An interesting qualifying session took place this morning, which saw Championship leader Sebastian Vettel claim his usual place at the top of the timesheets, and take pole for tomorrow's Grand Prix. The McLaren duo of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton will line up behind the dominant German.
The main news story from the session, however, is that Vettel's highly experienced team mate, Mark Webber, failed to progress beyond Q1. Most teams (including Ferrari and Mercedes) opted to use the option (soft-compound) tyres in an effort to ensure they progressed from the first qualifying session.
Red Bull decided that they were confident enough to run using the prime (hard-compound) tyres only. The Australian was unable to set a quick enough lap, and as the session ended his time was beaten by Williams rookie Pastor Maldonado - running on the option tyres - dropping Webber down to 18th place.
Q2 was equally eventful, with Vitaly Petrov's Lotus-Renault rolling to a stop on the track with just over two minutes left on the clock, bringing the red flags out and halting the session.
As the session recommenced, almost all the drivers (excluding Vettel, the two McLarens, the two Toro Rossos and the car-less Petrov) took to the track, knowing they needed a quick out-lap to start their flying lap before the session time expired. The last lap was particularly important for Petrov's team mate Nick Heidfeld who was the only driver yet to set a time.
The only driver to actually improve on their position in the last lap battle was Nico Rosberg - as Heidfeld only managed 16th.
For full qualifying results, see www.autosport.com