catch up.

The Grid, with Fuel Loads

  1. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 644kg
  2. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 637
  3. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 646.5
  4. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP, 661
  5. Jenson Button, Brawn GP, 659
  6. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 664.5
  7. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 650.5
  8. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 673.5
  9. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 679
  10. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 673
  11. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 679
  12. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 697
  13. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 690
  14. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 682.7
  15. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 690
  16. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 697.9
  17. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 659
  18. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 648
  19. Timo Glock, Toyota, 652*
  20. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India, 679.5
*gearbox change.

The Press Conference

The Quotes

In case you missed it: Chinese GP qualifying as it happened, from the BBC
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