Vettel holds back Ferrari charge for pole (Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying)

Sebastian Vettel spoiled Ferrari's party by grabbing pole position

Sebastian Vettel spoiled Ferrari's party by grabbing pole position

Sebastian Vettel will start the first race of the year from pole position after heading qualifying for Red Bull.

He needed just one run at the end of Q3 to displace the Ferrari duo at the front of the field.

But Michael Schumacher could only manage seventh on his return to F1.


It was no surprise to see all three of the new teams eliminated in Q1. But the battle for newbie honours was close, with Timo Glock edging Jarno Trulli by one tenth of a second.

After a mammoth struggle with hydraulic problems HRT F1 finally managed to get Karun Chandhok on the circuit for the first time. He did seven laps on his first run and although he was slowest he will be able to start tomorrow’s race. He shares the back row of the grid with team mate Bruno Senna.

Jaime Alguersuari had the distinction of being the only one of the established runners to be knocked out.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

18. Jaime Alguersuari – 1’57.071
19. Timo Glock – 1’59.782
20. Jarno Trulli – 1’59.852
21. Heikki Kovalainen – 2’00.313
22. Lucas di Grassi – 2’00.587
23. Bruno Senna – 2’03.240
24. Karun Chandhok – 2’04.904


Vettel showed his hand in Q3, setting the quickest time which was also half a second better than team mate Mark Webber managed.

Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso traded fastest times early on. But things were not going so well at McLaren.

Both their drivers had to make a second attempt to ensure they made the cut and Jenson Button scraped into tenth place by less than two tenths of a second.

The Williams pair were also eliminated though Rubens Barrichello finally showed his hand and beat Nico H???lkenberg by half a second.

Vitantonio Liuzzi also failed to make the cut – he was around seven tenths slower than Adrian Sutil who did reach the top ten.

While Robert Kubica made it through to Q3 team mate Vitaly Petrov was 1.7 seconds slower and last in Q2.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11. Rubens Barrichello – 1’55.330
12. Vitantonio Liuzzi – 1’55.653
13. Nico H???lkenberg – 1’55.857
14. Pedro de la Rosa – 1’56.237
15. Sebastien Buemi – 1’56.265
16. Kamui Kobayashi – 1’56.270
17. Vitaly Petrov – 1’56.619


With the top ten qualifiers having to start the race on the same tyres they qualified teams tried different strategies in Q3.

Ferrari and McLaren both sent their drivers out for early laps followed by a tyre change and a final run. The other simply bided their time until the last possible moment.

While Alonso and Massa headed the times a mistake by Lewis Hamilton left him with a slow lap. Button didn’t get a flying lap in on his first run and returned to the pits after just an out- and in-lap.

Vettel headed the queue of runners making their final runs and his RB6’s pace through the middle sector proved decisive. That extra tenth of a second accounted for most of his advantage over second-placed Massa.

Hamilton’s run lifted him to fourth ahead of Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes.

Once again Michael Schumacher was a crucial couple of tenths slower than his team mate, leaving him seventh ahead of Button.

Vettel hailed the car’s performance as a “big surprise” after their problematic practice session yesterday. But do they have the race pace to match their qualifying performance? We’ll find out tomorrow.

Top ten drivers in Q3

1. Sebastian Vettel, 1’54.101
2. Felipe Massa, 1’54.242
3. Fernando Alonso, 1’54.608
4. Lewis Hamilton, 1’55.217
5. Nico Rosberg, 1’55.241
6. Mark Webber, 1’55.284
7. Michael Schumacher, 1’55.524
8. Jenson Button, 1’55.672
9. Robert Kubica, 1’55.885
10. Adrian Sutil, 1’56.309

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223 comments on Vettel holds back Ferrari charge for pole (Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying)

  1. congrats to VET! by the way running a car with full tank in a dry weather can totally overturn the qualifying streak!

  2. bob80 said on 13th March 2010, 12:47

    Why almost every diver set his best lap in Q2 and not in Q3? Both session were of course on lowest possible fuel load.

  3. Mac v2 said on 13th March 2010, 12:47

    Only Sutil opted for Primes in Q3.

    I wonder what was the rationale for Mclaren going for the option in Q3? when they knew they lacked the pace of Ferrari in the softs. A long first run would have put them back in contention for the podium… Well I’m not Whitmarsh.

    • A.K. said on 13th March 2010, 15:51

      Good question. I think RB and Ferrari might have missed a trick by not running on harder tyre too as they might have still been in a reasonable position had they done so.

      Or perhaps the super soft is a good tyre, as it was last year. But that was on low-ish fuel loads. It will be interesting to see the strategies play out. Could some be thinking of doing three stints?

  4. Sucks to see McLaren off the pace somewhat, but good job anyway Lewis. I wonder if he could jump the Ferraris at the start?

    • bob80 said on 13th March 2010, 13:10

      Maybe if they fit for him KERS from last season:) Should be still somewhere in the garage :)

    • rosberg is sitting pretty. said on 13th March 2010, 14:14

      he’ll be on the dirty side, so he can be happy to keep his 4th place.
      Alonso on the other hand, is on the clean side, so massa will have to do some blocking to keep 2nd. An incident is a possibility. And the nice ferrari atmosphere could start to deteriorate.

  5. Radek said on 13th March 2010, 12:53

    i’m very, very confused about what’s going on here. Nearly none of you guys placed the RBR on the top – always, ferrari, ferrari, ferrari… now you have some proofs of the possibilties of the cars nad STIL a doubt…

    Come on. It’s NEWEY there in Red bull and I think i’dont have to remind that this awsome machine is powered by renaults engine that lacks a 10 – 15 HP to the ferrari and mercedes. WAKE UP.

    Glad to see Robert in Q3 – Renault has a potential and I hope they will develop quick .

    wow – can’w wait till tomorrow.

    Go Red Bull’s go Robert

    Powodzenia Robert – trzymamy kciuki :)

    • George said on 13th March 2010, 13:03

      I actually went for Vettel on my f1badger prediction, but I changed my mind for fanatic after their woes yesterday. I’m pretty confident for my race prediction at least.

    • Matt07 said on 13th March 2010, 14:54

      Thank god someone else who doesnt have scarlet coloured goggles on! Red Bull have done summat worth talking about, but no its all, Ferrari! The bull is on a charge and the prancing horse better watch out! Well done Seb!

      • Juan said on 13th March 2010, 18:40

        This is the same Red Bull that was chewing their fingers to bits because that genius of Newey’s design actually caused problems with overheating on the rear of the car? Yeah. I’m still doubting. He builds cars that are way too fragile.

    • Daffid said on 13th March 2010, 15:02

      I play several different fantasy leagues, and the one I picked last week and just left was totally Red Bull dominated. The one I picked 3 days ago and left was redbull/ferrari split. Sadly the two I changed after a couple of practice sessions swapped some redbull for mercedes… so hoping for a bit of a run for rosberg (whom I picked over schumi – no genius needed there, amazed that Keith picked Schumi for champion). I still think Ferrari are looking in best shape for a fully competitive season, I think they’ll always be in the mix at every race whereas the redbull will ebb and flow depending on circuit, and I expect the mclaren and merc to do well at power circuits – but I don’t think there’s a ‘Ferrari will walk it mentality’ around generally.

  6. Schumi_the_greatest said on 13th March 2010, 12:54

    Massive difference between red bull/ferrari and mclaren/mercedes in quali, long run pace will be diufferent i think we’ll see the red bulls drop back abit, apparently their chewing their rear tyres and that should allow the mcs and mercs to climb the field but ferrari will win this 1. Id bet on alonso hes looked brilliant all weekend. Bad lap by webber “the qualifying specialist” too.

  7. Sirko said on 13th March 2010, 12:57

    I hope Sebastian will transform this result into a victory. In any case, it’s a good start. By the way, here’s my Twitter account, I just started to use it.

  8. BasCB said on 13th March 2010, 12:57

    Now it would be interesting to get the tyre info. Maybe all but the first 4 are on hard tyres (Vettel, Massa and Hamilton are on softs for sure)?

    Seems to me Kubica and Sutil only did a lap to do any time on the hard tyres to be prepared for the race. Or may be all those teams (maybe without Ferrari) divided their drivers on the tyres to spread risks?

  9. twig said on 13th March 2010, 12:57

    At last racing is back …well done Vets. Anyone know the music bbc played at end of qualifying show .. lyrics included run run run !!!

  10. MarcBlondino said on 13th March 2010, 13:00

    it’s very interesting thing, I just compared results of final practice and qualfying results. Red bulls improved their times, also as Mclaren and Massa. The bigest “loser” were Mercedes with almost 1 sec, and Alonso with half second. Something is cooking, it can be some tactical background of Red bull, but you have to take in concern that they imporoved their times. I would say that the bigest favorit is Alonso, then we can also expect some exciting things from Rosberg and Schumi. Writte your opinions.

    • A.K. said on 13th March 2010, 16:04

      I don’t know. It appears that Alonso had been wearing his tyres as bad as any rival in practice. I would say Vettel is favourite here. The RB6 is obviously super fast and the pole getter usually wins here. Just ask Massa.

  11. bob80 said on 13th March 2010, 13:00

    I’m worried that races in this year will be mostly determined in qualifying. Last year with teams close to each other only different strategy allowed some overtaking moves. Can’t imagine how slower car in qualifying in this year could possibly become faster enough during a race to overtake one which was faster in qualifying. There is a fuss about fuel consumption and tyres degradation but I don’t think this will differentiate teams enough too make overtaking possible.

    • George said on 13th March 2010, 13:06

      You’ll see in the race tomorrow, when Vettel rapidly goes backwards behind the Ferraris and Hamilton.

    • DanThorn said on 13th March 2010, 13:08

      A car that’s 25% heavier is going to drastically change the handling and performance, particularly in regards to the weight balance. Also with the cars appearing to be more spread out in terms of raw pace (maybe half a second instead of half a tenth) plus with the increased braking zones that result from having a heavier car and the fact they can’t rely on fuel strategy anymore, overtaking should be easier and hopefully more frequent.

    • Prisoner Monkeys said on 13th March 2010, 13:09

      Different cars will handle differently depending on the weight. The Renault is apparently fantastic when heavy, but understeers a lot when with lot fuel.

  12. DanThorn said on 13th March 2010, 13:00

    I’m so happy that F1 is not only back, but back with proper low fuel qualifying and no refuelling.

    Epic lap from Vettel, and it’s great to see Massa back as quick he was before the accident. Schumi didn’t really do too bad, and qualifying was never really his forte. Shout out for De La Rosa out qualifying Kobayashi too – I didn’t really expect that!

  13. antizyklon said on 13th March 2010, 13:03

    I think I heard Massa in the post qualify press conference, saying something about Alonso using a different tyre compound?

  14. JUAN said on 13th March 2010, 13:04

    Strange qaulli, way long not as excited as I thought it would be.
    More than 2 seconds between place 1 and 10.
    If you ask me, they should get rid of the use the same tire in qualli as in the race rule.

  15. rampante said on 13th March 2010, 13:07

    The race tomorrow will not really show where most teams are. Even though the track has changed Ferrari should have an advantage here as they have done for most of the 6 races held here. It will be good to see Rubens with new rubber and the advantage of 10th on the grid. I can see drivers in Q3 not going out and posting a lap time.They would then be in top 10 with a choice of tyre if they think above 6th is not possible.

    • Salty said on 13th March 2010, 18:08

      The skipping a Q3 run is a danger, but a loophole that could be swiftly closed by a 5 place grid drop for not running in Q3 rule.

      Your favourite team sir looked great. “Rode the bumps like a Rolls Royce” one of the BBC commentator said today of the Ferrari’s – quite true. Thought the FI was looking smooth too.

      Hope that P2 gives Massa the advantage he earned over Alonso, but the dirty side is even tougher in Sakir.

      If reliability holds, expect a 1-2 for Scuderia F ;)

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