Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, Shanghai, 2011

Vettel on pole again but Webber slumps to 18th

2011 Chinese GP qualifyingPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, Shanghai, 2011
Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, Shanghai, 2011

Sebastian Vettel set pole position for the fourth race in a row and continued his unbeaten run in 2011.

But team mate Mark Webber will start from the ninth row of the grid after being knocked out in the first part of qualifying.

The McLarens will start second and third, with Jenson Button ahead of Lewis Hamilton.


The first part of qualifying produced a shock – Mark Webber was eliminated at the first stage.

The Red Bull driver was already running without KERS following a problem with the system in practice.

Despite not setting a particularly fast time with his first effort, Webber returned to the track on another set of hard tyres, not wanting to use a set of softs which he would need for the race.

But he could only manage 16th fastest. Improvements from Michael Schumacher and, finally, Pastor Maldonado’s Williams, condemned him to starting the race 18th.

He was joined by the six ‘usual suspects’ – the two Lotuses, HRTs and Virgins.

Driver eliminated in Q1

18 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’36.468
19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1’37.894
20 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1’38.318
21 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1’39.119
22 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’39.708
23 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1’40.212
24 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’40.445


The McLaren duo headed the times at first, with Hamilton two-tenths of a second faster than Button, and Vettel a tenth further behind.

Vitaly Petrov set a time good enough for fourth but his Renault came to a stop shortly afterwards. That brought the red flags out with two minutes left to go.

Among the drivers inconvenienced by that was his team mate, who had just left the pits to do his first and only lap when Petrov stopped.

The session restarted with a string of cars queued up at the exit of the pit lane, led by Sergio Perez. But Felipe Massa made his way past the Sauber driver to make sure he had the advantage of a clear track.

While Massa made it through Perez driver failed to make the cut for the top ten, as team mate Kamui Kobayashi.

Michael Schumacher was also eliminated, as were both Williamses and Adrian Sutil’s Force India.

Heidfeld was also unable to get a clear lap in following the delay, leaving him 16th.

Driver eliminated in Q2

11 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’35.874
12 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’36.053
13 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’36.236
14 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’36.457
15 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’36.465
16 Nick Heidfeld Renault 1’36.611
17 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1’36.956


Button and Vettel were the only drivers to go out at the start of the final ten minutes, the rest not wanting to use up soft tyres, including Hamilton, who hadn’t used any more than his two rivals.

Vettel set a stunning pace with his first lap, a 1’33.706, seven-tenths of a second faster than Button could manage.

It was more than Hamilton could do either, who made just a single run. He was fractionally faster than Button in the last two sectors, but a tenth slower in the first, and took third behind his team mate.

Nico Rosberg beat the Ferraris to fourth place, with Alonso just three-hundredths of a second faster than Massa.

Jaime Alguersuari took seventh ahead of Paul di Resta, followed by Sebastien Buemi, and Vitaly Petrov who was unable to set a time.

Top ten in Q3

1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’33.706
2 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’34.421
3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’34.463
4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’34.670
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’35.119
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’35.145
7 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’36.158
8 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’36.190
9 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’36.203
10 Vitaly Petrov Renault No time

2011 Chinese Grand Prix

Browse all 2011 Chinese Grand Prix articles

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images