Vettel takes his third pole position of 2010 (Chinese Grand Prix qualifying)

Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber share the front row with Fernando Alonso third

Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber share the front row with Fernando Alonso third

Red Bull used a special device to extract extra performance from their RB6 in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.

He’s called Sebastian Vettel, and he’ll start from pole position for the third time this year in tomorrow’s race.


Heikki Kovalainen’s session got off to a bad start as he spun his Lotus at turn six.

As usual Lotus along with Virgin and HRT were the slowest cars in the first part of qualifying. Timo Glock won the ‘division two’ battle but was over two seconds slower than the only driver from the established teams to face elimination.

This week’s Q1 victim was Vitantonio Liuzzi, who once again blamed traffic for failing to get a sufficiently quick time.


Lewis Hamilton showed McLaren’s pace with the fastest time in Q2. He was the only person to lap in under 1m 35s and had half a second in hand over his team mate.

Between them were the two Red Bulls, both Ferraris and Nico Rosberg.

Michael Schumacher only narrowly made it into Q3, beating Rubens Barrichello by 0.033s.

Also eliminated were the Toro Rossos of Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi, Vitaly Petrov, Kamui Kobayashi (who also gets a five-place penalty for a gearbox change), Nico H?â??lkenberg and Pedro de la Rosa.


From the moment Q3 began the performance McLaren had shown in practice and the first two parts of qualifying was no longer apparent.

All the top ten drivers used soft tyres for the session – but Sebastian Vettel found a quarter of a second more than his team mate, most of it with a very quick run through the final sector.

Behind Webber the next two rows of the grid were closely-fought. Fernando Alonso edged Rosberg by a hundredth of a second, and from Rosberg the two McLarens were covered by just a tenth of a second.

Having been off Hamilton’s pace for much of qualifying, Button turned the tables with his final effort, out-qualifying his team mate for the third time this year.

Felipe Massa lines up seventh ahead of Robert Kubica and Schumacher – the Mercedes driver seven tenths of a second slower than his team mate.

The finished the last race one-two and they did the same in Shanghai last year. Now Red Bull will start first and second for tomorrow’s Chinese Grand Prix.

View the 2010 Chinese Grand Prix grid

Full qualifying times

Pos. # Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’36.317 1’35.280 1’34.558
2 6 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’35.978 1’35.100 1’34.806
3 8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’35.987 1’35.235 1’34.913
4 4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’35.952 1’35.134 1’34.923
5 1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’36.122 1’35.443 1’34.979
6 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’35.641 1’34.928 1’35.034
7 7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’36.076 1’35.290 1’35.180
8 11 Robert Kubica Renault 1’36.348 1’35.550 1’35.364
9 3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’36.484 1’35.715 1’35.646
10 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’36.671 1’35.665 1’35.963
11 9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’36.664 1’35.748
12 17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’36.618 1’36.047
13 16 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’36.844 1’36.149
14 12 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’37.031 1’36.311
15 23 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’37.044 1’36.422
16 10 Nico H?â??lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’37.049 1’36.647
17 22 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1’37.050 1’37.020
18 15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’37.161
19 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’39.278
20 18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’39.399
21 19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1’39.520
22 25 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1’39.783
23 21 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’40.469
24 20 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1’40.578

2010 Chinese Grand Prix

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177 comments on Vettel takes his third pole position of 2010 (Chinese Grand Prix qualifying)

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  1. MacademiaNut said on 17th April 2010, 8:35

    Looks like HAM’s Q2 time is not right.

  2. Ledzep4pm said on 17th April 2010, 8:38

    Intresting results with Mclaren.

    Hamilton’s times arn’t right for Q2 tho

  3. US_Peter said on 17th April 2010, 8:39

    I’d say that’s pretty much the end of the RBR ride height conspiracy debate. Well done Vettel.

    • Younger Hamilton said on 17th April 2010, 8:43


      • slr said on 17th April 2010, 9:34

        With constantly saying that Red Bull don’t use ride height adjusters, just makes me more suspicious. But that’s just me.

        • slr said on 17th April 2010, 9:34

          Whoops typo. The first part is meant to say “With Horner constantly saying…”

          • I would agree. I am not saying Red bull are lying but clearly in previous qualifications their cars have been bottoming out with only 3 laps of fuel in them to you would assume that the car would be leaving grooves in the track on a full tank which they have obviously not been. So the car has been riding higher (relatively) in the race than in qualifying. It will be interesting when we finally find out how they are doing it.

  4. Really didn’t expect Vettel to get pole but pulled it out of the bag again “YES BABY!!!!”

    Really surprised McLaren weren’t 1-2, I think they’ll be strong in the race though.

    • A.K. said on 17th April 2010, 11:07

      LOL. When will we hear the end of this from McLaren fans?

      Face the facts, folks… the MP4-25 is simply slower than the RB6 and has been from the moment they both hit the track in pre-season. They’ve done well enough to have caught up with Ferrari but now it seems Mercedes is potentially as fast as McLaren too.

      • steph90 said on 17th April 2010, 11:22

        I don’t think Tommy is even a Mclaren fan :P

        • A.K. said on 17th April 2010, 11:30

          Matters not. I keep hearing such things from their fans.

          • Certainly not a McLaren fan. Yeah I think Mclaren are just off the pace of the Red Bull and almost up with the Ferrari. Mercedes are starting to catch Mclaren too though thanks to Nico’s brilliant driving.

          • Mike said on 17th April 2010, 12:29

            The Mclaren might not quite have the pace of the other two, but it was a fair comment AK, I mean they have two good drivers and supposedly the 3rd fastest car.

            We have seen much odder things in the past than a Mclaren 1-2.

            “Anything can happen in formula one and it usually does”
            My favourite quote from Murry Walker.

      • pete said on 17th April 2010, 13:59

        I was a little surprised too, but Red Bull has found (her stopped hiding) about 5 tenths in every Q3 so far. I mean no accusation in that at all, they have a fast car which is clearly legal. It’s fun to watch the teams guess and point fingers.

        But what exactly would be an acceptable comment from a McLaren fan?

        “Woe is me, McLaren is so far behind Red Bull, they should just quit and I should give up all hope”?

        I favor McLaren, meaning in the end I want them to win the Constructors title and have the WDC, but not at the cost of an interesting season. I’m loving the season so far. Three races, three winners from three teams. Four teams are legitimately in it.

        Think about this:
        One team clearly has the fastest car but has also experienced reliability problems.
        Another team is very likely second fastest but is experiencing some reliability problems itself.
        Yet another is in the hunt but inconsistent and features, to me the most intriguing (perhaps not the most competitive) driver battle.
        And finally a fourth team was off slightly off the pace but is turning it up now and has the possibility, with a former 7-time WDC to really turn it on if he catches up or solves the car.
        Two other teams are nipping at the heals of the top four.

        This is good stuff!

      • Younger Hamilton said on 17th April 2010, 21:01

        Me,im a big McLaren fan and i agree that Redbull is fastest and ahead of us but we’ve caught up with Ferrari and we are most certainly faster than Mercedes.We will eventually catch RedBull Ferrari will as well as Mercedes but its only a matter of time before RedBull will wrap it all up the best we can all do is halt them just reduce their point scoring until we can make some serious and tough updates to the car.

        We will Catch RedBull!!!


        • Matt said on 17th April 2010, 22:05

          Did anyone else notice that the Mclaren, at one point (I think in Q2) bottomed out on the exit of turn 1 and into 2. It looked like a small ploom of dust out the back anyway.

          • RFB said on 18th April 2010, 0:54

            Yeah, their car was bottoming out in qualifying, therefore they MUST be running some form of ride height control system. I know they claim they don’t, but it’s obviously plain lies, and their accusations of RBR running such a system were only aimed at focusing the attention onto another team.

  5. Patrickl said on 17th April 2010, 8:47

    Did Hamilton offer any explanation to why he did fewer laps or why his time in Q3 was so disappointing?

    • Burt said on 17th April 2010, 8:51

      He didn’t do a second run in Q2 having banked a hot lap, hence less laps.. Said the car balance changed from Q2 to Q3, couldn’t get any more from it.

    • Younger Hamilton said on 17th April 2010, 21:06

      For me Lewis always does small amount of laps in qualifying sessions and most of the time seems to cost him btw probably Brake bias and Tyre Pressure problems

    • Scott said on 18th April 2010, 4:24

      his Q3 times are because they actually had to put fuel in the car. McLaren have always run very very slow fuel to get to the top of the time sheets…..

  6. Johnny86 said on 17th April 2010, 8:52

    He couldnt…according to him..he was trying his limit…maybe some balance problem..i am sure they will be better in the race

  7. wasiF1 said on 17th April 2010, 8:56

    Hamilton’s final flying lap on Q3 wasn’t perfect. he over steered at turn 1 & lost precise time.
    & what was Vettel looking at Hamilton’s car at the end of the qualifying .

    • Anon said on 17th April 2010, 8:59

      I saw that too, and that comment by Horner. Looks like the redbulls are getting quite cocky

      • Harv's said on 17th April 2010, 9:13

        they are not the fun team they used to be! i used to like them when they were fun but now they are just getting boring…

        Vettel: “we dont have the car advantage like 5 years ago”…

        …”oh red bull are on pole again”…”another grid lock out”…

        • Younger Hamilton said on 17th April 2010, 11:07

          hello Harv’s its good to see u in this article,You’re right, i dont like Redbull anymore after this quailfying especially Vettel,in fact i hate them,he’s just become too cocky now and immature, man i used to always rely on them to beat Brawn(now Mercedes)when Mclaren struggled, now power has just gone into their heads and I hate it when commentators are kissing up to them its so irritating.Mark Webber is not even cocky if he wins or on pole he’s just happy and proud,Vettel Cocky,Loud,Immature and annoying.Its all about the Mclaren/Ferrari rivalry,RedBull not involved.

          GO Lewis,Jenson and Mclaren!!!!

          • pete said on 17th April 2010, 14:06

            For Vettel, I don’t know that it is cockiness or just exuberance.

            For Horner I think it’s a bit of vindication and the old “neener neener.” I’ve never really liked him though, but I honestly can’t say there’s a team principal that I do like.

        • A.K. said on 17th April 2010, 11:13

          Priceless by Horner. You go and keep rubbing it into these obnoxious McLaren people who think they’re the only ones out there worthy to build the fastest car on the grid, making sour grape comments and excuses with these ride height innuendos.

          And you don’t even have a wing stalling device that everyone(!!!) had agreed not to develop, like KERS for this season.

          • It’s funny to see Mclaren fans call Red Bull cocky when Mclaren have “victory shirts” each season :P if that’s not cocky then nothing is.

          • HRT should blatantly turn up to one of the races with KERS. :p

          • Mike said on 17th April 2010, 12:31

            I think it’s funny that a discussion of how cocky teams are has happened and no one has mention Ferrari…. oh wait, nvm.

          • @AK,

            Everyone in F1 is always looking for an advantage. Teams did not agree to not stall wings, they agreed not to do it with mechanical devices. Ferrari have their wheels to get around the lack of spinners, red bull have some form of controlling their ride height and I am sure the other big teams are doing other things to get around the stupidly tight rules.

          • A.K. said on 17th April 2010, 22:32


            You are wrong, they did agreed not develop in the direction of stalling wings, whether through mechanical means or otherwise (by the way, what is an f-duct if not a mechanical device?).

            As for Red Bull’s supposed ride height controller, it’s a load of baloney dreamt up mainly by McLaren due to insane jealousy and need to play mind games. They’ve been at it from the first race with Dennis making stupid claims about the RB6 fuel consumption, to Hamilton’s inane advice for Webber to quit and now that all that has failed, accusations of skull drudgery due to bitterness about how fast the RB6 truly is.

            They don’t mechanically adjust their height, it has been scrutinised and passed at every race, before rule clarifications and after rule clarifications. Time to move on.

          • Wateva said on 17th April 2010, 23:01


            I dont think the F-duct is termed as a mechanical device. I would assume a mechanical device is something that has a movable part to it. The F-duct is a aero device. You can obviously have an aero device with mechanical parts like the front wing. May be I’m wrong and Keith can clarify.

    • He was probably looking inside the cockpit to see how the f-duct is controlled.
      I bet red bull are planning to add one to make their car even more unstoppable!

      • Matt said on 18th April 2010, 1:14

        Yep, thats what I assumed he was doing.

        They all do it anyway, its just you usually see someone in 2nd or 3rd looking at 1st, not 1st looking at a slower car

  8. Ken said on 17th April 2010, 9:03

    Atleast we are guaranteed a good show tomorrow as Lewis works his way up the grid

  9. Sirko said on 17th April 2010, 9:04

    Vettel on pole – bad sign :). Hope everything will be alright with a car.

    • pete said on 17th April 2010, 14:03

      Now that’s funny!

    • LOL… that’s exactly what I thought after Q3…! Pole is kind of an omen for Vettel but I don’t give a monkey’s. I just don’t like the finger shoving he does a zillion times like he’s won the WDC by getting a pole. Annoying. What is with the attitude problem of these guys… the exact reason I don’t like watching Hamilton or Vettel out of the car as much as I enjoy watching them in the car.

  10. I have a sneaking suspicion that McLaren are trying to be clever and going with a setup more geared for the rain that is due for tomorrow – like Lewis did in his epic Silverstone drive.

    Could be something similar happening at Merceded too – only they’re hedging their bets, giving Rosberg a setup for mostly dry and giving Schumacher a setup for the wet. Surely that explains a 0.6 difference in speed….


    • Palle said on 17th April 2010, 9:53

      Exactly what I thought. Let hope for rain and an exiting race. Will Webber and Nico get the start right this time, or will Alonso pass Webber in the first corner and stress Vettel? Will Hamilton be able to gain a few places in the start? If Button and Rosberg has the usual not so good starts, then Hamilton could be right behind Webber, if Alonso passes him. And how will Michael do against Kubica and Sutil? I can hardly wait.
      Who will start on the clean side or which side is the cleaner side?

      • matt90 said on 17th April 2010, 10:55

        I don’t think Button gets bad starts exactly, more just unlucky.

      • I’m liking the sound of Alonso getting away cleanly at the start – I want to see what he can do in that Ferrari without Felipe holding him up!

  11. Hairs said on 17th April 2010, 9:21

    Are all the top runners on the soft tyre?

  12. If Vettel had won the 1st 2 races, this season would turn out exactly like the last year.
    but the interesting thing is, no1 still knows wats responsible for tht kinda pace of the red bulls unlike last year. i hope there are sm major upgrades from mclaren n ferrari. i dont want this season to end up like last years.

    • Patrickl said on 17th April 2010, 9:37

      The Red Bull was the fastest car in 2009 too. Even without the double diffuser they could have won a lot more races at the start of the season (If they hadn’t messed up strategies, didn’t crash cars so much and had been able to overtake cars like Button did)

      So why wouldn’t they be fastest now?

      Newey is simply a genius. Where McLaren need a trick rear wing to find speed, the whole design of that Red Bull car is geared towards efficient downforce.

      Imagine what they will do to the field next year when the double diffusers are gone.

      • And that’s one explanation for Red Bull’s qualifying pace – i.e. that they are less reliant on the diffuser for similar levels of overall downforce. Which means that they are less troubled by running a high ride height in qualifying trim, which is when the diffuser is least effective. Ferrari appear to have taken a similar approach, with not quite so good results.

        Whereas McLaren appear to have tried to maximise the downforce from the double diffuser, meaning they lose out more in qualifying trim.

        • Patrickl said on 17th April 2010, 10:22

          What is qualifying trim?

          They start the race with the same setup as they run in qualifying.

          Do you mean when the fuel load pushes the car down, decreases the rid height and thus increases the downforce?

          • Yes, just shorthand for running low fuel loads in qualifying.

          • Mike said on 17th April 2010, 10:42

            In qual they have as little fuel as possible, meaning there is less weight to push the car down (remember that the down-force they produce amplifies this)

            Now keep in mind that the Diffuser is less effective when it is farther from the ground.

            So this means that due to the car being further from the ground in qual, the Diffuser is less effective.

            As Mclraren reportedly focussed on maximising the effectiveness of the diffuser, they struggle in qual, when the diffuser is less effective….

            Having said that I don’t know how much less effective it becomes.

          • Patrickl said on 17th April 2010, 11:25

            Yeah, Mike, that’s what I said.

        • Franton said on 17th April 2010, 13:33

          The clarification issued by Charlie Whiting stated that automatic or active ride height adjustment was illegal. I’m fairly sure they’ve developed a driver controlled ride height adjuster :)

          How else do you explain their cars bottoming out on the other tracks with very little fuel in them? That fact is suspicious in of itself.

      • Spud said on 17th April 2010, 10:58

        I completely agree. As long as Red Bull can iron out their reliability problems (and hopefully there won’t be anymore this year) then they will cream everyone else. Adrian Newey is a genius, Sebastien Vettel is, in my opinion, the best driver in the field and will be world champion and Mark Webber is the perfect wingman (even though he mightn’t like that title!). I’m only sorry I didn’t stick a tenner on them before now! :P

        • pete said on 17th April 2010, 14:18

          I’m not trying to be a **** (and I reall, but has Vettel ever finished higher than he started without the drivers ahead of him retiring?

          Vettel is damn quick, and I think he’ll only get better with experience, but I’m not ready to crown him best of the field yet. I think it’s among Fernando, Lewis,

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th April 2010, 15:23

            has Vettel ever finished higher than he started without the drivers ahead of him retiring?

            You mean like he did in the last race?

          • David A said on 17th April 2010, 16:41

            Brazil 2009 as well.

          • Yep Brazil 2009 where he started behind the WDC and finished ahead of him…

            And don’t get this Vettel can’t overtake rubbish.

          • pete said on 18th April 2010, 19:39

            I apparently have a very short memory.

            I suppose it’s hard to overtake when you start at the front. And conversely, easier when you start (in a car that should be at the front) at the rear.

    • BBQ2 said on 17th April 2010, 10:13

      This year will not end up like last year as it has already started well with 3 race winners from diff teams.

      On RBR pace; well, everyday the bucket goes to the Well, one day the bottom will drop-out :-) And that wouldn’t be long….. trust me, I know what I am saying ;-)

      • TommyC said on 17th April 2010, 10:43

        i don’t know what you’re saying. please explain…

      • This year wont be like last year because despite Red Bull having a car that is a lot quicker than its rivals the car is about as reliable as Royal Mail.

        The Brawn car last year was indestructible. Even when something went wrong it would just carry on (Spa 2009)

      • gpfan said on 17th April 2010, 23:21

        “well, everyday the bucket goes to the Well, one day the bottom will drop-out And that wouldn’t be long….. trust me, I know what I am saying”

        What? You are saying you are Bob Marley?

        You shot a sheriff?

        You like reggae music?

        Out with it!

  13. Yaaaa said on 17th April 2010, 9:59

    Well done Vettel,,Sad to see Shumi fighting for 9th,, sure its not the car as ROS is doing great. Watch for HAM tomorrow.

    • Patrickl said on 17th April 2010, 10:23

      Schumacher opted not to use the new rear wing and Rosberg did.

      • I didn’t pick that up – is that true?

        • Patrickl said on 17th April 2010, 11:37

          Schumacher said something about it in his interview with the BBC after qualifying.

        • Patrickl said on 17th April 2010, 17:54

          OK, Schumacher said that Rosberg used a different rear wing, but he was incorrect.

          He was later told that Rosberg was infact using the same rear wing.

          So that’s not it. Schumacher just got beaten with the same equipment.

  14. F1 Novice said on 17th April 2010, 10:00

    So – is that Button 3 Hamilton 1 in quali and Button leading Hamilton in the Championship after changing teams, going to a team built around someone else & venturing into the Lions Den then ? – not bad for a mediocre driver as some would have had us believe – Yes early days admittedly but the “experts” said it would take the first 6 or so races just to begin to get on level par with Hamilton and Button was ahead of him after 2 ! -nice (Credit to Button but McLaren/Whitmarsh as well for their input into this – they have certainly kept their promises re: Driver/Car equality)

  15. Howick said on 17th April 2010, 10:11

    Should be a great race. Hamilton and Button will need to get past rosberg on the first lap ar else i fear that their race will be ruined. Can’t wait and it will be interesting to see the difference between Ferrari and Red bulls race pace. I still can’t get round Mclarens Q3 pace.
    Here are me predictions

    Massa was poor today…get kubica into the red team plz!

    • Tombong said on 17th April 2010, 11:26

      YES please, get Kubica to Ferrari next year

    • A.K. said on 17th April 2010, 11:29

      How was Massa poor? He was less than two tenths off Alonso’s time in Q3.

      There was a bigger gap between the two RB cars than that.

    • James said on 17th April 2010, 17:42

      Wow tbh I think it’s stupid how quickly people are ready to write off certain drivers. We’ve had 3 races!

      • A.K. said on 17th April 2010, 22:37

        Not to mention that Massa’s leading that little irrelevant table of drivers called the World Championship. bahahahaha

    • gpfan said on 17th April 2010, 23:28

      Here are my predictions:
      Wake up at 02:30 and put the kettle on.
      Stay sleepy through-out the entire race.
      Eat and drink tea non-stop.
      Fall asleep just before the finish (complete with lap-top on my chest with live timing on).
      Wake up in time to watch a re-broadcast at 08:00.
      Watch again at 13:00 on speed.
      Gosh, I am a loser! lol

    • Ahh.. what made you predict Nico for 7th? I don’t see a way in hell for Button or Massa getting past him, if something doesn’t go wrong that is.
      Also, don’t underestimate Sutil or rather don’t expect him to stay behind Michael. Whether he gets past Kubica is another story but I hope he does.

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