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Sebastian Vettel on Pole in Melbourne: Formula 1 Season Starting To Take Shape?

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 26:  Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Red Bull Racing prepares to drive during qualifying for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at the Albert Park Circuit on March 26, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Duncan ScottAnalyst IMarch 26, 2011

The Melbourne F1 qualifying yielded some surprises, but not at the very front of the pack.

Here is the starting grid for the race:

So 2011 has picked up where 2010 left off. Sebastian Vettel has put down a marker that he is the quickest driver in the quickest car, and starts as hot favourite for the drivers championship.

Probably it will surprise nobody that Mark Webber and Jenson Button already look to be the slightly weaker sisters in their respective teams, but who would have expected Vitaly Petrov to look so much stronger than his veteran team mate Nick Heidfeild. Once upon a time, Heidfeild was known as Quick Nick, but in his first real outing for Renault he has been embarrassed.

Again Nico Rosberg has started the season being faster than Michael Schumacher, which pleases this writer, and all true Brits will be delighted to see Paul di Resta (from Scotland) looking very tasty. Note also that my favourite nutcase Kamui Kobayashi is a top-10 man—excellent!

At the back of the pack, in the yawn zone, one has to ask if there is any point at all to the HRT-Cosworth team.

Yes, it is early days, the very earliest. But aren't you so glad F1 in underway again, and don't you just savour the battles to come? Bring it on.

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