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Formula 2012 season kicks off in Australia: McLaren’s Lewis takes pole, Schumi fourth, Force India’s Nico ninth, Vettel sixth, Kimi and Alonso crash

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As expected, 2012 F1 season has begun with enough style and drama. McLaren drivers – Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button took the top two positions respectively for tomorrow’s 2012 Formula 1 Qantas Australian Grand Prix. 25-year-old Swiss racing driver, Romain Grosjean, who also announces his return to Formula One with a bang, snatched third position.

Following is the result for 2012 Australian F1 qualifying – 1 – Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes), 2 – Jenson Button (McLaren-Mercedes), 3 – Romain Grosjean (Lotus-Renault), 4 – Michael Schumacher (Mercedes), 5 – Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing-Renault), 6 – Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing-Renault), 7 – Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), 8 – Pastor Maldonado (Williams-Renault), 9 – Nico Hulkenberg (Force-India Mercedes), 10 – Daniel Ricciardo (STR-Ferrari), 11 – Jean-Eric Vergne (STR-Ferrari), 12 – Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), 13 – Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber-Ferrari), 14 – Bruno Senna (Williams-Renault), 15 – Paul di Resta (Force India-Mercedes), 16 – Felipe Massa (Ferrari), 17 – Sergio Perez (Sauber-Ferrari), 18 – Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus-Renault), 19 – Heiki Kovalainen (Caterham-Renault), 20 – Vitaly Petrov (Caterham-Renault), 21 – Timo Glock (Marussia-Cosworth), 22 – Charles Pic (Marussia-Cosworth), 23 – Pedro de la Rosa (HRT-Cosworth), and 24 – Narain Karthikeyan (HRT-Cosworth).

After snatching pole for tomorrow’s race, Hamilton said, “It’s an incredible feeling to be back here and to get off to such a good start. It’s mine and Jenson’s first one-two in qualifying. I’m massively proud of the team. They never give up and this is the result of that. I think it’s going to be incredibly tough this weekend and intense throughout the race. The team need to be on point and so do I and Jenson.”

Button said, “First of all, congratulations to Lewis and the team. We’ve done a very good job this winter and I think we’ve proved that today. The lights haven’t gone out yet but this is a great first result for us on Saturday. I think it’s looking like it’s going to be a very exciting season. We were close in the first two qualifying sessions but Lewis had the upper hand. I was close but it wasn’t quite enough.

Romain Grosjean, said, “It’s a fantastic job from everyone. It’s fantastic to be back in F1 and today I’m very proud. A few people believed in me through the toughest time and I’m back – almost at the top!”

Fernando Alonso said, “I think I touched the grass and unfortunately there is the gravel and you stop and finish qualifying. It’s a shame. I think we possibly could be a bit better, maybe top 10. What we need to concentrate on is the top speed. We are a little bit too slow at the moment. We are not quite quick enough. We need to change the direction quickly if we are to challenge for the championship. We have to react.”

Vettel said, “It was a bit driving into the unknown but in the end it came out as we expected. McLaren did a massive step from Q2 to Q3. I should have been a bit better. I made a mistake so that’s down to me, probably [cost me] one or two places. Now we focus on the race tomorrow. I never allowed myself to get used to starting at the front – it was something special. The race will be long and tough for the drivers to get back into the rhythm but I’m looking forward to the race and looking to pass a few people.”

Schumi said, “It’s been pretty pleasant all weekend long. The car handled very well as predicted. I’m just grateful that we did a reasonable job. The guys did a great job in the factory.”

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