By Matt Beer
Saturday, March 28th 2009, 07:03 GMT
Jenson Button took his first pole position in three years at the Australian Grand Prix, as Brawn GP utterly dominated qualifying on its debut.
Rubens Barrichello led Button in a Brawn one-two in both Q1 and Q2, with a clear margin over their rivals in each session.
But in the pole position shoot-out it was Button who emerged on top, beating Barrichello to first place by 0.305 seconds.
Button had taken provisional pole by half a second on his first run, before being briefly deposed by his teammate, but he was able to redress the balance moments later.
Although Brawn GP is effectively a renamed Honda operation, it is officially classed as a new team - which makes today's result the first time a new entrant has taken pole for its debut since the factory Mercedes-Benz team in the 1954 French GP.
The grid line-up was strikingly different to the previous season's form, with Red Bull and Williams among Brawn's main rivals, Ferrari near the foot of the top ten, and the McLarens 14th and 15th.
Sebastian Vettel jumped to third for Red Bull with his last lap, with Robert Kubica taking fourth in the BMW-Sauber.
Practice pace-setter Nico Rosberg only managed fifth for Williams, ahead of Toyota's Timo Glock and Felipe Massa in the best of the Ferraris.
Jarno Trulli put the second Toyota in eighth, with Kimi Raikkonen back in ninth place.
Home favourite Mark Webber had been third on the provisional grid following his first run in Q3, only to be pushed back to 10th by the end of the session.
As expected, McLaren was unable to challenge for top ten spots. Hamilton did not even get to run in Q2 after a drivetrain problem at the end of Q1, leaving him 15th. teammate Heikki Kovalainen had a trouble-free session but it made little difference to his result, the Finn managing only 14th on the grid.
Renault's lack of pace in practice continued through to qualifying. Fernando Alonso looked unlikely to reach the top ten even before he slid over the grass at the penultimate corner on his final Q2 run. The former champion will start 12th, between BMW's Nick Heidfeld and Williams's Kazuki Nakajima, who could not replicate his strong practice form when it counted.
All of the big names made it through the first segment - despite a number of scares as the track constantly picked up speed as it cleaned following the support events, leading to wild movement on the timing screens as early benchmark times were quickly shuffled right to the back.
Both BMWs, Massa, Trulli and Kovalainen all languished outside the top 15 cut-off at various stages before improving on their final laps.
Sebastien Buemi was knocked out at the first hurdle in his maiden F1 qualifying session - but he did manage to out-qualify his much more experienced Toro Rosso teammate Sebastien Bourdais, who was 0.4s slower than the GP2 graduate and will start last.
Despite its promising practice form, Force India again failed to get beyond Q1. Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil took 18th and 19th, behind Renault's Nelson Piquet, who continued to struggle.