Sebastian Vettel has taken the first pole position of the 2010 championship season for the Red Bull team, beating the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso the the number one grid slot at Bahrain.

Felipe Massa caused a few surprises by upstaging his team-mate to take the other front row grid slot.

Bahrain's Top 3 Qualifiers

Michael Schumacher will start from P7, one spot ahead of the defending champion Jenson Button.

With drivers who graduate to Q3 being forced to start the race on the tyres used to set their fastest lap, there were fears that less than half of the runners in Q3 would venture out on-track in a bid top free up their tyre choice for tomorrow. Eventually, all of the top-ten runners emerged on the sifter tyre compound (bar Adrian Sutil, who opted to run on the harder tyre compound).

Ferrari was one of the few teams (along with McLaren) to opt to give its drivers two qualifying runs, and Alonso held provision pole after his first run in Q3.

Conversely, Red Bull opted for a single run for its drivers, and Sebastian Vettel vaulted to the head of the timesheets by a margin of some 0.9s quicker than the time achieved by Alonso on his first run.

Barrichello lines up 11th for tomorrow’s race, and despite missing the cut, he is the first of the grid’s runners to have complete flexibility as to which tyre compound he will be starting tomorrow’s race on. Strategically, that could place him at a huge advantage, with the low-grip circuit and high ambient temperatures playing havoc with the soft-compound tyre’s durability.

None of the new teams was every likely to make it beyond Q1, and with seven drivers being eliminated at the end of the opening session, it was Jaime Alguersuari whose Toro Rosso had the ignominious honour of being the first driver to fail to make the Q1 cut.

In the battle of the rookie teams, it was Timo Glock’s Virgin than finished up ahead of the two Lotus runners of Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen. Bruno Senna took the second-slowest time, almost 3 seconds off Kovalainen’s best lap.

For me, the hero of the hour was Karun Chandhok, who HRT finally started with a full compliment of gears to allow the Indian driver his first chance behind the wheel of the HRT Cosworth.

In what amounted to little more than a shakedown run, his presence in the qualification session was granted by the FIA on the grounds of force majeure when the rules usually state that a driver must have participated in at least one practice session in order to be able to qualify for a Grand Prix. Chandhok lapped within 1.7s of Bruno Senna

Incredibly, he not only managed top keep out of the quicker drivers’ way, his fastest lap was within 1.7s of his team-mate, which is an excellent effort for his first outing in the car.


2010 Bahrain GP Qualifying Times:

Driver Team Q1 Time Q2 Time Q3 Time
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Renault 1:55.029 1:53.883 1:54.101
2. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:55.313 1:54.331 1:54.242
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:54.612 1:54.172 1:54.608
4. Lewis Hamilton McLaren Mercedes 1:55.341 1:54.707 1:55.217
5. Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:55.463 1:54.682 1:55.241
6. Mark Webber Red Bull Renault 1:55.298 1:54.318 1:55.284
7. Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:55.593 1:55.105 1:55.524
8. Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes 1:55.715 1:55.168 1:55.672
9. Robert Kubica Renault 1:55.511 1:54.963 1:55.885
10. Adrian Sutil Force India Mercedes 1:55.213 1:54.996 1:56.309
11. Rubens Barrichello Williams Cosworth 1:55.969 1:55.330
12. Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India Mercedes 1:55.628 1:55.653
13. Nico Hülkenberg Williams Cosworth 1:56.375 1:55.857
14. Pedro de la Rosa Sauber Ferrari 1:56.428 1:56.237
15. Sébastien Buemi Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:56.189 1:56.265
16. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber Ferrari 1:56.541 1:56.270
17. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:56.167 1:56.619
18. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:57.071
19. Timo Glock Virgin Cosworth 1:59.728
20. Jarno Trulli Lotus Cosworth 1:59.852
21. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus Cosworth 2:00.313
22. Lucas di Grassi Virgin Cosworth 2:00.587
23. Bruno Senna HRT Cosworth 2:03.240
24. Karun Chandhok HRT Cosworth 2:04.904

[Images via AUTOSPORT]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.