Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Istanbul, 2011

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”

    1. I could see Vettel getting away with it, but thought that Webber’s time was a little too close to the rest for comfort.

      Nonetheless, extreme confidence for the RBR gang there!

          1. What he meant to say was, that RB might have hoped webber would be pipped for second by Lewis, meaning Lewis starts on the dirty side in 2nd and Webber starts on the clean side in 3rd.

      1. Guess Fernando likes being 5th. This is his consecutive 5th place on the grid this season.
        Last season he was mostly 3rd ahead of the Mclarens. This year he is either behind 2 Mclarens or 1 Merc/Mclaren.

        1. Fernando did well to get ahead of the much quicker McLaren. Damage limitation at its best.

          Lets keep a keen eye on Massa. If Webber could get to 3rd from 18th, Massa might be able to get to about 3rd from 10th :P

    1. 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).

      1. 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.

  1. 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.

    1. Probably Yes. And would switch to softs just before other guys go into pit
      (If Ferrai can anticipate through Radio Transmissioin about others)

    2. I think he should be proud of himself… at least he made it to Q3 this time. Expeting him to match the likes of Rosberg, Hamilton and Alonso is asking for a little too much

    1. everyone?…. Red Bull was the only ones doing one runs in Q3, as far as i noticed. Both the Ferrari’s, Merc’s, McLaren’s made two runs in Q3.

  2. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

          2. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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’

        1. 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!

          1. 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’.

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

  4. 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?

    1. 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.

    2. 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?

      1. 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.

  5. guys, massa may well get a podium place tomorrow …. that’s what webber did in china, started on the hard tyre only to use softs for the rest of the race ….. so massa is doing the same and we should see some interesting moves

    1. Webber had all set of soft tyres unused. He was 17th. Massa is 10th. He used 1 set in Q1 and other in Q2. So tyre wise, he is not in a very good condition.

        1. Drivers usually don’t have used set available at the beginning of qualifying. He used a new set of options at the end of Q1, reused the same at the beginning of Q2, and another new set at the end of Q2.

        2. From the beginning of qualifying (Q1) you have three sets of new hard tyres and three sets of new soft tyres. It’s the same for everyone. Use them wisely.

    2. Further to what Gill said, Massa and Ferrari don’t have the low fuel pace to charge through the field in the final stint.

      He should be able to make progress in the race with the right strategy, but chances are Ferrari will make some more strategy errors.

  6. with this level of dominance vettel is the sure world champion. In another era, the error he made in p1, could have sidelined him for a few races, and open up the fight, but with this level of safety, the title is his.
    Let’s not forget that for a similar accident lauda in 1976 was fighting for his life.
    I imagine it is a good thing, but the challenge is much less than before, “that’s for sure”.

    1. Vettel is champion for Red Bull’s performance but for at least 50% for his talent. On equal cars he’d still be on pole but fight equally with Alonso and Hamilton. Like Schumacher in 2002 & 2004 his only rival is his team mate but like in those two years driver number 2 isn’t good enough.

  7. Vettel’s utter dominance of Webber is embarrassing. How can he be so far ahead?? Whatever driver was against him would have a hard time beating him for pole, I imagine, but the gap is now there at every circuit with no sign of a response from Webber. Come on Mark!

  8. I can’t help but feel that Webber has hung up his title hopes now. He’s considering retirement, which alone is enough to suggest an uncertain racer. And with his title hopes dashed last year I feel he’s ‘doing a massa’ (after 2008)and conceeding the fact that he won’t be champion.

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