Button storms to Sepang pole

632Jenson Button stormed to his second pole position of the season in Sepang as Brawn GP continue to lead the way in Formula One.

The British driver set a searing pace in the closing stages of qualifying for Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix, seeing off pressure from Toyota’s Jarno Trulli and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel to take the top spot with a lap of 1m 35.181.

“This one is more special than Melbourne,” enthused an elated Button after the session. “It’s not easy to get pole, but to get two on the trot – I’ve never achieved that in my Formula One career. It’s a great feeling.”

“The car clearly works well on different types of circuit. I expected the competition to be tough here but qualifying showed the car was ok.”

Jarno Trulli, the man at the centre of the Hamilton-McLaren Australian GP row, planted his Toyota on the front row the grid in an impressive showing for the Cologne-based outfit. His teammate Timo Glock also progressed into the top ten shoot-out and lines up in fifth place.

Sebastian Vettel was third for Red Bull Racing but will drop ten places after he was held responsible for the incident with Robert Kubica at the end of last week’s Australian Grand Prix. The German driver admitted he was frustrated about the affair.

“I have the penalty and there is nothing I can do,” he rued after qualifying. I just have to focus on what we are here for. It’s a shame because the car’s performance was good throughout qualifying which was good to see. But it’s a shame to start tenth tomorrow. It will be a tough race. Personally I am hoping for rain!”

Button’s teammate Rubens Barrichello, who qualified fourth, will also take a grid penalty tomorrow after making a precautionary gearbox change.

Timo Glock affirmed Toyota’s pace around the Sepang circuit lining up in fifth place ahead of Nico Rosberg, Mark Webber (Red Bull) and Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber).

Kimi Raikkonen was lucky to take part in the top ten shoot-out at all after Ferrari, seemingly happy that their drivers had done enough to progress, elected not to send Raikkonen and Massa out on final runs in Q1. But a flurry of activity in the closing stages of the session – in which Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and the BMW Sauber’s of Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld lifted themselves out of the drop-out zone with late flyers – saw Massa demoted to sixteenth, while Raikkonen just scraped through.

The Finn went on to post the ninth fastest time ahead of Renault’s Fernando Alonso.

Meanwhile, McLaren’s nightmare weekend continued and translated onto the track. Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen were both knocked out of the second qualifying session and will line up for Sunday’s race in thirteenth and fourteenth place respectively.

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1. Button Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:35.058 1:33.784 1:35.181
2. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:34.745 1:33.990 1:35.273
3. Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:34.935 1:34.276 1:35.518
4. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:34.681 1:34.387 1:35.651
5. Glock Toyota (B) 1:34.907 1:34.258 1:35.690
6. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:35.083 1:34.547 1:35.750
7. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:35.027 1:34.222 1:35.797
8. Kubica BMW-Sauber (B) 1:35.166 1:34.562 1:36.106
9. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:35.476 1:34.456 1:36.170
10. Alonso Renault (B) 1:35.260 1:34.706 1:37.659
11. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (B) 1:35.110 1:34.769
12. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:35.341 1:34.788
13. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:35.280 1:34.905
14. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:35.023 1:34.924
15. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:35.507 1:35.431
16. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:35.642
17. Piquet Renault (B) 1:35.708
18. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:35.908
19. Sutil Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:35.951
20. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:36.107