Vettel takes pole position as Massa crashes

2011 Indian GP qualifying report

Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Buddh International Circuit, 2011

Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Buddh International Circuit, 2011

Sebastian Vettel claimed his 13th pole position of 2011 in qualifying for the Indian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton qualified second but will start fifth following his penalty.

He aborted his final effort shortly before Felipe Massa crashed in the dying moments of Q3.

Q1

With a large difference in performance between the soft and hard tyres, some of the front runners found themselves under pressure in the first session.

The Red Bull and Ferrari drivers were able to set quick enough times on hard tyres, as was Lewis Hamilton.

But Jenson Button found himself struggling for grip on the hard tyres. He had to return to the track for an extra run, using up a set of soft tyres, guaranteeing his progress to Q2.

Michael Schumacher was in the same situation, and had a scare when he caught Narain Karthikeyan in turn ten during his final lap. But he was able to improve to 11th place.

That knocked out Kamui Kobayashi, the Sauber drivers doing just one run at the end of Q1. Button moved up to third with his final lap.

Timo Glock only did one lap before his gearbox broke, leaving him outside the 107% time. He will need permission from the stewards to start the race.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

18 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’27.876
19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1’28.565
20 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1’28.752
21 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1’30.216
22 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’30.238
23 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1’30.866
24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’34.046

Q2

The top three teams comfortably made it into Q2 without having to make extra runs. But the fight among the remaining cars was much closer.

Adrian Sutil made it into Q3 with his final lap, squeezing Schumacher out of the top ten. Once again the Mercedes driver found himself needing to pull something out of the bag with his last effort.

But this time he couldn’t manage it and had to settle for 12th place. On his way back to the pits he complained of tyre vibrations, which also troubled him in Korea two weeks ago.

Both Toro Rosso drivers also reached the top ten, eliminating the Renault drivers. Paul di Resta was not able to follow his team mate into Q3.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’26.319
12 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’26.337
13 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’26.503
14 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1’26.537
15 Bruno Senna Renault 1’26.651
16 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’27.247
17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’27.562

Q3

Hamilton was the first driver out on track in Q3, joined by the Ferrari and Red Bull drivers. Button, having used up a set of softs in Q1, hung back in the pits to begin with.

Hamilton and Webber took a lap to warm up their tyres before doing their quickest runs. They were pipped by Vettel, the trio covered by less than a tenth of a second.

Sutil and the Toro Rossos made a show of going out during the session but returned to the pits without setting times.

The first of the remaining seven drivers to attempt a time was Hamilton, but he aborted his effort as he couldn’t improve in the first two sectors. Vettel came around to tighten his grasp on pole position by improving his time to a 1’24.178.

Further behind, Massa sealed the deal for Vettel by crashing in turn nine, bringing out the yellow flags. The front-right suspension failed on his Ferrari as he hit the kerb at turn eight, sending him into the barriers. He climbed out of his car unhurt.

Button was right behind him as the crash happened and yellow flags came out. He took fifth with a 1’24.950.

However after Hamilton’s penalty Button will be promoted to fourth place and the other McLaren will start fifth.

Top ten in Q3

1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’24.178
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’24.474
3 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’24.508
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’24.519
5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’24.950
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’25.122
7 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’25.451
8 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes
9 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari
10 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari

2011 Indian Grand Prix

Browse all 2011 Indian Grand Prix articles

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

Advert | Go Ad-free

76 comments on Vettel takes pole position as Massa crashes

  1. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 29th October 2011, 14:22

    Karthikeyan penalised for impeding Schumacher, he is given a five-place grid penalty. Good session sad that we couldn’t see what Button would have done but happy that Massa is OK.I think Hamilton should be happy as he now starts of the clear side of the track & we know how dusty is offline here.I think this is a good track but may be as we have dust off line we may not see too many overtaking tomorrow.Good job by the Torro Rosso pair.

  2. Jelle van der Meer (@jelle-van-der-meer) said on 29th October 2011, 15:02

    I am amazed nobody seems to have picked up on the fact that Petrov and Alguersuari drove the exact same time 1.26:319 yet Petrov going through into Q3 and Petrov stuck at 11th.

    Not sure if Alguersuari advanced to Q3 because in tenthousands he was quicker than Petrov or because he set the time first.

    Keith could you find out their best Q2 times in tenthousands of a second?

  3. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 29th October 2011, 18:07

    I bet Schumacher will be glad has has Petrov in front of him!

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.