Jensen Button during practice in Australia. Yup, slicks are back.
Britain’s Jenson Button claimed pole position for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne — leading a sweep of the front row for Formula One new boys Brawn GP. Button edged out teammate Rubens Barrichello of Brazil by three hundredths of a second to claim the fourth pole of his career…
But Saturday’s qualifying provided little cheer for reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton, who will have to start from 18th in the grid. Hamilton struggled to the 15th best time but was relegated to the very rear of the grid because the gearbox in his McLaren had to be changed.
He later gained a partial reprieve as the Toyotas of Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli were penalized for a technical infringement with the rear wings of their cars…
Like McLaren, Ferrari were also off the pace with Felipe Massa qualifying seventh best and Kimi Raikkonen in ninth, although both will move up a place after the punishment meted out to Toyota by race stewards.
It is the first time in 38 races that neither a Ferrari or McLaren is on the front row for a grand prix.
Sebastian Vettel will start from third on the grid on his debut for Red Bull, with Robert Kubica also performing superbly for BMW Sauber — the Pole joining the promising young German on the second row…
Button will be aiming for the second victory of his 154 grand prix career in a remarkable reversal of fortunes for the former Honda team whose future looked bleak when the Japanese car manufacturer pulled out of the sport late last year blaming the global economic downturn. But a management buyout led by technical guru Ross Brawn rescued the team and secured drives for Button and Barrichello.
Exciting as all hell. Even though I’m a McLaren and Hamilton fan, it’s a gas to see Ross Brawn pull off a season start like this one.