Malaylsia Qualifying No Surprise at the Front: Vettel, Hamilton, Webber, Button

Barry RosenbergContributor IIApril 9, 2011

Lewis Hamilton, Sebastien Vettel, Mark Webber
Lewis Hamilton, Sebastien Vettel, Mark WebberPaul Gilham/Getty Images

It seems to this observer that F1, as it stands today, is separating the men from the boysliterally. There are some exceptions, of course, but for the most part, the young chargers are taking charge of the grid.

The dichotomy is that some of the very swift young folk are in less-than-wonderful cars. This is the natural evolution, of course, and the folks we've been watching for quite some years now had their time in clunkers until they earned the better rides.

Today's young comers might do better than they would if they were in Ferraris, Mclarens or Red Bulls. Some of them will persevere and earn rides in front runnersothers will go to touring car, NASCAR racing or rallying. It's no shame on those folks, because they have proven skill, judgement, and courage, but their talent lies in other specialities. Perhaps tap dancers can't be ballet stars, and ballroom dancers can't break dance, but they're sure great at what they do. So it is in racing.

On the other hand, my heart breaks for the likes of Heikki Kovalainen, Adrian Sutil, Jarno Trulli, Timo Glock, Vitantonio Liuzzi, and Rubens Barrichello old pros who just can't get up front any more. In the case of Sutil, I was more surprised than in the case of the others because I expected the Force India cars to have the blistering straight-line speed that they've shown from time to time in the past, and I expected that to take Adrian closer to the front.

We would expect relative newcomers like Narain Karthikeyan and Jerome d'Ambrosio to be near or at the back of the grid. In a way, they're still in their apprentice stage, and in the case of Formula One, that is quite a lofty plateau.

In any case, the qualifying order for Malaysia's Grand Prix at Sepang tomorrow tells the story. Depending upon your personal preferences, it's either a happy, uplifting story or a sad, depressing one. The latter would be me, but still, when the lights go out and the revs go up, I'm going to be feelin' good for sure. Only F1 is F1. Here's the qualifying starting order.

  • 2011 Malaysian GP: Formula One Qualifying Results

  • Pos      No              Driver                            Team                   
  • 1        1       Sebastian Vettel         RBR-Renault     
  • 2        3       Lewis Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes  
  • 3        2       Mark Webber       RBR-Renault            
  • 4        4       Jenson Button     McLaren-Mercedes  
  • 5        5       Fernando Alonso          Ferrari            
  • 6        9       Nick Heidfeld              Renault              
  • 7       6        Felipe Massa               Ferrari               
  • 8      10       Vitaly Petrov               Renault              
  • 9       8        Nico Rosberg         Mercedes                
  • 10     16      Kamui Kobayashi   Sauber-Ferrari          
  • 11      7     Michael Schumacher  Mercedes              
  • 12     18    Sebastien Buemi        STR-Ferrari            
  • 13     19    Jaime Alguersuari       STR-Ferrari           
  • 14     15    Paul Di Resta       Force India-Mercedes  
  • 15     11   Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth   
  • 16     17    Sergio Perez             Sauber-Ferrari          
  • 17     14    Adrian Sutil         Force India-Mercedes     
  • 18     12   Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth    
  • 19     20   Heikki Kovalainen       Lotus-Renault           
  • 20     21    Jarno Trulli                Lotus-Renault           
  • 21    24    Timo Glock                Virgin-Cosworth        
  • 22    25    Jerome dAmbrosio      Virgin-Cosworth       
  • 23    23    Vitantonio Liuzzi        HRT-Cosworth            
  • 24   22    Narain Karthikeyan      HRT-Cosworth