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First blood to Vettel

NEWS STORY
13/03/2010

In the final moments of this morning's session, when driver opted to carry out low fuel runs in anticipation of this afternoon's qualifying session, we finally got to see what these cars can really do.

Fernando Alonso topped the timesheets in the highly impressive Ferrari F10, however, his teammate, the Red Bulls and Mercedes drivers are also looking good. Jenson button finished a disappointing seventh while teammate Lewis Hamilton was sidelined by a brake duct problem and didn't get to carry out a low fuel run.

The pre-season lack of a clear leader continues, and it would take a brave man to predict the outcome of this session far less the race or, god forbid, the season.

Tyre options this weekend are medium (prime) and supersoft (option), and in addition to excessive tyre wear driver are complaining about the surface in the new section which is causing some cars to bottom quite heavily.

Having failed to complete a single lap in any of the three practice sessions, it appeared that Karun Chandhok's weekend was already over and the Indian would have to wait two weeks until Melbourne before he made his debut. However, with fifteen minutes to go, the youngster reveals that he has been given permission to participate, even though the odds on him getting through to Q2 must run into millions-to-one.

Ahead of the session, the air temperature is 34 degrees C, while the track temperature is 47 degrees. Humidity is 8 percent.

Seven drivers will be eliminated at the end of Q1 with a further seven going out at the end of Q2. The tyres used for the fastest lap in Q3 are the same set of tyres that drivers will have to start the race with.

The lights go green and Glock leads the way ahead of Petrov and di Grassi, Alonso is another early runner, surprisingly so.

Di Grassi posts the first time of the afternoon (2:02.131) but this is soon shattered by Alonso who crosses the line at 1:55.972.

Massa, Hamilton and Button are trading fastest sector times, while Alonso also looks set to improve. The Spaniard raises the benchmark with a 55.482 as Kubica goes second (56.873).

A 56.130 sees Button go second but moments later Hamilton eclipses it with a 55.976 only to be demoted by Massa and Rosberg. Elsewhere, Chandhok is on track.

Schumacher goes eighth with a 56.461, as Massa - currently second - goes quickest in sector two.

No sooner has Rosberg gone quickest (55.463) than Massa posts 55.313 to re-take the top spot for Ferrari.

With nine minutes remaining, Webber is the last driver to come out. Elsewhere, teammate Vettel goes second with a 55.360.

Petrov goes twelfth with a 56.725, the first driver to try the option (supersoft) tyre. Chandhok posts 2:08.424.

Webber goes third with a 55.313 as the Lotus drivers remain in the danger zone along with Kobayashi. de la Rosa is sixteenth.

Of the front runners - and with less than five minutes remaining - the Red Bulls are the only ones on track. Webber goes quickest with a 55.298 but is almost instantly demoted by his teammate who crosses the line at 55.029.

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