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Button takes pole in Australia

JENSON Button led qualifying today for the Formula One season-opening Australian Grand Prix, making the Brawn team the first in 39 years to take pole position on debut.

Button's time of 1 minute, 26.202 seconds edged his teammate Rubens Barrichello by three tenths of a second in qualifying.

It is the fourth pole position of Button's career, and the first since the 2006 Australian GP.

Before today, the last team to secure pole in its debut race was Tyrrell at the 1970 Canadian Grand Prix.

It is a remarkable turnaround for the former Honda team. The Japanese automaker pulled out of F1 on cost grounds in December, and there was doubt whether the team members and drivers had any future in the sport until team principal Ross Brawn completed a take over earlier in the month.

"Going from not having a drive and no future in racing to putting it on pole here is just amazing," Button said. "This is a great moment, not the most important of the weekend, but a great start."

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel was third fastest, ahead of BMW's Robert Kubica, Williams' Nico Rosberg and Toyota's Timo Glock.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa will start from seventh position on the grid, in front of his teammate Kimi Raikkonen in ninth. Toyota's Jarno Trulli was eight fastest and Australian favorite Mark Webber of Red Bull from 10th.

World champion Lewis Hamilton will start from 15th on the grid. He only scraped into the second of three qualifying phases by five hundredths of a second and, having made it, chose not to take part in the second session.

Renault's Fernando Alonso, who had crept into race favoritism by this morning, was another to disappoint, qualifying in 12th.


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