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Red Bull locks out Australian GP front row

Mar 16, 2013, 8:54 PM EST

Sebastian Vettel AP

Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber have locked out an all-Red Bull Renault front row for the Rolex Australian Grand Prix, the opening round of the 2013 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.

After qualifying sessions two and three were delayed due to rain during the original Saturday session, they resumed early Sunday morning. More wet conditions greeted runners in Q2, with intermediate tires from Pirelli the option of choice at least to start. The track dried once Q3 had gotten underway.

Times began in the 1 minute, 40 second range around the Albert Park street circuit in Melbourne but quickly dipped into the 1:30s by the end of the session.

Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg all had their turn at the top of the timesheets. Those failing to advance into the final Q3 shootout were the two Toro Rossos (Jean-Eric Vergne, Daniel Ricciardo), Nico Hulkenberg’s Sauber, Adrian Sutil’s Force India, Sergio Perez’s McLaren and Valtteri Bottas’ Williams.

While most drivers went out once the green flag flew in Q3, Jenson Button (McLaren) and Paul di Resta (Force India) waited in the garage.

Rosberg was first to set the top mark at a 1:33.6, which was then bettered by Mercedes teammate Hamilton. Despite a serious moment in the final two corners, Vettel then topped them both as the first driver into the 1:32 range.

With four minutes remaining the track had dried enough to where teams could run on dry weather tires. Super softs were the option of choice after the inters and immediately produced improved times as could be expected.

Hamilton got down to a 1:29.1 to take the provisional top mark, later bettered by Vettel with just 23 seconds left in the session for the eventual pole time of 1:27.407, some 1.5 seconds clear of the field at the time. Webber was next, also in the 1:27s.

Hamilton got down to a 1:28.0, good enough for third on his Mercedes debut, ahead of Massa and Alonso in the two Ferraris.

Rosberg, the two Lotus Renaults (Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean), di Resta and Button completed the top 10. Raikkonen had a small moment in the pits when he drove over a jack while exiting, but the session otherwise ran without incident.

The lights go out for the opening round of the 2013 Formula 1 season at 2:00 a.m. EDT, with live coverage of the race beginning half an hour earlier on the NBC Sports Network at 1:30 a.m. Qualifying will be shown one hour earlier at 12:30 a.m.

  1. aloop4687 - Mar 16, 2013 at 8:59 PM

    Welp, no need to watch qualifying now. Thanks you idiots. I could have done a better job than this pathetic showing.

  2. unndunn - Mar 16, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    Great to see Hamilton doing work in that Mercedes. It looks like, yet again, Red Bull are poised to dominate the season; I just hope one of the other teams can keep pace and make it interesting down the stretch.

    Can’t wait for the race. Wet weather always makes for fun races.

  3. supertex14 - Mar 16, 2013 at 9:28 PM

    Dear NBCSN,

    ‘Spoiler Alert’.

    Sincerely,
    Trying to be supportive fan.

  4. apexassassin - Mar 16, 2013 at 9:29 PM

    Seriously, the title is a total spoiler.

    Sucks to be sucker who didn’t see the postponed quali live and then comes here to see when NBC is going to show it. Can’t believe you aren’t showing it during the 3 hours of replays leading up to the race.

    As for the result, RBR as expected are the team to beat, Hamilton and Merc continue to impress, Ferrari is led by Massa spiltting rows 3 and 4, with Rosberg in 6th. Then the Lotues, PDR in the sole Force India, and then Button’s Mclaren in a lowly, but lucky P10.

    Very excited for the race, not exctied for the commercials.

  5. bennoj - Mar 16, 2013 at 10:16 PM

    Right, criticize NBC for reporting news also available on dozens of other sites around the world. Are you sending nasty emails to PlanetF1, Autosport, and the BBC as well? No one forced you to read this post.

    • scottieinboca - Mar 16, 2013 at 11:24 PM

      The BIG difference is that NBC Sports is the TV channel WE have to watch and THEY made the decision to delay showing qualifying until tomorrow morning at 12:30. I, like others, came to their website to get updated information on the TV schedule (which changed today) to confirm what time they would be showing qualifying – only to have the results appear as the first bold type headline. Bad Form NBC – hope the rest of the season goes more smoothly.

  6. gbbcandy - Mar 16, 2013 at 11:37 PM

    You half wits and idiots. Do you have ANY idea of your audience? I mean any idea at all?
    Qualifying is delayed. NBC just paid all this money for f1 they must be showing qualifying surely. Not posted on the TV guide so look at the web site. Oh no need to watch qualifying now. No need to watch NBC now. you lost audience made your selves look like fools and dug a hole from which your coverage has to climb out.
    I hope who ever put the headline up with notice of coverage in the last sentence is asked to leave F1 coverage for ever. You do not understand your audience.

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