Sebastian Vettel claimed pole position for the Australian Grand Prix in dominant fashion, blitzing the McLarens and Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber in the process.
After Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button set the early benchmark, Vettel produced a lap of 1min 23.529secs to put the issue beyond doubt, lapping almost a second clear of the 2008 world champion. To underline his position at the front, when Webber crossed the line on his first flying lap, he was fully eight-tenths off the pace, albeit in second place.
Vettel's subsequent attempts failed to lower the target time, but it was always out of reach, even though Hamilton improved to second - despite a KERS failure - denying Red Bull Racing a 1-2 lock-out on the grid. Webber survived a late assault from Button to give the first two rows a symmetrical look, while Fernando Alonso had to make do with fifth, despite his split times suggesting better was on the cards for Ferrari.
Vitaly Petrov ensured that Renault had a representative in the top ten, his sixth spot highlighting the disappointing performance of team-mate Nick Heidfeld, while Nico Rosberg, Felipe Massa, Kamui Kobayashi and Sebastien Buemi rounded out the top ten. Massa's woeful session continued with a turn one spin that all but ended his chances of improving on eighth, while Kobayashi was unable to repeat his earlier performances as the pace hotted up.
Full report and times to follow....