Red Bull, the team that gave Brawn GP a good fight last year has started the 2010 Formula 1 World Championship with a bang! The team clinched pole position for the season-opening race in Bahrain with a lap time of 1:54.101 set by Sebastian Vettel.
The German will start tomorrow’s Middle Eastern event ahead of Ferrari’s Felipe Massa who makes his return after a horrific crash last year. Massa was just about 0.1 seconds slower.
Although losing the pole position battle, the Prancing Horse is set to go head to head with Vettel’s Red Bull as Fernando Alonso secured third place. The double World Champion who wears red overalls this year was about 0.5 seconds behind Vettel’s lap time.
2008 Champion Lewis Hamilton will start from fourth place ahead of Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg. The other Red Bull settled for sixth place with Mark Webber behind the wheel. 7 times World Champion Michael Schumacher who makes a sensational return with the “Shining Silver Star” outfit will start in seventh in front of reigning World Champion Jenson Button of McLaren and Robert Kubica of Renault. Force India is set to impress the paddock again this year with Adrian Sutil’s tenth place.
All rookie teams managed to qualify their cars for the Bahrain Grand Prix. However as most of us expected all three teams filled up the final six spots. Both Lotus Racing drivers Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen were sandwiched by the Virgin Racing drivers. Virgin’s Timo Glock secured 19th place with Trulli and Kovalainen in 20th and 21st positions respectively.
Lucas Di Grassi in the other Virgin positioned himself in 22nd place. Hispania Racing also known as HRT will start the Grand Prix from the very back. This is not surprising as the team which was formerly known as Campos missed crucial pre-season tests. As a result, Bruno Senna who brings back the legendary Senna surname to Formula 1 only managed 23rd. His Indian teammate Karun Chandhok was about 1.7 seconds slower putting him in the final grid position.
Both Virgin and Lotus were about 6 seconds slower than the pole sitter’s lap time. HRT is further down with a gap of about 10 seconds behind Vettel’s time. With such a gap the front running teams should be able to lap these slower cars after about 20 laps. These Cosworth-powered cars are clearly much behind in terms of pace which is probably due to the lack of preparation compared to other teams. Williams is also using Cosworth engines but the team’s lead driver Rubens Barrichello finished in 11th and his team mate Nico Hulkenberg managed 13th. As always tomorrow should be an interesting 49-lap race at the Sakhir race track and dry weather is predicted.
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