Sebastian Vettel on top in Melbourne but insists Albert Park conditions were tricky
World Champion almost half a second clear in qualifying
By Mike Wise in Melbourne. Last Updated: 17/03/13 9:36am
Sebastian Vettel might have made his pole position lap for the Australian Grand Prix look easy but the defending World Champion insisted it was anything but.
As Formula 1 reconvened at Albert Park on Sunday morning after heavy rain had forced the postponement of qualifying it was Vettel who, as usual, delivered when it mattered most.
After going seventh fastest in Q1 - the only running that was possible on Saturday before the conditions became too difficult - Vettel again bided his time.
With rain spitting ahead of session two, Mercedes' Nico Rosberg initially set the pace on a track that was still wet enough for intermediate tyres.
They saw further action at the start of Q3 but when the switch to supersofts was made, it was Vettel who secured the 37th pole of his career with a lap of 1:27.407, almost 0.5s faster than second-placed team-mate Mark Webber.
However, according to Vettel, the conditions were "definitely not easy".
"I had a surprising feeling when I went out for Q3 because the circuit looked already very dry. And once we committed to the tyre schedule there was no way back," he explained.
"I had two good runs, one on the inters and one on the dries. I got into the groove and the car felt pretty much similar to what I had on Friday. So I was happy and ready to push in the lap.
"But it's always tricky to find the limit in these conditions, especially around the fast bit, Turns 11 and 12, where it was still wet and just one dry line.
"But overall pretty happy and as soon as I got confirmation it was enough, I pulled in to save the tyres."
That decision might serve Vettel well come the race. With qualifying held in weather conditions similar to those experienced in pre-season testing, graining - the bugbear of drivers in Barcelona - is back on the agenda.
However, Vettel would not be drawn on how long he might make his supersofts last later on Sunday.
"I think it's unknown at this stage. I think we can say that it's surprisingly cool here, probably cooler than we expected, but we also have to see that it's a different circuit," Vettel added.
"All of us were struggling a lot to make the tyres last more than a lap or two in Barcelona, but this is not Barcelona. It's much easier on the tyres but it's still pretty tricky to make our way around. We will see.
"We saw a little bit on Friday when the temperatures were very different but I think the tyres weren't holding up too bad. But it could be all different this afternoon.
"I don't know what's realistic. It could be a couple of laps, or it could be a couple of laps more. We need to go with what we have."