2010 AUSTRALIAN GP

Official Press Releases, Communications and Timing of the 2010 FORMULA 1 QANTAS AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX

 

Jenson Button on Sunday won his first race for McLaren at Albert Park

 

Australian GP – Race  – March 28, 2010

 

PosNoDriverTeamPoints
11Jenson ButtonVodafone McLaren Mercedes25
211Robert KubicaRenault F1 Team18
37Felipe MassaScuderia Ferrari Marlboro15
48Fernando AlonsoScuderia Ferrari Marlboro12
54Nico RosbergMercedes GP Petronas10
62Lewis HamiltonVodafone McLaren Mercedes8
715Vitantonio LiuzziForce India F1 Team6
89Rubens BarrichelloAT&T Williams4
96Mark WebberRed Bull Racing2
103Michael SchumacherMercedes GP Petronas1
1117Jaime AlguersuariScuderia Toro Rosso
1222Pedro De la RosaBMW Sauber F1 Team
1319Heikki KovalainenLotus Racing
1420Karun ChandhokHRT F1 Team
Ret24Timo GlockVirgin Racing
Ret25Lucas di GrassiVirgin Racing
ret5Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing
Ret14Adrian SutilForce India F1 Team
Ret12Vitaly PetrovRenault F1 Team
Ret21Bruno SennaHRT F1 Team
Ret16Sébastien BuemiScuderia Toro Rosso
Ret10Nico HulkenbergAT&T Williams
Ret23Kamui KobayashiBMW Sauber F1 Team
Ret18Jarno TrulliLotus Racing

 Australian GP – Race – March 28, 2010

BMW Sauber F1 – Australian GP – Race
Following Kamui Kobayashi’s retirement after a crash on lap one, it looked good for Pedro de la Rosa to score the team’s first points. But in the end his tyres degraded too much and he had nothing left for defending.

Weather: Drizzle after the start, dry later, 25-26°C air, 22-23°C track

Pedro de la Rosa: 12th
C29.03 / Ferrari 056
“For a while the race went okay, I managed to stay out of trouble and there was a good chance to get our first points. But, I’m afraid, we underestimated the tyre degradation. In the end I really had no rear tyres left. For the last 15 laps it was just a question of how to keep the car on the track. I was absolutely helpless when Michael and Jaime came in the end to overtake me“

Kamui Kobayashi: Accident on lap 1
C29.02 / Ferrari 056
”It looks as if I touched a kerb or another car in turn three. Everything was very close and I don’t really remember anything major, but on the data it looks like there was something. I had no worries about the front wing, but a few corners later it went off and got stuck under the car. At first I had no idea what had happened. I had no control anymore.”

Peter Sauber, Team Principal:
“Looking at how the race evolved, it’s a disappointing result. For a third of the race Pedro was able to defend ninth against Rubens Barrichello, but then he lost out, and in the penultimate lap he was also passed by Michael Schumacher and Jaime Alguersuari. Kamui’s race didn’t even last one lap. Following contact with another car his front wing broke, and he went off, unfortunately hitting other competitors.”

Willy Rampf, Technical Director:
“It was a race start under difficult conditions. Kamui most probably had contact with another car and damaged his front wing. As a result the front wing broke in the braking zone of corner 6, and Kamui went off. Pedro won positions after the start, and we made the change from intermediates to slicks at the right moment. Our strategy was to finish the race with this set of tyres, which – looking at the overall result – was the right decision. However, the tyres degraded too much, and the lap times were not consistent enough, therefore we lost our chance to finish the race in ninth.”

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Red Bull Racing – Australian GP Race

The Australian Grand Prix again proved a frustrating race after Sebastian Vettel was robbed of a win and Mark Webber finished ninth after a collision with Lewis Hamilton. As in Bahrain, Sebastian had built a commanding lead from pole and looking certain to secure a victory, but again it wasn’t to be and on lap 27, car trouble meant he slid off into the gravel trap ending his afternoon out of the points.

Mark Webber then became embroiled in a fight with Lewis Hamilton who, trying to over take Alonso’s Ferrari with just a couple of laps to go, collided with the Australian who was running close behind. Mark had to pit for a third time to replace the nose which dropped his sixth place to a ninth.

Hamilton’s team-mate Jenson Button, together with Renault’s Kubica and the Ferraris had elected for a one-stop strategy. Having started on intermediates in the drizzle, Button – somewhat bravely it seemed at the time – was the first driver to move on to slicks. Hamilton and Webber on their fresher tyres from a two-stop strategy meant they caught the leading one-stoppers pack towards the final stages. The final ten laps saw Webber and Hamilton draw in the leading four cars… but only succeeded in colliding.

It means we score more points than we did here last year, but again Seb has yet to see the chequered flag at Albert Park… our standing in the Constructors table remains fourth, but we’re joined by Renault after Kubica’s unpredicted second place.

We’ll pick up where we left off in Sepang next Sunday.

F1 dull? Think on.

After a rather dull race in Bahrain, Melbourne and its weather provided an action-packed F1 race. Here’s what the team had to say…

Mark Webber, Car 6, Position: 9th: “My start was tricky with a lot of wheel spin, but I was happy to get away with third. After the safety car, the race was going well. I wanted to get in on the lap that Sebastian pitted to change to dry tyres, but obviously whoever’s ahead has the call so I had to do an extra lap on the intermediates, which lost me a lot of time. Leaving the pits I couldn’t get second gear and went wide. I knew I had to make the moves on track. We then decided to pit which worked out okay. At the end of the race we caught the leading guys, but then we had the incident. I apologise to Lewis about that. I lost all down-force in the front of the car when I got close to them, the car lifted and I slid into the back of him. Unfortunately it had looked like a good finish, but it’s still very difficult to follow in these cars. I went down fighting, I wasn’t happy with sixth place and wanted to get a podium, but in the end it was a tough day for the team. We’ll be back.”

Sebastian Vettel, Car 5, did not finish: “I felt that something was wrong one lap earlier than I went off. I had some sparks coming up from the front left wheel; we didn’t know what it was and so wanted to pit. Then, a couple of corners before, I had huge vibrations building up and as soon as I touched the brakes, I had some sort of failure going in to Turn 13 and ended up in the gravel. There was nothing I could have done, I lost the car and that was it. It’s a shame as I think we had the race in total control at every stage, even though the conditions were difficult. But to win you have to finish. It breaks my balls not to get the win, but there’s still a long way to go in this Championship. We’re working hard to get on top the reliability issues and we hope to have a solid race and see the chequered flag in Malaysia.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal: “Ultimately an extremely disappointing day. Having been in control of the race, the second in succession, Sebastian unfortunately retired with what looks like a wheel related issue (front left), which certainly cost him a comfortable race win today. It was cruel luck for him for the second year in a row here in Australia. With Mark, at his home GP, he dropped a place at the start, but then was making progress in the damp and tricky conditions. We had to leave him a lap longer than Sebastian to change to dry tyres, as he would have lost too much ground pitting immediately behind him. As the circuit went from intermediates to slicks, he made a couple of good passing moves on Massa, but then, unfortunately, he got tangled up with Hamilton for the first time in the race. After everything had settled down and with the position he was running in, we decided we had nothing to lose by putting another set of tyres on to let him have a go in the last ten laps, which Rosberg and Hamilton also elected to do. We got Rosberg at the stop but Lewis and Mark got tangled together which resulted in Mark having to pit again for a nose change. Ninth place after starting the race with two cars at the front of the grid is massively disappointing.”

Fabrice Lom, Renault, Principal Engineer Track Support: “What a sad result. The only good thing from today was that we didn’t have any engine problems, but that’s it. It’s a sad day – we had the tool to win the race. We need to tie all our work in all areas together in order to bounce back for the next race. I would like to congratulate Renault for their second place – well done to them.”

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Scuderia Toro Rosso – Australian GP Race

Was this exciting enough for you?

Jaime Alguersuari STR5-03 Pos. 11th
“I think on the one hand I’m quite happy as I had a long fight with Michael (Schumacher) which was nice. I was under a lot of pressure, but I was able to keep him behind me for many laps until I made a small mistake at Turn 13 with a few laps to go and he managed to pass me. That mistake might have cost me a point, but we have to be happy with the progress we made this weekend, especially as I feel there is still a lot  more to come.”

Sebastien Buemi STR5-01 Retired
“Today went really badly for me as I was involved in someone else’s accident on the opening lap and I don’t really know how it happened; I guess Kobayashi must have braked really late. I did not get the best of starts but I was still holding position. Then I was hit from behind at Turn 6. It’s a very disappointing end to what had looked like a promising weekend with a very real chance to score points at the end of Sunday. But that’s racing and at least we only have to wait a few days to try again in Malaysia.”

Franz Tost: “This was a fantastic and very interesting Formula 1 race and a lesson to those who seem to want to change the rules of the sport every five minutes. Unfortunately, Buemi was involved in an opening lap incident with Kobayashi. As for Alguersuari, he did a solid job right from the start of Friday and it was by far the most competitive race weekend of his F1 career. His performance continues to improve with every race and he would have deserved a point today. He also learned an interesting lesson from Michael Schumacher, in that if you lose concentration for just one tenth of a second, he will pass you. Overall, I am quite confident for the forthcoming races, as when compared to our work in Bahrain, the team made a significant step forward here in Melbourne.”

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LOTUS RACING  – MELBOURNE GRAND PRIX RACE

Melbourne, Australia 28th March 2010
 
A mixed day for Lotus Racing at the Melbourne Grand Prix saw Heikki Kovalainen finish the race in 13th place, once again ahead of the other new teams, but Jarno Trulli failed to make the start due to a hydraulics issue on the grid.
 

Heikki Kovalainen (Lotus Cosworth T127-01): “I enjoyed it today, I had good fun out there. Our target was to finish the race and from the start we were quite comfortably ahead of the new teams. When Glock dropped I just focused on keeping up a decent rhythm, not making any mistakes and bringing the car home. It’s difficult to say whether a different strategy would have worked better – if we’d stopped once more and put a fresh set of tyres on, that might have been better way to go, but our target was to finish the race and we achieved that again. Now we go to Malaysia with a good feeling and we’re all looking forward to that.”

Jarno Trulli (Lotus Cosworth T127-03): “Unfortunately we couldn’t start the race today because we had a hydraulic failure on the grid and, despite the team’s best efforts, we couldn’t fix it in time to make the race. We’ll work now to fix that for Malaysia and I’m looking forward to getting out there and seeing what we can do in Sepang.”

Mike Gascoyne “Obviously a very disappointing start. Jarno had a hydraulic power pack fail on the grid, not something we’ve seen before and we couldn’t get it changed in time. Balancing that was another strong race from Heikki who did really well staying out on the option tyre. He made a good start but lost a few places after the accident on the opening lap, but he did a great job to get the car home, keeping us tenth in the championship. And congratulations to Karun Chandhok for getting a finish!”

Tony Fernandes “I guess we’ve got to have had some bad luck at some point and unfortunately it was today. I’m disappointed for Jarno, but Heikki did us proud – three places away from a point, and he was keeping pace with most of the other cars throughout the race. Maybe it would have been nice if three other cars had gone out so we could get a point, but, joking aside, it is good that at this stage of the season we’re already thinking about points. We’re in a nice position for Malaysia. We’re looking forward to going home, and really looking forward to giving our fans something to shout about.”

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AT&T Williams F1 – Australian GP Race

 
Aided by the forecasted rain, Melbourne’s Albert Park delivered a thrilling afternoon of racing today. Starting on the fourth row of the grid, Rubens Barrichello again scored points for the team in his second race for AT&T Williams, finishing in eighth place. Nico Hulkenberg’s debut Australian Grand Prix ended before it began as he fell victim to Kobayashi’s turn six incident on the first lap. The team now pack up and travel straight to Kuala Lumpur for the Malaysian Grand Prix next Sunday.

Rubens Barrichello: It was a good race, but we should have finished in seventh really. We took the chance to change tyres when we did and go for it. I thought everyone else would also come in, which is why I went for that route. More points for the team today is positive though. The car is good enough; we will just be picking up more points before we get podiums.

Nico Hulkenberg: Today was obviously pretty disappointing. I was already in the corner when I was suddenly hit from behind by Kamui Kobayashi. It was quite a big impact. I’m not sure what caused it, but it’s frustrating because I was looking forward to my first race here.  

Sam Michael, Technical Director: It was good to get some more points, but we need to bring more performance to the car and to the engine. Doing both is the major part of our development programme over the next few races. Rubens drove well through all the conditions he faced today. Unfortunately, Nico was knocked out of the race by another car.

Race Result

8 R Barrichello AT&T Williams +60.536 1:29.210 (5th) 8
DNF N Hulkenberg AT&T Williams – – 15

Track Conditions
Weather Intermittent Rain
Track Temp 22 – 24C
Air Temp 25 – 26C
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Force India F1 – 2010 Australian Grand Prix Race

Adrian Sutil (car 14, VJM03/03): DNF (Mechanical – Lap 9)

Tonio Liuzzi (car 15, VJM03/01): 7th (58 laps)

28 March 2010 – The Force India F1 Team has secured its second consecutive points’ finish of 2010 in today’s Australian Grand Prix. Tonio Liuzzi drove the VJM03 home to seventh position overall, bringing his and the team’s season tally to eight points.

After a rain shower arrived just minutes before the start of the race, Tonio switched to the intermediate tyre on the grid. As the rain eased and a dry line emerged the Italian made a stop for the option dry tyres on lap nine. He remained on this set until the end of the race, overtaking the Sauber of Pedro de la Rosa for tenth on lap 20 and then keeping Rubens Barrichello, who was on a newer set of rubber, at bay. When Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber clashed in the closing stages Tonio was promoted to seventh to secure his second points finish of the year.

Adrian Sutil unfortunately did not finish the race as he reported a loss of power from his engine on lap seven. He returned to the pits for the team to attempt repairs however when a quick fix could not be made he retired on lap nine.

Adrian Sutil (car 14)
We seemed to have a problem with the engine very early on in the race. I was driving on just four cylinders and then lost the power and that was it really. It was a shame as we were looking good after the start. The team looked to try and get me out again after I came into the garage as we were in such a good position and I was the quickest car on the circuit at one stage. We missed out on a big chance here today but what can you do. It’s good news for the team that Tonio got some more points and I’ll be looking to bring my points on board at the next race.

Tonio Liuzzi (car 15)
Another great race and another great result for the team. It’s a confirmation of the pace we showed in Bahrain and the work the team did over the winter. We worked hard all weekend for this seventh place and it’s a brilliant result at the end of what was a crazy race. At the beginning of the race on the intermediate tyres we were struggling a little and lost a few positions but after I pitted for the dry tyres I was able to recover and stay on the race pace. Towards the end of the race the rear tyres were going off a lot as I had been on them for a long time, but it was just enough to hold onto the position. I think it was another perfect weekend and now we can look forward to Malaysia.

Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal
What a race we had here today! Thrilling to watch and a delight to see a Force India car in the top ten. Tonio drove a brilliant race, looking after his tyres for almost 50 laps, to secure his second points of the season. It was richly deserved for him. Moreover, the result confirms that our pace is there and we are now genuinely in the hunt for points. It is a shame for Adrian as this could have been his race, but we’ll look at what went wrong so he can go for his first points of the season in Malaysia.

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Mercedes GP Petronas – 2010 AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX MELBOURNE – RACE
An eventful race at Albert Park for the Australian Grand Prix saw Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher bring their MGP W01 cars home in the points for a second successive race with Nico in fifth position and Michael in 10th place.

Rain immediately before the start meant all cars began on intermediate tyres. Michael was hit by Fernando Alonso in the first corner and was forced to pit for a new nose, resuming the race at the back of the field. Nico was running in fifth place at the end of lap one.

With the track drying, both drivers pitted on lap eight to switch to slicks. With the soft option tyres suffering from degradation, Michael pitted for a fresh set on lap 29 with Nico following on lap 33, rejoining in 12th and 7th positions respectively.

An exciting end to the race saw Nico catch up to the closely-bunched group from Robert Kubica in second place to Mark Webber in sixth place. He was therefore in position to take advantage when Webber and Lewis Hamilton collided and move up to fifth place. Michael had a late surge to overtake Jaime Alguersuari and Pedro De La Rosa, collecting the final point for 10th place.

MERCEDES GP PETRONAS are currently in third position in the Constructors’ Championship after two races.

Drivers       Car No.   Chassis No.   Race Result / Fastest Lap
Nico Rosberg     4     MGP W01 / 02   P5    1:28.489
Michael Schumacher    3     MGP W01 / 03   P10   1:29.185

Weather       Overcast with rain before the start
Temperatures     Air: 25-26°C    Track: 22-24°C

NICO ROSBERG
“Fifth place is a good result after a mixed-up race today. I had a bad start in the wet and after that we lacked pace and I struggled with the option tyre. The rear degradation was pretty bad so we decided to go for a second stop and get some fresh tyres to try to attack the group ahead. Even with the tyre advantage, it would have been difficult to pass once we caught up and therefore it was good to make up a couple of places when Mark and Lewis had an incident, so I’m pleased with that. We need to keep on taking the points whilst we improve the car so overall it was a decent weekend.”

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER
“I could have had a good race today so it was a pity that I was hit right after the start. That incident decided my race obviously. But things like that happen and you have to just say ‘that’s racing’. I had to take the remainder of the race from last position but I have to say that I was still having fun as our pace today was promising and for part of the race, we were going quicker than the top group. It was nice to pick up a point and we can take that good feeling into the next race where we will look forward to another challenge.”

ROSS BRAWN
“Nico did a very good job today and pushed hard to get fifth place. He was in a reasonable position halfway through but we began to get concerned about his tyres. He had lost a position to Lewis and it looked like Mark would get past so we took the decision to bring him in. As expected with fresh tyres, he caught up with the pack towards the end and was able to take advantage of the ensuing incident with the cars ahead. Whether we gained from bringing him in or whether his original tyres could have held out is difficult to know. Michael had the first lap incident which made his race very difficult thereafter and he did a very good job to keep at it and score a point. Overall I’m pleased with how the team performed this weekend. We got the most out of the car but clearly need to find some more performance. It’s not out of reach and we have a lot to look forward to over the next few races. Congratulations to Jenson on a great performance and victory today.”

NORBERT HAUG
“A very entertaining race and indeed probably one of the best ever. The rain and the various tyre strategies mixed up the field and our drivers showed competitive speed. Better than fifth and tenth positions was possible but Michael was a victim of Button and Alonso coming together in the first corner which required a stop and nose change. Michael stopped three times in total so finishing in tenth position and in the points was the maximum that he could achieve after an excellent drive. Nico did a great job, finishing just over two seconds behind a podium position and in the same league with the fastest. Great job, Nico! We have scored points in all four starts and our speed in Melbourne was much better than in Bahrain. Congratulations to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and to Jenson Button. Their early tyre change was followed by a great and measured drive from Jenson. This was the 69th victory for Mercedes-Benz since Melbourne 1997 and I hope soon we will have a jubilee. Looking to the next race in Malaysia, everybody in the team is very dedicated to catching up and I am sure this will be achieved soon.”
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Renault F1 Team – 2010 Australian Grand Prix Race
Robert Kubica, P2
Fastest lap: 1:29.570
Pitstops: one, lap 8, 24.188s (Intermediate / option)

Robert: “Second place today is a fantastic result for the team after all the hard work we have done over the winter. It was a difficult race to call in terms of strategy and I pitted to change my intermediates for slicks as soon as we saw Button’s pace. I managed to jump Massa in the pits and I came out ahead of Button, but it was my first lap on slicks so I could not hold him off. I thought I would pit again later in the race, but the team said we didn’t need to if I could look after the tyres until the end of the race. I tried to take care of them as much as I could, which wasn’t easy because I had Hamilton behind me and then Massa, but in the end my tyres lasted and we managed to get this great result. We have put in so much hard work this winter, and we know there is still a long way to go before we are really competitive with the fastest teams, but this is a brilliant boost for everybody in the team.”

Vitaly Petrov, retired lap 10
Fastest lap: 1:43.132
Pitstops: one, lap 8, 28.963s (Intermediate / prime)

Vitaly: “I made a good start to gain eight places and enjoyed the first few laps in the wet when I was inside the top ten. We made a change to slick tyres at the same time as most of the field, but when I was on the slicks I got caught out in the braking zone for turn three and got stuck in the gravel. I’m very disappointed because I think I could have scored points today. Still, this is a great day for the team and Robert’s second place shows the potential of the car.”

Eric Boullier, Team Principal
“The second place today is a fantastic result for Robert and the whole team in Enstone and Viry. We worked really hard over the winter and we can be very proud of this result. Although we still need to improve the car, this podium gives us all a lot of motivation to keep pushing. Robert drove a perfect race, looking after the car and fighting hard. I also have to say a big well done to the mechanics, who did an excellent job to get Robert out ahead of Massa in the pits, which was crucial for the final outcome of the race. It was a disappointing end to the race for Vitaly, but he is still learning about F1. His start was very strong, and with his strategy he could have been challenging for points.”

Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer
“Robert drove a brilliant race today. He made a good start on the intermediate tyres and I think we stopped to fit slicks at pretty much the ideal time. After that he drove and excellent race and managed his tyres perfectly to bring the car home in second place. Unfortunately Vitaly’s race ended early as he got caught out in the damp conditions, but he has another weekend under his belt and will look to bounce back in Malaysia next weekend, where we will have some more new aero updates on the car.”

Rémi Taffin, Head of Engine Operations
“Today’s result is excellent and we must dedicate it to the mechanics who have worked so hard over the last few weeks, and, of course, to Robert Kubica who delivered an exceptional performance. Without him we would not have been able to get this result. We’re not yet at the level of the leading teams, but we will continue working hard to get there.”

 

Australian GP – Qualifying  – March 27, 2010

 

PosNoDriverTeam
15Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing
26Mark WebberRed Bull Racing
38Fernando AlonsoScuderia Ferrari Marlboro
41Jenson ButtonVodafone McLaren Mercedes
57Felipe MassaScuderia Ferrari Marlboro
64Nico RosbergMercedes GP Petronas
73Michael SchumacherMercedes GP Petronas
89Rubens BarrichelloAT&T Williams
911Robert KubicaRenault F1 Team
1014Adrian SutilForce India F1 Team
112Lewis HamiltonVodafone McLaren Mercedes
1216Sébastien BuemiScuderia Toro Rosso
1315Vitantonio LiuzziForce India F1 Team
1422Pedro De la RosaBMW Sauber F1 Team
1510Nico HulkenbergAT&T Williams
1623Kamui KobayashiBMW Sauber F1 Team
1717Jaime AlguersuariScuderia Toro Rosso
1812Vitaly PetrovRenault F1 Team
1919Heikki KovalainenLotus Racing
2018Jarno TrulliLotus Racing
2124Timo GlockVirgin Racing
2225Lucas di GrassiVirgin Racing
2321Bruno SennaHRT F1 Team
2420Karun ChandhokHRT F1 Team

 

Australian GP – Qualifying Session – March 27, 2010

 

LOTUS RACING MELBOURNE GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING SESSION

The rain held off for Saturday’s running in Melbourne as Lotus Racing took to the track in earnest, keen to maintain their ‘best of the new teams’ record. Throughout the 3rd Practice both cars ran well, with Italian driver Jarno Trulli finishing with a time of 1.29.800 after 16 laps and Heikki Kovalainen completing 19 laps on a best time of 1.29.539. In qualifying itself Lotus Racing successfully maintained their record of best new team, finishing with Heikki Kovalainen 19th on 1:28:797 and Jarno Trulli 20th on 1.29.111.

Jarno Trulli (Lotus-Cosworth T127-03): “I had a problem with the seat which meant it wasn’t easy to drive, bouncing around in the car, so it was a difficult qualifying session. I’m pleased for the team though, as both cars are ahead of the new teams and we’re performing really well. It’s good to see that we have quite a big gap to the other new teams on this track and we’re very satisfied with that – we’re confident for tomorrow and we’ll do our best to try and finish the race again.”

Heikki Kovalainen (Lotus-Cosworth T127-01): “It was a good run this afternoon. I got a good lap out of the car and out of the tyres and in general the car feels much better than it did in Bahrain. We have progressed with the set up, and as a team we are really stepping forward. Our aim for tomorrow is to make sure we stay ahead of the other new teams, and finish the race with both cars. I’m so happy with Lotus, and feel I have the chance to show what I can really do.”

Mike Gascoyne, Lotus Racing Chief Technical Officer: “It was a good solid job in qualifying, both drivers did very well and got the most out of the cars, and I’m very happy with the whole team. Apologies to Jarno for the seat problem, which must have hindered him. One area we’re very pleased with is the growing relationship with Cosworth from whom we’ve had excellent reliability to date.”

Team Principal Tony Fernandes rounded up the day’s achievement saying “Once again Lotus Racing has done us proud. Consistency and reliability are still our key aims, and the whole team has successfully maintained our quiet progress. Next step is to take the fight to Toro Rosso and BMW Sauber and we’ll keep on fighting to achieve that. As you know Australia is an important place for me, and I – along with all our fans and Clive’s lucky cap – am very much looking forward to seeing Lotus once again on the grid in Melbourne.”
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AT&T Williams F1 – Australian GP Qualifying

 
Rubens Barrichello improved upon his Bahrain qualifying performance at Australia’s Albert Park street circuit today as he eased into Q3 and drove his FW32 to P8 in the top ten shoot out. Nico Hulkenberg’s efforts were somewhat thwarted by traffic during his debut qualifying session for the Australian Grand Prix leaving him to line up in 15th place on the grid for tomorrow’s race.

Rubens Barrichello: Qualifying went quite well for me and I’m happy with the way things went. We went through Q1 and then I put a good lap in during Q2. I was pleased with my lap in Q3 but there was a bit more there which we missed out on due to traffic. I think we can achieve a better result tomorrow than we did in Bahrain. Eighth is a nice result, but I know everyone in the team aims a lot higher. I’m sure we will get there, but right now that is the limit of the car.

Nico Hulkenberg: I’m disappointed with qualifying and expected more. The target was obviously to get into the top ten, but I didn’t get the lap together and this is the result. This is my first qualifying here; it’s not an easy circuit to learn and it’s very narrow and quite bumpy. It will be difficult to get into the points tomorrow from P15, but you never know what could happen if the weather turns.

Sam Michael, Technical Director: That was a good effort from Rubens today to qualify in P8, even if he lost time in traffic on his fastest lap. We only had enough tyres for one run in Q3 and decided to send Rubens out early to avoid any potential rain. Nico struggled to manage the traffic during Q2 so he wasn’t able to put in an ultimate lap. We’re looking forward to a strong race tomorrow, regardless of the weather. 

Qualifying Result
Position Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 S Vettel Red Bull Racing – – 1:23.919
2 M Webber Red Bull Racing – – 1:24.035
3 F Alonso Ferrari – – 1:24.111
8 R Barrichello AT&T Williams 1:25.702 (11th) 1:25.085 (9th) 1:25.217
15 N Hulkenberg AT&T Williams 1:25.866 (12th) 1:25.748 –

Track Conditions
Weather Cool and cloudy
Track Temp 21 – 24C
Air Temp 21 – 21C
——————
Force India – 2010 Australian Grand Prix Qualifying and Final Free Practice Report

Adrian Sutil (car 14, VJM03/03):
FP3: 8th  1:25.525  (18 laps)
Q1: 8th 1:25.504  (12 laps)
Q2: 8th 1:25.046  (8 laps)
Q3: 10th 1:26.036  (4 laps)

Tonio Liuzzi (car 15, VJM03/01):
FP3: 10th 1:25.782  (19 laps)
Q1: 16th 1:26.170  (11 laps)
Q2: 13th 1:25.743  (8 laps)

27 March 2010 – The Force India F1 Team will start tomorrow’s Australian Grand Prix, the second race of this year’s championship, from tenth with Adrian Sutil and 13th with Tonio Liuzzi. The top 10 start is the team’s second consecutive Q3 entrance and the sixth career top 10 start for Adrian Sutil. Tonio Liuzzi was unfortunately unable to progress into Q3 on this occasion after his potentially quickest runs were interrupted by traffic.

Adrian Sutil (car 14)
It’s not disappointing to start tenth but it’s not entirely satisfying either as I felt we could have done better. All the same we made it through to Q3, which was another great effort from the team, and we got the maximum we could have in the earlier sessions. I made two runs in Q3 and neither were particularly great as the soft tyres didn’t seem to get up to temperature. We’ve had a good pace through the weekend so we have a strong platform to go from but let’s see what will happen on Sunday. At this stage I don’t want to make any predictions.

Tonio Liuzzi (car 15)
Really disappointing today. There was so much traffic – it was just impossible. Pretty much every lap I had some problem, particularly with the Williams of Hulkenberg and the Sauber of de la Rosa who don’t seem to be able to use their rear view mirrors. In all the sessions, on all of my runs, I struggled to finish a proper lap. I had green on the first two sectors but then got held up in the last sector, sometimes in the last corner. It’s a shame as I definitely think the pace was there to make it through to the top ten. I think we need to find a solution to this as there are so many cars and too many different speeds. If it’s like this here, I don’t know what it will be like in Monte Carlo, which is even tighter.

Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal
I think it shows a lot that our drivers are disappointed with these positions. Last year we would have been delighted, but this year we expect more. Tonio got caught in traffic on every lap and without this I think we could have been in Q3 with two cars. Adrian was not entirely satisfied with tenth but nevertheless we can look to build on this tomorrow. Overall though a great effort from the team and the drivers to maintain the form we showed in Bahrain.

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Mercedes GP Petronas – 2010 AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX MELBOURNE

QUALIFYING

Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher qualified their MGP W01 cars in sixth and seventh positions today ahead of the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne tomorrow. Under grey skies with cooler temperatures than during today’s practice, the MERCEDES GP PETRONAS pair progressed easily through Q1 with two runs on the prime tyre, and through Q2 using the softer option tyre for a further two runs.

With rain threatening in Q3, Nico and Michael went out right at the start of the session. Running on the option tyre, both were unable to find a clean lap with Nico making a couple of uncharacteristic mistakes and Michael caught up in some traffic. Their quickest laps put Nico in P6 and Michael in P7 and whilst both drivers came back into the pits to switch to the prime tyre for a final run, they were unable to improve their times.

STATS

Drivers          Car No. Chassis No.     Free Practice    Qualifying 1   Qualifying 2    Qualifying 3
Nico Rosberg    4       MGP W01 / 02    P5      P6   1:24.788   P5     1:24.788    P6     1:24.884
Michael Schumacher   3       MGP W01 / 03    P3      P7   1:25.351   P6     1:24.871    P7     1:24.927

Weather          Cool and breezy
Temperatures    Air: 21-21°C    Track: 21-24°C

NICO ROSBERG
“It was a disappointing qualifying today as I had made really good progress during practice with my engineers but didn’t do the best job when it mattered. I made a couple of mistakes on my best lap on the option tyres which cost me three or four tenths. There was more in the car today so it’s always frustrating when you don’t get the most out of it. It’s not typical for me to make such mistakes in qualifying. But that’s the way it goes sometimes and sixth position is still a good place to start. We should be stronger in the race and anything can happen tomorrow.”

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER
“We had a reasonable qualifying session today and I am ok with the outcome even if I was a bit handicapped by traffic, especially on my final quick lap. We made some changes with the car after practice this morning which did not work out perfectly. But in general I would guess the ranking that we see now reflects the situation well and our performance is probably the maximum for our car at the moment. Anyhow, we still have a lot in hand for tomorrow’s race, and I am on the clean side of the grid for the start. As we all know, a lot can happen over the course of a race.”

ROSS BRAWN
“Whilst we weren’t necessarily able to compete with the top three, I thought we might have done a bit better today, and certainly be fighting for fourth and fifth places. We didn’t really seem to get smooth runs and whilst it’s the same for everybody with the conditions and traffic, the little things just didn’t quite come together for us today. The car is good so we’re a little disappointed but we know what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to find some time to compete with the guys in the top two or three positions and that’s our objective.”

NORBERT HAUG
“It was not quite the optimum result that we could have achieved today but better than fourth place would not have been possible. We know that there is more work to be done in order to improve our technical package and catch up to the Red Bulls and Alonso’s Ferrari which were out of reach. This will happen step by step and it will take some time. Nico and Michael did a good job within the possibilities that we currently have and are split by less than half a tenth of a second. We will try to do a better job tomorrow and improve our positions during the race.”

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Renault F1 Team – 2010 Australian Grand Prix, Saturday
FREE PRACTICE 3

Robert Kubica, R30-03, P13, 1:26.184, 21 laps

Vitaly Petrov, R30-02, P16, 1:26.661, 19 laps

QUALIFYING

Robert Kubica, R30-03, P9, 1:25.372

Robert: ”I think I got the maximum that was possible from qualifying today. I had to push hard because the car was not easy to drive and I think we lost some performance in the colder conditions. For the race tomorrow the weather could play a big role, but I don’t care if it’s wet or dry. Hopefully we can fight for some good points.”

Vitaly Petrov, R30-02, P18, 1:26.471

Vitaly: “I’m disappointed not to make it out of Q1 because the car has been competitive all weekend. Qualifying is a new experience for me and I’m still learning: it’s very busy out on track, it was difficult to get a clear lap and I didn’t put my three best sectors together when it counted on my final run. The times show I had the pace to be in Q2, so of course I’m disappointed not to have reached my potential. The car didn’t not feel as well balanced today, either, in the different track conditions. It will be a tough race starting so far down the field and the track is narrow so it’s difficult to overtake, but I will try my best to get a good result tomorrow.”

Eric Boullier, Team Principal“After a promising practice yesterday, today did not go as we expected, which is partly down to the cooler conditions. It’s disappointing for Vitaly who is still learning about F1 even though he has shown that he has the speed. He was on a different tyre choice to Robert in Q1 and had good pace, but at the end of the lap he was losing grip and made a mistake. Robert’s car was not as competitive as yesterday, but he got the most from it to make it into the top ten, which is a good result. We hope there will be a lot of action in the race and we know that our car can be competitive in the damp. So anything can happen.”

Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer“Robert’s ninth place was as good as we could hope for from today’s qualifying session after a difficult practice session this morning. We seem to have lost some of our competitiveness overnight with both drivers feeling the cars had less grip and more oversteer than yesterday. Robert did a credible job to qualify ninth and had a fairly straightforward session. Vitaly made a small mistake on his second run in Q1 and unfortunately didn’t make it through to Q2.”

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Scuderia Toro Rosso – – Australian GP Qualifying

Giorgio Ascanelli: “Both drivers did a good job, even if Jaime made a mistake at Turn 14, which he is unhappy about, but I’m happy that he’s unhappy about it! We have introduced a few changes to the car since the last race and it has made a difference today. It is too early to talk about an improving trend, but if we can repeat this type of qualifying performance in Malaysia, then that would be a confirmation that we are moving forward. And what a fantastic lap from Vettel in the Red Bull!”

Sebastien Buemi: “I am reasonably happy with today’s performance as I don’t think I could have done much more and I was unable to improve on my second set of soft tyres. I am very happy to be twelfth as eleventh was too far out of my reach as I was about five tenths off Hamilton. I hope we can come up with a good strategy for tomorrow, because if we do, then hopefully, I can finish in the points.”

Jaime Alguersuari: “I think my performance was quite okay, especially with the harder tyre. Maybe if I had got more out of the soft tyre I could have improved a place or two. But because the track is not so long, the times are all very close. I am quite happy with what I did today, as I am getting closer to my team-mate’s performance which is one of my objectives. But there is still plenty of room for improvement.”

Sebastien Buemi

(STR5-01)
 FP3:
 Best lap 1.26.104, pos. 12th, 21 laps
 
Qualifying:
 Best lap 1.25.638, pos. 12th , 17 laps
 
Jaime Alguersuari

(STR5-03)
 FP3:
 Best lap 1.26.368, pos. 15th, 17 laps
 
Qualifying:
 Best lap 1.26.089, pos. 17th, 16 laps
 

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Red Bull Racing – – Australian GP Qualifying

The two Red Bull Racing drivers locked out the front row in Qualifying in Australia with Sebastian Vettel taking his second pole of the season. The pace of the RB6 was evident from this morning when Mark topped the practice timesheets. This was then converted by Seb into being fastest in each session with Mark improving as things went on to be runner-up in Q2, then Q3.

After the session, Sebastian said: “This is a great result for the team. It’s obviously Mark’s home race here – but he got pole in Germany, so it’s kind of a revenge! But, it’s a long race tomorrow. We made a good step with the car ahead of today’s qualifying and the final session was all about if it would rain or not, so we waited a bit at the start. My first lap in Q3 was the quickest and it was spot on until the last three corners. I was on the edge through Turn 14, but then I lost a little bit in last corner going on to the main straight. It was a very good lap up until that point though and the result says it all. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

And Mark was upbeat, but might have liked just another place up the grid for tomorrow’s grand prix. He said: “I would prefer to be on pole position of course, but second is still a good result and it’s great for the team to have a one-two and Seb did a good job. It was a good battle – with about 800ths between us in the end. I wasn’t mega-concerned about the weather today, as it’s the same for everyone and whatever happens, happens! I think tomorrow will be enjoyable – but I would prefer a dry race, as the track can get slippery with intermittent conditions.”

Our team principal, Christian Horner said: “It was a brilliant team performance today with great laps from both drivers. Sebastian also set a new track record for pole position. Our strategy was slightly different to the other teams with our tyre choice in Q1 and Q2, but both drivers did excellent jobs and we’re in good shape for Sunday.”

Behind us, winners of three World Championship crowns share the second row, in the shape of Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari and Jenson Button in the McLaren.

Fifth place went to Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari, with Nico Rosberg sixth for Mercedes, just ahead of his illustrious team-mate, Michael Schumacher.

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BMW Sauber F1 – Australian GP – Qualifying

Despite identical grid positions as in the first race in Bahrain there is some progress to report. Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi qualified 14th and 16th respectively for the Australian Grand Prix but the C29’s set-up has improved and both drivers are optimistic to go and fight for points in tomorrow’s race.

Weather: Overcast but dry, 21-22°C air, 23-26°C track

Pedro de la Rosa: C29.03 / Ferrari 056
Qualifying: 14th / 1.25.747 min (in Q2) / 3rd Practice: 18th / 1:26.818 min (18 laps)
“We are still a step away from Q3 but we were closer than in Bahrain. We will keep working hard and further improve the car for the future, and tomorrow we will go and fight for points. This is what I really want – finishing a good race and score. I was pushing hard in qualifying and basically I’m happy with my fastest lap. In the traffic it was very difficult to get in a clear lap, especially in Q1 we obviously had many cars and on different speeds. I tried my best to stay out of everybody’s way but it doesn’t always work although I’m very well informed from the pit lane about which car is close to me.“

Kamui Kobayashi: C29.02 / Ferrari 056
Qualifying: 16th / 1.25.777 min (in Q2) / 3rd Practice: 14th / 1:26.275 min (21 laps)
“I expected to finish qualifying a bit higher up because the speed in the third free practice was encouraging. I pushed very hard and nearly lost the car, but we didn’t make it into Q3. Nevertheless we definitely improved compared to Bahrain. Although the positions are the same the gap is smaller. I’m quite confident for the race.”

Peter Sauber, Team Principal: “P14 and P16 in qualifying don’t meet our expectations, therefore we cannot be satisfied. I think that today we didn’t really exploit the full potential of the car.”

Willy Rampf, Technical Director: “It was a qualifying without any particular problems, but our grid positions are quite disappointing. We are not fast enough for Q3, but nevertheless we expected to be further up the grid. There is a pack of cars in the midfield where the gaps are very close, and where you can win or lose positions with just a small time difference. On the positive side, the balance of the car was definitely better here than in Bahrain, but we have to further improve the overall performance.”

Courtesy: Lotus Racing,  AT&T Williams F1, Renault F1, Mercedes GP Petronas, BMW Sauber F1 Team, Force India F1, Scuderia Toro Rosso © RIF