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. MarcBlondino said on 13th March 2010, 13:09

    it’s probably true, Alonso on different tyre compound, something made him slower. My opinion is he is the fastest, and he surely doesn’t have lack of experience, so…

  2. GoHAM said on 13th March 2010, 13:12

    Vettel, Massa, Alonso, Hamilton, Roseberg, Schumacher, Button and Webber.. All are using the softer coumouds

  3. I always new that Red Bull and especially Vettel will be strong and I think that Vettel will be the champ this year!!!

  4. SeanG said on 13th March 2010, 13:14

    Newey is the single strongest force in Formula One.

    • pSynrg said on 13th March 2010, 13:30

      If you can forgive him for his role in building the jalopy that would be the death of Ayrton Senna.
      Seems like most have, or simply forgotten…

      • Klon said on 13th March 2010, 13:40

        First off, he has been cleared of all charges in this topic, therefore he’s innocent regarding that. And even if you don’t trust judges, it was Senna who asked for the longer steering column. AND that is disregarding the simple fact that it wasn’t Newey’s fault that Senna pushed too hard through Tamburello, which has, apparentely, played an important role in the crash

    • Calum said on 13th March 2010, 14:19

      I would have said “FORCE” India!!!

  5. Gazz said on 13th March 2010, 13:17

    This is just my Opinion, Nothing else.
    I was suprised to see the gap between all the feild first of all.
    Well done to Ferrari and Mclaren for getting back up there where they should be. although a little suprised to see Mclaren a little off the pace through one lap runs. i Hope they will be quick and consistant through the race tommorow.
    I know i will get alot of abuse for this, but try to understand where i am coming from.
    Red bull are starting to become a bit of a pest for me, although Sebastian Vettel is a good driver i think personally They should’nt be at the front, they should return to lower-mid feild where they belong.
    Finally i hope Lewis can gain a good slot tommorow perhaps jump Fernando at the start. i will be totally over the moon if he wins, so lets hope he does. Lewis for Victory. Hope Massa, Kobayashi, Sutil and Kovalainen do well.

    • Mike said on 13th March 2010, 13:22

      I’m happy teams like Red Bull are moving up, I hate having just Ferrari or Mclaren up front, as it tells me the rules are not favouring talent. only money.

      That being said, I can see where your coming from, I just don’t agree.

    • rampante said on 13th March 2010, 13:23

      Teams are where they belong to be. If Red Bull are at the top there must be a good reason for it. Everyone on this site knows I am a long time Ferrari fan but no team has a right to be at the top, they must earn it.

    • Ben Curly said on 13th March 2010, 13:30

      Frankly I don’t understand where you’re coming from. If you think that Red Bull “belong” to the lower-mid field, then you don’t understand this sport. Their hard work brought them to the front row. That’s where they “belong”, at least for now.

      • Gazz said on 13th March 2010, 14:50

        In reply to Ben’s Comment.
        I Personally think that teams like Ferrari, Mclaren, Williams Ect. who have been in the sport for many years and have put alot of hard work and money into developing cars and hiring drivers who will give them the chance to fight For the WCC and the WDC desrve that right.
        I just dont feel a team like RBR have earnt that right.
        Opinion Not Fact.

        • Dr. Gonzo said on 13th March 2010, 15:11

          And it’s an opinion your fully entitled to have but IMHO after 5 years of hard work culminating in 2nd in the WDC and WCC last year, I believe they deserve to be where they are – at the front of the field.

    • Umar Farooq Khawaja said on 13th March 2010, 16:17

      Speaking as a Ferrari fan, why do Red Bull belong down the field? They have pushed hard over the past year and a half and have a genuinely fast car. They didn’t even use any aerodynamic trickery last year.

      I think they are right where they belong.

  6. Mike said on 13th March 2010, 13:20

    A really good and exciting session,

    Wow, good show by Vettel, possibly a bit unlucky for mark,
    Massa has just impressed me to no end, I’m not really a fan of Alonso, but I still recognise the achievement that Massa just produced!

    Well done by Hamilton although my pre season impression that Button might get beaten decisively by Hamilton may I now think, prove exaggerated.

    Rosberg must have a mention, He has just out paced Schumacher, that being said, I think Schumacher will improve further into the year, we all knew he would struggle a bit first race back, and I think his experience might serve him well in the race.

    For me? I think the Ferrari’s will take it in the race, But I’d recommend watching out for both Sutil and Rubens who are starting on the harder compound from 10th and 11th, they should be able to threaten further up.

    I think Chandok did well considering that was his first 7 laps, he was close to Senna (It feels weird typing that) and Senna has the better car for the moment.

    To be honest I hope Schumacher wins from Rubens and Hulkenburg.
    Chances? A bit slim…..

  7. MarcBlondino said on 13th March 2010, 13:20

    Hm, something is sure. We’ll have hell of a race tomorrow:)

  8. Rosberg seemed to change his cars Rear Wing. Is it a new one?

  9. racefan said on 13th March 2010, 13:22

    It seems nobody has a clear advantage.Isn’t that cool?:P

    • patrick(UK) said on 13th March 2010, 22:43

      oh yes…very cool but expect fireworks from the ferraris and the mercedes powered cars all the way to the finish line

  10. Jasper said on 13th March 2010, 13:24

    Great lap from Vettel, showing that he and the Red Bull have the best pace marginally over one lap. Massively surprised that McLaren’s one lap pace was so far off, and then Lewis admitted that they lacked downforce in his BBC post Qualy interview, there were no noises to that effect at all in winter testing! So quite surprised by that. With their long run pace, Ferrari look very strong for tomorrow, and in Bahrain practice they seemed to look after the tyres better than the Red Bull and McLaren. Remember if Vettel stays ahead in the first stint and the Ferraris are right behind him and pit first – the new rubber advantage over one lap will be enough for them to leapfrog Vettel! (so look out from the start of the race, obviously the lap times will start coming down with the fuel, but as soon as a cars lap times aren’t getting quicker they need to dive straight in the pits. It’s gonna be like switching from inters to slicks on a drying track) That’s even more the case with the new longer Bahrain lap. And as I’ve seen nothing to suggest that the Red Bull’s long run pace is better than Ferrari, I see it being the two Ferraris fighting for the win, based on what we know so far. In testing we saw McLaren with good long run pace, maybe just a touch off the Ferraris, to be fair I don’t think the McLaren is at it’s best on this track, I’d expect them to be stronger elsewhere. So I think Vettel will at some point get passed by the Ferraris and end up fighting it out with Hamilton, Rosberg, Webber and Schumacher (and hopefully Button) for 3rd place.

    That’s just my opinion based on what we’ve seen so far this year, let’s hope things aren’t as predictable as that, here’s to a great first race of the season! F1 is back everybody!

    • James said on 13th March 2010, 13:38

      Speaking of stints.. what kind of weight difference can the Redbulls run with renault engines? They may have the upper hand the first few laps am i right? Or is the weight so difference small enough not to worry ?

      • Jasper said on 13th March 2010, 16:06

        That depends on the fuel consumption of the Renault engine, which is supposedly very good. (Obviously the more efficient it is, the less fuel they will need to complete the distance) If that’s true and the tyres work well for them away from the start in that first stint, then you’re right Vettel could pull out a small gap to counter getting jumped if a Ferrari pits before him.

        We’ll only really know the answer to this sort of question tomorrow, because it’s the first time everyone is running together doing the same thing at the same time. Everyone is starting the race (hopefully) with enough fuel to get to the finish, the same track at the same time etc.

        Red Bulls long run pace is probably the hardest to read from testing, it’s stone cold obvious that the Ferrari is excellent on the long runs and the McLaren appeared to be not too far behind if not similar, but at this track they seem to be struggling with the tyre temperatures. So it’ll be interesting to see if Vettel can stay with the Ferraris or fall back with Hamilton and the others.

        Again just my unbiased opinion, so sorry McLaren fans. That F Duct system might help get them ahead of a few cars though, so I certainly woudn’t write them. We’ll know the answers tomorrow, can’t wait!

    • patrick(UK) said on 13th March 2010, 18:28

      great points here…but i suspect that we shall have a safety car situation between the mid placed cars on the grid…BUT the FERARIS will finish 1and 2 easily and hamilton may move to three or not finish at all.Vetel may finish fifth ….

      • Jasper said on 13th March 2010, 19:04

        Thank You, I try to give a balanced opinion. Yes I suspect heading down to turn 1 for the first time with all the cars heavy with fuel there’s a high chance of an accident, someone misjudging their braking with the heavier car. So good chance of a safety car early on. I wonder how safety cars are gonna effect the racing this year without refueling? Surely it won’t be a case of cars automatically pitting anymore if there’s a safety car mid-race, unless your tyres are wrecked then it makes sense to be on fresh tyres for the restart.

        But yeah as I said previously I think the race will be won and lost pretty much in that opening soft tyre stint. Vettel has to build a gap before he changes to the hard tyre otherwise whoever is right behind (I suspect two Ferraris) will jump him simply by pitting one lap earlier. The new rubber advantage over one lap will be enough for them to leapfrog Vettel, especially with that long lap.

        • patrick(UK) said on 13th March 2010, 20:49

          its unlikely that that the red bull will be at the front after 7 to 8 laps..and if that happens that the redbull is leading from this pont…expect the feraris to pit in rapid succession and then go for the kill on the long stint with hard tyre..and if there are no safety car issues the feraris will switch again to super soft tyres in the last 5 to 6 laps of the race.HOWEVER the presure and aggresive nature of HAMILTON and maybe The confidence of Roseberg may force some mistakes causing me to think that by end of the fisrt few laps one of the top contenders will make a mistake in the pits which will create room for Schumacher and Button to make headway with Sutil and Barichelo in the mix..

  11. Mac v2 said on 13th March 2010, 13:27

    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?

    • patrick(UK) said on 13th March 2010, 18:38

      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.

  12. Rahim.RG said on 13th March 2010, 13:28

    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….

  13. Pakelika said on 13th March 2010, 13:29

    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.

  14. MarcBlondino said on 13th March 2010, 13:31

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

  15. BasCB said on 13th March 2010, 13:32

    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.

    • Salty said on 13th March 2010, 15:34

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

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