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Vettel on Pole for First Race of 2010

March 13, 2010

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel will start the first race of 2010 from pole position after showing impressive pace in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix this afternoon.

Felipe Massa will start alongside Vettel, with Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton making up the second row of the grid. Reigning champion Jenson Button starts eighth, while seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher starts his first race since 2006 in seventh.

Vettel proved he had the pace throughout qualifying, setting the fastest time for the whole session in Q2, and qualifying with a 1:54.101. Massa made an impressive return to the sport following his accident in Hungary last year, setting a time a tenth off the pace of Vettel, and four tenths of a second faster than teammate Alonso, who many expected would outshine the Brazilian.

Nico Rosberg continued to set faster lap times than his Mercedes teammate Schumacher, setting the fifth fastest time to start directly in front of the German. Mark Webber lines up alongside Rosberg, with Schumacher and Button on row four. Robert Kubica set the fastest time for Renault in ninth, with Adrian Sutil rounding out the top ten for Force India.

Rubens Barrichello will start his first race for Williams in 11th, with Vitantonio Liuzzi alongside, and teammate Nico Hulkenberg directly behind him. Pedro de la Rosa, who makes his return to a race seat from his test seat at McLaren, will start in 14th, with Sebastian Buemi, Kamui Kobayashi and Vitaly Petrov in 15th, 16th and 17th, after all having participated in Q2.

Unsurprisingly, the three new teams were the first out in Q1. Timo Glock set the fastest time of the new teams and will start 19th for Virgin. Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen will start from 20th and 21st for Lotus, with Lucas di Grassi in the second Virgin in 22nd. Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok will start on the back row in the two HRTs, with Chandhok finally getting some track time after failing to do any runs in any of the three practice sessions. Jaime Alguersuari was the first driver of the 2009 teams to fail to make Q2, and will start in 18th.

The race starts at 12pm on BBC1 tomorrow.

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