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Vettel takes pole in incident filled qualifying session

NEWS STORY
03/10/2009

Ahead of today's all important qualifying session, the air temperature is 26 degrees C, while the track temperature is 40 degrees. It remains bright and sunny.

The big news is that following his accident this morning Mark Webber will not take part in this afternoon's session. The Australian is fine - other than his damaged pride - however, the damage to car cannot be fixed and therefore his day's work is at an end, together with any remaining hopes of the championship. Because he misses the session, Webber will start tomorrow's race from the pit lane in a new chassis.

Also, Tonio Liuzzi has incurred a five-place grid penalty after his team opted to change the gearbox in his car.

With only one session taking place entirely in dry conditions it's hard to say who is hot and who's not, though Vettel looked to have a slight edge of the Brawns. That said, to all intents and purposes the title fight now appears to be a straight fight between Button and Barrichello, with the Englishman's early season form giving him a clear points advantage.

This morning's session saw the entire field covered by just 1.458s, with Jarno Trulli finishing ahead of Buemi, Rosberg and Vettel.

Tyre choices this weekend are hard (prime) and soft (option) and while the softer rubber has the pace there are concerns as to its durability.

When the lights go green, signalling the start of Q1, Buemi is first out, followed by Buemi, Liuzzi and Button.

On his first flying lap Buemi goes off at Degner 1, exactly the same point where Webber came to grief earlier today. The back end gets away and the Swiss driver appears to be heading backwards into the barriers but somehow the impact is minimal and he is able to get back on track and head back to the pits.

Alguersuari posts the first time of the afternoon, crossing the line at 33.124. Button posts 33.198 to go second, only to be demoted to third when Liuzzi goes quickest with a 32.904.

It a home 1-2 for Toyota as Trulli goes quickest (31.810) and Glock second, as Fisichella can only manage seventh.

Having gone quickest in the second sector, Button goes second overall, however, Vettel is on a hot lap going quickest in the first sector. The German crosses the line at 31.628 to go quickest as Rosberg goes fourth ahead of Grosjean and Raikkonen.

Vettel and Trulli trade fastest sector times, the prime tyre clearly good on its second flying lap. As the German raises the benchmark with a 30.979, Kovalainen has a 360 at the dreaded Degner.

Kubica goes third and Barrichello fifth as Vettel goes even quicker, the Red Bull driver posting 30.883 despite a relatively poor final sector.

A 31.571 sees Alguersuari go fifth, the Toro Rosso's showing a clear step forward here this weekend. Elsewhere, Hamilton is fourteenth, just outside the danger zone where Fisichella is looking mighty uncomfortable.

Hamilton posts 31.056 to go second as Heidfeld makes it two BMWs in the top six as he posts 31.519 to slot in behind Kubica.

With just over five minutes remaining, Buemi is the only driver yet to post a time.

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