McLaren slash the gap to Red Bull in Sepang

2011 Malaysian GP qualifying analysis

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Sepang, 2011

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Sepang, 2011

Sebastian Vettel may be on pole position again but Red Bull’s advantage over their rivals has been significantly cut.

Vettel’s margin was one tenth of a second – seven-tenths less than it was in Melbourne.

Here’s all the sector times, speed trap figures and more data from qualifying in Malaysia:

Qualifying times in full

  • The top five line up in the same order as they did in Melbourne.
  • Lotus had a much better qualifying session than they did in Melbourne, lapping within a few tenths of the Williamses.
  • All the drivers in Q3 used the soft tyre.
  • Despite missing all of pre-season testing the fastest HRT in the second race was only half a second slower than one of the Virgins.
  • The slowest car beat the 107% time by one second.
Driver Car Q1 Q2 (vs Q1) Q3 (vs Q2)
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1’37.468 1’35.934 (-1.534) 1’34.870 (-1.064)
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1’36.861 1’35.852 (-1.009) 1’34.974 (-0.878)
3 Mark Webber Red Bull 1’37.924 1’36.080 (-1.844) 1’35.179 (-0.901)
4 Jenson Button McLaren 1’37.033 1’35.569 (-1.464) 1’35.200 (-0.369)
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’36.897 1’36.320 (-0.577) 1’35.802 (-0.518)
6 Nick Heidfeld Renault 1’37.224 1’36.811 (-0.413) 1’36.124 (-0.687)
7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’36.744 1’36.557 (-0.187) 1’36.251 (-0.306)
8 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’37.210 1’36.642 (-0.568) 1’36.324 (-0.318)
9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’37.316 1’36.388 (-0.928) 1’36.809 (+0.421)
10 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1’36.994 1’36.691 (-0.303) 1’36.820 (+0.129)
11 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’36.904 1’37.035 (+0.131)
12 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1’37.693 1’37.160 (-0.533)
13 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1’37.677 1’37.347 (-0.330)
14 Paul di Resta Force India 1’38.045 1’37.370 (-0.675)
15 Rubens Barrichello Williams 1’38.163 1’37.496 (-0.667)
16 Sergio Perez Sauber 1’37.759 1’37.528 (-0.231)
17 Adrian Sutil Force India 1’37.693 1’37.593 (-0.100)
18 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1’38.276
19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1’38.645
20 Jarno Trulli Lotus 1’38.791
21 Timo Glock Virgin 1’40.648
22 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin 1’41.001
23 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT 1’41.549
24 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1’42.574

Team mate comparisons

Compare the best times of each team’s drivers in the last part of qualifying in which they both set a time.

  • The biggest gap between team mates was Vitantonio Liuzzi’s one second margin over Narain Karthikeyan.
  • The next largest gaps were found at Sauber (Kamui Kobayashi over Sergio Perez) and Mercedes (Nico Rosberg over Michael Schumacher)
  • The only rookie to out-qualify his team mate in both races so far is Paul di Resta.
Team Driver Lap time Gap Lap time Driver Round
Red Bull Sebastian Vettel 1’34.870 -0.309 1’35.179 Mark Webber Q3
McLaren Lewis Hamilton 1’34.974 -0.226 1’35.200 Jenson Button Q3
Ferrari Fernando Alonso 1’35.802 -0.449 1’36.251 Felipe Massa Q3
Mercedes Michael Schumacher 1’37.035 +0.647 1’36.388 Nico Rosberg Q2
Renault Nick Heidfeld 1’36.124 -0.200 1’36.324 Vitaly Petrov Q3
Williams Rubens Barrichello 1’38.163 -0.113 1’38.276 Pastor Maldonado Q1
Force India Adrian Sutil 1’37.593 +0.223 1’37.370 Paul di Resta Q2
Sauber Kamui Kobayashi 1’36.691 -0.837 1’37.528 Sergio Perez Q2
Toro Rosso Sebastien Buemi 1’37.160 -0.187 1’37.347 Jaime Alguersuari Q2
Lotus Heikki Kovalainen 1’38.645 -0.146 1’38.791 Jarno Trulli Q1
HRT Narain Karthikeyan 1’42.574 +1.025 1’41.549 Vitantonio Liuzzi Q1
Virgin Timo Glock 1’40.648 -0.353 1’41.001 Jerome d’Ambrosio Q1

Ultimate laps

An ultimate lap is a driver’s best time in each of the three sectors that make up a lap combined.

  • Two drivers who were knocked out before Q3 could have made it a stage further if they’d done their fastest sectors in the same lap: Michael Schumacher and Pastor Maldonado. Schumacher had a problem with his adjustable rear wing in the final sector.
  • If Sergio Perez had put all his best sectors together he’d be three places higher on the grid.
Pos # Driver Ultimate lap Gap Deficit to best Actual position
1 1 Sebastian Vettel 1’34.870 0.000 1
2 3 Lewis Hamilton 1’34.898 0.028 0.076 2
3 2 Mark Webber 1’35.138 0.268 0.041 3
4 4 Jenson Button 1’35.194 0.324 0.006 4
5 5 Fernando Alonso 1’35.802 0.932 0.000 5
6 9 Nick Heidfeld 1’36.124 1.254 0.000 6
7 6 Felipe Massa 1’36.251 1.381 0.000 7
8 10 Vitaly Petrov 1’36.324 1.454 0.000 8
9 8 Nico Rosberg 1’36.388 1.518 0.421 9
10 16 Kamui Kobayashi 1’36.676 1.806 0.144 10
11 7 Michael Schumacher 1’36.839 1.969 0.196 11
12 18 Sebastien Buemi 1’37.160 2.290 0.000 12
13 17 Sergio Perez 1’37.280 2.410 0.248 16
14 19 Jaime Alguersuari 1’37.347 2.477 0.000 13
15 15 Paul di Resta 1’37.370 2.500 0.000 14
16 11 Rubens Barrichello 1’37.496 2.626 0.000 15
17 14 Adrian Sutil 1’37.502 2.632 0.091 17
18 12 Pastor Maldonado 1’38.201 3.331 0.075 18
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen 1’38.373 3.503 0.272 19
20 21 Jarno Trulli 1’38.790 3.920 0.001 20
21 24 Timo Glock 1’40.409 5.539 0.239 21
22 25 Jerome d’Ambrosio 1’40.968 6.098 0.033 22
23 23 Vitantonio Liuzzi 1’41.549 6.679 0.000 23
24 22 Narain Karthikeyan 1’42.242 7.372 0.332 24

Sector times

The drivers? best times in each sector.

  • The gap between the two fastest cars and the rest is clear to see in that the top four times in each sector is held by a Red Bull or a McLaren.
  • Lotus are losing their time to the other midfield cars in the middle sector.
Driver Sector 1 Sector 2 Sector 3
Sebastian Vettel 24.665 (1) 31.569 (1) 38.636 (2)
Lewis Hamilton 24.667 (2) 31.614 (2) 38.617 (1)
Mark Webber 24.672 (3) 31.679 (3) 38.787 (4)
Jenson Button 24.680 (4) 31.783 (4) 38.731 (3)
Fernando Alonso 24.845 (7) 32.058 (5) 38.899 (5)
Nick Heidfeld 24.869 (9) 32.218 (6) 39.037 (6)
Felipe Massa 24.863 (8) 32.252 (7) 39.136 (8)
Vitaly Petrov 24.777 (6) 32.424 (9) 39.123 (7)
Nico Rosberg 24.715 (5) 32.474 (11) 39.199 (9)
Kamui Kobayashi 25.034 (14) 32.368 (8) 39.274 (10)
Michael Schumacher 24.877 (10) 32.655 (14) 39.307 (11)
Sebastien Buemi 25.128 (16) 32.478 (12) 39.554 (13)
Jaime Alguersuari 25.017 (12) 32.751 (16) 39.579 (15)
Paul di Resta 24.914 (11) 32.881 (17) 39.575 (14)
Rubens Barrichello 25.110 (15) 32.602 (13) 39.784 (17)
Sergio Perez 25.227 (17) 32.471 (10) 39.582 (16)
Adrian Sutil 25.021 (13) 32.951 (18) 39.530 (12)
Pastor Maldonado 25.280 (20) 32.741 (15) 40.180 (20)
Heikki Kovalainen 25.258 (18) 33.274 (19) 39.841 (18)
Jarno Trulli 25.269 (19) 33.370 (20) 40.151 (19)
Timo Glock 25.537 (21) 33.967 (21) 40.905 (21)
Jerome d’Ambrosio 25.704 (22) 34.221 (22) 41.043 (22)
Vitantonio Liuzzi 25.796 (23) 34.273 (23) 41.480 (23)
Narain Karthikeyan 25.934 (24) 34.646 (24) 41.662 (24)

Straight-line speeds

  • Christian Horner said Red Bull are running KERS. In Melbourne, without KERS, they were only faster than the HRTs, Virgins and Lotuses in a straight line.
  • The top five fastest cars in a straight line all have Mercedes engines.
Pos Driver Car Speed (kph) Gap
1 Adrian Sutil Force India 311.4
2 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 311.0 -0.4
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 310.6 -0.8
4 Paul di Resta Force India 308.8 -2.6
5 Jenson Button McLaren 306.8 -4.6
6 Vitaly Petrov Renault 306.4 -5.0
7 Nick Heidfeld Renault 306.2 -5.2
8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 305.9 -5.5
9 Felipe Massa Ferrari 304.9 -6.5
10 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 304.8 -6.6
11 Pastor Maldonado Williams 304.6 -6.8
12 Mark Webber Red Bull 304.3 -7.1
13 Sergio Perez Sauber 304.0 -7.4
14 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 303.3 -8.1
15 Rubens Barrichello Williams 303.3 -8.1
16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 303.0 -8.4
17 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin 301.7 -9.7
18 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 301.7 -9.7
19 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 301.5 -9.9
20 Timo Glock Virgin 300.9 -10.5
21 Jarno Trulli Lotus 300.9 -10.5
22 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT 299.1 -12.3
23 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 298.9 -12.5
24 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 296.5 -14.9

2011 Malaysian Grand Prix

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97 comments on McLaren slash the gap to Red Bull in Sepang

  1. Calum said on 9th April 2011, 12:30

    ‘A bit more wing’ was all it took, so why did they not sacrafice top speed for ‘wing’ last year when they had f-duct?

  2. Paper Tiger said on 9th April 2011, 12:40

    This is a very interesting situation, especially as the McLaren is a newer car and therefore is likely to have more development potential. Personally, I think it’ll be good to see Vettel taken off pole sometime soon. Nobody doubts his amazing ability to lead from the front, but it would be good for both F1 and Vettel’s racecraft to see him battle up the field.

    • Alex Bkk (@alex-bkk) said on 9th April 2011, 13:11

      I mentioned something similar on another thread.

      I’m sure Vettel is quicker but a better racer, that’s yet to be proven.

      Tomorrow could be our lucky day!

      • dennis said on 9th April 2011, 13:30

        Seeing that both Vettel and Hamilton are running almost identical straight lines speeds it could indeed be very interesting. Let’s hope we get a good first half of the race between the two and then maybe some rain to puzzle things up a bit! =)

      • Solo (@solo) said on 9th April 2011, 13:43

        You are sure Vettel is quicker? Quicker than who? He only proved to be quicker than Webber until now. Winning in qualifying over others when you have the faster car doesn’t mean you are quicker.
        Actually considering last years Red Bull advantage, the fact that Alonso and Hamilton challenged him a few times in qualifying makes it seem that he probably isn’t quicker but slower.
        I don’t think he will be having such an easy time if Hamilton was his teammate.

        • RIISE (@riise) said on 9th April 2011, 14:13

          You can only ever prove your pace against your team-mate. But if you try to look at relatively between car performance you can get an idea of who is quickest.

        • Sushi Meerkat (@sushi-meerkat) said on 9th April 2011, 14:21

          Actually considering last years Red Bull advantage, the fact that Alonso and Hamilton challenged him a few times in qualifying makes it seem that he probably isn’t quicker but slower.

          You forget how many points Vettel lost from his car breaking down, i’m getting a bit tired of seeing those types of comments above, its controversy for its own sake.

          He is blindingly fast when he’s on his own on the track, he’s beating Webber who was renowned as a Quali specialist until Vettel joined the team.

          • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 9th April 2011, 14:40

            His unreliability has nothing to do with the times Alonso and Hamilton chased him in qualifying.

          • patrickl said on 9th April 2011, 20:56

            Besides, the huge advantage was stil there even if the car was a tad unreliable at times.

            It’s better to have a car that can win every race but finishes only 4 out of every 5 races rather than a car that is best for P3 at best. Which (in Hamilton’s case) only finishes 4 out of 5 races as well.

        • pSynrg (@psynrg) said on 9th April 2011, 14:55

          Vettel has raw pace, as do Hamilton & Alonso. I’m sure that is the general consensus. Certainly my own.

          Others that can shout at the top have a different set of skills to use. But these guys are the quickest…

          • I reckon Button is the example of where that car is, he drives it exactly to potential, he’s also sly on the track and a predatory scheemer in his overtaking, when Button is in the zone he acheives the total maximum of what his cars can acheive. Unfortunatley his in a team making cars designed for Lewis Hamilton, who takes his speed by controlling a car gone beyond the limit, so the days of his dominance at Brawn seem to have passed.

            Webber drives the Redbull under potential, I think because it’s designed to suit Vettle but thats just conjecture on my part.

            Vettle does drive his car faster than it should, he has massive confidence and the car is designed to suit his idiosyncrasies, however he drives a car so good it seems like it can be driven to the edge and brought back under control thanks to the masssive downforce and stability contained within it.

          • ROSSI said on 9th April 2011, 16:02

            well put psynrg :)

        • David BR said on 9th April 2011, 15:45

          I agree, Vettel is quick but I very much doubt quicker than Hamilton or Alonso. The Red Bull flatters him and Webber a lot. Certainly he’s not as good as either in fighting on track.

      • MercedesBeanz (@mercedesbeanz) said on 9th April 2011, 15:26

        Clearly Lewis is out-performing his McLaren, Vettel, well; he is who he is ;)

  3. KazeXT (@kazext) said on 9th April 2011, 12:56

    Considering that Sepang puts a higher premium on aerodynamics than Melbourne, closing the gap by that much seems even more impressive.

    • bananarama (@bananarama) said on 9th April 2011, 13:10

      Before bringing their car to the tests, McLaren were considering their car a ‘downforce monster’. Maybe thats what it is now they have a working exhaust system and time to work on setups without the car breaking down all the time.
      I still remember how people were screaming Hamilton shoud get outof McLaren as fast as possibe .. where are they now I wonder?!

      • Alex Bkk (@alex-bkk) said on 9th April 2011, 13:19

        I agree, I was very critical of Macca during the Barcelona testing but I also factored in to the equation… Never underestimate McLaren. Certainly a lot of of people are feeling a bit silly now over the McLaren’s present performance.

        Certainly Alonso wasn’t one of them. He predicted a McLaren to be fighting for the podium in the Aus GP.

      • Sushi Meerkat (@sushi-meerkat) said on 9th April 2011, 14:22

        I still remember how people were screaming Hamilton shoud get outof McLaren as fast as possibe .. where are they now I wonder?!

        They are sitting in their arm chairs still, reading the latest comments from Prisoner Monkeys and BasCD (there’s a lot to go through!).


        • DaveW said on 9th April 2011, 15:27

          Still here. This is not a game of horse shoes. Close is not enough. Evidence remains that if you want to be champ, your best chance is in a Newey car now. Can McLaren get titles this year? Possibly, espeically if Ferrari stay out of the picture. But why do it the hard way? Hamilton is carrying .2-.3s on Button generally, which means that now and last year, he is heaving that car forward on pure talent just to be second/third best. Hamilton did not swear a blood oath to serve Woking. When Webber gets the sack this year, he should go with the fizzy drinks people.

          • SMB said on 9th April 2011, 17:25

            I think I’d wait a few races before comming to a decision. The new McLaren is such a new design that it likely has tonnes of development potential. More than any other competitive team. Couple that with the fact that McLaren seem to be able to develop anything into a winner, I’d say that he’s in pretty good company. Lets not forget McLaren gave him the fastest car on the track for 2 of the 4 seasons that he’s been there and they may well end up doing it again this year. It takes more than Newey to make a good race car.

    • Solo (@solo) said on 9th April 2011, 13:51

      I that you are wrong. Red Bull don’t get their biggest advantage in circuits like Malaysia and Turkey. Mclaren last year was never bad at tracks with big straights and fast corners. Melbourne is actually more fitting to Red Bull.
      Red Bull is best at tracks with small straights and lots of slower corners with a few fast corners. Remember Hungary last year?
      Malaysia doesn’t have much small tight corners.

      • Rich said on 9th April 2011, 14:25

        From what I understood from last year Macca were awesome with the long straights & tight corners because of their great straight line speed and precise nature in the slow corners. Whereas Red Bell were better on the tracks with long fast corners. I thought I remember the drivers saying that they couldn’t believe that the Red Bulls were going flat out through certain corners last year.

        • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 9th April 2011, 14:41

          The impression I got last year was that McLaren were actually rubbish in the slow corners (Monaco? Hungary?) and were good at the fast stuff (Turkey, Spa)

          • I’d agree, the McLaren seems so stiff that the bumpy slow staff throws it way out of wack, although it seemed to pass that somewhat in Singapore, in Hamiltons hands at least.

            It did alright in Aus but that was a barley tested car so what we’re seeing here might be closer to the cars potential on a track that suits it better.

            It remains to be seen how well McLaren can develop what they got now, what lessons they’ve learned from last year, an whether it’ll be a bit like last year an only able to challenge the incredibly versatile Redbull on certain circuits.

            One characteristic I’d still like to see is the differance in race peace the McLaren seemed to have last year, I’d liked to know also whether the Redbulls still suffer from the mild slow down they seem to last year.

        • Ru_BD said on 9th April 2011, 16:14

          anddddd where are Ferrari……… where are they good, any body have any idea?

          • James (@jamesf1) said on 9th April 2011, 16:53

            Last year Ferrari had the best all rounder car, at least in the hands of Alonso. They were not the quickest on the straights (that was Mclaren), nor were they through the corners (that was Red Bull).

            I reckon they’ll be the same this year once they’ve sorted out the gremlins they currently have. Mercedes is clearly the most powerful unit on the grid, so what Ferrari need to do is figure out how to get a bit more downforce to get themselves on to the front rows of the grid.

    • alex said on 9th April 2011, 16:44

      If you consider that Webber is better than Button in quali, you can conclude that Mclarens are even faster this weekend.
      Vettel is definitely making the difference.

      • Solo (@solo) said on 9th April 2011, 17:16

        Your post isn’t exactly at the right place but that’s one big conclusion you pulled there. From when to i have to conclude that Webber is better than Button. For all i know Button could be better.

        • patrickl said on 9th April 2011, 21:00

          Actually I’d say Webber simply performed poorly here.

          Last year Webber was on average only 5 hundreths of a second slower than Vettel in qualifying. In most places there really were only hundreths or at worst a tenth between them.

  4. Todfod (@todfod) said on 9th April 2011, 13:16

    Ferrari are going to have their hands full with Renault tomorrow. I bet they never thought they would be battling for 5th and 6th before the season started.

  5. mcmercslr (@mcmercslr) said on 9th April 2011, 13:17

    with the top 5 cars in the speed trap all mercedes powered, expect some more moaning from christian horner

    • Himmat S. said on 9th April 2011, 13:24

      I don’t think that having a Mercedes engine makes you faster in the straightlines.

      • Pedal to the Vettel (@pedal-to-the-vettel) said on 9th April 2011, 13:44


        I know the Mercedes engine has a “few” more horsepower than the Renault engines, just not sure from the top of my head how much…

        • Pedal to the Vettel (@pedal-to-the-vettel) said on 9th April 2011, 13:52

          @last post

          James Allen says around 18hp which gives just under 3 tenths a lap over the Renault engine, but the Renault is more fuel reliable which evens it out they say.

          • DaveW said on 9th April 2011, 15:32

            Doesn’t Newey quote 30-40? or about 4-5%? As Icthyes suggests, but this why Newey likes them anyway, don’t need all the cooling the Mercedes does. More power equals more heat.

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 9th April 2011, 13:35

      Let them have a Merc too. Newey is all too happy to let them blow up in the name of his designs! :)

  6. bananarama (@bananarama) said on 9th April 2011, 13:18

    I’m almost a littlebit disappointed that HRT didn’t beat one of the Virgins, still it looks like they can live up to the expectations I had after Mebourne. Still I’m a little undecided if thats more positive for HRT or negative for Virgin.
    Overall, the small teams don’t look so bad today :-)

    • Alex Bkk (@alex-bkk) said on 9th April 2011, 13:22

      The real battle at HRT or anyother team is between team mates. Who will be the fastest of the slowest.

      Yarp! They look OK to me.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 9th April 2011, 14:30

        But at this rate of improvement by HRT, the Virgins might come under pressure from Liuzzi at the next race already.

        Not sure about Karthikeyan, it might be a lot to do with getting into it again. And I can understand how rookies have more trouble getting a perfect lap in (Perez, Maldonado), although D’Ambrosio did fine and Di Resta has no trouble.
        Is it possible Di Restas winning not a “hatchling” series but a real adult racing series (DTM) helps him here?

        • bananarama (@bananarama) said on 9th April 2011, 16:05

          Maybe that helped DiResta. The qualifying in DTM has multiple rounds building up to a single lap quali and he did fine there, so he sure knows to handle the pressure. Lets see how that develops.

          I’m looking forward to the improvements by the litte teams, this should get interesting! :-)

  7. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th April 2011, 13:22

    To all the people who believed that we should just crown Sebastian Vettel World Champion after qualifying in Melbourne, I say this: ha!

    • Alex Bkk (@alex-bkk) said on 9th April 2011, 13:23

      I’m listening…

    • Solo (@solo) said on 9th April 2011, 13:57

      Where is that VXR guy who couldn’t stop claiming over and over how Red Bull was gonna smoke with big time difference everyone away in Malaysia? He has gone awfully quiet.

      • iAltair said on 9th April 2011, 14:25

        Big time gaps referring to Raceday, not Qualifying.

      • Nick said on 9th April 2011, 14:25

        Australia always has different lap times. Kimi in 2007 was I think 1 sec ahead in qualifying.

      • VXR said on 9th April 2011, 15:15

        You don’t score points in qualifying. There’s a long way to get yet.

        • Solo (@solo) said on 9th April 2011, 17:18

          Yeah but you where saying they could qualify ahead of everyone easily and without using KERS.
          Not only did they need KERS but even with that on, it still wasn’t easy.

          • VXR said on 9th April 2011, 18:31

            Maybe they’re running more downforce than McLaren? It’s probably going to rain for the race, isn’t it? Maybe they just needed the KERS to make up for what they have lost in straight line speed by putting more wing on?

            If they disappear off into the distance tomorrow on a wet/damp track, we’ll know for sure.

          • BBT (@bbt) said on 9th April 2011, 20:18

            RBR running more DF of course there are they have it in buckets full.
            Interestingly it seems Hamilton has wound on a lot more down-force than Button.

  8. Cluffy_Wedge said on 9th April 2011, 13:58

    Anyone noticed how Schumacher seemed to yank the wheel momentarily and then straighten out too early in basically every corner? Maybe he can’t handle the G forces anymore ;)

    • Damon said on 9th April 2011, 14:04

      Or maybe he just isn’t good enough

      • RIISE (@riise) said on 9th April 2011, 14:09

        I think he is well past his best. HE shows glimpses of his old self but it;s just not there anymore.

        It’s a shame he didn’t carry on after 2006 really.

        • nickthegeek said on 9th April 2011, 14:19

          he needs to get out. If he wasnt who he was he wouldnt be sitting in that car now I can tell you that.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 9th April 2011, 14:32

          Not arguing about Schu being a bit off the boil, but his malfunctioning DRS would not have helped as well.

      • Cluffy_Wedge said on 9th April 2011, 14:32

        I think the fact that he completely dominated F1 with 5 back to back WDCs at Ferrari and made Senna wonder how on earth Schumacher could breeze past him so easily shows that he was once good enough. But again, Formula 1 is supposed to be the most physically straining sport in the world, if footballers can’t handle it past 40 (remember david Seaman in the world cup? Oh no my back’s gone!) what chance does he stand?

        • Solo (@solo) said on 9th April 2011, 17:21

          What parallel universe are you coming from, where Schumi was breezing with his Ferrari past Senna?

          • Cluffy_Wedge said on 9th April 2011, 19:21

            it was when he was at benneton. Duh?

          • The-Masked-Racer said on 9th April 2011, 19:43

            I guess, he’s referring to GreatBritan-1993

          • BBT (@bbt) said on 9th April 2011, 20:22

            He is referring to when ~Sennas tyres were shot

          • Kev said on 10th April 2011, 6:48

            Senna shot his tires by lap7? I have not had the privilege to watch the race, but read reports about it. He was passed by Prost in lap7 and a few laps later was done in by Schumacher.

            Please do share if you have any info if his tires were shot. I would love to read about the great man I have known very less about. (certainly not sarcastic).
            Link to report:

          • Kev said on 10th April 2011, 6:58

            Why isn’t the link appearing on my original post?:-(

  9. Damon said on 9th April 2011, 14:24

    It’s sad because people will always question his greatness now. Was he really that good? Would he have ever had coped with the likes of alonso, Hamilton etc. Personally I think they would have quite easily beat him with equal equipment. This comeback was in my eyes the biggest mistake of his life

    • Pedal to the Vettel (@pedal-to-the-vettel) said on 9th April 2011, 14:47

      Agreed Damon, it’s sad but maybe he deserves this medicine, maybe it was the whole reason why he came back, to see if he really was the “GOAT” and it’s showing with a dark horse like Nico beating him at everything.

      After this year he might just drop it and admit he was the best in his era with reasons, but not this one.

    • VXR said on 9th April 2011, 21:00

      Was he really that good? Would he have ever had coped with the likes of alonso, Hamilton etc.

      Just how long have you been watching F1?

      It’s quite clear that the Mercedes is currently no match for the front running cars, and it’s also quite clear that he shows glimpses of speed when the car does what it’s told.

    • Don Mateo said on 9th April 2011, 21:32

      I think that he’ll call it a day if this season proves to be like the last – i.e. no wins, no podiums, struggling to get into Q3 and being thrashed by his teammate. The car might be off the pace but I think Rosberg is showing where it’s actually at, and Schumacher is underperforming.

      I don’t think he made such a huge mistake by coming back, I think it’ll end up being more of a mediocre footnote to a glittering career than completely destroying his reputation.

      • Kev said on 10th April 2011, 6:53

        Let me see, Schumi is a 7-time world champion. Proved his stuff at two different teams. Alonso won at Renault and Hamilton at McLaren. Let Alonso do it atleast thrice more at Ferrari and let Hamilton atleast win another title with McLaren and then we will see about putting their names in the same line as Schumi.

        Even they would laugh if they have been told they are better than Schumi. His dedication, commitment, desire to win and the knowledge to help the team in unrivaled.

        Him and Senna are a different breed and I think we should be happy that we get to watch them race in the same generation albeit with a few years difference.

  10. TheNikii (@thenikii) said on 9th April 2011, 14:55

    How Lewis managed fastest S3 time with only 14th top speed? Something doesn’t add up here.

    • ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 9th April 2011, 15:37

      Sector 3 starts just after the infield hairpin, so it’s not just the long straights.

    • VXR said on 9th April 2011, 15:40

      You run more downforce to help get around the bendy bits faster, but this has the side effect of lowering your top speed. It’s a fine balance.

      • More downforce also does your tires a world of good as it balances the car better.

        However the amount of wing Lewis is carrying means he’ll be very reliant on the tow and DRS to overtake Vettel if it comes to it.

        That might have been McLarens thought process, might also be a problem to the first corner. On the other hand it may well help the car grip better of the mark.

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 9th April 2011, 16:06

      you win most time in slower and medium speed corners if you take them well, and by getting earlier on the throttle coming onto a straight.

      • VXR said on 9th April 2011, 16:50


        No. Probably not in the rain, but it won’t rain all of the time. And the Pirelli wet tyres are going to be a bit weird for all of the drivers.

  11. ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 9th April 2011, 15:39

    It’s frustrating that Massa matched Alonso all through qualifying until the final runs.

    Apart from Bahrain 2010, he still hasn’t got back the knack of producing barnstorming Q3 runs, which he used to do with ease.

  12. Hatebreeder (@hatebreeder) said on 9th April 2011, 15:51

    maybe lewis hamilton drank a lot of red bull.

    On a serious note, I think if mclaren figures out the flexing front wing technology, they’ll probably rule the track.

    • Himmat S. said on 9th April 2011, 16:13

      Yea, definitely. Considering how some say that’s worth well over a second.

    • d1sciple said on 9th April 2011, 17:48

      I actually think that the octopus exhaust could make the difference, if they make it work later in the year. It was a fascinating concept but really technically difficult.

  13. UKfanatic (@) said on 9th April 2011, 16:05

    Like I´ve said in the aftermatch of melbourne mclaren are as fast as the reds, they discovered black powder with that new copycat titanium diffuser (they didnt had time to make it on carbon fiber or does titanium has special heat isolation properties). Ferrari remain as bad as they were in testing, not a very stable car when you see that you know that they arent going to be fastest, finnaly what a surprise vettel again very smooth driver very smoth drive. have you seen his front wheel camber and toe setting? just check the pictures really extreme.

    • VXR said on 9th April 2011, 16:15

      Rumour has it that Red Bull have used a set up that takes into account that it will definitely rain tomorrow. 90% chance of rain is forecast.

      • Adam said on 9th April 2011, 16:38

        How come everytime I read a thread it involves you with a rumour that always seems to put the best possible spin on the actual known facts for Red Bull.

        I don’t mind Vettel, but reading your posts is going a long way to making me cheer against him.

        • Solo (@solo) said on 9th April 2011, 17:24

          Obviously he drinks too much Red Bull. Lol! Seriously dude. Link to where you have read that or stop talking about supposed rumors you create yourself.

  14. damon said on 9th April 2011, 16:27

    i like your rumours lol why would they run a lower downforce setup for the chance of rain??

    • VXR said on 9th April 2011, 16:48

      Who says Red Bull are running a ‘lower’ downforce setup? It’s Button that has gone for less downforce than either of the Red Bull’s or his team mate.

      Oh, and I’m neither a Vettel nor a RedBull fanboy. I just have a bit more insider info than most. :)

      • damon said on 9th April 2011, 17:15

        you stated that the redbulls have gone for a setup that takes into account the chance of rain. the best setup for that would be a higher downforce setup. mclaren have matched them in every sector

        • VXR said on 9th April 2011, 21:30

          Indeed they have, but just how much of that is down to Red Bull using KERS to negate the extra downforce?

  15. damon said on 9th April 2011, 17:09

    so you are admitting that the mclaren is on par on the downforce stakes seeing as though hamilton was slower on the straights than both redbulls

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 9th April 2011, 17:12

      But Button was faster so I think the picture is more complicated than that.

      • damon said on 9th April 2011, 17:23

        i was talikng about hamilton in particular. what we do know is it is very close between the two teams. lets up they are similar on race pace and tyre preservation then we will be in for a thriller

        • VXR said on 9th April 2011, 17:36

          It will be interesting to see who pits first. Red Bull may just be using it’s KERS to make up for the larger amount of downforce it’s using. I wouldn’t be too surprised to see both Red Bull’s disappear into the distance if it rains. Maybe at races where the threat of rain is less likely, they will run less downforce and the gap will go back up again.

          Pole slot has also been moved to right hand side.

      • VXR said on 9th April 2011, 17:27

        Indeed it is. :)

        No one is expecting it to rain all of the time during the race.

        Some drivers are thinking further ahead than qualifying.

  16. matt88 said on 9th April 2011, 18:05

    go Tonio, 1 sec faster than his teammate, the guy isn’t so bad indeed…

  17. Oliver said on 9th April 2011, 19:25

    But his team mate had already qualified long before him so there was no need t keep pushing when reliability can be an issue for the race. So why not just save your engines. But beating someone who hasn”t raced in 5yrs can’t be considered a great feat.

  18. Seyr said on 10th April 2011, 1:56

    Feels to me like Red Bull lost relative performance after fitting KERS.

  19. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 10th April 2011, 2:58

    So far it looks like Mclaren are the only one who can spoil the Red Bull party

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