Vettel takes record 15th pole position

2011 Brazilian GP qualifying

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2011

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2011

Sebastian Vettel set a new landmark with his 15th pole position of the season in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Team mate Mark Webber ran him close but Vettel had a tenth of a second in hand when it mattered in Q3.

The two McLarens share the second row of the grid.


Qualifying began in dry conditions at the Interlagos circuit, but with rain threatening the teams were quick to get the session started. Within a few minutes of the start all 24 cars were out on the track.

Despite Lotus’s hopes of challenging Williams, the usual three teams were eliminated in Q1. Unusually, both HRTs out-qualified the Virgins.

It came down to a contest between the Williams drivers to determine who would reach Q2. A late effort by Rubens Barrichello kept him safe from his team mate at his home track.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1’14.625
19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1’15.068
20 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1’15.358
21 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1’16.631
22 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1’16.890
23 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1’17.019
24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’17.060


Still wary of the prospect of rain, the teams sent their cars out immediately as Q2 began.

Vettel set a 1’12.446 which no-one could get close to at first, and returned to the pits straight afterwards.

Nico Rosberg came closes, a 1’12.569 putting him second in the Mercedes. His team mate languished outside the top ten with his first run before doing a second to make the cut. Even so, he was over a second slower than Rosberg.

Schumacher made it through at the expense of Paul di Resta, while the other Force India of Adrian Sutil reached the top ten.

Felipe Massa was another driver who had to do another run at the end of the session as he came under threat of elimination. Despite an error in the Senna S, he secured a place in Q3.

Bruno Senna made it two home drivers in the final ten, making it through as team mate Vitaly Petrov dropped out.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’13.584
12 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’13.801
13 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’13.804
14 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’13.919
15 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’14.053
16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’14.129
17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’14.182


By Q3 the teams had decided the rain wasn’t going to happen and the session followed a more typical pattern.

Vettel once again reeled off a lap that was instantly good enough to put him quickest.

Webber made it a Red Bull one-two while Button, Alonso, Hamilton and Rosberg took up the places behind them.

Vettel went out for a second run and found even more time – delivering a lap of 1’11.918. He needed to, as team mate Webber got within a tenth of a second with his final run, confirming the Red Bull lockout of the front row.

The two McLarens line up behind them, Button in front of Hamilton, followed by Alonso and Rosberg.

Massa and Sutil shared the fourth row in front of Senna and Schumacher – the latter not setting a time, just touring the track on medium tyres having run out of softs.

Vettel’s pole position put him ahead of Nigel Mansell’s 1992 record of setting 14 pole positions in a season. Mansell did so when there were 16 races in a season compared to today’s 19.

Top ten in Q3

1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’11.918
2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’12.099
3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’12.283
4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’12.480
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’12.591
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’13.050
7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’13.068
8 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’13.298
9 Bruno Senna Renault 1’13.761
10 Michael Schumacher Mercedes

2011 Brazilian Grand Prix

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64 comments on Vettel takes record 15th pole position

  1. Eggry (@eggry) said on 26th November 2011, 17:11

    a Stunning from Vettel! Actually I hoped he was not able to make it but under-1:12 lap really surprised me.

    Nico made me fun when he made remarkable P2 in Q2 but it seems like just luck.

  2. Estesark (@estesark) said on 26th November 2011, 17:15

    Red Bull have dominated this track for three seasons now. Only a change in weather can stop them from a 1-2 tomorrow.

  3. David-A (@david-a) said on 26th November 2011, 17:15

    Vettel in the press conference did acknowledge that Mansell had less races to get his 14 poles, which really sums up SV’s character. Very humble, anything but arrogant, yet supreme when getting down to business.

    • Estesark (@estesark) said on 26th November 2011, 20:18

      Yep, Vettel is annoyingly difficult to dislike. He’s young, modest, charming, honest, dedicated, ambitious, immensely talented, very funny (as F1 drivers go), and he even speaks a bit of Finnish, which goes down very well over here!

      I still can’t get excited about his success, though. I was never a fan of Michael Schumacher when he was dominating the sport, but now that he’s come back, not had immediate success, but kept plugging away, I’ve grown to like him. I’d like to see Vettel have a year or two with an uncompetitive car, or when luck isn’t going his way, to find out how he reacts. That’s not a criticism of him.

      This is a criticism, though: every time he wins or gets a pole, I feel depressed knowing that “the finger” is coming. You’ve even got it in your avatar. It’s not that I want to deprive him of a celebration; I just think he should introduce a little variation. He could try a clenched fist, a V-sign, thumbs up, or maybe even a sign of the horns, which would be appropriate, considering the car he drives.

      • This is a criticism, though: every time he wins or gets a pole, I feel depressed knowing that “the finger” is coming.

        Well, it’s a trademark now — possibly because so many people have made such a big deal out of it? — and I have a feeling there’s a lot of depression in your future. ;-)

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th November 2011, 23:18

        I’d like to see Vettel have a year or two with an uncompetitive car

        It’s not as if he hasn’t already – the Toro Rosso wasn’t up to much in 2007 and most of 2008.

        • 5150 (@) said on 27th November 2011, 9:19

          Indeed he has. I just wonder how come nobody wants to see Hamilton in an uncopetitive car?

        • JCost (@jcost) said on 27th November 2011, 11:11


          We don’t need him with a bad car, we need Alonso, Hamilton, Button (and Schumacher) with cars on pair with Sebastian.

        • Estesark (@estesark) said on 27th November 2011, 12:08

          His results with Toro Rosso, including that one victory, were impressive, there’s no denying that. But that was before he became the F1-dominating driver he is now. I think that’s why a lot of people would like to see him struggle for a while. Can he drag a car to race victories and podiums when it has no right to be there, like Alonso can, for example? Will he lose his temperament?

          • 5150 (@) said on 27th November 2011, 14:31

            Mclaren is very competitive car. As is Red Bull. Ferrari not so, but firmly third car on the grid. Probably Red Bull is the best. I believe that Vettel makes a difference. Just compare Webber’s results. We just need to decide how good is Webber?

          • I’d love to think that if he did end up in such a situation and perform admirably, people would finally admit Vettel might actually have some talent. However, I have a feeling that somehow the benchmark would suddenly change once again. It seems people find reasons to dismiss every one of his achievements, and I can’t see why that situation would be an exception!

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 27th November 2011, 15:23

            I have a feeling that somehow the benchmark would suddenly change once again.

            I expect there’s a lot of truth in that.

          • 5150 (@) said on 27th November 2011, 18:27

            I feel the the same as you both.

  4. Younger Hamii (@younger-hamii) said on 26th November 2011, 17:16

    I think the word ‘Qualifying’ needs to be replaced with something Vettel related.

    Honestly,It was over once he put in that first flying lap in Q2,when interestingly the track & air temperatures dropped by a reasonable amount which may have played into RB’s hands but other than that.Who was stopping Seb?

  5. Paul F said on 26th November 2011, 17:23

    I hope whatever it is that Red Bull supposedly do in Q3 that they also supposedly won’t have available to them next year won’t actually be available to them next year.

  6. dirgegirl (@dirgegirl) said on 26th November 2011, 17:26

    That was breath-taking from Vettel. Absolutely amazing.

  7. STSCM (@stscm) said on 26th November 2011, 17:31

    Fantastic run from Vettel! Now, any bets on what the field looks like 100yds past turn 1?
    Hope it rains tomorrow, the great field leveler.

  8. sid_prasher (@) said on 26th November 2011, 17:48

    Super run from Vettel. He keeps finding ways to trim his time in Q3 – unbelievable.
    Excellent run from Senna and Sutil as well.
    I think Schumacher is going for a wet set up – he wasn’t 1 second away from Nico during the practice sessions…there is still a good chance it will rain during the race tomorrow…

  9. MacLeod (@macleod) said on 26th November 2011, 17:59

    Quit sure some drivers are in rain setup and Michel is one of them.

  10. Pretty good lap by Fernando to be so close to Lewis and so far ahead of Massa.

  11. vishy (@vishy) said on 26th November 2011, 18:30

    Fantastic Pole from Vettel. This kid is terrific.

    Looking at it from Race view, i get a feeling Webber will win the race.

    Lewis and Button are evenly matched, but as always in race conditions Alonso is very fast. Let us see he will get the final podium, very likely.

  12. Snafu (@snafu) said on 26th November 2011, 18:47

    0.2 between HAM and BUT….weird!

  13. celeste (@celeste) said on 26th November 2011, 19:00

    In homage to Nigel Mansell Red Bull did this

    lol… Great record, congrats to him and the team

  14. Palle (@palle) said on 26th November 2011, 19:14

    Fantastic Vetlifying;-)

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