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

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

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

  1. What if the Renault engines turn out to be as Frugal as the’re said to be?

    That would mean a lot less fuel in the tanks for the RedBulls, better starts, better tyre managment… We could be seeing a 1-2 for the RB.

    On the other Hand. What if the Option Tyres only last 5 laps? That would open the race wide open, Could that mean that the Force Indias have a Chance for tomorrows race?

    1. its true the renault engine is not as thirsty as the ferari…thats why we expect the feraris to outrun the renault by the end of lap three or four…due to faster strait line speed and consistant pace as shown during the testing.the mclaren may shine as well but rapid tyre degradation will be its undoing also poor downforce will be a factor.

  2. I think looking at Karuns Chandhok….he did only 7 laps in this whole weekend till now….and i think he’s done a fantastic job compared to Bruno Senna….

  3. Now that the KERS is gone I hope we’ll se some proper battles out there. What can Rubens or Sutil do for example, what will happen in the first corner? Can’t wait really. Bit disappointing from Webber, it’s not the first time, but it just makes it more interesting for the race.

  4. MarcBlondino
    13th March 2010, 13:31

    Guys remember, Brown has all night to thing something good…hehehehe.

    1. Parc Ferme rules – no overnighter for Mercedes and Ross Braun.

  5. I vote for Chandhok as star of qualifying. Doing the first 7 laps in a completely new car, sittion on the bottom of the car and be only 1,7 seconds of his team mate!

    Vetter was great as well, i am curious to see how the RBR will do in the race.

    1. Quite right, Karun driving that car straight out of the box was great to see. Glad we will see a full grid (well, nearly).

  6. I have read somewhere that Kubica was using the hard compound, but I thought he was using soft. Anyone who’s more aware than I am – which one did he use? If he used hard then the Renault is not too bad.

    1. Sutil only drive in top ten not on soft: one of autosport’s reporter on twitter.

  7. Chandhok was impressive….his test session starts tomorrow…Sutil will be a threat tomorrow….Massa has a disadvantage starting from a dirtier side and with a full tank…its gonna be a very tough 2 lap….i think he will lose a place to alonso in the start and the outcome will be..

    1. dont forget hamilton may jump one of the feraris as well plus the raining world champion is a good fighter and in the end
      it could be
      3 Alonzo

  8. Keith can u post a list of tyres used by drivers in q3… :)

  9. Sutil and Kubica have good chances for tomorrow’s race. Definitely a good strategy from Renault and Force India.

    Also quite surprised by Karun Chandhok’s pace with that struggling HRT car…..

    The new teams are all so far behind in their times that I feel in tomorrows race you might see them +3 or +4 laps behind the leading cars…. That would look strange!

    Virgin Racing’s Tire coming off was a bit funny. I hope FIA took a closer look at it. I was honestly expecting some kind of penalty for them….. but didnt’t happen.

    1. the virgin tyre came off due to an underpowered wheel gun.. infact when they got back to the pits …they found that all the other wheels were also loose and were prevented from coming off by safety pins.Am ALSO surprised that there were no penalties handed out….may be it pays to be new to formula one…

      1. If there was something wrong with the wheel gun is it the responsibility of the team?

  10. Great session… I’m stoked for Vettel.

    There’s just one thing that’s bugging me… I was listening to the BBC Commentary on TV, and I heard Brundle talking about tyres. He pointed out that some teams could probably choose not to run or set a time in Q3, in order to retain free choice in their tyre compounds.

    Of course, no-one did that here, but is this a possibility? Or are Brundle and I just paranoid? :P

  11. Oops..I think I was wrong…. Sutil was the only one on Hard compound tyres…. So it seems only Sutil might have the edge over the others… interesting.

  12. I’m very surprised by Red Bull. I thought top five. Also surprised by the gap between the teammates. Felipe has again shown that he is the most underrated F1 racer. Beating Alonso will be a tough task and he will be on the dirty side. Mac’s have been the disappointment to me. I thought it would be them and Ferrari fighting for pole. Jensen especially is still struggling with one lap pace. I don’t believe no re-fuelling will make pit stops less important, I feel it has increased its importance. It will be hard to pass offline.
    The more I write the more complexes things look. Well we know Red Bull have qualy pace especially with SV.

    1. Alonso will be more worried about Hamilton on his back… looking forward for the start!!

      1. Hamilton will be on the dirty side of the grid and will probably be worried about “destroying” his soft compound rears!

        1. agreed, but Hamilton will be looking for any chance at the start of the race to move up… if the top 3 make an error in braking… you will have Rosberg & Hamilton trying to make most of it…

          but they won’t be there for long cause their race pace won’t be great… but it will hurt in terms of allowing the leader to go build up a lead..

          ferrari should make sure it does not make any mistakes in the first corner and it’s said their tires will last longer than Red Bull… then 1-2 for them is a strong chance… all they need is a clean start.

          1. Tire management will be The Story of the race, Hamilton said after Qualy that McLaren is lacking downforce which will make them have to manage the tires carefully under heavy fuel load at the start. Interestingly, Button’s best speed trap was 3 kph faster than Hamilton’s (and 9.5 faster than Vettel’s). Does Jenson have a stronger knee than Lewis? :-)

  13. Pretty exciting quali. As a lot of you said, it was surprising to see the McLaren cars a full sec off the pace, but what was even more surprising was to see Jenson lose out by that margin to Lewis. He’d looked quicker than Lewis during practice.

    Anyway, good start to the season for Massa. I hope he keeps the position but I doubt Alonso will let that happen. Vettel did a super lap but again, those reliability woes mighjt come back to haunt them tomorrow. I see Alonso taking the win tomorrow if Massa fails to strike gold.
    Kubica looked very impressive and to an extent surprised me too. I was expecting a Sauber or maybe Hulk’s Williams to be in the top 10, but that didn’t happen.
    Force India, well, I had faith that they’d do good and they did. Sutil is on the pace for sure and that prime compound choice for Q3 might work well for him tomorrow.
    Lets see, its all very very difficult to predict and the cart’s being upset every now and then.

    Schumacher did what I expected he’d do, he has a lot of catch up to play if he’s seriously aiming at that title.
    I’d spoken about MercedesGP being off the pace and it seems I was right to a certain extent. I won’t be surprised if Button moved up a few places tomorrow as he’s very much capable of doing that and has done it more than once in the past. Also, Lewis will naturally slam it and gain atleast a couple places, I’m sure.

    What will be more exciting to see is how Sutil goes about the game. He’s known to push very hard and that should ideally gain him a few places, and I just hope to the skies he doesn’t do something foolish, or worse, doesn’t get jammed by someone else, he’s had an incredible amount of bad luck on that front(remember the Iceman?)!

    Btw, the shock-of-the-day for me was De La Rosa out-qualifying Koby!!! :o Wow! I’d never expected to see that in my life or rather De La Rosa’s life!

    Karun did pretty well imo. Just the first outing and he was at Senna’s tail in the second lap itself. I think he’ll progress fast. More importantly, nothing flew off his car!

    All in all, we’re in for a great 1st race tomorrow!

    See ya’ll tomorrow then :)

  14. over a second off pace from pole to 4th place. That’s potentially disconcerting. I hope there was a lot of tire saving strategy going on there.

    f1zone is providing HD clips from bahrain…

  15. Jhonnie Siggie
    13th March 2010, 15:14

    I think Massa is about to pull a “Lance Armstrong” this season. Most of the pundits here will be eating their words for having concluded that Alonso is the better of the 2.

  16. First off there goes my race predictions :(

    In the TV commentary (during quali) McLaren team apparently mentioned they knew Red Bull and Ferrari were much faster. I am surprised none of us picked out Red Bull’s pace. Wern’t we also assuming that McLaren’s 1 lap pace was better than other teams and now we get exactly the opposite impression!

    Martin Brundel also mentioned how strung out the McLaren looked and that it was finding bumps that other cars did not find. His guess was that maybe the car is setup for heavy fuel load so as to better manage the tires.

    Ferrari will defenitely be the team to beat. My guess for race is Alonso, Massa, Hamilton, Vettel, Roseberg.

    1. Seriously doubt Vettel will loose 3 slots all of the sudden. We might see him drop one, but 3?
      Whether he finishes or not is a whole different story…

      1. Again this is based on race pace and tyre management. Vettel is pretty good at managing his tires and we have heard even horner talk about it last year, however is red bull upto it? He could lose more if tires don’t hold up.

        1. “Vettel is pretty good at managing his tires” I’m thinking back to Monaco last year.

  17. To tell you the truth I just hope we have a cracking race tomorrow with all four big teams fighting for the major points.

    1. I doubt that we will see overtaking?

  18. Not the best qualifying coverage by FOM.
    Lack of Schumi’s lap
    Did anybody noticed in the past we used to see the classification of the grid at the left side of the screen with the driver’s initials they were missing.
    They couldn’t concentrated well on track especially they missed many good flying lap

    1. [i]”Did anybody noticed in the past we used to see the classification of the grid at the left side of the screen with the driver’s initials they were missing.” [/i]

      This was really annoying, that simple graphic actually makes qualifying much more exciting.

      1. Without it qualification was just confusing (especially with so few of the laps being properly shown, and very few overall classification graphics), I seriously hope it is reintrduced ASAP…

  19. Do you people think that we may see overtaking tomorrow on track?
    I think NO

    1. Why do you say that?

      1. The new section will block any opportunity of overtaking, & as all the car will carry same amount of fuel I don’t think we will see too much overtaking. But I will love if I am wrong.

  20. Great lap from Vettel sadly for him I think he’ll end the race 3rd IF the Red Bull finishes the race at all. Ferrari one – two I’m afraid. Although I’d like to see him behind someone at some point and fight his way past for the win. I only say I can’t see him winning because the car was killing the rears over longer stints (but maybe they hit a balance just before Quali)

    As for Mclaren disappointing for this weekend but the long Micky Mouse section 2 hurts them badly, I expect them to be right at the front at low down force circuits, still fingers crossed for the race but its a bit of a long shot unless they find a faster way through section 2.

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