19 Apr 2009

Red Bull in pole position for Chinese Grand Prix

8:23 am on 19 April 2009

Sebastian Vettel gave his Red Bull team a surprise first pole position ahead of Renault's Fernando Alonso in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.

The 21-year-old German grabbed the second pole position of his Formula One career with a last-gasp lap of one minute 36.184 seconds.

With Red Bull team mate Mark Webber third behind Alonso, the previously dominant Brawn GP cars of Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button were pegged back in fourth and fifth.

Spaniard Alonso, who clocked 1.36.381, was an equally surprising presence in second for Renault, who made some radical changes to their car as they scrambled to catch up with the teams using the controversial rear diffusers.

Australian Webber's time of 1.36.466 was enough to beat the Brawn of Barrichello in fourth with the Brazilian's British team mate Button, who won the first two races of the season from pole, in fifth.

Post-qualifying car weights released by the governing body showed Alonso would start with the lightest car on the grid, 24kg lighter than Barrichello, while Brawn had clearly gone for race pace.

Ferrari continue to struggle with Felipe Massa missing out on the last round of qualifying and languishing in 13th place, defending champion Hamilton saw promise in his ninth place.