McLaren missed out on one-two in final sector

2011 Korean GP qualifying analysis

Jenson Button, McLaren, Korea, 2011

Button was on course for second until last corner

McLaren were on course to lock out the front row of the grid until Jenson Button hit the rev limiter in the final sector of his lap.

The last sector was also where Michael Schumacher lost the time that cost him a place in Q3.

Here’s all the data from qualifying for the Korean Grand Prix.

Qualifying times in full

  • Schumacher missed out on a place in Q3 for the first time since his wheel fell off at Spa. He was on course to reach the top ten until the final sector. He said: “I could feel that something was not right when leaving the pits as I had vibrations straight away. All that was left for us to do was hope that the gap would be big enough to remain in the top ten but that turned out not to be the case.”
  • One of the drivers who beat him was Jaime Alguersuari, who is pleased with Toro Rosso’s progress, saying: “I think we now have a better understanding of some of the upgrades we introduced in Suzuka and made the most of them.
  • Sergio Perez starts 17th for the second race in a row and was the only driver not to improve his time between two parts of qualifying. “I am not happy with the balance and the set-up of the car,” he said. “I didn?t feel at all confident in the car. My final lap in Q2 was particularly bad because I hadn?t got the brake balance right and had the fronts locking.”
  • Williams limited their drivers to one run in Q1 and it proved insufficient for Rubens Barrichello to get into Q2. He said: “My first lap in Q1 was quite good but my tyres had started to go off by the third lap. As we had decided to conserve tyres before the session started, we aborted the run and came in.”
Driver Car Q1 Q2 (vs Q1) Q3 (vs Q2)
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1’37.525 1’36.526 (-0.999) 1’35.820 (-0.706)
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1’39.093 1’37.285 (-1.808) 1’36.042 (-1.243)
3 Jenson Button McLaren 1’37.929 1’37.302 (-0.627) 1’36.126 (-1.176)
4 Mark Webber Red Bull 1’39.071 1’37.292 (-1.779) 1’36.468 (-0.824)
5 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’38.670 1’37.313 (-1.357) 1’36.831 (-0.482)
6 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’38.393 1’37.352 (-1.041) 1’36.980 (-0.372)
7 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’38.426 1’37.892 (-0.534) 1’37.754 (-0.138)
8 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’38.378 1’38.186 (-0.192) 1’38.124 (-0.062)
9 Paul di Resta Force India 1’38.549 1’38.254 (-0.295)
10 Adrian Sutil Force India 1’38.789 1’38.219 (-0.570)
11 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1’39.392 1’38.315 (-1.077)
12 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’38.502 1’38.354 (-0.148)
13 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1’39.352 1’38.508 (-0.844)
14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1’39.464 1’38.775 (-0.689)
15 Bruno Senna Renault 1’39.316 1’38.791 (-0.525)
16 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1’39.436 1’39.189 (-0.247)
17 Sergio Perez Sauber 1’39.097 1’39.443 (+0.346)
18 Rubens Barrichello Williams 1’39.538
19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1’40.522
20 Jarno Trulli Lotus 1’41.101
21 Timo Glock Virgin 1’42.091
22 Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin 1’43.483
23 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT 1’43.758
24 Daniel Ricciardo HRT

Team mate comparisons

Compare the best times of each team’s drivers in the last part of qualifying in which they both set a time.

  • On his birthday Bruno Senna could only manage after what he called, “my first poor qualifying performance of the year.”
  • Felipe Massa beat Fernando Alonso, which he has now done four times in the last six races having qualified behind his team mate in the first ten races of the year.
Team Driver Lap time Gap Lap time Driver Round
Red Bull Sebastian Vettel 1’36.042 -0.426 1’36.468 Mark Webber Q3
McLaren Lewis Hamilton 1’35.820 -0.306 1’36.126 Jenson Button Q3
Ferrari Fernando Alonso 1’36.980 +0.149 1’36.831 Felipe Massa Q3
Mercedes Michael Schumacher 1’38.354 +0.462 1’37.892 Nico Rosberg Q2
Renault Bruno Senna 1’38.791 +0.605 1’38.186 Vitaly Petrov Q2
Williams Rubens Barrichello 1’39.538 +0.102 1’39.436 Pastor Maldonado Q1
Force India Adrian Sutil 1’38.219 -0.035 1’38.254 Paul di Resta Q2
Sauber Kamui Kobayashi 1’38.775 -0.668 1’39.443 Sergio Perez Q2
Toro Rosso Sebastien Buemi 1’38.508 +0.193 1’38.315 Jaime Alguersuari Q2
Lotus Heikki Kovalainen 1’40.522 -0.579 1’41.101 Jarno Trulli Q1
Virgin Timo Glock 1’42.091 -1.392 1’43.483 Jerome D’Ambrosio Q1

Sector times

Here are the drivers? best times in each sector.

  • Jenson Button was faster than Vettel in the first two sectors but ended up behind him on the grid: “On my final run, I think I lost some ground in the last corner: I hit the limiter at the apex and lost a bit of time, but I feel good in the car.”
  • As a result, Mark Webber was also faster than Button in the final sector – but had already lost too much time earlier on his lap: “I lost the rear a little bit on the exit of turn one. I tried to get it back through turn three, but I was down tyhree-tenths of a second; it?s a pity as you?re not going to get that back in the last sector ?ǣ which hadn?t been too bad on the previous run.”
Driver Sector 1 Sector 2 Sector 3
Lewis Hamilton 34.245 (3) 41.834 (1) 19.730 (1)
Sebastian Vettel 34.202 (2) 41.968 (3) 19.860 (2)
Jenson Button 34.168 (1) 41.961 (2) 19.997 (4)
Mark Webber 34.399 (6) 42.110 (4) 19.943 (3)
Felipe Massa 34.251 (4) 42.273 (5) 20.286 (6)
Fernando Alonso 34.500 (12) 42.319 (6) 20.095 (5)
Nico Rosberg 34.436 (9) 42.798 (7) 20.434 (7)
Vitaly Petrov 34.447 (10) 43.030 (8) 20.439 (8)
Paul di Resta 34.403 (7) 43.143 (10) 20.708 (14)
Adrian Sutil 34.389 (5) 43.330 (12) 20.500 (11)
Jaime Alguersuari 34.520 (13) 43.281 (11) 20.456 (9)
Michael Schumacher 34.426 (8) 43.130 (9) 20.742 (15)
Sebastien Buemi 34.474 (11) 43.482 (16) 20.490 (10)
Kamui Kobayashi 34.671 (15) 43.346 (13) 20.758 (16)
Bruno Senna 34.552 (14) 43.350 (14) 20.586 (12)
Pastor Maldonado 34.769 (17) 43.606 (18) 20.814 (17)
Sergio Perez 34.918 (18) 43.368 (15) 20.675 (13)
Rubens Barrichello 34.717 (16) 43.546 (17) 21.171 (19)
Heikki Kovalainen 35.420 (19) 44.047 (20) 21.055 (18)
Jarno Trulli 35.676 (21) 43.946 (19) 21.465 (20)
Timo Glock 35.631 (20) 44.933 (21) 21.527 (21)
Jerome D’Ambrosio 36.073 (22) 45.478 (23) 21.932 (22)
Vitantonio Liuzzi 36.104 (23) 45.347 (22) 22.170 (23)
Daniel Ricciardo 36.315 (24) 52.079 (24) 25.130 (24)

Speed trap

Here are the drivers? maximum speeds.

  • Alguersuari complained of hitting the rev limiter in the last race. He has the quickest car in a straight line here, suggesting Toro Rosso have got his gear ratios right this time.
Pos Driver Car Speed (kph/mph) Gap
1 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 320.3 (199.0)
2 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 320.0 (198.8) -0.3
3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 316.4 (196.6) -3.9
4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 316.4 (196.6) -3.9
5 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 316.0 (196.4) -4.3
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 315.9 (196.3) -4.4
7 Paul di Resta Force India 315.8 (196.2) -4.5
8 Bruno Senna Renault 315.6 (196.1) -4.7
9 Vitaly Petrov Renault 315.6 (196.1) -4.7
10 Adrian Sutil Force India 315.6 (196.1) -4.7
11 Sergio Perez Sauber 315.6 (196.1) -4.7
12 Jenson Button McLaren 314.7 (195.5) -5.6
13 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 314.6 (195.5) -5.7
14 Pastor Maldonado Williams 314.5 (195.4) -5.8
15 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 313.9 (195.0) -6.4
16 Rubens Barrichello Williams 313.7 (194.9) -6.6
17 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 312.5 (194.2) -7.8
18 Mark Webber Red Bull 312.2 (194.0) -8.1
19 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT 309.9 (192.6) -10.4
20 Daniel Ricciardo HRT 309.5 (192.3) -10.8
21 Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin 309.1 (192.1) -11.2
22 Timo Glock Virgin 308.9 (191.9) -11.4
23 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 308.3 (191.6) -12.0
24 Jarno Trulli Lotus 308.1 (191.4) -12.2

2011 Korean Grand Prix

Browse all 2011 Korean Grand Prix articles

Advert | Go Ad-free

31 comments on McLaren missed out on one-two in final sector

  1. BasCB (@bascb) said on 15th October 2011, 14:07

    Its clear both McLarens are really fast here and Red Bull less so. That wing allowing more use of DRS in qualifying seems to have been just the thing to get the cars on the front row.

    Lets see what everyone will be up to in the race though.

    • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 15th October 2011, 21:32

      Actually it seems that the DRS wing can be used less because it’s so powerful. In Suzuka qualifying the McLarens were the only team not to use it while HRT could use it. Basic logic would then dictate that this means McLaren with DRS open has less downforce than HRT with DRS open.

  2. Ady (@ady) said on 15th October 2011, 14:08

    I think that this is an another example of why Button doesn’t perform that well in qualifying. You could say that hitting the rev limiter was an oversight, however you could also see it as preferring a setup more appropriate for the race.

    Lower gear ratios will help acceleration, and on a full tank or when DRS is unavailable hitting the rev limiter would be less likely.

  3. BasCB (@bascb) said on 15th October 2011, 14:11

    One thing I was wondering about, was Perez. He stayed in for a really long time and then did two fast-ish laps, with the first a bit quicker than the last. So was he on the soft tyres there?

  4. John H (@john-h) said on 15th October 2011, 14:40

    Looks like the Glock vs D’Ambrosio order has been restored then.

    That first sector by Alonso was awful, must have been a mistake. Seems like he clawed some of it back in 2 & 3 but it wasn’t enough.

  5. You could see all weekend that Jenson was 3-4 tenths down on Hamilton in the last sector. He needed to find that before they could have a 1-2.

    The last part of the track is very twisty/technical though, thats where driver skills come under greater scrutiny

  6. Fixy (@fixy) said on 15th October 2011, 15:14

    Astonishing straight line speed by the STRs! Nearly 4 kp/h faster than the super fast Mercedes!

  7. weebbt said on 15th October 2011, 16:12

    9 Paul di Resta Force India 1’38.549 1’38.254 (-0.295)
    10 Adrian Sutil Force India 1’38.789 1’38.219 (-0.570)

    why is paul infront of adrain sutil ?

  8. verstappen (@verstappen) said on 15th October 2011, 19:11

    I was wondering after I saw Rosberg got out of the car, is it possible that you alter your set up during Q3, to be more suitable for race conditions?
    Then, you don’t drive and your car goes to parc fermé.

    And what about all the non-drivers this year, or all the only-outlap-drivers?
    Could it be that they, apart from saving tyres, also set up their car beter for both qualifying (more extreme) and the race (during the session in which they don’t, or almost don’t drive)?

  9. Oliver said on 15th October 2011, 19:23

    It is great to see Mclaren has finally found speed when the championship is over.
    Let us hope they can carry this momentum into the new season and also soft out their strategy misfires.

  10. Mclaren’s race and I tip Button for the win if Vettel does not take him out off the start line.

    • KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 15th October 2011, 19:47

      Why would Vettel take Button out at the start? At what point during this entire season (and indeed the last 18 months) has Vettel looked like he’d take anyone out at any point during the race?

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 15th October 2011, 20:34

        Not this year hugely, but in the last 18 months there was Webber in Turkey and Button in Spa. But I assume he’s talking about last week where that defending at the start was a bit aggressive.

        • KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 19th October 2011, 8:28

          Vettel did not cause either of those collisions. Granted he wasn’t entirely innocent, but he didn’t deliberately take out anyone.

          The Spa incident was just cause he had his wheels on the wet part of the track while he had dry tyres on, he couldn’t have done much else.

          The Webber one, they were both at fault, Webber didn’t give Vettel any room..

          Japan this year? Have a look, he made one move, Button didn’t touch the grass, it was a perfect defensive move yet people still slate him for it, why?

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 16th October 2011, 5:30

        In the last two years Vettel has pushed off or banged wheels with any driver that challenged for the first corner, last year it was mostly MW this year mostly nobody.

  11. I got excited when I saw Vettel take a long look at the MP4-26 after the quali :-) . Then I knew RBR is in big trouble for the reminder of the season!!

    To buttress that, their faster tyres earlier taken was still slower than both McLaren on the harder tyres. Those were very telling of their situation atm.

    • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 15th October 2011, 21:19

      Vettel takes a look at other cars at almost all races this year. It’s not a curious glance; Adrian would have sent him on a mission to look at something specific that they have targeted for copying.

      I think you’ll find that Q1 and Q2 didn’t see the Bulls pushing. They were just driving to target times to get through to the next session.

      I wouldnt say they’re in trouble yet. Vettel only lost pole by around 2 tenths after getting slightly held up by a Force India

      • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 15th October 2011, 22:03

        @raymondu999 Agreed. It would be naive to think RBR have anything at all to worry about. Even if they do spend this part of the season on the backfoot, they have all but tied up the Constructors and could use the remaining sessions to test out 2012 aero.

        • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 15th October 2011, 22:14

          I don’t think they care much about the results anymore. Sure they want to win; and they would LOVE to win the last 4 races; but I think it’s inconsequential to them.

          Given that it’s a German at the helm; who are renowned for their clinical efficiency; I have a very sneaky suspicion that this tyre strategy is Vettel’s doing.

          As Autosport wrote in a piece about Vettel working very closely with Pirelli engineers over the winter, “Vettel’s title defense began days after he won his title,” referring to the Abu Dhabi tyre tests.

          I think that Vettel is going on a tangential strategy with a purpose. They will have strategy information that other teams don’t have. When have we seen a team that has dared to go option-prime-prime-prime? Using the prime as the “primary” race tyre? I’m willing to bet that this is a strategy simulation exercise for them.

    • Mads (@mads) said on 15th October 2011, 23:03

      To buttress that, their faster tyres earlier taken was still slower than both McLaren on the harder tyres. Those were very telling of their situation atm.

      Christian Horner said in an interview afterwards that they were not going for it, they were just driving for a target lap time.
      One that was fast enough to get them to Q2 without taking too much out of the tyres, so they could reuse them for Q2.

      If RB’s pace on the option in Q1 were real pace, they would be somewhere like 1.5-2 seconds off the pace of McLaren in Q3, but that didn’t happen.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.