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. steph said on 17th April 2010, 11:57

    Reading through the comments-is there a new Mclaren vs RBR team/fan rivalry? :P

    As everyone seems to be talking about Robert I’ll just make a quick comment (feel free to ignore it). Massa made a mistake on the last corner. He should have done better but his times were still close to Alonso. I don’t know if Kubica would do a better job; he’s pretty fussy and while the Renault has good balance and a tidy package to showcase his talent Felipe’s Ferrari was sliding about so I don’t know how well he would deal with that. All three have similar ish driving styles although Alonso is more aggressive and Felipe more accurate but Alonso (in my opinion) is better than both. Kubica’s doing well but he only has Petrov in the garage next door, Massa could do with cutting out the mistakes if he wants to keep up with Alonso.

    Compared to last year quali is dire now. Last year it was manic at times and excluding Malaysia, this has been very predictable.

    I’m not expecting rain. I don’t care what the reports say, I refuse to get my hopes up for it not to deliver…again.

    • It was a bit predictable today. Hopefully everyone’s big steps forward in Barcelona (some bigger than others) will shake things up a bit. Otherwise, maybe they should eliminate 10 cars after Q1…

      It’ll be good to see what Alonso can do tomorrow racing in front of Massa, and not held back by any team orders or unwritten rules at Ferrari.

    • A.K. said on 17th April 2010, 12:30

      Steph I like Red Bull to win the championship because I like new winners rather than the same old team who think its their divine right to be champions.

  2. steph said on 17th April 2010, 11:58

    oh sorry for double post but forgot one last thing. Vettel did well but the 3 who really impressed me today were Alo, Ros and JB. 3-1 to JB and 4-0 to Ros, very few expected that.

    • Patrickl said on 17th April 2010, 13:42

      Button actually had a poor qualifying. Just slightly less worse than Hamilton.

      • steph said on 17th April 2010, 14:27

        I know but what impressed me was that he seems to like perfection but got ahead of Hamilton and got a fairly decent lap in (they were all pretty close)

  3. F1 Novice said on 17th April 2010, 12:01

    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) :)

    • Ben Curly said on 17th April 2010, 13:43

      Statistics often don’t reflect what’s happening on the track. I think that so far Lewis showed some pretty amazing driving skills, even though he didn’t deliver results. Watch the races, don’t just look at the numbers!

      And I’m not a McLaren’s or Hamilton’s fan. I just don’t understand why so many people have such antipathy to him.

  4. Maksutov said on 17th April 2010, 12:01

    Well, I don’t understand Schumachers pace. Sure his comments about rear wing – That seems BS. Why would he opt to stay with a wing that makes his car slower? Ok so even if he did, clearly he is getting outpaced by Rosberg consistently. Why!? How!? 0.7 secs slower than Rosberg, surely that is an embarrassment. Schumacher haters will say he was never fast, but statistics say otherwise. So, being 3 years out of F1 that can no longer be an excuse. It doesn’t take that long to get back up to speed. So *** is going on? I would expect him to be within 10th of sec behind or in front of Rosberg , not 0.7 behind.

    I don’t wanna jump the gun but I am somewhat disseminated with what im seeing.

    • Maksutov said on 17th April 2010, 12:03

      my comment is awaiting moderation …

      • Yours too?

        I sincerely hope that JB is perceived to be crap for the rest of the season. Nothing annoys people more than a perceived to be crap driver sticking it to his perceived to be more illustrious team mate. LOL

  5. Robbie said on 17th April 2010, 12:47

    Very bored with Red Bull right now. If this is a reflection of the whole season I’m switching off.

  6. Alexi said on 17th April 2010, 12:56

    Poor Schumacher. At least we could see some overtaking from him. And Button ahead of Hamilton again, wow.

  7. BlueNochi said on 17th April 2010, 13:10

    Lewis should win this Chinese grand Prix, he deserve more than anyone for the excitement he brought to us in Malaysia and Australia race.. Go all the way Lewis!!

  8. Rosberg beats Schumacher and Hamilton in qualifying yet again. But people still doubt him and his obvious ability to give the top drivers a run for their money.

    This is why you should never get hyped up with anybody getting top times in practice runs, because vettel beat Lewis by over half a second in the real thing.

    I can see the Red Bulls flying off again and a really decent fight with Button, Rosberg, Alonso, Kubica, Hamilton and Massa.

  9. Lungi said on 17th April 2010, 13:19

    Lewis can win the race tomorrow even when starting from 5th (i know Jenson is 5th, but won’t be when the lights go green)

  10. Yaaaa said on 17th April 2010, 13:45

    Just remember, there are three other team ahead of you tomorrow,, I don’t think that Jenson Lucky Button will be able to do anything. Lewis MIGHT do somethin but remember there are chances of rain tomorrow.

  11. Sandman said on 17th April 2010, 13:45

    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!

  12. DanThorn said on 17th April 2010, 13:46

    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.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th April 2010, 15:46

      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.

  13. Weroskv said on 17th April 2010, 14:31

    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?

    • Patrickl said on 17th April 2010, 18:05

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

    • Wateva said on 17th April 2010, 23:22

      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.

  14. DaveW said on 17th April 2010, 14:34

    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.

  15. haha said on 17th April 2010, 14:36

    I am getting bored of RB and Vettel.

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