Vettel on top in Valencia with fastest-ever lap

2011 European GP third practice

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Valencia, 2011

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Valencia, 2011

Sebastian Vettel set a new fastest ever lap of the Valencia street track to head the times in final practice.

Vettel’s lap of 1’37.258 was three-tenths of a second faster than his pole position time from last year.

The two Ferraris showed good pace in the last practice session ahead of qualifying. Fernando Alonso was second fastest ahead of team mate Felipe Massa and Mark Webber.

It was a quiet session for the McLarens who ended up fifth and seventh. Lewis Hamilton had to back out of one lap when he caught a slow Michael Schumacher.

Schumacher ended the session eighth, two-tenths slower than his team mate, with the two Renaults completing the top ten.

Kamui Kobayashi had a dramatic end to the session as he spun off at the final corner, clipping the barrier and damaging the nose on his Sauber.

Pos. Car Driver Car Best lap Gap
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’37.258 15
2 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’37.678 0.420 16
3 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’37.840 0.582 17
4 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’38.068 0.810 13
5 4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’38.326 1.068 13
6 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’38.580 1.322 15
7 3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’38.741 1.483 13
8 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’38.799 1.541 14
9 10 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’38.822 1.564 17
10 9 Nick Heidfeld Renault 1’39.113 1.855 15
11 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’39.411 2.153 19
12 17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’39.778 2.520 18
13 15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’39.823 2.565 18
14 16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’39.848 2.590 18
15 18 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’39.888 2.630 17
16 11 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’39.987 2.729 18
17 12 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1’40.004 2.746 16
18 19 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’40.239 2.981 20
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1’41.267 4.009 15
20 21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1’41.690 4.432 18
21 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’42.557 5.299 18
22 23 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1’43.243 5.985 17
23 25 Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1’43.309 6.051 18
24 22 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’44.630 7.372 19

Combined practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 FP3 Total laps
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’42.941 1’38.265 1’37.258 67
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’41.239 1’37.968 1’37.678 73
3 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’41.758 1’38.443 1’37.840 72
4 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’40.403 1’38.531 1’38.068 61
5 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’41.510 1’38.195 1’38.741 62
6 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’42.270 1’38.315 1’38.799 70
7 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’41.926 1’38.483 1’38.326 57
8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’42.043 1’38.981 1’38.580 70
9 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’41.227 1’39.586 1’38.822 64
10 Nick Heidfeld Renault 1’41.580 1’39.040 1’39.113 74
11 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’41.955 1’39.626 1’39.411 70
12 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’42.738 1’40.531 1’39.778 75
13 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’40.363 1’39.823 25
14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’43.201 1’42.083 1’39.848 70
15 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’40.454 1’39.888 49
16 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’42.704 1’40.020 1’39.987 75
17 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1’42.841 1’40.301 1’40.004 78
18 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’42.216 1’40.239 49
19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1’44.136 1’42.156 1’41.267 71
20 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1’42.239 1’41.690 43
21 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’45.221 1’42.273 1’42.557 58
22 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’42.412 27
23 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1’45.026 1’42.809 1’43.309 71
24 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1’45.494 1’44.460 1’43.243 70
25 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’43.769 7
26 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’46.926 1’46.906 1’44.630 62
27 Karun Chandhok Lotus-Renault No time 2

2011 European Grand Prix

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50 comments on Vettel on top in Valencia with fastest-ever lap

  1. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th June 2011, 11:12

    Before anyone rushes to edit this lap time into the reelvant Wikipedia pages, remember that lap records can only be set under race conditions.

  2. Huron (@huron) said on 25th June 2011, 11:12

    Hopefully Vettel will get bored with pole position and decide to aim for somewhere between 5th to 10th; just to give himself a bit of a challenge during the race.

    Hey, why not, eh? He has nothing to lose.

  3. Fixy (@fixy) said on 25th June 2011, 11:13

    Vettel is still comfortably ahead, but the other postions are very fought.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 25th June 2011, 12:24

      Yep.. If Seb retains his pole position after the 1st corner of the race, I’m guessing that he is cruising to an easy victory. Fernando, Mark and Lewis should have an interesting fight for the other 2 podium spots though.

  4. Stephen Jones (@aus_steve) said on 25th June 2011, 11:14

    Ferrari and Mclaren should have a bit of a Melee, which should be fun!

  5. VXR said on 25th June 2011, 11:15

    McLaren looked a bit off the pace during that session. Maybe remapping the car for qualifying has hit them the hardest? It’s interesting that according to the BBC coverage, Ferrari were the ones who pushed for the remapping change the most….

  6. Chief Macca Fan said on 25th June 2011, 11:17

    im really prayin that the maccas were sandbaggin and runnin heavy,coz it just doesnt make sense how theyr running more rear wing,are faster in the speedtraps and still considerably slower than the rbs….anyone agree?

    • VXR said on 25th June 2011, 11:23

      Perhaps an indication that most of their downforce comes from their rear wing? Maybe in anticipation of not getting the benefit of a full on blown diffuser in the race? Faster down the straights may be just down to a better DRS.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th June 2011, 11:28

      im really prayin that the maccas were sandbaggin and runnin heavy

      They have no reason to sandbag. It gets in the way of their testing program, and the program for FP3 usually revolves around doing qualifying simulations.

  7. Harvs (@harvs) said on 25th June 2011, 11:17

    so here me thinking that i should stay up for quali… ah not any more

  8. Alex_torquingf1 (@) said on 25th June 2011, 11:17

    a mid 1:36 lap for pole is surely on for Vettel

  9. Himmat Singh said on 25th June 2011, 11:25

    I am thoroughly perplexed by the fact that Lewis Hamilton’s time didn’t improve from yesterday. Vettel, on the other hand, has gone a full second quicker compared to yesterday.

    Could Hamilton be hiding something here? Does McLaren have more in reserve>?

  10. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th June 2011, 11:25

    I’m already hearing conspiracy theories that Red Bull have found a way around the engine map ban by swapping out Vettel’s steering wheel during pit stops. However, since Vettel has a sixty-point lead over Button and wouldn’t need to cheat like that for a few extra points, Red Bull are smart enough not to play chicken with the stewards over it. Especially since such an abuse of the rules would likely result in a disqualification – if not a race ban – and erode Vettel’s points tally, doing it kind of defeats its own purpose.

    • Huron (@huron) said on 25th June 2011, 11:29

      Changing engine mapping during a pitstop would not be against the rules, I think.

      • VXR said on 25th June 2011, 11:31

        No it isn’t. Takes about 2 minutes to do though.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th June 2011, 11:33

        The ban starts when the circuit opens in Q1 and lasts until the first pit stop of the race. While changing a steering wheel would take too long under normal conditions, the conspiracy theorists claim that they could do it between qualifying periods, when they have much longer to prepare the car for the next session.

    • VXR said on 25th June 2011, 11:30

      Swapping a steering wheel over would take too long anyway. Nothing illegal about swapping steering wheels during a race though.

      I read an article (not the free ones) on Autosport yesterday that suggested Red Bull would benefit most from the changes here at Valencia and Silverstone. I don’t think that they need to swap anything!

    • Burnout (@burnout) said on 25th June 2011, 11:32

      Swap out the steering wheel? I’m curious, are the engine maps stored in the steering wheel or something? Or do you mean each steering wheel has a different pre-set map because the new regs won’t let drivers switch settings on the move?

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 25th June 2011, 11:37

        The controls for the engine settings are on the steering wheel. I imagine that they would be pre-programmed within a set range.

        However, you have to understand that I’m only repeating what the conspiracy theorists are saying. I don’t believe any of this for a moment.

        • Quin10-10 said on 25th June 2011, 11:55

          Didn’t someone swap out a steering wheel at Montreal during the length of a regular stop?

        • Kremer (@kremer) said on 25th June 2011, 12:03

          The steering wheel engine/diff controls are data treaks to the main control program in the ECU. They’re like the wheel on a synthesizer that alters the pitch up or down by certain percentage.

          Think of the engine control program in the ECU as the BIOS program in your home computer. The BIOS itself (once it’s loaded) is otherwise locked from being altered. All you as a user can do is alter some of the data parameters it uses within limited percentages.

          (And the FIA is mainly concerned with what in PC-tech would be the CPU speeds – bus speed or multiplier. Those data alterations are off-limits.)

    • Rob said on 25th June 2011, 11:46

      If refined, changing the steering wheel could be done quicker, or as quick as changing the wheels.

      Eject, swap, slide in.

      • Rob said on 25th June 2011, 11:47

        The problem is that they would be running in qualifying mode until the first pitstop. And I’m guessing that would damage the engine and use a lot more fuel. On top of that, the map is not tuned for high loads of fuel.

      • VXR said on 25th June 2011, 11:54

        They’d better get on with it then, because at the next race in Silverstone it will be a completely different thing altogether. I’m also thinking that the FIA may be thinking that the map you start the race with should also be the map you finish the race with. Too many steering wheels!

      • Kremer (@kremer) said on 25th June 2011, 12:07

        The steering wheel is nothing more than a race car equivalent of an X-Box controller – it is only for altering data parameters to the ECU. It doesn’t contain any ECU mapping programs whatsoever.

    • joko said on 25th June 2011, 12:07

      They are still allowed to make changes to the engine mapping on the steering wheel: They are just not allowed to plug in a laptop. perhaps they could upload 2 engine settings and have a selector switch on the steering wheel.

      • Kremer (@kremer) said on 25th June 2011, 12:11

        It says nothing of the sort!!!

        It’s only saying the drivers can still tweak the loaded engine mapping program through the steering wheel settings, like always.

        That has nothing to do with changing engine map programs or altering the current loaded program!

  11. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 25th June 2011, 12:14

    Really glad Kamui didn’t destroy his car, I always like keeping an eye out for him in qualifying.

  12. John Cousins said on 25th June 2011, 12:56

    I was under the impression, that the steering wheel was just like the hand controller on an aftermarket engine management system. There is a serial data interface between the steering wheel and the Mclaren built “control ECU”. The ecu spits a data stream to the display (which is the same for all teams) red bull mount their display in the cockpit…
    The switches can select different fuel and ignition maps stored within the ECU. That’s how I thought it worked anyway? The teams often refer to “selecting maps”?

  13. Question (it might sound like a daft one but I’ll give it a shot anyway): With Vettel setting the fastest lap ever at Valencia today, why doesn’t that count as the lap record.

    I know the lap record has to be set in the race but what is the reasoning behind this?

    Surely a fast lap is a fast lap, no matter when it is set?

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