The Brawn GP team locked out the front row of the grid today in qualifying for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
On the day in which the team announced its new partnership with Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, Jenson Button put the BGP 001 car on pole at the end of a closely-fought qualifying hour. Team-mate Rubens Barrichello will start alongside Jenson on the front row of the grid for tomorrow’s 58-lap race.
The BGP 001 cars ran at the front of the field throughout qualifying with the team’s two drivers vying for position at the top of the timesheets. Rubens took the honours in Q1 and Q2, posting the fastest lap of qualifying in the second session. In the pole position shoot-out, both drivers completed two runs with Jenson taking pole in the dying seconds of the session.
Drivers Car No. Chassis No. Free Practice Qualifying 1 Qualifying 2 Qualifying 3
Jenson Button 22 BGP 001-02 P3 P2 01:25.211 P2 01:24.855 P1 01:26.202
Rubens Barrichello 23 BGP 001-01 P6 P1 01:25.006 P1 01:24.783 P2 01:26.505
Weather Warm and sunny
Temperatures Air: 24-25°C Track: 29-33°C
“To put the car on pole at our debut race is a fantastic achievement and I have to give so much credit to Ross, Nick and everyone at the factory in Brackley. The last four months have been incredibly tough for the team and to go from a situation where you don’t even know if you are going to be racing to achieving pole at the first race of the season is just incredible. Tomorrow is obviously the most important day of the weekend and there is a lot of work to be achieved to come away with a successful result however we have to remember where we have been and really enjoy this moment.”
“It has been a great day and I want to congratulate the team for an outstanding job. I was hoping that I could put the car on pole and it was looking good in the first two sessions but in Q3 I developed some understeer in the car which comprised my final runs. However the first row for both cars is a real credit to the team and gives us a great chance in the race tomorrow. We have a really good car which everyone deserves credit for and I am just so happy to be racing at the front again.”
“Watching our two cars top the timesheets throughout qualifying capped an excellent day for the team which began with the announcement of our new partnership with Virgin this afternoon. The track conditions were more favourable than we experienced yesterday and we found that the tyres worked in a more conventional way. In addition, the changes that we had made following yesterday’s practice sessions proved positive and both drivers had a well-balanced car which allowed them to concentrate on maximising the lap times. Whilst this is a great achievement and gives both drivers an excellent opportunity in the race tomorrow, the job is only half done and our full focus is now on getting the best result possible in the race. I would like to pay credit to Jenson, Rubens and the whole team, both here and at our factory, for their achievement today and to Mercedes-Benz for their invaluable support over the past few months.”