Vettel back in front with Bahrain pole position

2012 Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Bahrain, 2012Sebastian Vettel returned to a familiar position as he claimed pole for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

His final effort in Q3 put him at the head of the grid for tomorrow’s race. He will share the front row with Lewis Hamilton.

Their team mates will start behind them on row two as Nico Rosberg could only manage fifth.

Q1

Q1 produced a shock elimination as the rapidly-improving track conditions caught out several drivers.

A last-gasp effort by Heikki Kovalainen was enough for him to take Caterham into Q2 by 0.013s.

Just as much of a surprise as that was the identity of the driver he knocked out: Michael Schumacher.

Mercedes, along with McLaren and Lotus, elected not to send their drivers out for a second run. In Schumacher’s case, a problem with his DRS prevented him from going out to set another time. They paid the price as Kovalainen produced a superb lap.

For the third race weekend in a row, Jean-Eric Vergne also missed the cut for Q2. Worse, he was seen driving through a red light as he returned to the pits as marshals attempted to direct him into the weighbridge, and is likely to face a penalty.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

18 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’34.865
19 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’35.014
20 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’35.823
21 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’37.683
22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’37.883
23 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’37.905
24 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’38.314

Q2

Once again the closely-matched midfield produced another exciting Q2. With the track improving late in the session, and the changing wind keeping the teams guessing.

Romain Grosjean produced a superb late effort to secure his place in the final ten. But team mate Raikkonen missed the cut by a tenth of a second.

That came due to a last-gasp improvement by Fernando Alonso, who once again managed to get the Ferrari into Q3.

Meanwhile Daniel Ricciardo took the Toro Rosso into Q3, despite his team mate going out in the the first session.

Several teams got just one driver into Q3, including Force India and Sauber. Maldonado did not set a time after a KERS problem.

At the front, Lewis Hamilton pipped Nico Rosberg for the fastest time by a hundredth of a second.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’33.789
12 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’33.806
13 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’33.807
14 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’33.912
15 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’34.017
16 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’36.132
17 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault

Q3

McLaren and Red Bull were the only teams to set times at the beginning of Q3. Hamilton set the early pace followed by Button, Webber and Vettel.

Alonso also left the pits on a set of used softs but elected not to set a time.

Nico Rosberg elected to do a single run and may have regretted it when he made a mistake at the final corner. That left him fifth on the grid.

As they flashed across the line, Webber was first to take provisional pole position, but Vettel snatched it off him moments later by two-tenths of a second. Hamilton split their pair of them for second place as Button fell to fourth.

Ricciardo claimed sixth for Toro Rosso, with Grosjean and Perez the only drivers to set times. Di Resta joined Alonso in not setting a time, and the pair will share the fifth row of the grid.

Top ten in Q3

1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’32.422
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’32.520
3 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’32.637
4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’32.711
5 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’32.821
6 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’32.912
7 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’33.008
8 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’33.394
9 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
10 Paul di Resta Force India

2012 Bahrain Grand Prix


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96 comments on Vettel back in front with Bahrain pole position

  1. Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 21st April 2012, 13:43

    Did FOM deliberately never show Force India in their coverage? They didn’t show anything of Di Resta nor Hulkenburg. Why? Because of Hulk’s yesterday comments? Because they pulled out of FP2?
    It’d be hilarious if a Force India won tomorrow. Bernie will probably force the Bahrain directors to erase the entire race off tape and create a graphical race of a Mac/RB/Merc winning. :P

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 21st April 2012, 14:12

      I don’t think there is a conspiracy here. We haven’t seen much of Force India at all this year. Other than Hulkenberg’s retirement in Melbourne, I can’t recall any other instance where I’ve seen one of them.

  2. Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 21st April 2012, 13:44

    Ricciardo……. And 8 manufactures in the top 10, loving it!

  3. Andy G (@toothpickbandit) said on 21st April 2012, 13:47

    I think Button might be in trouble with his tyres.

    Ted was saying that the strategy is likely to be opt, opt, pri, pri.

    With this in mind, redbull and mclaren decided to use the spare set of options for q2 and the first stint of q3, knowing that they wouldnt be used in the race, and using a new set of options for their fastest time to start the race on.

    Vettel, Hamilton and Webber achieved this, however Button botched his last attempt, meaning he now has to start the race on doubly used softs. I wouldnt be surprised to see him pit a couple of laps before the front 3 tomorrow.

    • Nigel said on 21st April 2012, 14:26

      “Button botched his last attempt, meaning he now has to start the race on doubly used softs”

      Like Hamilton in China.
      Depending on traffic, it might not matter.

      • Andy G (@toothpickbandit) said on 21st April 2012, 14:56

        Thing is in China they used all 3 option tyres in the race so it didnt matter.

        But here it is suggested that only 2 will be used, putting Button at a disadvantage as he must use the most worn softs, and the others wont have to.

    • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 21st April 2012, 16:41

      @toothpickbandit,

      With this in mind, redbull and mclaren decided to use the spare set of options for q2 and the first stint of q3

      Where did you get this information from? I’m reading these types of comments now and then, but I don’t really believe them. Ok, we heard Vettel over the radio, but I think we saw Jenson go out on new softs for his first try in Q3, and I think that’s the standard way of operating for these teams: one set of softs in Q2, and both remaining new sets of softs for Q3.

      I think the only drivers in the top 10 with new options left are Vettel and Rosberg (with Vettel and Webber having only one new set of mediums left as they used two in Q1).

      • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 21st April 2012, 16:53

        I think the only drivers in the top 10 with new options left are Vettel and Rosberg

        Ah, not Vettel, of course, because he did an outlap at the end of Q2 on his second set of soft tyres, and used those for his first Q2 run.

  4. zicasso (@zicasso) said on 21st April 2012, 13:48

    Fernando, Fernando, Fernando… what are you planning to do tomorrow? What tyres are you using? Are we missing someone or something here? I will keep one eye on the race and another on Fernando. :)

  5. raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 21st April 2012, 13:53

    They should’ve let Rosberg set the first time. Rosberg bottles it under pressure again. He does that a lot, Rosberg. Quick when the pressure is off, but not otherwise. Clouting the kerb? Locking up into every next hairpin? On-throttle wheelspin? Come on… that’s amateurish for someone with over 100GPs.

    • Aditya said on 21st April 2012, 14:36

      I’ve always considered him to be massively overrated…he’s good….

      • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 21st April 2012, 14:41

        I consider him overrated if people consider him to be someone who can really get the maximum out of a car. I feel he’s a “par player.” If the car is “5th quickest,” he’ll get 5th. He won’t get better. But my point is – he bottles a lot under pressure.

  6. raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 21st April 2012, 14:08

    Also – while again some people will say, “not the finger again!” but like I said in a previous comment on this site –

    Click
    Click
    Click
    Click
    Click
    Click
    Click
    Click
    Click
    Click
    Click
    Click
    Click
    Click
    Click
    Click

    :P

  7. DT (@dt) said on 21st April 2012, 14:08

    It looks like we are in for an epic season… no one has a dominant car. I foresee the championship going to the wire. Vettel did a great job though. it certainly didn’t think he was going to be on pole. Got to admire Hamilton’s consistency this year. Great effort from him

  8. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 21st April 2012, 14:10

    I have decided that I am not going to watch tomorrow’s race. Watching qualifying was always going to be something of a a litmus test for me, to see how comfortable I would be with watching the event. As it turns out, I am not comfortable.

    I have long maintained my belief that the only reason why a race should be cancelled is because of concerns over the safety of the teams, drivers, media and spectators, and that if a country is at a point where people are hurling fire bombs at police – and where police are sending tear gas back with equal fervour – then that country is not safe for Formula 1.

    It is difficult to quantify my exact feelings on the subject, but after watching qualifying I felt a sense of general unease, one that I have not felt since last year’s Malaysian MotoGP race. It was immediately obvious at the time that Marco Simoncelli’s accident was a bad one, but as the minutes ticked by and he was taken to the medical centre, there was an ominous feeling of foreboding that was unfortunately confirmed when it was announced that Simoncelli had died of his injuries. I had a similar feeling today, of anxious anticipation. I found the atmosphere around the circuit to be disquieting, as if I was waiting on the edge of my seat for something horrible to happen.

    Before anybody pounces on this and misrepresents it as me suddenly giving way to moral outrage, please don’t. I still believe that sport and politics should remain separate, and that it is not the place of Formula 1 or myself to go making political or ethical statements. That is for the international diplomatic community to do, and that is where I will cast my faith. If the situation in Bahrain is to be resolved, it will not be resolved by cancelling the Grand Prix, but through political and economic sanctions. That, I believe, is the safest, best, and most effective way forwards for all involved.

    This does not mean that I feel the race should go ahead regardless; quite the contrary. Three thousand (or more) people are needlessly risking their lives for the sake of something that is ultimately inconsequential.

    • Nigel said on 21st April 2012, 14:42

      “This does not mean that I feel the race should go ahead regardless; quite the contrary. Three thousand (or more) people are needlessly risking their lives for the sake of something that is ultimately inconsequential.”

      I think that it how quite a few of us feel.
      There’s plenty of room to disagree on the politics of the thing – and, whether or not I agree with it, I respect your position – but what is offensive is the FIA and others pretending that safety isn’t an issue.

    • bobo (@bobo) said on 21st April 2012, 16:16

      Well I certainly didn’t see that coming.

      general feeling of unease

      I’d say that’s about right.

    • Alex W said on 22nd April 2012, 9:53

      Yes, this race makes me queasy, I’ll still watch it, much like I watched 45 minuites of moto GP paddock waiting for the inevitable news I didn’t want to hear.

  9. BaKano (@bakano) said on 21st April 2012, 14:12

    It’s amazing how close the field is in Q2. 15 cars in less than 1s, the top 10 that cut into Q3 separated by less than 0,5s! No wonder that a it is unpredictable!
    However Q3 was a bit of disapointment compared to Q2. I also have the impression that it is being like this so far in the season. For sure tyre management becomes more important in Q3 (with drivers opting not to set a time) and it makes a less intense session than Q2.
    Red Bull and McLaren locking the first 1 rows is a more usual sight, hope it is not a sight of things to come.

    • Mahir C said on 21st April 2012, 14:20

      It’s amazing how close the field is in Q2. 15 cars in less than 1s, the top 10 that cut into Q3 separated by less than 0,5s! No wonder that a it is unpredictable!

      Last week it was 3 tenths between 1st and 10th in Q2.

      • BaKano (@bakano) said on 21st April 2012, 20:45

        Yes indeed. I did not mention it, but my comment about this Q2 was thinking of the season so far. It was VERY close last week but it has been in the races so far and the trend continues.
        And not just the TOP 10, but having 15 cars within 1s for 2 races in a row its really something.
        Q3 is not that unpredictable due to the 6 usual suspects, usually the only question is who joins them, although today there was 1 additional “victim”…

        • BaKano (@bakano) said on 21st April 2012, 20:49

          I’m my last statement I meant to say “Q1 is not that unpredictable(…)”.
          About Q3 I am hoping that this year we might see the 10 guys really fighting for the pole, but that is probably wanting too much…

  10. Mahir C said on 21st April 2012, 14:17

    Man this season is weird. Torro Rosso was nowhere last week, now they are only 0.5 secs of pole. Red Bull is supposedly slowest in straight line have pole in Bahrain. Mercedes was supposed to dominate quali at least, they have a driver eliminated in Q1.

  11. Adam said on 21st April 2012, 14:57

    Hamilton has over 10kph on Vettel in a straight line, so Seb needs to bolt from the line or he’s going to be in trouble on lap 3.

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 21st April 2012, 15:22

      Vettel DID have a habit of pulling out a 1s gap last year so he could escape DRS but this year I just don’t know if he will be able to. Heck, the RBR is so slow in a straight line I doubt that escaping Hamilton’s DRS will help him that much!

    • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 21st April 2012, 15:22

      Depends on how they’ve geared up. Lewis could be geared up to maximise DRS top speed while Vettel is on the limiter half the straight. We don’t know how things will pan out in the race to be honest.

    • bag0 (@bag0) said on 21st April 2012, 16:19

      My prediction: Either both Macs jump both RBs at the start or BUT jumps WEB and while HAM BUT WEB are fighting, VET will gain 3-4 seconds in the first 3 laps.

  12. Rocky (@rocky) said on 21st April 2012, 15:02

    Nice poll, great effort but … take that F’n1 finger somewhere perhaps not so sunny.

  13. dennis (@dennis) said on 21st April 2012, 16:01

    I’d love to see Vettel win tomorrow. Imagine this, 4 races with not only 4 different drivers, but also 4 different cars winning the races!!

  14. maxthecat said on 21st April 2012, 16:16

    Grrr , someone snap that finger off, anyone would think he’s hoping for a career as a proctologist when F1 is done.

  15. SilverArrowStefBill (@silverarrowstefbill) said on 21st April 2012, 16:29

    did webber use the yellow tyres in q1? can someone help me?

    • dragon said on 21st April 2012, 16:38

      no footage, but i don’t think so. His and Vettel’s last gasp quick times came on a much improved track on the mediums.

    • katederby said on 21st April 2012, 17:30

      No, WEB and VET on primes in Q1.

      One thing I don’t get,why do people, VET fans or not, care if other fans don’t like Vettel?
      What does it matter?
      I don’t hate any driver, just there are some I like to see win more.
      Bad timing did for Webber, he lost virtually all his time in S3 but still his best qualifying in Bahrain…bring on Sunday.

      • One thing I don’t get,why do people, VET fans or not, care if other fans don’t like Vettel?
        What does it matter?

        It doesn’t matter. There are drivers I don’t particularly like, but I don’t go around harping on that fact in public forums. When people *do* choose to do that, however, it seems to me they are inviting argument.

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