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After Canada
Championship Standings:

Drivers' Standings
1 Sebastian Vettel 121
2 Lewis Hamilton 120
3 Valtteri Bottas 86
4 Daniel Ricciardo 84
5 Kimi Raikkonen 68
6 Max Verstappen 15
7 Fernando Alonso 32
8 Nico Hulkenberg 32
9 Carlos Sainz 24
10 Kevin Magnussen 19
11 Pierre Gasly 18
12 Sergio Perez 17
13 Esteban Ocon 11
14 Charles Leclerc 10
15 Stoffel Vandoorne 8
16 Lance Stroll 4
17 Marcus Ericsson 2
18 Brendon Hartley 1
19 Romain Grosjean 0
20 Sergey Sirotkin 0

Constructors' Standings
1 Mercedes 206
2 Ferrari 189
3 Red Bull Renault 134
4 Renault 56
5 Mclaren Renault 40
6 Force India Mercedes 28
7 Toro Rosso Honda 19
8 Haas Ferrari 19
9 Sauber Ferrari 12
10 Williams Mercedes 4

Button leads Brawn 1-2 in qualifying

Australian GP in Melbourne
Saturday, March 28, 2009


Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello and the rest of the Brawn GP brass at the Virgin sponsorship announcement in Oz
The newly Virgin-branded Brawn's winter testing victory translated on Saturday into locking out the front row of the grid for the 2009 season opener.

After Williams' Nico Rosberg captured the fastest times in all three pre-qualifying practice sessions, Jenson Button shifted into a higher gear to capture pole in Australia.

On the day in which the team announced its new partnership with Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, Jenson Button put the BGP 001 car on pole at the end of a closely-fought qualifying hour. Teammate Rubens Barrichello will start alongside Jenson on the front row of the grid for tomorrow's 58-lap race.

A happy Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello will start 1-2 on Sunday
The BGP 001 cars ran at the front of the field throughout qualifying with the team's two drivers vying for position at the top of the timesheets. Rubens took the honors in Q1 and Q2, posting the fastest lap of qualifying in the second session. In the pole position shoot-out, both drivers completed two runs with Jenson taking pole in the dying seconds of the session.

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel joined the white-overalled drivers from Brackley in the post-session press conference.

Lewis Hamilton's first weekend as reigning world champion went from bad to worse in qualifying: yet again slower than his McLaren teammate, and forced to sit out 'Q2' with what he disconsolately told reporters was a broken component in the rear of his MP4-24.

A year after winning at Albert Park, he is fifteenth on the grid, one place behind the sister McLaren of Heikki Kovalainen, who on Saturday was quicker only than the slow Toro Rossos, Force Indias and Nelson Piquet.

Elsewhere, the field is incredibly closely matched and equally hard to read: BMW's Nick Heidfeld is seven places behind his teammate, Rosberg eight places ahead of Kazuki Nakajima, and local driver Mark Webber seven places behind Vettel.

The struggling Ferraris are just seventh and ninth on the grid, while neither Renault graduated into the top-ten runout.

Jenson Button
Polesitter Button couldn't be happier.  "To put the car on pole at our debut race is a fantastic achievement and I have to give so much credit to Ross, Nick and everyone at the factory in Brackley. The last four months have been incredibly tough for the team and to go from a situation where you don't even know if you are going to be racing to achieving pole at the first race of the season is just incredible. Tomorrow is obviously the most important day of the weekend and there is a lot of work to be achieved to come away with a successful result however we have to remember where we have been and really enjoy this moment."

Top-3 qualifiers (L to R) Vettel, Button and Barrichello
His teammate Rubens Barrichello was also ecstatic.  "It has been a great day and I want to congratulate the team for an outstanding job. I was hoping that I could put the car on pole and it was looking good in the first two sessions but in Q3 I developed some understeer in the car which comprised my final runs. However the first row for both cars is a real credit to the team and gives us a great chance in the race tomorrow. We have a really good car which everyone deserves credit for and I am just so happy to be racing at the front again."

Team owner Ross Brown could not be happier with his team's debut.  "Watching our two cars top the timesheets throughout qualifying capped an excellent day for the team which began with the announcement of our new partnership with Virgin this afternoon. The track conditions were more favorable than we experienced yesterday and we found that the tires worked in a more conventional way. In addition, the changes that we had made following yesterday's practice sessions proved positive and both drivers had a well-balanced car which allowed them to concentrate on maximizing the lap times. Whilst this is a great achievement and gives both drivers an excellent opportunity in the race tomorrow, the job is only half done and our full focus is now on getting the best result possible in the race. I would like to pay credit to Jenson, Rubens and the whole team, both here and at our factory, for their achievement today and to Mercedes-Benz for their invaluable support over the past few months."

With the status quo turned upside down in qualifying, Sunday's race is sure to be a thriller.



Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Laps
1. Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:25.211 1:24.855 1:26.202 19
2. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:25.006 1:24.783 1:26.505 21
3. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:25.938 1:25.121 1:26.830 21
4. Kubica BMW-Sauber 1:25.922 1:25.152 1:26.914 19
5. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:25.846 1:25.123 1:26.973 21
6. Glock Toyota 1:25.499 1:25.281 1:26.975 19
7. Massa Ferrari 1:25.844 1:25.319 1:27.033 21
8. Trulli Toyota 1:26.194 1:25.265 1:27.127 20
9. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:25.899 1:25.380 1:27.163 21
10. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:25.427 1:25.241 1:27.246 20
11. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber 1:25.827 1:25.504 - 14
12. Alonso Renault 1:26.026 1:25.605 - 12
13. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:26.074 1:25.607 - 16
14. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:26.184 1:25.726 - 15
15. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:26.454 no time - 5
16. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:26.503 - - 10
17. Piquet Renault 1:26.598 - - 12
18. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 1:26.677 - - 10
19. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:26.742 - - 9
20. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:26.964 - - 10

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