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

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

Browse all 2010 Chinese Grand Prix articles

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

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  1. What i really cant understand is the haste to call RedBulls “dominant”. Sure, they qualify strong. But then, in the race, they are nowhere near the so called “dominant” form, having pace at best equal to Ferrari’s or Maccas.

    My view at this is, refueling ban introduced some issues with the car we haven’t had in the past. For example, how much fuel the car needs, how well does it treat its tires, can it keep em warm enough with high/low fuel load.

    Thus, some cars benefit from light fuel loads and perform excellent in quali (see RBR’s), while others might not top lap times, but then put up quite a show dominating early stages of the race (Maccass/Ferraris making up 10+ grid positions, Renault, otherwise midfield, having its rookie fight on-par with 2008 WDC).

    All i can say after this is – Yay! Variety!

  2. I don’t understand why people are so annoyed at Red Bull and Vettel dominating qualifying – I’m not particularly a fan of either, but you’ve got to appreciate the brilliance of Adrian Newey’s RB6 and the way Vettel can deliver the goods at the critical points during a weekend. He certainly has Webber covered on a Saturday, but it’s much closer between them on race day and it pretty much depends on who can get off the line cleanest.

    Alonso did a good job outqualifying Massa again – qualifying has traditionally been a strong point of Massa’s and I think that unless he can beat Alonso on a saturday he’s going to struggle to overcome Fernando in a race under normal situations, especially as Felipe has been looking a little ragged since Australia…

    Great job by Rosberg again to mix it up near the front in a car that probably a bit off the pace at the moment. He’ll need a good start if he wants another solid top 5 finish cos on race pace the McLaren’s should be much stronger. JB I think should be secretly happy to be ahead of Lewis. I think people thought Jenson would be close with him in the races and weaker in qualifying, but so far it appears to be the other way around…

    I’m hoping for a nice, dry, uneventful race tomorrow so that we can get a better idea of where all the teams and drivers are relevant to each other.

    1. I agree, Red Bull are faster and that’s the name of the game. No use being bitter about it. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

      And yes, I thought Rosberg was terrific once again.

  3. Massa could be a excellent racer, but nowadays he seems like a simple racer that is most worried about losing his job than being a great racer. What really happened, Massa?

    1. The car is simply no longer the fastest of the field.

    2. That boy has some issues with early season races. Maybe he will be up to speed a bit later on. Considering all his other season this one has started out pretty good, so my guess is he is being over careful about it.

  4. I’ll be the 20th person to be shocked by Horner’s radio blast about ride-height adjustment not mattering. The irony is that, now presuming that all the cars have no trick suspension, RedSwill clearly is being caught by Ferrari, McLaren and now Mercedes, and that McLaren may well now have the best outright pace. So this tends to prove the opposite of Horner’s unseemly braying. And fiven that a tenth covers third to sixth, it is foolish to draw any conclusions about relative performance among those positions anyway. My hope is that Fred can get both RedTreacle at the start and put them in the clutches of the Mercedes powered cars, which we know have good race pace, so we can see a hard fought race first to sixth.

    The battle between Button and Hamilton is excellent. Happy for Button becuase he has already put away the concerns of people like me that beating Schumacher’s Footstool in the dominant car did not make him a truly quick driver. But here Button seems to have benefitted from a strange drop-off with Hamilton—e was several tenths off him earlier in the day. Hamilton said he was bottoming at the front which speaks to a lack of temperature. So I expect Hamilton to be faster in the race tomorrow.

  5. I am getting bored of RB and Vettel.

  6. Would love see to rosberg win a race, but i don’t think he will. Hamilton to get on the podium tomorrow !

  7. I keep picking Hamilton for pole and the win with blind fanaticism… it’s starting to hurt me. :(

    Thankfully though, still 15 race weekend to go after China. I’m confident Lewis will get pole, and win, 15 from the remaining 15 grand prix weekends. :)

    1. You’ll never learn :-)

  8. David Johnson
    17th April 2010, 16:11

    Can anyone explain why the Mclaren was bottoming out with no fuel in it ?….have Mclaren figured out what redbull are doing and got it a little wrong ???

    1. That was a telling comment. Hamilton said the “front” was bottoming. And you can imagine that this condition would starve the diffuser. The same thing happened with Virgin, and they lost a front wing as a result. I assume that the cars are low in the front to ensure a good underbody rake angle for downforce, and to allow needed squat and roll at the back when fuel is added. I speculate that, for Hamilton, they made the rake too steep and, as the temperature fall over the course of the qualifying, his pressures were too low to keep the front floor off the ground.

  9. keith..when i try to open the 2nd page in the comments its not opening..this is what i get as error…please check it..
    (Content Encoding Error
    The page you are trying to view cannot be shown because it uses an invalid or unsupported form of compression.
    Please contact the website owners to inform them of this problem.)

  10. sorry keith its working fine now…..sorry… :)

  11. Slightly off topic but how much better was that, with just Jake and DC ? Should leave EJ at home every weekend, and come to think of it, Legard too.

  12. I think the negative comments about the one or the other driver or team should be decreased a bit. We are F1 fanatics, not hooligans. Please respect all teams, drivers and fans alike. Critisism with arguments is OK, but why dislike a team or a driver because they show their happiness and boast, when they have performed well and above their expectations? I think it is a healthy reaction to do that.
    And I would not like to be part of this forum if it escalates to a series of overly negative comments between McLaren and RBR fans. Maybee it annoys me even more because I respect both teams and like to follow their achievements – as well as the other teams/drivers.

  13. Everyone improved them self in Q3 but Sutil didn’t that is a bit strange or did he do a other setup instead? For rain or so?

  14. That was a fun qualifying session, Vettel continues to impress. Loved Horner’s comment regarding ride height control. :)

    Once again impressed by Rosberg, not just compared to his overexposed team mate. I hope he makes it to the podium for Mercedes.

  15. 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.

    1. agreed, I despise public displays of excitement, happiness or pride too. its a good part of the reason I hate all children.

      1. Now was that meant to be sarcastic or you really hate children? :o
        Public display of emotion is no problem as long as its not annoying. Shoving your finger at the camera every 2 seconds is VERY annoying, and it looks stupid..

        1. sarcastic im afraid. look seb can stick his finger in the air saying No1 anytime he gets pole or a race win, who are we to deny him that? he’s just happy, and deserves to enjoy it. if I got an F1 pole I’d probably get my cock out.

          1. Oh well, I never denied him anything, I can’t! I said, its very annoying to me.. and no one can deny me that either!
            HE deserves to be happy and enjoy the moment, true, BUT, there’s a humble way of showing excitement which is more appealing more often than not. Sticking your finger out a million times like a 5 year old is hardly called being mature. That’s the whole point.

            p.s. – As for your way of showing excitement, it’s hardly acceptable in the civilized world… so calm down mate!

  16. I must admit, that i was getting annoyed at Vettel, because of his run of poles, the finger thing and him complaining again about things the others have (F-duct, more horsepower).

    But i think this lap was really champion stuf, pulling it out of nowhere with a fastest time in S1, where he was weak. So good for you Seb, sorry about Horner commenting ride height on the radio.

    I do hope Mark has a serious go for 1st of the line this time, we need some battle there.

    1. Totally agree with the driving part… he’s superb in the car, but annoying out of it, just like Lewis. Why can’t they be as good out of the car as they are in it? Another one of those extremely annoying characters was Kimi… just my opinion.
      I mean, look at Mark, he carries himself so well or even Jense for that matter. At this level of professional racing or sport, you got to be a little mature in your conduct.

      1. Kimi??? He was supposedly the Ice-man!

  17. the Sri Lankan
    18th April 2010, 7:37

    i wouldnt write off alonso and ferrari

  18. Vettel really is quite something…

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