Britain’s Jenson Button backed up his season-opening victory in Melbourne by claiming pole for the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang on Saturday.
Button, who gave the newly-formed Brawn GP team a fairytale win in Australia, recorded the fastest time of one minute 35.181 seconds. Toyota’s Jarno Trulli, reinstated to third place last week after the disqualification of world champion Lewis Hamilton, will join Button on the front row of the grid. Despite recording only the fifth best time in final qualifying, Timo Glock will be third in the second Toyota as a result of penalties handed out to Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Button’s teammate Rubens Barrichello, who had the third and fourth best times in the session respectively. Nico Rosberg, so strong again in the previous practice sessions, will start fourth for the resurgent Williams team with Mark Webber’s Red Bull fifth and Robert Kubica’s BMW sixth. Last year’s established order again struggled with Kimi Raikkonen only seventh fastest for Ferrari, with his teammate and last season’s title runner-up Felipe Massa a lowly 16th. Raikkonen will have Renault’s two-time world champion Fernando Alonso for company on the fourth row, while Hamilton capped a miserable week by qualifying 12th, failing to make the final session for the top 10. It is the fifth pole of Button’s career but the first time that he has achieved it in successive races.
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“This one is probably more special than in Melbourne because it is not easy get one pole position but to have two on the trot, I’ve never achieved that in my F1 career,” the 29-year-old told Press Association. “This is a great feeling and it shows that the car works on different types of circuits. I expected the competition to be pretty tough here but qualifying was okay for us.” Brawn GP, founded by Ross Brawn from the wreckage of the former Honda team after the Japanese car manufacturer pulled out, gained a 1-2 in Melbourne through Button and Barrichello. Button’s closest challenger in last week’s race, Red Bull’s Vettel, received a 10-place penalty for his part in the late crash which saw him and Kubica go off. Brazil’s Barrichello had to change the gearbox in his Brawn during practice to leave see him drop five places from his qualifying spot.