Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Korea, 2011

Hamilton ends Red Bull’s pole position domination

2011 Korean GP qualifyingPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Korea, 2011
Hamilton starts ahead of Vettel and Button on the grid

Lewis Hamilton ended Red Bull’s monopoly on pole position in 2011 by beating Sebastian Vettel in qualifying for the Korean Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver was fastest in all three parts of qualifying on his way to pole.

He shares the front row of the grid with Vettel and their team mates line up behind them.


Hamilton was the quickest driver in the first part of qualifying, setting a time of 1’37.525 on soft tyres.

Unusually the Red Bull drivers used a set of super soft tyres for their first runs, but appeared not to push them too hard as they secured their places in Q2. Christian Horner later said they had driven to a target lap time.

Both Williams drivers stayed in the pits until the final five minutes. When they came out, Rubens Barrichello was initially faster than Pastor Maldonado, the latter falling at risk of elimination.

They had enough time for a final run each. But Barrichello abandoned his attempt at improvement, feeling the tyres had gone off, and Maldonado’s 1’39.436 was enough to knock his team mate out.

Heikki Kovalainen was the quicker of the two Lotus drivers, who line up in front of the two Virgins.

Daniel Ricciardo did not set a time due to a technical problem and will need permission from the stewards to start the race.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

18 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’39.538
19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1’40.522
20 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1’41.101
21 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’42.091
22 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1’43.483
23 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1’43.758
24 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth


Hamilton stayed on top in the second part of qualifying, lapping almost exactly one second on super softs than he had on softs in the first session.

Vettel could only get within seven-tenths of Hamilton’s time, which put him second.

Michael Schumacher only did a single lap and although he had the track to himself his 1’38.354 was ultimately not good enough to get him into Q3. He complained of a vibration on his car before starting the lap.

It put him ninth but later improvements from Adrian Sutil, Jaime Alguersauri and Paul di Resta left him out of the top ten.

Both Force India drivers secured places in Q3 but Alguersuari was eliminated along with his team mate. So were the two Sauber drivers.

They were joined by Maldonado and Bruno Senna.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’38.315
12 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’38.354
13 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’38.508
14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’38.775
15 Bruno Senna Renault 1’38.791
16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1’39.109
17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’39.443


Eight cars went out as Q3 began, both Force India drivers holding back in the pits.

Hamilton picked up where he left off in Q2, heading the times with a 1’36.130, his McLaren looking stable and changing direction beautifully in the fast sweeps of turns seven, eight and nine.

But Vettel was threatening – the Red Bull driver crossed the line just three-hundredths of a second off Hamilton’s mark.

Webber led the cars out for their final efforts, the front runners taking care not to end up missing their last chances as they did in Suzuka. Hamilton delivered a clean lap to lower the fastest time to a 1’35.820.

Vettel had to pass Di Resta during his lap but did not appear to be delayed by the Force India. He improved his time but, fell short of beating Hamiton by two tenths of a second.

Webber had a poor final run and Button took advantage to claim third on the grid. The Ferraris share the third row, Massa ahead of Alonso.

Top ten in Q3

1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’35.820
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’36.042
3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’36.126
4 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’36.468
5 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’36.831
6 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’36.980
7 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’37.754
8 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’38.124
9 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes
10 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes

2011 Korean Grand Prix

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171 comments on “Hamilton ends Red Bull’s pole position domination”

  1. Fantastic qualifying from Lewis. He could have been on pole in Japan as well.

  2. It is finally some relief to see the end of redbull pole domination. Hamilton is very impressive this weekend. But with tyre degradation is gng to be very crucial in race, probably vettel & button may have edge on hamilton in race. what ever be, we are going to have some exciting race ahead with all tyre strategies at play.

    1. yes, looking forward to see how it pans out. But a great result to see something other than a Red Bull on pole, good job Hamilton and Mclaren (shame about messing it up in Japan though).

    2. yeah, Button was preserving his tires for the race (oh so smooth)

    3. It’s very impressive from Mclaren, the performance of the MP4-26 has improved so much over the last 4-5 races. Hopefully this improvement isn’t all about the exhausts etc so they can carry through the aero improvements into 2012.

      I agree about the tyres though, I can’t help but think we’ll see Hamilton quick for 5-8 laps before his tyres begin to give up and he begins to struggle again. I really hope this isn’t the case.

      Ferrari could get on the podium again with a good start and some longevity on the super-softs. Plus despite not getting pole, it was very impressive from Vettel, thoroughly trounced Webber again, who looks like he’s almost switched off for this season.

    4. I wouldn’t say their qualifying domination is over per se. It will take more than one spanner in the works to reverse the trend with any kind of decent impact. However, it’s a start!

  3. I’m so glad I stayed up all night for that.

    I hope McLaren’s tyre choices reward them too.

    1. haven’t slept at all, and now too excited/overjoyed to sleep!

  4. was this RBR doing different things/tests? I have the feeling they weren’t going fully for the pole…

    1. Yeah they definitely tried something different this quali session. If I had to guess, I would think they are trying to do a pit stop less than the Mclarens, and therefore have preserved all their soft tyres for the race.

      Cant wait for tomorrow’s race!

  5. Very good job from Lewis, well done to him.

  6. Did anyone notice how unhappy he (HAM) was after the session – just stood up and got out of the car, also wasnt happy during the press conf.

    1. Why should Hamilton be happy? – His working day outside the garage he is surrounded by folks who see profit in tearing him down. He’s about to be baited every second between now and race start by the media just waiting for him to fail. Wait and see what happens if he doesn’t win tomorrow. Actually even if he does win look for the critics to flap their gums.

      1. Because he just got pole maybe?

      2. He said on the press conference “im happy but, tomorrow is what it counts”

    2. Difficult to say when it comes to Ham

    3. I don’t think there was anyone who didn’t notice that. Not sure whether it had to do with all the bad press he’s been getting or with his unhappiness with his own performance lately. Possibly a combination…

      1. I think you still have to wonder what else is going on in his life that’s causing him issues. I don’t see this just being the lack of wins since he wasn’t like this in early 2009.

        I hope that, whatever it is, he can get it sorted and get back to the Lewis we’re all used to and all love/loath (he does polarise opinion rather!!) before 2012.

      2. well he knows that it is sunday that matters. With all the bad and unfair press he had, I understand he is trying to not show too much his feelings.
        Who are we to say he has trouble in his private life that may alter his performance? We are no shrink, are we?
        And now media are focusing on the “poor” performance of Alonso … ahh if we could only ignore them!

        1. It’s really tough to judge why he looks unhappy other than the recent incidents and the bad press.
          And you’re right, we have no business in speculating about his private life.
          Also, his choice if management never seemed bright to me, maybe it’s time to change. I don’t know what good they’ve done him since they arrived.

          And about the “media”; whoever as much as suggests that Alonso’s performance this season has been anything less than stellar, needs to be slapped in the face with a shoe. The guy’s been driving the wheels of that Ferrari in each and every single outing and considering that it’s a little tough to stay motivated when you’re capable of winning titles but you’re in a slower car for almost the entire season, he’s driven like a champ.
          The top drivers this season have pretty much been Vettel, Alonso and Button. Not an inkling of doubt about that.

    4. That’s how I acted when I was 15 and got dumped.

      Whatever it is, it was certainly odd. In all the interviews nowadays he seems subdued, like he’s afraid of being honest.

      Simon Fuller and XIX Management are surely doing him no good.

    5. I don’t see his reaction as being unhappy. Remember he has got 18 poles in his short carreer, and suddenly he had to wait 27 races for his next one. It’s been a while. I think he was shaking in front of the camera when he got out of the car, there had to be some very strong emotions going on inside his helmet.

      It had to be especially hard for him when he saw Vettel going 0.5s faster out of nowhere, sometimes with just one Q3 lap. Surely Lewis was questioning his speed and capabilities after over a year of such struggle. Now he has beat him fair and square, finally, with a ballistic lap, i would be beside myself with joy. He must be thinking that this marks a turnaround now.

      1. +1 Exactly what I thought. Not taking the helmet off, he was clearly feeling the emotion. This combination of subdued or restrained and performing well is a good sign, it shows he’s maybe beginning to fight back with some determination and concentration.

  7. I selected Button as pole in prediction championship but it doesn’t matter. Vettel finally defeated!!(at least in qualifying)

    1. Initially I had Hamilton, but I changed it to Vettel in reflection of how qualifying went so far this year.

      Not often I have been this happy and satisfied with getting it wrong :-)

    2. Thats what I’m talking about baby! Just kidding, but since it was close many times already I’m quite delighted it finally happened. Good for Vettel to save a set of tyres but none of us know how the tyres will last, could have been good, could have been a waste. I hope Hamilton can stay ahead of Vettel for as long as possible (either until the end or long enough to get others ahead).

      1. I had Hamilton on pole but then, I did in Japan as well.

  8. Well done Lewis, now I am really looking forward to the race tomorrow.

  9. Great lap from Lewis. Glad to see his old form come back again. He looked subdued though. wonder what is going through his mind after all the stick he got from the media. It certainly looks like the teams will be busy with multiple strategy scenarios. Looking forward to it. It will be great for Lewis mental stability if he does win the race.

    1. And just that last thought is probably what is keeping Hamilton from being too exited right now!
      Quite understandable he wants to keep his expectations low and win it tomorrow to rebuild the confidence into the winter season.

    2. Subdued is the perfect word to describe Hamilton after getting his first pole of the season.

      I really don’t know what to make of his subsequent reaction. Throughout his career in the spotlight he has always been a very emotional and passionate driver who wears his heart on his sleeve.

      This is one of the things I like most about him so on one hand I hope dearly that he was not masking his genuine emotions and on the other I’m worried for him if he is truly not happy with this result.

      If he appears despondent straight after securing the only non-Red Bull pole position of the season then what is there left for him to enjoy in F1?

      1. I don’t think is unhappy with with result. He’s probably thinking, i hope i can win the race as well and shut my critics up!

    3. Lewis has said as much himself. His head hasn’t been in the right place. He’s got it there this weekend so far. He’s probably just following the same tactics that brought this on. Keeping focused, keeping his feet on the ground.
      I think he may well be starting a process of reinventing himself.

      For all the trappings of being at the top of your game in a premier sports series it can have a powerful impact on the psyche. You just need to slip a little and everyone piles in with punches and blows. It’s a mentally harsh environment to keep on top. It’s another reason why drivers of top 10 calibre are few and far between.

      No, I enjoyed seeing the continued focus on the prize that matters. 1st part, done! 2nd part – bring it on!

  10. Great lap from Lewis! I worry that we didn’t see the normally excited Lewis getting out of his car and in the post race interviews. Has his spirit already been broken? That would be a real shame. Woohoo, go Hami!

  11. I wouldn’t go reading too much into this. We’ve seen drivers come from behind on the grid in the past, and Hamilton’s latest run of results doesn’t exactly promise too much.

    1. PM; you mean into Hamilton’s pole; or his demeanor AFTER the pole?

    2. im not supprised you say that, you have been very critical of hamilton in the past and although he gets pole, you still can congratulate him. even if is just pole and no win or points even, just relish the fact that its not a red bull on pole since a very long time ago.

      1. Oh, I can. And I do. But I’m not getting carried away with it.

        1. I’m sure you would get carried away with a long comment if he’d clipped the rear of someone’s car with his front wing

          1. And I’m sure you’d respond with an equally-long comment about how it wasn’t really Hamilton’s fault, but rather that the blame should rest with the driver in front – let’s say Sebastian Vettel – for being in Formula 1 when he’s clearly not talented enough to be.

          2. I think you both are getting too carried away with long comments on whether or not the other would post a long comment

  12. I could hear the sighs of relief from the Ham fanboys all the way down here in Oz. At least he’ll be well away from MAS.

    1. Atleast he should be, the McLaren is clearly the car to beat, ahead of the Bulls and way ahead of the Ferraris, but with the way Ham’s season has gone I wouldn’t rule out another run in with Massa until the race is over!

      1. It’d be great for him to win so we can all talk about something else. Can’t wiat ’til tomorrow.

        1. +1
          Massa is clearly a non-issue for Hamilton, just another driver to beat. At least for once he can plan his own race from the front! Presuming a decent start.

    2. @thecollaroyboys I’m sure he will still find a way to nark Massa off!

  13. He most likely just didnt want to get too excited as he knows its all to do tomorrow. I’m sure his recent form is making him an extremely cautious head in terms of expectations and optimism. If i was lewis and I know that my team mate is outracing me almost comfortably this year, I would take that pole with a pinch of salt also. Lets hope i’m wrong and he runs away with it. But honestly, I wouldnt say he is favourite for the race despite P1. Simply because of recent form.

    1. Agree with you on all your points, but he just RB’s string of poles. He should enjoy the moment, that’s about all I say.

      1. ended RB’s string*

    2. I think this is a fair assessment from a sports psychology perspective especially given how his high expectations have played against him earlier in the season, most notably during the Monaco race weekend.

      Crucially though, tempering his expectations and optimism shouldn’t take anything away from the delight of achieving his first pole position of the season, so his very subdued reaction is quite baffling.

  14. italian tv;
    tv host: can you tell us of the new rear wing?
    alonso: i am sixth.
    tv host: *long pause* ok, can you tell us more?
    alonso: i am telling you. *awkard silence*

    1. That’s hilarious.

      And don’t you mean, new front wing?

    2. He had a new rear wing as well?

      He gave a similar interview to the BBC when asked about the new front wing.

    3. Fantastic!

    4. Lets see how it goes in the race. If he finishes sixth then I’d say this asessment is pretty much spot on.

    5. Haha! He’s getting similar to Kimi not just fancy hat as well as interviews!

    6. Wow, he really was consistently not amused with his qualifying result! It must be hard for him and Massa, knowing they don’t have the car to go for higher than 5th and 6th unless others make a mistake; then hope for good start and some luck (Massa not having much of it) to get to podium.

      And new wing not working not giving confidence in new 2012 car really being the revolutionary quick car, just aggressive (but possibly in a wrong way).

    7. Not a helpfull new part then … ? Nice conversation.

      1. Pretty much Sums up Fernando’s qualifying

    8. He transforms slowly into Kimi

      1. If for no obvious reason Massa starts to beat him in the races until Alonso gets fired and replaced with Vettel the transformation will be completed.

      2. come on, i think alonso is really trying very hard and driving his best. he is getting his ferrari higher than it belongs every single race. that should be a lot of credit to him. i dont think massa is out of luck i think he is not a top driver, not even remotely.
        in my view it is perfectly understandable that alonso is so annoyed because there was a lot of expectation about how this revolutionary 2012 spec new front wing would perform and it turns out that it is not much of an advantage and both ferraris are still on their familiar 3rd row. “what can you tell us about the new wing??” well its useful isnt it??

        1. i meant useless, sorry

        2. I don’t agree on the wing being useless. He’s had good pace up until he messed up the final lap. And it’s only then that Massa was ahead.

          Also… I think Rener was being humorous… Just in case… like maybe you didn’t notice.

  15. Finally Something for me to cheer about on a Saturday!

    Why is Lewis all childish and moody though? Come on man lighten up, you just beat Seb on a Saturday! Manage a smile!? They said he was emotional, i don’t buy that.

    1. Why is Lewis all childish and moody though?

      You call it childish, others call it introspective. Either way, give the guy a break. I’d like to see how you’d cope with the amount of (VERY public) criticism he’s been getting lately.

  16. Greatest qualifying we’ve had this year?

    1. One of them surely. I think the closeness last week was more exciting, but a non RedBull pole is certainly a treat.

      Add to that, Massa has now out qualified Alonso 2 races in a row! :)

      1. i wonder how many laps it takes massa to move out the way this week

        1. Massa is usually a lot slower on race pace, therefore if Alonso doesn’t take him at the start, not long

          1. i would like to think that there is a difference between moving over and slow pace

          2. @ NDINYO – Massa wouldn’t be moving over if he had the pace to pull away from Fernando.

        2. Laps or corners?

      2. Ahh! But what if Vettel hand nipped ham by a hundred thousandth of a second?

        That would be exciting too :)

        1. Thaat would give the pole to ham – the system can register only up to thousandths; and Ham set the time earlier ;)

          1. Touche!

      3. still, we may hear “Felipe, Alonso is faster than you, do you understand!. Good lad!”

    2. A dfifferent pole sitter, sure, but Japan, Belgium, Spain and Malaysia were more entertaining.

  17. Qualifying has become a farce.. Teams are sacrificing pace in quali for the race, Jensen is a great bet for a win, considering the high degradation, and i think that alonso will be flying past massa for a podium fight. Can’t wait.

    1. I disagree that qualifying has become a farce, but with the high degradation expected, your assertion that Jenson is a good bet for the win is spot on.

      1. He’s my pick as well.

    2. Eh? Qualifying is just that, qualifying. It’s often used to shake your race strategy into place.

      No points are awarded on Saturday, remember.

  18. Stunning lap from Vettel once again, don’t know what he was doing in a McLaren though. Nice pole nonetheless.

    Seriously though, excellent qualifying. A shame Vettel got held up by Di Resta but I don’t think he lost 3 tenths there, maybe a tenth or so.
    Good to see Hamilton on pole and fastest through all qualifying sessions. Surely this should be a nice start of getting back in the groove. It was a bit strange to see him so emotionless after the race though, perhaps McLaren replaced him with a T-1000….

    Vettel did well by once again outperforming Button in the faster McLaren proving he is indeed a qualifying specialist like Senna was.

    It will be interesting to see what RBR’s tyre strategy does for them in the race. Hopefully they can stay close to the McLarens and make the race exciting and not like Suzuka where they wrapped a nice big bow around the victory and handed it to Button.

  19. Well Mclaren can can still wreck his race as is their wont lately. Button will still get priority treatment.

    1. By saying Button has “priority treatment”, I’ll just read that as Button has “had the upper hand” still, Hamilton’s in a good position to close the ponts gap tomorrow.

      1. no buttons been getting treatment ever since his 2 dnfs in a row.ppl forget that after the first 10 races lewis was ahead of button having finished ahead of him 7 out of 10 times.probablty would have been 8-2 if it wasnt for his bad luck in quali in monaco.but after those 2 dnfs the team seemed to focus alot more on getting things right for button.
        today tho,things were back to normal,hence the quali result.but i still expect them to mess his strategy up,or a pistop.

        1. I agree. Lewis’ side of the pitwall is always massively messing up, more than Jenson’s side…

        2. He finished ahead 7-3 up until Germany, but since then, Button has driven better. The last 5 races can’t just be swept under the carpet because you claim Button’s had better treatment. As I said, Hamilton could well end that run tomorrow.

        3. Rubbish.

          By your logic McLaren’s pit crew thinks “Ok, we know how to make the cars faster in the race, so we’ll apply this treatment to Jenson and deny it to Lewis, just so Jenson would feel better. Yeah, that’s great idea, let’s not make one of our cars as fast as possible even though we can do it.”. Cheers and applause ensued.

          Just how long you’ve been watching this sport?

        4. Lets be PC. Should that not be toilet break.

          1. Clicked in wrong place, should have been for Mattr.

    2. Why should Button get any priority? Hamilton is up front, so he will have first choise of pitstop.
      They might be on slightly different strategies to better fit either of them and maximize their chances.
      But I do not think McLaren would be less happy to see Hamilton win it then they would be if Button jumped him and Vettel to win it. On the contrary, having Hamilton win will be good for the team spirit and their drivers confidence.

      They will be looking at getting Hamilton and Button on the top 2 steps of the podium. Nothing more, nothing less.

      1. The team has nothing to gain by giving priority treatment. The drivers championship is over and all that matters now is the constructor’s point. Hamilton 1st, button 2nd or 3rd and vice versa will amount to the same points to the team.

    3. Button will still get priority treatment.

      Care to provide any examples of that being the case earlier this year?

      1. But the priority treatment started since last year and has been debated on this site in it’s various guise.
        How many instances have Hamilton’s chances of winning a race been messed up by Mclaren as they pit Button when they could have given Hamilton priority, all to ge Button into the higher points positions when he finds himsef starting from 10th position.
        Abu Dhabi last year, they could have used the under cut for Hamilton but no.

        You have most of the race data Keith, and if Hamilton is running ahead, he hardly gets the optimised pit call all in the name of equality.
        But I noticed the team didn’t make any attempt to use the under cut for Hamilton in Japan, rather they kept him out too long as Button was giving the optimum pit window.
        Button has done a better job this year but also, the team has been more sympathetic to his cause than they have Lewis.

        Withmarsh has over done his equality thing to the extent that Hamilton is being handicapped.
        Withmarsh wants Button to be the one to win the driver’s championship in a Mclaren.
        And the best way to boost Button’s confidence is if he is beating or is very close in performance to Hamilton.
        That is why even when Hamilton wins a race, he first praises Button for an oustanding driver finishing 3rd or 4th then recognision of Hamilton’s performance is an after thought.

        He is also the first to blame Hamilton for anyhing that happens that you wonder if he is being forced to retain him as a driver.

        Button and Hamlton are the best pairing I can think of, Withmarsh is the one harming their potential. Oh even I hear Button calling himself the team leader. Nice.

        1. Whitmarsh did not mention Hamilton in his interview to the BBC (at least I did not heard it). I found it strange to not praise his driver much more after how he defended him from critics…

          I am not sure the team favour Button. I rather think it is the race engineer of Lewis that screws up. I never understood why McLaren re-shuffle the team after 2008 anyway …

          1. I wasn’t talking about this qualifying bt in general.
            He has a habit of openly criticising Hamilton that the BBC team race there at the slightest hint of any issue.
            Regarding Hamilton’s race engineer, either he is inept or is deliberately kept out of the decision loop. He often gives Hamilton a conflicting information to that Button gets. All we har from Withmarsh eventually is that the engineer was under the wrong impression.
            How can that be if they have their race strategy meetings. Plus they never listen to the driver and easily misinterprete his car issues.
            I have never seen a team place obstacles in the path of their driver than Mclaren seem to do frequently.

          2. yes i agree with what you said!
            Was it in Malaysia last year when team decision about tyres ruined Lewis’ race?
            What has to be observed is that Hamilton gives his best in every quali. When he fails in quali it is almost because of the team (Monaco while failing to put a “banker” before Perez’ accident and then letting him in the pit lane with an engine getting the heat, Japan and failing to warn him about the time – like RBR did today with Vettel indeed – just to name a few). Race’s accidents always seems to be the result of missed quali (but for Spa)
            McLaren is not the same since Ron left :( An experienced team like McLaren should be like redbull operation-wise.

        2. Exactly true. The problem is not the drivers, but Whitmarsh. He praises Button just for a podium finish, but if Lewis wins he praises the team/car. Miss Ron a lot.

        3. You have most of the race data Keith

          And having paid close attention to it, and all the practice and qualifying data all year long, and throughout last year when they were also team mates, I see nothing to support this claim that Button gets favourable treatment or Hamilton unfavourable treatment.

          For example:

          the team didn’t make any attempt to use the under cut for Hamilton in Japan

          Given how quickly Hamilton’s tyres went off in the first stint they would have to have brought him in on lap five. So by lap 16 he’s run out of super soft tyres and is facing doing two-thirds of the race on the slower compound and making at least one extra pit stop than he actually did. Obviously not a credible strategy.

          The ‘undercut’ was never going to save Hamilton’s race. Of course, Hamilton did pit before Button at the end of the first stint – the only time in the race when they were racing for the same position – but his tyres were already gone by then.

          There’s no mystery why this was. You could see from the data on Friday Hamilton wasn’t getting the same life out of his tyres Button was. It’s been the case at several races this year, and no amount of nice words from Martin Whitmarsh is going to make one iota of difference to that.

          None of the claims of favouritism I’ve seen have any basis in fact. Most of them come from the fact that when McLaren speak to the press they prefer to stress the positives in their performances – and most of those is recent races have come from Button’s side of the garage.

  20. Lewis (finnally) did what he does best. Fantastic.

    Part of me feels sorry for Vettel. He did put in a fantastic lap. Pity about the Force India.

  21. Peter Windsor reported that RBR used just the one set of options for Q1; Q2 and the first Q3 run. If that’s correct they could be in massive shape for tyres tomorrow.

      1. apologies. Just saw that. In my defense he has only just tweeted that! :P

        1. No problem! After the drawn-out debate over Hamilton’s tyres in Suzuka it’s good to know one way or the other.

  22. I always had faith in lewis…I put a score on him to take pole last night …I got 4-1

    these tiers are sure going to be important tomorrow so I have a feeling he might struggle a little

    as for his body language after..he almost looked as though he was physically shakeing as he got out of the car. he was happy…real happy

    but how misserable did the recently crowned double world champ look…I guess he wasn’t quite sure what he was supposed to do with his finger. what ever it was I think it was clear he was expecting poll what ever redbull say to the contery. I think redbull may have 3 new sets of prime’s but I think of the top 3 they are going to need them the most

    i’d love to see lewis win tomorrow but its great to know buttons on the pace if he can’t

    today just goes to show there’s nothing wrong with lewis’s skill, I just hope he can sort his head out for next year and somehow I think today went a long way in doing that…l

    red bull 15
    lewis 1
    everybody else 0

    1. Vettel was probably thought twice before waving two fingers backhand to celebrate qualifying second.

    2. Vettel 12
      Webber 3
      Hamilton 1

  23. The ONE Qualifying Session i miss of the whole season has to be a Driver other than a Red Bull Driver on Pole Position Amazing has to summarise everything today,Amazing Pole Lap from Lewis if you havent seen it check it out here : – Thats my Youtube channel by the way

    Back to the main topic Honestly,I don think Seb getting caught up behind Di Resta hampered him that much maybe a tenth or two but nonetheless amazing.Jenson right up there again,Great job.I’ve heard RB have 3 New Sets of Options avaliable which shapes them up great for the race but a McLaren victory/dominate weekend is not out of the question.

    Fernando,Very subdue today,A second off pole & out-qualified by the out-performed Felipe Massa,I think Massa is slowly beginning to pick himself up well at least in Qualifying(out qualified him in 4 Occasions of the 2nd half of the season ; Hungary,Spa,Suzuka & Korea) lets hope he can get it together in the race

    1. Agreed. Ferrari won’t be able to truly compete with RedBull and McLaren until Felipe is back in the game. Why the scuderia doesn’t give him more support is beyond me.

  24. The world is back to normal again, with Hamilton is +0.3 faster than Button, as we always knew is the true difference in base speed . The tyres (or so called race craft/smoothness) will even things for Button tommorrow, so it should be close. The big question is when will Massa pull over to let his bossman through. And when will journos move on to the realatively poor performances of Webber (aka. no wins in overall best car) and Massa (no podiums, although renault have managed one). Hopefully the feeding frenzy of the journos will move on, once it kicks in that they realise there is no more meat on the bone ?

    1. Poor performance by WEB? He’s placed ahead of HAM 30 times over the past three seasons – HAM has placed aheadnof WEB only 21 times and been well behind in points as well. And HAM had a decent car in 2009, and still couldnt get near WEB or BUT. One decent quali does not a season make!

      1. I wont even respond to that comment of yours,I’ll wait for a true F1Fanatic to do so,with intelligence!!

        1. I wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole.

        2. Indeed, Web has been very poor, compared to Seb, Hamilton, Button and Alonso.

  25. A win tomorrow will shut Hamilton’s critics up

    1. hopefully yes

    2. @DT Unfortunately, I doubt it will. It will take more than 25 points after a pretty disastrous second half of the season to win his critics round.

      I’m not over-critical of Hamilton, but I certainly won’t be praising the new messiah if he wins tomorrow.

  26. What happened to Bruno Senna? He is so behind Petrov.

    1. I found it from a Brazilian media website:

      Last year, the car was different and I didn’t have the right reference

      Fair enough.

    2. He somehow didn’t seem to get along with the track, having lots of goings on the run-off and clipping his front wing in FP3 by going off track, while Petrov seems to take to the track.

  27. He’s just concentrating on his job and keeping his mouth shut. That’s what he needs to do. We’ll see the spark when he wins, nothing to worry about. First time in his career he’s been out paced by his team mate, its a very humbling lesson. He’s digging deep to come back and my best wishes go with him. I’m glad Button’s doing this to him. If he really is one of the best drivers I think he is and want him to be, he has to rise up to these challenges.

  28. Good work Hamilton. Feels he still keeps the mojo when he do want and exert. But want to see consistent race tomorrow too.

    1. +1 fingers crossed.

  29. Hamilton is the miserable spoilt brat,ive ever seen on tv as a sportsman.
    Nothing to do with his colour,but he really does think the world owes him a favour.wipe the miserable smirk off his face tomorrow jenson or seb..

    1. *Sighs* why come read an article about Hamilton and then write such poor comments. He was quite clearly emotional because this is one of many steps Hamilton needs to take for him to get his game back.

      I think he’s had enough from the media let alone people like you writing crap like this.

      I personally am not a fan of Alonsos attitude but I do not go shouting around in forums / websites.. Why because I still respect he is a top driver, just like hamilton. So pay a little respect because I hardly think you know the first thing about the psychology of an F1 driver!

    2. he never said such things as the world owes him… he wouldn’t thank his team after a good performance otherwise.
      I wish I was a mind reader like you, you must be so successful in life thanks to that skill…

    3. @andy.. i’m guessing you are a super psychologist in the league of Freud et al… how did you arrive at this baseless conclusion? The guy has been through a lot lately so allow him to show his real emotion. I bet you won’t survive an hour in his shoes

    4. Terrible troll is terrible

    5. might be something to do with all the negative press he gets everytime he makes a mistake. nothing i said when button was struggling to get near him earlier in the season. Button has been great the last few races i have to say but the media hound lewis and not jenson. He knows he got the job done today and he knows a win tomorrow will only start to silence his critics. its a lesson for hamilton and i think he will bounce back stronger than ever. Comments like that are just pathetic how was he being spoilt? dont have to wag your finger every time you have pole.

      1. Hamilton’s rookie season sent the expectations soaring, whilst Button has had a much less spectacular career, hence people don’t expect him to outpace Hamilton day in and day out. The same thing has happened to Schumacher, the expectations have been unrealistic and the press has been ruthless. If Massa started beating Alonso regularly you can bet the knives would be out for the Spaniard just as it was for his predecessor.

  30. So why’s di Resta ahead of Sutil?

    1. Because he set sector times

  31. Nice to see someone other than the RBRs on pole, it was always likely to be Hamilton that ended their run it wasn’t it?

    Hamilton’s emotionless reaction (a part for seeming unhappy) took a bit of a gloss of it but then really who could blame him. He said yesterday (or Thursday) even a win here wouldn’t put things right, so it is not surprising that he’s not smiling from ear to ear. Its not even half the job done, maybe he’s concerned about RBRs different strategy, maybe its because he’s finally done it when it doesn’t matter for this season or maybe its just indicative of the very low place he’s in at the moment. Hopefully a win tomorrow and we’ll see a better reaction but it might take one or two, it might even take the new championship before we see smiles again. I’m not a Hamilton fan but I do like to see drivers with his do or die style and it is sad to see any driver down especially after putting some great laps in.

    Alonso wasn’t happy either, maybe its the Korean air or post championship won hangover for everyone.

  32. It’s finally nice to see Lewis on pole position after what he’s gone through this season. I really feel for him and as for today. What a lap! He nailed almost every corner and apex. He seems to have his mojo back and when his mojo’s back then he’s almost unstoppable. I think he’ll win the race if he stays out in front and keeps out of trouble.

  33. Everyone knows Lewis is just the best out there. But they pretend they don’t :-)

    1. Trenthamfolk (@)
      15th October 2011, 15:02

      Haha, so true… ;-)

    2. But we know :)

    3. No need to be cocky. Vettel and Alonso are the best out there.

      1. Trenthamfolk (@)
        15th October 2011, 21:40

        Alonso, lol…

        1. Yes, the driver who sits a few points off 2nd in the championship, in a Ferrari that is less competitive than the Mclaren.

          The only thing worth “lol”ing about is the mature way you call him “eyebrows” and “chin”, or whatever.

  34. Trenthamfolk (@)
    15th October 2011, 15:01

    OK, I was drunk last night so have just watched Quali online… I’m so pleased for Hammy, perhaps this will quieten the Hamilton Haters down a bit. An amazing drive from one of the best in the world. It’s also great to see Seb in 2nd, he can always pull it out of the bag, and my man, Button, in third…

    A special mention goes to doormat Massa for out-qualifying chin man, AGAIN… Fernando won’t be happy! I guess Massa will be forced to retire on the 1st lap tomorrow, then write “I love Fernando” a thousand times as a punishment…

    1. Massa has outpaced Alonso in qualifying for the second race in a row, yes, but Fernando was testing a new front wing, he made a mistake in the first sector, and he probably has his car optimised for the race. Remember Suzuka? He was beaten by Massa after he abandoned the final run, but his gearing for the race was spot-on, and he was able to keep Vettel behind and hunt down Jenson. One could hardly cite an example where Massa has been that clever, quick, prudent or reliable this year.

      1. Trenthamfolk (@)
        15th October 2011, 16:46

        I agree… apart from the ‘probably has his car optimised for the race’ part… that’s just an excuse for eyebrows being rubbish today. I know you love him and all that, but honestly…

        Anyway, it doesn’t really matter, because Massa will just pull over and let him drive past, AGAIN. Every time Massa pulls over, Alonso discredits himself and belittles his racing credentials. If he were a better driver, he’d overtake, like a real racing driver.

  35. Good job by Hamilton. Lets hope all the negative stuff can be put to rest with a grands prix win tomorrow, Lewis needs it! Personally I hope McLaren can put a string of results together to finish 2011 on a high, and to take onwards into 2012.

  36. Hamilton is not beaming because he is a perfectionist and highly competitive. It’s called keeping your head down and working. Anyway, what is the point of saying anything when the parsing of your comments has been industrialized? Post session on Speed, Will Buxton, MD., presented a paper on the psychological pathology of patient H to close out the show. He should keep perspective because if he wins a couple more races, and continues to dominate Button in qualifying, only a gallon of haterade will permit someone to maintain that he has “lost it.” Anyone who thinks he can’t bounce back because of recent results to flip back to last year and this track and see how pathetically off the pace Button was. Now look at him.

    This pole has some momentous characteristics that will make him happier in retrospect. First, it comes in downpour of criticism, and stems another onslaught of hysterical press. Second, it comes after two consecutive races where he doesn’t even get a second Q3 lap in, thanks, in part, to team bumbling. Third, he is first man to pull Excalibur from the stone this year, and it was not because Vettel had some problem, besides a lingering hangover. He beat him with sheer speed. Fourth, his pole blocks RBR from being the first team to achieve 16 poles in a year, defending this important superlative owned by McLaren and Williams. In an era where McLaren has not been able to add much to its trophy shelf, thwarting the fizzy drinks company from stealing another bit of its legacy was priceless. I’m sure Dennis will send Hamilton a fruit basket for that one.

    1. Trenthamfolk (@)
      15th October 2011, 16:48

      He lets his driving do the talking, which is fine by me…

    2. his pole blocks RBR from being the first team to achieve 16 poles in a year, defending this important superlative owned by McLaren and Williams. In an era where McLaren has not been able to add much to its trophy shelf, thwarting the fizzy drinks company from stealing another bit of its legacy was priceless. I’m sure Dennis will send Hamilton a fruit basket for that one.

      Nice :)

    3. @DaveW

      Lingering hangover

      was exactly what my non F1following wife remarked when I couldn’t understand RedBull’s Q1 times…

    4. Can’t Red Bull just take pole at any of the remaining three rounds?

  37. can someone enlighten be and tell me why DiResta is ahead of Sutil in qualifying? Diresta is faster than Sutil in Q1 but Sutil is faster in Q2. So shouldnt Sutil be ahead, or am I omitting some kind of rule?


    1. Di Resta left the pits, even though he didn’t do a lap, in Q3. By the rules, he gets ahead. Pretty sneaky.

      1. thanks for clearing that up, i was too tired and finished watching after q1


  39. Stunning lap from Lewis!
    As some other people above here observed as well, I think hè was genuinly overcome with emotion. But I guess hè tried to hide it. In pressconference da interviewer saw through it: ‘you’re just taking it all in’ but chose to not grill Hamilton. I think if hè done that, Lewis would’ve cried.

  40. After seeing the pictures of Lewis after the pole run, and reading about his actions, I can’t help but get the feeling that this is a young man who has made a ‘momentous’ decision. What it is God knows. I can see his actions after winning the WDC as being overcome with emotion, not this.

    1. Trenthamfolk (@)
      15th October 2011, 21:42

      You think he may have abandoned Mclaren?

  41. it would be fascinating to get an insite into lewis’s state of mind. He sure is very focused for tomorrows race, but he won before with a smile on his face. Is he may be too focused. That can’t be good.
    How is his relationship with nicole going? Is he calm about it?
    How is he coping with his teammate recent sucess?
    There are so many questions. And he is defenetly facing the race tomorrow with a different attitude.
    We’ll see if it works.

  42. A good qualifying session, I enjoyed it. Pity I fell asleep a couple of times but that’s by no means a reflection on the quality of the session!

    I’m not gonna say that it’s nice to see something other than an RB7 on pole. I am going to say that it’s nice to see an utterly brilliant pole lap, irrespective of who bagged it.

  43. Go Lewis we are waiting for this and McLarens’ 1-2 all season.

  44. Holly Samos said on twitter today that she had been told by someone in the paddock that Hamilton has some personal issues, seems he isnt prepared to share whatever it is with the press at this time.

    On a sidenote it seems a long time since Nicole was at a race.

    Hope he wins tomorrow, might silence some of the Jenson fanboys on here for a couple of days at least

    1. @mild7nick Don’t see why you feel the need to have a pop at Button’s fans.

      1. Let me quantify my comment keith, I do not mean all Jenson fans for I acknowledge most are balanced in their opinions but there seems to have been an abundance of “fanboys” of late who have taken great pleasure in the plight of Lewis Hamilton. I cannot understand how one can take pleasure in the plight of any driver let alone a British one who in his short time in F1 has already delivered plenty of entertainment value.
        I appreciate the talents of all the drivers on the grid including Jenson but some of the comments on here and elsewhere of late have been little more than kicking someone whilst they are down.

        Lewis may not be everyones cup of tea I admit but its sad that some take the pleasure they do in constantly bashing him

        1. @Mild7nick Well I say rise above it, don’t lower yourself to their level. I thought the rest of your comment was very interesting but the last line a bit unnecessary (sorry if that sounds patronising, it’s not meant to).

          1. point taken, should have just said silence his critics.

            I just think its a shame when such a great driver is in such a dark place, I hope he finds himself during the winter and comes back stronger next year.

            His season reminds of Damon Hill’s in 95, Damon made a lot of errors but did some soul searching in the off season and came back a better driver than he had ever been before in 96. I think he could help Lewis

          2. @Mild7nick

            I think the comparison with Hill is a good one. He made one mistake after the other that year. But then look how strong he was in ’96.

            I still come back to what I wrote in the article I did on this a couple of weeks ago:

            At the end of last year Hamilton spoke of looking forward to a better season having put problems in his personal life behind him. Whatever he’s changed it doesn’t seem to have had the desired effect.

            What’s gone wrong for Lewis Hamilton in 2011?

            Maybe that’s not it, but there’s clearly a lot more going on here than what we can tell from the outside.

        2. Well I think it’s a case of what goes around comes around. Jenson fans have had to put up with a lot of flak that JB is a mediocre driver that lucked into a WDC and can’t compare at all with Hamilton. In fact, Vettel fans have had to put up with Hamilton fans saying that he’s not in Lewis’s league, etc.

          There are always going to be “fanboys”, and objectively, I think Hamilton fanboys are the most vocal of the lot.

          I stopped watching/following F1 for a while during Schumacher’s 5 year run with Ferrari, in part because of the dominance, and in part because it was hard to get access to good race coverage. I started again last year and didn’t have any real favorites. I also didn’t have massive preconceptions of the different drivers. It was interesting the narratives the BBC guys had, and on some of the forums. Very pro-Lewis, very down on Vettel.

          Vettel crashes, he’s the “Crash Kid”, Hamilton crashes and he’s “a racer going for a gap”. Stuff like that. And poor Button, just a journeyman who got lucky and can’t win except in changeable conditions (until Japan). Even in the BBC forum after the race in Japan they said to Jenson that this was his first win in the dry and he had to correct them to say he’d won many races in the dry (in 2009). How irritating that must be for Button.

          I don’t think some of Lewis’s more ardent fans really understand how lopsided it feels to non-Lewis fans. The truth is Lewis is a phenomenal driver (I’ve been rewatching the 2008 season), but so is Vettel, Alonso and even Button. And they are all pretty likable. Even Schumacher is likable :-)

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