Even more Saturday news briefs from Melbourne

Sat, 27 March 2010, 04:01

Mar.27 (GMM) Photographers captured the scene immediately after qualifying when Michael Schumacher stooped to engage in conversation in parc ferme with Fernando Alonso, before the Ferrari driver had even got out of his red cockpit. The German later admitted he had also visited Charlie Whiting to complain about being blocked not only by Alonso but also McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton. Pedro de la Rosa was reprimanded by stewards for impeding in practice, and Tonio Liuzzi said after qualifying that de la Rosa and Nico Hulkenberg didn’t “seem to be able to use their rear view mirrors”. De la Rosa told the media that F1 mirrors are located too far from the driver.

Sebastian Vettel’s 1.23.9 pole on Saturday was the fastest ever timed lap of the Albert Park circuit since formula one arrived in Melbourne in 1996. The previous record – a 1.24.1 – was set with a Ferrari by Schumacher in 2004.

Schumacher aside, the only driver on the 2010 grid who is not a current member of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association is Force India’s Adrian Sutil, who was a member in 2009. It is believed that all of the new drivers this year – Vitaly Petrov, Kamui Kobayashi, Nico Hulkenberg, Lucas di Grassi, Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna – have signed up.

As the mystery of Sebastian Vettel’s spark plug problem in Bahrain persists this weekend, Fabrice Lom – who is the Renault man in charge of Red Bull’s engine programme – admitted the French marque “let Red Bull down at the last race with engine problems on both cars”. As for the “both cars” remark, it is believed he is referring to Mark Webber’s smoky moment at the start of the 2010 season opener.

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