Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Melbourne, 2011

Red Bull dominate final practice in Melbourne

2011 Australian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Melbourne, 2011
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Melbourne, 2011

Sebastian Vettel set a searing pace in the final practice session ahead of qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.

Vettel was a second faster than any other car and 0.8s faster than team mate Mark Webber.

Jenson Button did an early run on the soft tyres and went fastest.

But Red Bull gave a demonstration of their performance as Sebastian Vettel used hard tyres to beat Button’s time by 0.6 seconds.

Vettel improved his time even further when he changed to soft tyres.

Vitaly Petrov was fifth fastest for Renault ahead of Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari.

The two Williams drivers hit trouble with Pastor Maldonado coming to a halt in a gravel trap. Rubens Barrichello’s session also ended early after a technical problem.

Sauber’s Sergio Perez also wasn’t able to complete the session, rolling into the pits at slow speed halfway through the practice hour.

Vitantonio Liuzzi made a brief appearance in the HRT but only made it as far as turn four before the car shut down. Team mate Narain Karthikeyan was able to complete a single lap, seven minutes before the end of the session.

Late in the session Felipe Massa had an unusual incident when the onboard camera fell off his car, forcing him to abort his run.

Pos. Car Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’24.507 15
2 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’25.364 0.857 14
3 3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’25.553 1.046 15
4 4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’25.567 1.060 16
5 10 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’25.906 1.399 18
6 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’26.121 1.614 16
7 16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’26.417 1.910 17
8 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’26.520 2.013 17
9 9 Nick Heidfeld Renault 1’26.746 2.239 17
10 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’26.856 2.349 15
11 18 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’27.008 2.501 17
12 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’27.011 2.504 15
13 19 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’27.066 2.559 14
14 15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’27.087 2.580 15
15 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’27.180 2.673 15
16 11 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’28.068 3.561 7
17 17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’28.077 3.570 9
18 20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1’29.772 5.265 17
19 21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1’30.003 5.496 18
20 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’30.261 5.754 15
21 12 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1’30.496 5.989 5
22 25 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1’30.704 6.197 18
23 22 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’41.554 17.047 5
24 23 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1

Combined practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 FP3 Total laps
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’27.158 1’26.014 1’24.507 69
2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’26.831 1’26.283 1’25.364 67
3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’28.483 1’25.986 1’25.553 72
4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’28.440 1’25.854 1’25.567 77
5 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’28.765 1’27.528 1’25.906 62
6 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’27.749 1’26.001 1’26.121 64
7 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’28.725 1’28.095 1’26.417 65
8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’28.152 1’27.448 1’26.520 56
9 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’28.690 1’26.590 1’26.856 60
10 Nick Heidfeld Renault 1’28.928 1’27.536 1’26.746 53
11 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’28.842 1’26.789 1’27.011 69
12 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’29.328 1’27.697 1’27.008 68
13 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’27.525 1’27.066 45
14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’28.376 1’27.087 48
15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’29.643 1’27.101 1’28.077 66
16 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’29.314 1’28.583 1’27.180 65
17 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’28.430 1’27.280 1’28.068 65
18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1’29.403 1’29.386 1’30.496 58
19 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’29.468 23
20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1’32.428 1’30.829 1’29.772 52
21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1’30.912 1’30.003 41
22 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’35.289 1’32.135 1’30.261 60
23 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1’35.282 1’32.106 1’30.704 71
24 Nico H???lkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’31.002 20
25 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’41.554 5

2011 Australian Grand Prix

Browse all 2011 Australian Grand Prix articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

50 comments on “Red Bull dominate final practice in Melbourne”

  1. Don’t tell me McLaren are faster than Ferrari? Obviously we don’t know fuel loads so we’ll have to see in qualifying but it’s certainly looking that way. Extremely surprising. What isn’t surprising at all is RBR’s pace. I’ll predict right now before they’ve even qualified for the first race that Vettel’s going to win another WDC and the team will get another constructor’s championship.

    Great to see DiResta beat his teammate and Kobayashi and Petrov in the top 10, also beating their teammates!

    HRT and Virgin – obviously HRT are well out of the 107% needed but what about Virgin?

    Anyway, time for an hour’s sleep.

    1. Looks like Ferrari is not quite as good as they had us believe from testing. Massa struggling, Alonso having to battle that car. No, they will not be feeling satisfied here.

      McLaren look solid. But we do not know what Mercedes were doing. And Petrov is really showing just why I do not expect too much of Nick Heidfeld. He just needs to be pushed all the way to perform.

      Sadly it shows exactly where RBR are. A good second ahead possibly. Seb on the softs allegedly had still 30kg of fuel in. Webber did not even do softs. A Seb-Mark battle for pole then.

      Great to see the HRT actually turning a wheel. Narain tweeted he did a total of 4 laps (1 installation, 1 outlap, 1 timed lap and 1 inlap). Glock is within 107% and D Ambrosio only 3 tenths away.
      And it looks like the teams might allow everyone to start at the first race of the year anyhow. Good idea.
      After all the work these teams did to get to Melbourne in the first place and get the cars running, at least have them get milage on.

      1. But if the best that HRT can manage is 1:41 (which is 120%, way past 107%) that’s far too slow and dangerous for race conditions? How can the teams or anyone allow this?

        1. They are just trundling round, and if they are allowed to do so by the teams in the race, I don’t think they’ll go long enough to be lapped.

        2. On the BBC commentary they had some information from the teams about an agreement to allow everyone to go into the race despite the 107% limit.
          It does make sense, no one really knew where they were before this weekend on speed. I bet that if Virgin would have known they were 6 seconds off the pace here they would have looked at bringing something extra.

      2. And Petrov is really showing just why I do not expect too much of Nick Heidfeld.

        … and REALLY makes me miss Kubica. If Petrov’s that far up the time sheet with that car, where would he have been?

        1. I think you’re all reading too much into practice times. And anyway, on the tracks he knew Petrov was very close to Kubica last year in terms of outright pace, if not consistency.

        2. Exactly. Although I do think Petrov improved his game as well. Maybe he can cut out the mistakes a bit and do quite well, his getaways from the grid are pretty good.

          1. Petrov’s certainly improved his game, but who’s to say Kubica wouldn’t have as well?

    2. Sleep? pah! time for some munch lol

      Lets not forget last season Red Bull should have crushed everyone but they made some schoolboy errors. With another year of experience I don’t see them giving away wins this season. All be done and dusted after 12 races or so I reckon, with a mad battle for 2nd.

    3. Ferrari said they were focusing on practice starts

  2. trulli dead
    26th March 2011, 4:11

    Jeez Narain, even Vincenzo Sospiri was faster than you in his 1997 Lola.

  3. It just remains to see how Red Bull is actually planning to screw it up.

  4. Vettel has definitely put his mark on the timing sheets, what a lap.

    I predict 1.23.750 for Quali with Vettel setting it.

    1. I put a 1:23.477 in the predictions, by Vettel.

      1. I had a 1:23.123 but changed it to a 1.24.123 yesterday and was not in time to go back to the initial time before FP3.

        1. I forgot to update it before I went to bed – I would have changed it the other way though, into the 1:23s, not to longer times :)

    2. I put 1:23.796

  5. If this session reflects true pace I shall be drinking champagne for breakfast

    Go Lewis, Go Mclaren

  6. Ron in Michigan
    26th March 2011, 4:13

    For the life of me I can’t tell if Alonso is sandbagging or not.

    1. trulli dead
      26th March 2011, 4:15

      I wonder if HRT are sandbagging, ready to surprise us with a sub 1:35 time?

      1. LOL! That would be hilarious.

  7. looks to me as though Jenson has about a 10th over Lewis at the moment

    1. Blog Raider
      26th March 2011, 4:20

      wait till they empty the tanks for qualifying and the car becomes slightly unsettled…

  8. F1 the pinnacle of motorsport? Watching Karthikeyan doing an installation lap in FP3 while others are going flat out was just horrendous and utterly dangerous. That just cannot happen again.

  9. Blog Raider
    26th March 2011, 4:17

    When is this “drinks company” going bust? its getting boring now :(

    1. I’m inclined to agree haha.

    2. I buy tescos ‘kick’ nowadays…not as nice but the taste of red bull was sickening me. Still it taste better than molborough

      Can’t wait for the mp4-12c to finally hit the streets…then I can stop driving my Ferrari…lol

      1. I’ve always prefered Relentless haha

  10. Ugh.

    This season could be the epitome of anticlimaxes.

  11. Q should be very exciting… But I think strategy and race pace will be the order of tomorrow.

  12. Alonso, Massa and Schumacher went slower than yesterday.
    Rosberg matched the time Schumacher did yesterday.

    Clearly they had other concerns than scaring us all like RBR is doing.

  13. zzzzz…HRT will not be racing

  14. RandomChimp
    26th March 2011, 4:25

    Button and Hamilton are satisfyingly close.

  15. Cant help but admire what Red Bull is doing, with that pace strategy will not matter on sunday as they can probably build up a pit stops lead over a stint.
    Aslong as there is a good title battle between Vettel and Webber I dont think it will be a dull season.
    Imagine if Ferrari had the best car by a mile, it would be dull then but aslong as teammates are close thats all you can ask for.
    The HRT looks like it was on the pace of an F3 car out there at best, most certainly shouldnt be allowed to race on safety grounds

    1. People don’t complain when Le Mans has such big differences, and it rarely causes an accident. The dangers of slow cars have been far over-hyped.

      1. Yeah. Unleas you do something silly like Webber and Heikki did :-D

        1. That could have happened between any two cars if they braked at different times.

    2. To be honest I don’t think Karthikeyan was pushing the car. It surely can’t be THAT slow…

      1. He was doing the first real lap in that car, so he was probably just going it slow finding out weather everyting works fine.
        I think they will be doing about the same times as Virgin when they do get some setup on that car.

    3. hrt are carrying out shake down lap for car and after what happen to tonio looked like they where takin it easy

      i dont expect them to qualify but they will be around 108% of fastest q1 time

  16. Petrov ahead of Alonso…. now that’s something

    Is that genuinely Ferrari’s pace?

    1. No, they weren’t interested in going faster in FP3, that’s all. Alonso could take pole here.

      1. I don’t expect they knew they had as much in store as Red Bull though. Let’s hope they do, or we again are back to hoping for Red Bull mistakes or something over the year to keep things interesting.

  17. Blimey! Another season of hoping something breaks on a Red Bull? Argh!

  18. No Way!! No more Redbull dominant!!

    1. These are practice times. Don’t even think that if they take the front row in qualifying they’ll dominate. Do not forget about the new rules and new tyres. This year will probably have a lot more pit stops and strategy will be much more important.

      That being said I do think RBR are gonna get the double championship again.

      1. I hope s…what? No, it’s worse! :P

  19. Decent showing for Petrov, hope he keeps it up. Great stuff from Lotus too, looks promising.

  20. So FP3 was a pretty good indicator of the relative speeds it seems; Hamilton finding something extra, Alonso eking out Petrov, and Heidfeld dropping it in qualifying, Buemi finding his way; but roughly similar picture.

Comments are closed.