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???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???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)

  1. Gwenouille said on 17th April 2010, 10:14

    A bit disapointed by the pace of the McLarens, not too surprised by the RedBull.
    If odd-number places start on the left side, I predict Hamilton to pass Button (not a great starter) before turn 1, and that would be good for the McLarens as I can’t see Button fighting as much as Hamilton.

  2. Howick said on 17th April 2010, 10:19

    But do you think the mclaren’s gearbox will play up at the start.
    As much i respect Vettel i would love to see Vettel beaten handsdown.

  3. sumedh said on 17th April 2010, 10:26

    This is bad. 4 pole positions in 4 races for Red Bull.

    I don’t like where this is heading.

  4. Lachie said on 17th April 2010, 10:31

    If I were the other teams and drivers I’d be starting to feel pretty insulted at Vettel consistently sandbagging. He’s just playing with the field.

    • Anon said on 17th April 2010, 13:03

      True, and its kinda annoying!

    • macahan said on 17th April 2010, 17:48

      That is part of racing. Don’t show all your cards early. Wait until the last possible minute. But Honestly I don’t think it was completely sandbagging. Vettel just seems to be able to get the most out of the car when it really counts (Q3). Webber was faster then Vettel in Q1 and Q2. No setups where changed for Q3 he just once again pulled of a fantastic lap.

  5. rampante said on 17th April 2010, 10:46

    The new regulations have shown one thing very clearly. Mclaren in free practice think they are fast and loose it when RBR and Ferrari(Alonso) show their true pace in quali.
    Have Mclaren become last years Williams by being superfast and then wondering where it all went? It will be interesting to see what the teams bring to Spain with all the new mods.

    • Younger Hamilton said on 17th April 2010, 10:59

      Mclaren are nothing like Williams and they never will be.

    • Patrickl said on 17th April 2010, 11:23

      Both McLaren drivers had a problem in Q3.

      • rampante said on 17th April 2010, 11:27

        They were not quick enough.

        • James_mc said on 17th April 2010, 12:10

          Comparatively not as slow as the Williams though. And still both ahead of the second Ferrari.

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

          because they had a problem yes

          • What was the problem? If you mean the force neutral, that didn’t affect the teams laps just a slight issue on the outlaps.

          • Patrickl said on 17th April 2010, 18:03

            Both had trouble with the tyres and Hamilton said the car was bottoming out

        • macahan said on 17th April 2010, 17:59

          They where not quick enough to fight for front row. Hamiltons best lap time across all quali periods would only seen him one position higher on the grid. He was “only” 1 tenths of his Q2 lap time in Q3. Button was 6 hundreds of a second behind Hamilton. So I would say they didn’t have problems besides they just where not quick enough and they believed from FP that they where. Hamilton did 3 tenths faster in Quali then his fastest FP lap time. Webber ,Rosberg and Button was about 5 tenths faster in Quali. Alonso and Vettel was almost a second faster in Quali over their best FP times.
          McLaren either runs lighter in quali or they suffer a little more then Ferrari and RedBull during extreme light conditions.
          This is not the first race McLaren done well during FP1 & 2 not quite gotten it together in FP3 and ended up behind Red Bull and Ferrari in Quali. The pattern start to emerge and it tells me they are just not fast enough in quali and that RedBull and Ferrari can up their game and improve their lap times a bit better then McLaren can in quali to put them a head.

  6. Man Felipe is so slow.

    • David A said on 17th April 2010, 16:43

      A dissapointing 7th, but only 2 tenths off his teammate, when Webber was 3 tenths off his.

      • macahan said on 17th April 2010, 18:02

        he did improve 1.3 second in quali over his best FP time. Which was better then what Alonso could manage. My guess he want in the wrong direction on setup in FP. It was changed before Quali and he got more in the right direction and managed to close the gap but not enough.

      • Patrickl said on 17th April 2010, 18:02

        Actually, Webber is closer to Vettel than Massa is to Alonso.

        Still, the laptimes are indeed incredibly close. Only 2 tenths between P2 and P6.

        Just one tiny mistake can cost a lot of places.

  7. Jay M said on 17th April 2010, 10:53

    I suspect the Mclarens will be very quick tomorrow as in the previous races their qualifying times are rubbish but their race pace is brilliant.

    I really hope Rosberg or Webber can win this race just as much of a Vettel fan as I am, there is nothing more I hate then Domination or repetition of the same people winning!!

    Button, Alonso and Vettel have all had their wins for the year =)

  8. At-least Massa is not there to gold Alonso back for the entire race again.

    • Erm… meant to say “hold”

    • Anon said on 17th April 2010, 13:07

      R u serious? Massa didn’t hold back Alonso. Alonso couldn’t pass him, , i guess he thinks F1 is not about overtaking afterall

      • Patrickl said on 17th April 2010, 13:34

        Domenicali said that Alonso wasn’t allowed to pass unless Massa had an obvious problem. Where just being a tad slow is probably not considered a problem.

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

          You seriously have some problem understanding english spoken by an Italian man… I clearly remember what Domenicali said was they were not going to take unnecessary risks, there was no mention about “not allowed to pass”.

          • BasCB said on 18th April 2010, 6:21

            As i remember, he did say they could race each other, but then he added, that in the last stint (that being the last 50 laps, or maybe just the last 20 laps) the guys were not allowed to pass to saveguard finishing in a good position.

            In Melbourne i had the ipression from what they said, that they actually wanted Alonso behind Massa, so he could keep Lewis behind both of them.

  9. Any ideas why the McLarens didn’t get another lap in at the end? Both finished their flying laps before the chequered flag but didn’t come round again.

    Some quotes I’ve seen suggest the tyres may have been overheating – that doesn’t sound good for the race if it’s dry tomorrow – or would they have run out of fuel (and are you punished if that happens in qualifying)?

  10. Senna qualified 23rd in all 4 qualifying sessions.

  11. does anybody know which teams decided to use f-duct devise in quali and race?

  12. Howick said on 17th April 2010, 11:12

    Looking forward to the shanghai rain.

  13. BlueNochi said on 17th April 2010, 11:40

    Redbull is strong again, despite FIA warn abt Active Ride Height, so sad to know it. It will fun if Redbull is not so dominant.

  14. MetalHammerDude said on 17th April 2010, 11:49

    “None of the last races have been won by the driver on pole”

    If the guys in top 4 were running very low in fuel, we should see their true pace tomorrow with full tanks…

    Hamilton was consistently within 1.35.0 area and thanks to the fact that he is 6th, we will see some overtaking (thank you Hammy man)

    Red Bulls arent as frightening as they used to be, however kudos to them for the great quali strategy

    Go McLaren. Can’t wait till tomorrow morning

    So will it rain tomorrow? Let’s hope, then I don’t care who wins, we’ll see a good show…

    “None of the last races have been won by the driver on pole”

    • Patrickl said on 17th April 2010, 13:40

      During practice the race pace of all the cars seemed pretty similar. All were doing close to the 1:40 lap times in their long high fuel load stints. Difference were at most something like half a second.

      So I seriously doubt there will be much overtaking tomorrow. The cars are just too much on the same pace.

      With refuelling out of the way there are no strategy differences either.

      Unless there is rain of course. Then it will be another lottery with plenty of “action”.

      Hamilton started all the way back in Malaysie. Of course it’s easier to overtake cars that are 2 to 3 seconds slower than to overtake one in the top 10.

  15. DaveG’s predicted pole time was only one tenth away from Vettel’s pole.

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