Vettel Slides Pole with “Luscious Liz”

Handling his desert flame “Luscious Liz” with tender loving care and brazen speed, Grand Prix racing’s youngest winner, Sebastian Vettel, put in a sizzling lap of 1m 54.101s to snatch pole position for the 2010 season opener in Bahrain.

“It’s a big surprise to get pole,” revealed the German racer from Heppenheim. “I knew we had a good car, qualifying went smoothly and I’m very happy to be on pole. Thanks to the team, who have been so busy during the last month with a lot of testing – to be on top now is a nice feeling.”

Vettel will now try to turn the nice feeling to happy feeling by scoring his sixth Grand Prix victory on Sunday in his Adrian Newey-designed Red Bull RB6.

Sharing the front row with Vettel will be the pride of Sao Paulo, Felipe Massa, who endured a nasty accident in Hungary last year which sidelined him for the rest of the 2009 season. The very likeable Brazilian, who was 2008 World Champion for 15 second, made his fans and family very proud – and teammate very surprised – by out qualifying the newly arrived at Ferrari, Fernando Alonso.

The two time world champion from Oviedo in Spain will start third, sharing the second row with a face which may look familiar, the golden boy of his ex-Silver team, Lewis Hamilton.

Nico Rosberg rose to the occasion and did not succumb to the “Schumacher syndrome” as many pundits had predicted and posted a faster time than his Champion of Champions teammate, now re-united and “feel so good” with his Ferrari-days master mind and star strategist, Ross Brawn at the Mercedes-Benz racing team.

The younger of the two Germans, looking for his maiden Grand Prix win, will start fifth while the 91-Grands Prix winner will start from seventh on the grid.

Sharing row three with Rosberg will be Mark Webber in his Red Bull.

Reigning world champion Jenson Button will start his first race with McLaren from eighth on the grid, after being demoted from seventh by Schumacher on his last qualifying lap.

Robert Kubica will be starting his first race for Renault from the inside of row five, with Force India car of Adrian Sutil qualifying tenth.

Sunday’s Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix will start the 2010 FIA Formula World Championship, and will be race number 821 in the history of the series.

The past, present and future, future of German domination of Grand Prix.

The inaugural race in the Kingdom was held in 2004. Michael Schumacher led a Ferrari one-two over Rubens Barrichello.

— Nasir Hameed

Racing regards from California

Sebastien Vettel puts his Red Bull Renault on pole for the start of the 2010 season.

Felipe Massa out-qualifies his team mate Fernando Alonso for P2.

Nico Rosberg holds his own staying ahead of Michael Schumacher.

Schumacher in P7 Identical to his start at Spa-Francorchamps in 1991

Clark and Steve will have the race review on podcast # 413.

Pos  Driver         Team                   Q1        Q2        Q3       
 1.  Vettel         Red Bull-Renault       1:55.029  1:53.883  1:54.101
 2.  Massa          Ferrari                1:55.313  1:54.331  1:54.242
 3.  Alonso         Ferrari                1:54.612  1:54.172  1:54.608
 4.  Hamilton       McLaren-Mercedes       1:55.341  1:54.707  1:55.217
 5.  Rosberg        Mercedes               1:55.463  1:54.682  1:55.241
 6.  Webber         Red Bull-Renault       1:55.298  1:54.318  1:55.284
 7.  Schumacher     Mercedes               1:55.593  1:55.105  1:55.524
 8.  Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1:55.715  1:55.168  1:55.672
 9.  Kubica         Renault                1:55.511  1:54.963  1:55.885
10.  Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1:55.213  1:54.996  1:56.309
11.  Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1:55.969  1:55.330
12.  Liuzzi         Force India-Mercedes   1:55.628  1:55.653
13.  Hulkenberg     Williams-Cosworth      1:56.375  1:55.857
14.  de la Rosa     Sauber-Ferrari         1:56.428  1:56.237
15.  Buemi          Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:56.189  1:56.265
16.  Kobayashi      Sauber-Ferrari         1:56.541  1:56.270
17.  Petrov         Renault                1:56.167  1:56.619
18.  Alguersuari    Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:57.071
19.  Glock          Virgin-Cosworth        1:59.728
20.  Trulli         Lotus-Cosworth         1:59.852
21.  Kovalainen     Lotus-Cosworth         2:00.313
22.  di Grassi      Virgin-Cosworth        2:00.587
23.  Senna          HRT-Cosworth           2:03.240
24.  Chandhok       HRT-Cosworth           2:04.904