Sakhir, Bahrain – Jarno Trulli clinched pole position ahead of team-mate Timo Glock in a first Toyota one-two in qualifying Saturday for Sunday’s Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, the winner in Shanghai last week, was third, ahead of Brawn GP’s Jenson Button, the overall leader.
World champion Lewis Hamilton provided a boost for McLaren-Mercedes with fifth place to start in the third row alongside Brawn GP’s Rubens Barrichello.
There was also improvement for Ferrari, still without a point this season, who had Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen eighth and 10th respectively.
Renault’s Fernando Alonso was seventh ahead of Massa, with Nico Rosberg in a Williams ninth, ahead of Raikkonen.
With the temperature at 38 degrees Celsius at the Bahrain International Circuit, Trulli clocked 1 minute 33.431 seconds to edge Germany’s Glock by 0.281 seconds for his fourth pole position and his first since the US Grand Prix in 2005.
“This is a great result for the team,” said the 34-year-old Italian, whose only Grand Prix victory came for Renault at Monaco in 2004.
“We have worked very hard for this, and I’m very happy. I feel very comfortable ahead of tomorrow’s race.”
Toyota, who have never won a Grand Prix, filled the first row in qualifying for the first time and earned their first pole since Ralf Schumacher was qualifying fastest at Suzuka, Japan in October 2005.
Glock said he was satisfied despite just being edged to what would have been a first pole.
“I was quite happy during qualifying. But then I made one mistake, although I don’t think it would have been good enough for pole. Jarno was just too good today,” he said.
BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld meanwhile both failed to make the third and final qualifying stage as the team’s disappointing season continued, while Red Bull’s Mark Webber was a casualty in the first qualifying round.
The Australian – second in Shanghai last week – was held up by Germany’s Adrian Sutil in a Force India, and will start 19th in the 20-car field.
Button leads overall going into the fourth race of the season. The Briton, who won the opening two races in Australia and Malaysia and finished third in China, has 21 points, six ahead of team-mate Barrichello of Brazil.
Vettel and Glock both have 10 points, Webber is on 9.5 and Trulli on 8.5.
Brawn GP lead the constructors’ championship on 36 points, with Red Bull on 19.5 and Toyota on 18.5.(dpa)