Vettel on pole again but Webber slumps to 18th

2011 Chinese GP qualifying

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.

Q1

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

Q2

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

Q3

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

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214 comments on Vettel on pole again but Webber slumps to 18th

  1. Pedal to the Vettel (@pedal-to-the-vettel) said on 16th April 2011, 12:24

    Great stuff by Nico to get 4th, not bad for having the 5th best car on the grid.

  2. Younger Hamii(Formerly Younger Hamilton) said on 16th April 2011, 12:35

    Notice nobody has Quoted on Webber yet about his shocking Exit in Q1.LOL

  3. BROOKSY007 (@brooksy007) said on 16th April 2011, 13:12

    Its not about getting rid of webber, I think it is clear to all that it is about giving vettel a clear no 1 status in the title hunt, so they don’t trip on their lies of last year again by saying we have no favouratism at red bull! Eg- take webbers front wing coz we want you to win!
    How can you not have fixed kers on his car?? There is more wrong with that car than kers!! And don’t tell us crap that its about tyre wear coz who cares about that during qualifying!

  4. carlos said on 16th April 2011, 14:06

    Massa, why could you not find the .03 seconds somewhere and do Alonso…skip a curb,remove that one thin film from visor, something. Thats all I wanted.

    1’35.119
    1’35.145

  5. Daniel said on 16th April 2011, 14:10

    Good point Eggry. Vettel might be talented – I think he is; however he always had a good car. When comparing Schummacher’s domination at Ferrari with Vettel’s domination at RedBull, there’s one aspect: when Schummi came to Ferrari, the car wasn’t that good; he worked and made it competitive in 3 years.
    Anyway, Schummi should have chosen to stay away of F1. Nico is better than Schummi. Mercedes needs another young driver and not a 42 years old guy. A 42 years old driver obviously cannot have a future in F1.

  6. Lucas "Mr. Veloce" said on 16th April 2011, 15:01

    Di Resta is an immense driver compared to Sutil, I mean Adrian is experienced and highly rated after being in F1 since 2007 and the last time Di Resta drove a single-seater in a race was 2006 in Euro F3. Up your game Adrian or Vijay will get the Hulk to replace you in Germany.

  7. ;379 said on 16th April 2011, 15:17

    lovin the red macca overalls, the white one’s always look so drab. Hope they make the change permanent!

    • andrewf1 said on 16th April 2011, 15:47

      imagine a “mclaren and ferrari drivers only” podium, Montezemolo would have a glimpse of his 3-car fantasy!

  8. Oliver said on 16th April 2011, 15:24

    Keith I’ll almost not agree with you there. Fact is there still is much racing and overtaking. But the general consensus is a driver cannot afford to defend aggressively because he risks destroying his tyres and by extension whatever strategy he is on. Case in point, Kobayashi didn’t attempt to defend his position from cars that were significantly faster than his, he only defended and re attacked those cars that had the potential to mess with his race pace. Which is a lot different from his attitude last year. So we can say the tyres are affecting the quality of the racing.

    • Cacarella said on 16th April 2011, 16:02

      You’ve taken an extreme example as the Saubers seem to be the only team making that sacrifice.

      • Oliver said on 16th April 2011, 17:04

        That is why I said almost not agree. Because in general it’s not so clear cut who is right you will have to agree that Button and Massa battling it out wrecked both their tyres. Button could perhaps have gone a few laps longer.

  9. sozavele (@formula-1) said on 16th April 2011, 15:27

    Whats up with the red McLaren ovaralas. Red is Ferraris color

    • sunnyside said on 17th April 2011, 0:49

      Yeah but it’s also the colour of their primary sponsor – the legendary tax-dodgers Vodafone.

  10. Interesting qualifying, with quite a few surprises, as far as I’m concerned. Hopefully, we’ll get another interesting race tomorrow.

  11. driftin said on 16th April 2011, 15:57

    If Petrov’s car had been okay I reckon he would’ve been 4th easily.

  12. Gaston said on 16th April 2011, 20:54

    Is this the first time both Toro Rossos have made it to Q1? And is that Alguersuari’s best qualifying performance?

    • wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 17th April 2011, 2:53

      I wonder how they did it, yeah that red flag in Q2 may have helped them but boy they were quick. In pre season testing some drivers were telling that Torro Rosso have some good speed.

  13. BROOKSY007 (@brooksy007) said on 17th April 2011, 1:03

    Love the new commentary team, the way coultard was explaining petrovs problems was detailed and interesting – see on his wheel, clutch. Still has hydrolics etc. A detailed runthrough! Great stuff!!

  14. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 17th April 2011, 2:48

    Schumacher really need to work on qualifying, not sure why he is failing this year so far where his team-mate is doing a good job.Another good session from Vettel, Webber’s crew was overconfident, he should have had gone with the soft tyre.The last two minutes of Q2 was epic.

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