Vettel takes pole in the pits in Istanbul

2011 Turkish GP qualifying report

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Istanbul, 2011

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Istanbul, 2011

Sebastian Vettel extended his domination of qualifying in 2011 in Istanbul.

He headed a Red Bull one-two in qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix.

Nico Rosberg was best of the rest, sharing the second row of the grid with Lewis Hamilton.


Kamui Kobayashi’s qualifying session ended early as he stopped with a fuel pump problem before he could set a time.

The usual suspects filled the remaining six places in the ‘drop zone’ headed, as we have come to expect, by Heikki Kovalainen’s Lotus.

Vitantonio Liuzzi put his HRT in front of Timo Glock’s Virgin and will start ahead of Jerome D’Ambrosio who has a grid penalty.

Both Ferrari drivers felt the need to do an extra lap even though their risk of elimination was slight. Felipe Massa used a set of soft tyres to set the fastest time of the session, 1’27.013.

The only other noteworthy event in the first part of qualifying was Lewis Hamilton being briefly held up by Michael Schumacher, though both made it into Q2.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

18 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1’28.780
19 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1’29.673
20 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1’30.445
21 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1’30.692
22 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’30.813
23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’31.564
24 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari No time


Mercedes and Vitaly Petrov stoof apart from their rivals by starting the session using hard tyres.

Vettel headed the times to begin with, setting a 1’25.610 on soft tyres, putting him four tenths ahead of Hamilton and Webber.

Schumacher put himself safely in the top ten and during his run a radio message telling him “magic paddle latched” was heard. Team mate Nico Rosberg went even quicker, taking second behind Vettel.

Both Renaults also made it in, a late improvement from Nick Heidfeld relegating Rubens Barrichello.

Paul di Resta limitedhimself to one run and qualified 13th behind his team mate.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’26.764
12 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’27.027
13 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’27.124
14 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1’27.236
15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’27.244
16 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’27.255
17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’27.572


Six cars went out at the start of the session, led by Vettel. He beat Webber to the fastest time with a 1’25.049, four-tenths of a second faster than his team mate could manage.

Fernando Alonso split the McLarens to set fifth-fastest time, behind Hamilton and in front of Button.

The Red Bull drivers stayed in the pits while their rivals tried – and failed – to beat them.

Although Hamilton bettered his time, he couldn’t prevent Rosberg taking third place off him. But Schumacher in the other Mercedes could only manage eighth.

Both Ferrari drivers abandoned their final laps, including Felipe Massa, despite not having done a lap earlier in Q3, leaving him tenth.

Top ten in Q3

1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’25.049
2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’25.454
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’25.574
4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’25.595
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’25.851
6 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’25.982
7 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’26.296
8 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’26.646
9 Nick Heidfeld Renault 1’26.659
10 Felipe Massa Ferrari No time

2011 Turkish Grand Prix

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152 comments on Vettel takes pole in the pits in Istanbul

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  1. butterdori (@butterdori) said on 7th May 2011, 13:15

    When he got out of his car during Q3… that was just it. Class. Supreme confidence..

  2. Gill said on 7th May 2011, 13:15

    Ferrari improves but Mercedes improves further….

  3. olliekart (@) said on 7th May 2011, 13:16

    not surprised………… heck at least my prediction for time and driver was right

  4. TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 7th May 2011, 13:16

    Great job from Nico, hope he has a great race tomorrow. Would love for him to win.

    Vettel’s pole laps are just insane.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th May 2011, 13:22

      Would be wonderfull if he is going to put pressure on the Bulls. It might just happen if Seb and Mark get tangled again.

      • Icthyes said on 7th May 2011, 13:32

        He’s got a good starting position, so if Vettel gets bogged down again, it could become very interesting.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th May 2011, 16:33

          I just hope Mercedes got the fuel calculation right this time round. Would be lovely if Rosberg could have a fighting chance of winning it tomorrow.

    • frood said on 7th May 2011, 14:46

      vettel has destroyed webber this year in quali. i don’t fully understand why because last year they were the most closely matched teammates in qualifying (0.05 seconds average gap for the season in 2010).

      • TommyC said on 8th May 2011, 0:48

        Yeh, it’s surprising that the gap has been so big between them in qualy this year. Perhaps kers packaging with webber being taller and heavier disrupts the balance? But that doesn’t account for the races when kers wasn’t on the car.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 7th May 2011, 16:41

      Vettel’s pole laps are just insane.

  5. Ryne (@ryne) said on 7th May 2011, 13:16

    With the introduction of these Pirellis do we still need to have the top 10 drivers run with the tyres they qualified in? Just asking.

  6. Valentino said on 7th May 2011, 13:18

    Where can we see who was the closest when it comes to predicting the qualifying times?
    Thank You,..

  7. driftin said on 7th May 2011, 13:18

    Go Nico! That being said I think Vettel will win easily although I do hope the McLarens, Ferraris and Mercs will have some good battles.

  8. Icthyes said on 7th May 2011, 13:19

    The guy who holds the record for most poles is having shocking qualifying this season.

    Will Massa start on the Hards tomorrow?

  9. jps said on 7th May 2011, 13:20

    With these tyre strategies it makes qualifying so much more boring now… everyone doing one runs… yawn.

  10. BS (@bs) said on 7th May 2011, 13:21

    Anybody else felt like it was going to be a mistake for Lewis to waste a set of tyres as soon as he got out?

    Vettel is just too quick a qualifier, truly epic run. For as far as footage of it was shown it appears to be his most agressive so far.

    • Icthyes said on 7th May 2011, 13:26

      Look at his gap to Rosberg. You don’t want to start on the dirty side.

      • BS (@bs) said on 7th May 2011, 13:38

        I know the difference is marginal and there was always a chance he’d drop back a place, but now all of those in front have a set of fresh options available.

        Lewis tends to shine in the race. Considering China, I was a bit surprised they didn’t opt to save a set.

        • TomD11 (@tomd11) said on 7th May 2011, 13:46

          Well when the BBC interviewed him after quali, he said that there wasn’t that much advantage to be gained from saving a set. It seems that unless you flat-spot them, you’re not affected that much.

          • BS (@bs) said on 7th May 2011, 14:09

            I just read that as well. He dd indeed do his overtakes on the used set of softs and the hards.

            We’ll see how it all pans out tomorrow. Can;t wait how all these improved cars perform in race conditions.

          • Fixy (@fixy) said on 7th May 2011, 20:13

            After all it’s just one lap.

    • F1Lover said on 7th May 2011, 15:09

      I did…was disappointed to see Hamilton go out for a second run. I knew He was just gonna waste the tyres.

  11. Congrats to Seb who put in an incredible performance after all of his troubles this weekend (same with Alonso to a lesser extent) but his success unfortunately only highlights his team mate’s failure for me. Mark was pretty much handed pole it seemed as Seb sat out practice but once again Vettel just dominated him. I hope Mark can pull something back like Rubens did in 09 but right now it seems like there’s a gargantuan gap between the pair. Mark’s not just being beaten by Seb but he failed to deliver at all in China qualifying and I know he’s had car troubles but he really has to step up.

    Massa saw an open goal and decided to run into the post this weekend. He’s had some good momentum, was close to Alonso in quali last time out and this is a track he knows so well so he had a great chance to put in an impressive performance but for some crazy reason decided to throw away his tyres.

    Congrats to Rosberg too for another great performance.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 7th May 2011, 13:30

      Massa saw an open goal and decided to run into the post this weekend.

      LOL. Gotta agree. Alonso suffered a ridiculous amount a issues this weekend, and for him to get his act together and beat Massa on his favourite track, is commendable.

      Seb, Nico and Fernando were the best performers of the day in my opinion.

      • ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 7th May 2011, 13:37

        Massa’s engine change would have had more impact on the times than any of Alonso’s problems though.

        • Massa’s engine change would have had more impact on the times than any of Alonso’s problems though.

          I’m not so sure look at Bahrain 2010 Ferrari switched engines and then went on to 1-2 that race. Also, we’ll never actually know because Felipe never set a competitive lap time in q3.

          • ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 8th May 2011, 11:40

            Yes, but that was a fresh engine, whereas this one’s done at least 2 races.

            According to the Ferrari website, Massa started a lap, and it was deemed not fast enough. Apparently he made a mistake at Turn 9 based on his comments.

      • David BR said on 7th May 2011, 13:43

        Todfod: two words, ‘start’ and ‘race’! Let’s see if Massa’s soooo bad after those two.

        • Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 7th May 2011, 13:46

          Shout out to Liuzzi as well, he did a great job.

        • Todfod (@todfod) said on 7th May 2011, 15:27

          Not sayin Massa is soooo bad
          You have a good point there. Fernando does have the ability to get stuck behind his slower teammate no matter how many grid positions ahead he is. I hope Alonso doesn’t botch his start again tomorrow.. sooner or later he has to start getting the starts right.

          • Alonso’s good qualifying performances will keep counting for nothing if he doesn’t fix his starts. They’re really the main reason Felipe has had two good showings in comparison although Massa’s pace does seem to have improved from last year.

            @Dan you’re right I forgot! Liuzzi really shined today. Congrats to to Jerome for beating Glock too.

          • Fixy (@fixy) said on 7th May 2011, 20:15

            Alonso lost many places in the last 3 races, to end up at least behind his team mate, who then controlled his advantage.

          • RIISE (@riise) said on 7th May 2011, 20:32

            The advantage Alonso has now is can attack from the outside meaning he will have a faster exit out of Turn 1. I wouldn’t put it past him taking Lewis at the start.

  12. olliekart (@) said on 7th May 2011, 13:24

    agree with you there BS, the only thing he gained was time not position and lost a set of tyres

    • Gill said on 7th May 2011, 13:28

      May be he wanted to be ahead of atleast Rosberg in 3rd position and not 4th .
      Mark Webber’s performance was shocking. I think he is becoming Massa of 2010, just cant compete with team mate.

      • RSWF1 said on 7th May 2011, 13:48

        ffs… Webber has jsut come off what most people on this very website have described as the drive of the season and you’re already laying the boot in… ffs… he was 3 tenths down on one lap, one lap… tommorow he will be 2nd on the grid, but no his performance was ‘shocking’

        • Dave Blanc said on 7th May 2011, 14:35

          Well it was. Webber looks shocking this season. Put a monkey in a racing suit and they could have driven through the field like Webber did in China. Seriously, it’s getting embarrassing for Webber now – his team mate missed the whole of Friday practice for goodness sake!

          • TommyC said on 8th May 2011, 0:56

            i think you’ll find ‘embarrassing’ is Yuji Ide at the start of 2006. Webber just put the car on the front row. I don’t don’t think anyone at RBR would be dissappointed or ‘embarrassed’ by that. Sure, the gap between he and Vettel is probably larger than Webber would like, but far from ‘embarrassing’.

      • Cranio said on 7th May 2011, 16:12

        I think same with Rosberg/Schumacher and Hamilton/Button in this grid.

      • Fixy (@fixy) said on 7th May 2011, 20:16

        It still was his best 2011 performance.

  13. Icthyes said on 7th May 2011, 13:26

    Interesting: Lewis says his extra set in China wasn’t that important.

    • Kodongo said on 7th May 2011, 13:36

      He used up his ‘extra’ set of new tyres behind Massa on the second stint, so I imagine that to be quite true.

    • David BR said on 7th May 2011, 13:38

      Was that a post-qualifying comment? If so, sounds like trying to limit the psychological fall-out of seeing Vettel get out of the car after his first run, job done.

      How many hundreths did McLaren say they were off Red Bull? Lol. Still at least it seems that the Red Bull KERS isn’t fully fixed yet, a little bit of hope for McLaren and Rosberg.

  14. rfs said on 7th May 2011, 13:30

    Have Red Bull fixed their KERS issues? If so I think Seb will win easily tomorrow.

    • JohnTheMan96 said on 7th May 2011, 13:34

      I hope Rosberg eats the RBR’s at the start ;). Webber will have his KERS crap as usual.

    • David BR said on 7th May 2011, 13:40

      Over-heating issues suggest not. I don’t think they’ll ever really fix it, it seems they’re just after a stable compromise.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th May 2011, 16:38

      During FP3 they were still having overheating trouble, so I guess its just about the same as it was in China where they had to shut it down during the part of race.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 7th May 2011, 20:18

      Vettel and Rosberg are on the clean side, Vettel has started well in Australia without KERS and badly in China with it.

  15. carlos said on 7th May 2011, 13:31

    Tires added to the race and took away from qualifying. I am not too familiar with all these new rules about tires, so i do not understand why Massa did not even try for a better position. Is the car itself that bad?

    • Gill said on 7th May 2011, 13:36

      No, car wasnt that bad as Fernando showed. Actually these Pirelli tyres give their best performance on the first run and Massa has used one set of tyre in Q1. He was short of set of soft tyres and wanted to save it for the race. Thats why he did not take part in Q3.

    • David BR said on 7th May 2011, 13:58

      I agree about the tyres and qualifying losing its spark. But maybe FIA could think about changing the rules for qualifying quite radically, it’s fallen into a bit of a predictable pattern anyhow (aside from the scenario of everyone competing for an hour, then Germany wins, I mean!) The lull in Q3 between first and second runs is a bit anti-climatic. Maybe cut the time so the drivers only have time to swap tyres and out again?

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th May 2011, 16:40

        Please no!

        Qualifying has been changed so often already. The current format is just about right.

        The trouble is rather with 1. tyre allocation limiting sets of tyres and 2. the top ten starting on the tyres they qualify with.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 7th May 2011, 20:19

      Massa’s lap would have made him start 10th, which he did but saving those tyres.

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