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

Browse all 2011 Korean Grand Prix articles

Image ?? Korean GP/Sutton

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

Jump to comment page: 1 2 3
  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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

    1. Because he set sector times

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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

    1. Haha, so true… ;-)

    2. But we know :)

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

      1. 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.

  14. 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. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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. 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?

  17. 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


  19. 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.

  20. 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. You think he may have abandoned Mclaren?

Jump to comment page: 1 2 3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.