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McLaren pair make perfect start
Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button locked out the front row of the grid to give McLaren the perfect start to the new Formula One season.
After all the smoke and mirrors of pre-season testing it is McLaren who have thrown down the gauntlet to their rivals, with Hamilton grabbing the 20th pole of his career to edge out his fellow Briton.
The 27-year-old, on pole at Melbourne's Albert Park in 2008, the year he won the title, set a lap of one minute 24.992secs, with Button 0.152secs adrift.
Reigning champions Red Bull did not even make the second row as it is the unusual combination of Lotus' Romain Grosjean and the Mercedes of seven-times champion Michael Schumacher.
However, there is now every possibility one or more of the other teams could protest over Mercedes' new vent device on the side of the rear-wing endplates.
Lotus team principal Eric Boullier has confirmed he will protest the system that allows the rear wing to stall when the DRS is activated, and it now remains to be seen if others will join him.
That is despite the fact FIA technical director Charlie Whiting has already declared it legal as it is "completely passive" in that it does not move nor is it operated by the driver.
On the third row it is the Red Bulls, with Mark Webber edging out Vettel who starts sixth, his lowest grid slot since the Italian GP of 2010.
Nico Rosberg lines up seventh in his Mercedes, followed by Pastor Maldonado for Williams, the Venezuelan conjuring a superb effort for the team that endured a miserable 2011.
Then come Nico Hulkenberg in his Force India and Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo, who did not set a time.