McLaren slash the gap to Red Bull in Sepang

2011 Malaysian GP qualifying analysis

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Sepang, 2011
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Sepang, 2011

Sebastian Vettel may be on pole position again but Red Bull’s advantage over their rivals has been significantly cut.

Vettel’s margin was one tenth of a second – seven-tenths less than it was in Melbourne.

Here’s all the sector times, speed trap figures and more data from qualifying in Malaysia:

Qualifying times in full

  • The top five line up in the same order as they did in Melbourne.
  • Lotus had a much better qualifying session than they did in Melbourne, lapping within a few tenths of the Williamses.
  • All the drivers in Q3 used the soft tyre.
  • Despite missing all of pre-season testing the fastest HRT in the second race was only half a second slower than one of the Virgins.
  • The slowest car beat the 107% time by one second.

Q2 (vs Q1)

Q3 (vs Q2)
1Sebastian VettelRed Bull1’37.4681’35.934 (-1.534)1’34.870 (-1.064)
2Lewis HamiltonMcLaren1’36.8611’35.852 (-1.009)1’34.974 (-0.878)
3Mark WebberRed Bull1’37.9241’36.080 (-1.844)1’35.179 (-0.901)
4Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’37.0331’35.569 (-1.464)1’35.200 (-0.369)
5Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’36.8971’36.320 (-0.577)1’35.802 (-0.518)
6Nick HeidfeldRenault1’37.2241’36.811 (-0.413)1’36.124 (-0.687)
7Felipe MassaFerrari1’36.7441’36.557 (-0.187)1’36.251 (-0.306)
8Vitaly PetrovRenault1’37.2101’36.642 (-0.568)1’36.324 (-0.318)
9Nico RosbergMercedes1’37.3161’36.388 (-0.928)1’36.809 (+0.421)
10Kamui KobayashiSauber1’36.9941’36.691 (-0.303)1’36.820 (+0.129)
11Michael SchumacherMercedes1’36.9041’37.035 (+0.131)
12Sebastien BuemiToro Rosso1’37.6931’37.160 (-0.533)
13Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso1’37.6771’37.347 (-0.330)
14Paul di RestaForce India1’38.0451’37.370 (-0.675)
15Rubens BarrichelloWilliams1’38.1631’37.496 (-0.667)
16Sergio PerezSauber1’37.7591’37.528 (-0.231)
17Adrian SutilForce India1’37.6931’37.593 (-0.100)
18Pastor MaldonadoWilliams1’38.276
19Heikki KovalainenLotus1’38.645
20Jarno TrulliLotus1’38.791
21Timo GlockVirgin1’40.648
22Jerome d’AmbrosioVirgin1’41.001
23Vitantonio LiuzziHRT1’41.549
24Narain KarthikeyanHRT1’42.574

Team mate comparisons

Compare the best times of each team’s drivers in the last part of qualifying in which they both set a time.

  • The biggest gap between team mates was Vitantonio Liuzzi’s one second margin over Narain Karthikeyan.
  • The next largest gaps were found at Sauber (Kamui Kobayashi over Sergio Perez) and Mercedes (Nico Rosberg over Michael Schumacher)
  • The only rookie to out-qualify his team mate in both races so far is Paul di Resta.
TeamDriverLap timeGapLap timeDriverRound
Red BullSebastian Vettel1’34.870-0.3091’35.179Mark WebberQ3
McLarenLewis Hamilton1’34.974-0.2261’35.200Jenson ButtonQ3
FerrariFernando Alonso1’35.802-0.4491’36.251Felipe MassaQ3
MercedesMichael Schumacher1’37.035+0.6471’36.388Nico RosbergQ2
RenaultNick Heidfeld1’36.124-0.2001’36.324Vitaly PetrovQ3
WilliamsRubens Barrichello1’38.163-0.1131’38.276Pastor MaldonadoQ1
Force IndiaAdrian Sutil1’37.593+0.2231’37.370Paul di RestaQ2
SauberKamui Kobayashi1’36.691-0.8371’37.528Sergio PerezQ2
Toro RossoSebastien Buemi1’37.160-0.1871’37.347Jaime AlguersuariQ2
LotusHeikki Kovalainen1’38.645-0.1461’38.791Jarno TrulliQ1
HRTNarain Karthikeyan1’42.574+1.0251’41.549Vitantonio LiuzziQ1
VirginTimo Glock1’40.648-0.3531’41.001Jerome d’AmbrosioQ1

Ultimate laps

An ultimate lap is a driver’s best time in each of the three sectors that make up a lap combined.

  • Two drivers who were knocked out before Q3 could have made it a stage further if they’d done their fastest sectors in the same lap: Michael Schumacher and Pastor Maldonado. Schumacher had a problem with his adjustable rear wing in the final sector.
  • If Sergio Perez had put all his best sectors together he’d be three places higher on the grid.
Pos#DriverUltimate lapGapDeficit to bestActual position
11Sebastian Vettel1’34.8700.0001
23Lewis Hamilton1’34.8980.0280.0762
32Mark Webber1’35.1380.2680.0413
44Jenson Button1’35.1940.3240.0064
55Fernando Alonso1’35.8020.9320.0005
69Nick Heidfeld1’36.1241.2540.0006
76Felipe Massa1’36.2511.3810.0007
810Vitaly Petrov1’36.3241.4540.0008
98Nico Rosberg1’36.3881.5180.4219
1016Kamui Kobayashi1’36.6761.8060.14410
117Michael Schumacher1’36.8391.9690.19611
1218Sebastien Buemi1’37.1602.2900.00012
1317Sergio Perez1’37.2802.4100.24816
1419Jaime Alguersuari1’37.3472.4770.00013
1515Paul di Resta1’37.3702.5000.00014
1611Rubens Barrichello1’37.4962.6260.00015
1714Adrian Sutil1’37.5022.6320.09117
1812Pastor Maldonado1’38.2013.3310.07518
1920Heikki Kovalainen1’38.3733.5030.27219
2021Jarno Trulli1’38.7903.9200.00120
2124Timo Glock1’40.4095.5390.23921
2225Jerome d’Ambrosio1’40.9686.0980.03322
2323Vitantonio Liuzzi1’41.5496.6790.00023
2422Narain Karthikeyan1’42.2427.3720.33224

Sector times

The drivers? best times in each sector.

  • The gap between the two fastest cars and the rest is clear to see in that the top four times in each sector is held by a Red Bull or a McLaren.
  • Lotus are losing their time to the other midfield cars in the middle sector.
DriverSector 1Sector 2Sector 3
Sebastian Vettel24.665 (1)31.569 (1)38.636 (2)
Lewis Hamilton24.667 (2)31.614 (2)38.617 (1)
Mark Webber24.672 (3)31.679 (3)38.787 (4)
Jenson Button24.680 (4)31.783 (4)38.731 (3)
Fernando Alonso24.845 (7)32.058 (5)38.899 (5)
Nick Heidfeld24.869 (9)32.218 (6)39.037 (6)
Felipe Massa24.863 (8)32.252 (7)39.136 (8)
Vitaly Petrov24.777 (6)32.424 (9)39.123 (7)
Nico Rosberg24.715 (5)32.474 (11)39.199 (9)
Kamui Kobayashi25.034 (14)32.368 (8)39.274 (10)
Michael Schumacher24.877 (10)32.655 (14)39.307 (11)
Sebastien Buemi25.128 (16)32.478 (12)39.554 (13)
Jaime Alguersuari25.017 (12)32.751 (16)39.579 (15)
Paul di Resta24.914 (11)32.881 (17)39.575 (14)
Rubens Barrichello25.110 (15)32.602 (13)39.784 (17)
Sergio Perez25.227 (17)32.471 (10)39.582 (16)
Adrian Sutil25.021 (13)32.951 (18)39.530 (12)
Pastor Maldonado25.280 (20)32.741 (15)40.180 (20)
Heikki Kovalainen25.258 (18)33.274 (19)39.841 (18)
Jarno Trulli25.269 (19)33.370 (20)40.151 (19)
Timo Glock25.537 (21)33.967 (21)40.905 (21)
Jerome d’Ambrosio25.704 (22)34.221 (22)41.043 (22)
Vitantonio Liuzzi25.796 (23)34.273 (23)41.480 (23)
Narain Karthikeyan25.934 (24)34.646 (24)41.662 (24)

Straight-line speeds

  • Christian Horner said Red Bull are running KERS. In Melbourne, without KERS, they were only faster than the HRTs, Virgins and Lotuses in a straight line.
  • The top five fastest cars in a straight line all have Mercedes engines.
PosDriverCarSpeed (kph)Gap
1Adrian SutilForce India311.4
2Michael SchumacherMercedes311.0-0.4
3Nico RosbergMercedes310.6-0.8
4Paul di RestaForce India308.8-2.6
5Jenson ButtonMcLaren306.8-4.6
6Vitaly PetrovRenault306.4-5.0
7Nick HeidfeldRenault306.2-5.2
8Fernando AlonsoFerrari305.9-5.5
9Felipe MassaFerrari304.9-6.5
10Sebastian VettelRed Bull304.8-6.6
11Pastor MaldonadoWilliams304.6-6.8
12Mark WebberRed Bull304.3-7.1
13Sergio PerezSauber304.0-7.4
14Lewis HamiltonMcLaren303.3-8.1
15Rubens BarrichelloWilliams303.3-8.1
16Kamui KobayashiSauber303.0-8.4
17Jerome d’AmbrosioVirgin301.7-9.7
18Sebastien BuemiToro Rosso301.7-9.7
19Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso301.5-9.9
20Timo GlockVirgin300.9-10.5
21Jarno TrulliLotus300.9-10.5
22Vitantonio LiuzziHRT299.1-12.3
23Heikki KovalainenLotus298.9-12.5
24Narain KarthikeyanHRT296.5-14.9

2011 Malaysian Grand Prix

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    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...

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    97 comments on “McLaren slash the gap to Red Bull in Sepang”

    1. ‘A bit more wing’ was all it took, so why did they not sacrafice top speed for ‘wing’ last year when they had f-duct?

      1. They consistantly did, and it worked occasionaly but by the end of the season most teams had decent functional systems.

    2. This is a very interesting situation, especially as the McLaren is a newer car and therefore is likely to have more development potential. Personally, I think it’ll be good to see Vettel taken off pole sometime soon. Nobody doubts his amazing ability to lead from the front, but it would be good for both F1 and Vettel’s racecraft to see him battle up the field.

      1. I mentioned something similar on another thread.

        I’m sure Vettel is quicker but a better racer, that’s yet to be proven.

        Tomorrow could be our lucky day!

        1. Seeing that both Vettel and Hamilton are running almost identical straight lines speeds it could indeed be very interesting. Let’s hope we get a good first half of the race between the two and then maybe some rain to puzzle things up a bit! =)

        2. You are sure Vettel is quicker? Quicker than who? He only proved to be quicker than Webber until now. Winning in qualifying over others when you have the faster car doesn’t mean you are quicker.
          Actually considering last years Red Bull advantage, the fact that Alonso and Hamilton challenged him a few times in qualifying makes it seem that he probably isn’t quicker but slower.
          I don’t think he will be having such an easy time if Hamilton was his teammate.

          1. You can only ever prove your pace against your team-mate. But if you try to look at relatively between car performance you can get an idea of who is quickest.

          2. Actually considering last years Red Bull advantage, the fact that Alonso and Hamilton challenged him a few times in qualifying makes it seem that he probably isn’t quicker but slower.

            You forget how many points Vettel lost from his car breaking down, i’m getting a bit tired of seeing those types of comments above, its controversy for its own sake.

            He is blindingly fast when he’s on his own on the track, he’s beating Webber who was renowned as a Quali specialist until Vettel joined the team.

            1. His unreliability has nothing to do with the times Alonso and Hamilton chased him in qualifying.

            2. Besides, the huge advantage was stil there even if the car was a tad unreliable at times.

              It’s better to have a car that can win every race but finishes only 4 out of every 5 races rather than a car that is best for P3 at best. Which (in Hamilton’s case) only finishes 4 out of 5 races as well.

          3. Vettel has raw pace, as do Hamilton & Alonso. I’m sure that is the general consensus. Certainly my own.

            Others that can shout at the top have a different set of skills to use. But these guys are the quickest…

            1. I reckon Button is the example of where that car is, he drives it exactly to potential, he’s also sly on the track and a predatory scheemer in his overtaking, when Button is in the zone he acheives the total maximum of what his cars can acheive. Unfortunatley his in a team making cars designed for Lewis Hamilton, who takes his speed by controlling a car gone beyond the limit, so the days of his dominance at Brawn seem to have passed.

              Webber drives the Redbull under potential, I think because it’s designed to suit Vettle but thats just conjecture on my part.

              Vettle does drive his car faster than it should, he has massive confidence and the car is designed to suit his idiosyncrasies, however he drives a car so good it seems like it can be driven to the edge and brought back under control thanks to the masssive downforce and stability contained within it.

            2. well put psynrg :)

          4. I agree, Vettel is quick but I very much doubt quicker than Hamilton or Alonso. The Red Bull flatters him and Webber a lot. Certainly he’s not as good as either in fighting on track.

        3. Clearly Lewis is out-performing his McLaren, Vettel, well; he is who he is ;)

          1. That’s what you’re talking about? ;-)

    3. Considering that Sepang puts a higher premium on aerodynamics than Melbourne, closing the gap by that much seems even more impressive.

      1. Before bringing their car to the tests, McLaren were considering their car a ‘downforce monster’. Maybe thats what it is now they have a working exhaust system and time to work on setups without the car breaking down all the time.
        I still remember how people were screaming Hamilton shoud get outof McLaren as fast as possibe .. where are they now I wonder?!

        1. I agree, I was very critical of Macca during the Barcelona testing but I also factored in to the equation… Never underestimate McLaren. Certainly a lot of of people are feeling a bit silly now over the McLaren’s present performance.

          Certainly Alonso wasn’t one of them. He predicted a McLaren to be fighting for the podium in the Aus GP.

        2. I still remember how people were screaming Hamilton shoud get outof McLaren as fast as possibe .. where are they now I wonder?!

          They are sitting in their arm chairs still, reading the latest comments from Prisoner Monkeys and BasCD (there’s a lot to go through!).


          1. Still here. This is not a game of horse shoes. Close is not enough. Evidence remains that if you want to be champ, your best chance is in a Newey car now. Can McLaren get titles this year? Possibly, espeically if Ferrari stay out of the picture. But why do it the hard way? Hamilton is carrying .2-.3s on Button generally, which means that now and last year, he is heaving that car forward on pure talent just to be second/third best. Hamilton did not swear a blood oath to serve Woking. When Webber gets the sack this year, he should go with the fizzy drinks people.

            1. I think I’d wait a few races before comming to a decision. The new McLaren is such a new design that it likely has tonnes of development potential. More than any other competitive team. Couple that with the fact that McLaren seem to be able to develop anything into a winner, I’d say that he’s in pretty good company. Lets not forget McLaren gave him the fastest car on the track for 2 of the 4 seasons that he’s been there and they may well end up doing it again this year. It takes more than Newey to make a good race car.

      2. I that you are wrong. Red Bull don’t get their biggest advantage in circuits like Malaysia and Turkey. Mclaren last year was never bad at tracks with big straights and fast corners. Melbourne is actually more fitting to Red Bull.
        Red Bull is best at tracks with small straights and lots of slower corners with a few fast corners. Remember Hungary last year?
        Malaysia doesn’t have much small tight corners.

        1. From what I understood from last year Macca were awesome with the long straights & tight corners because of their great straight line speed and precise nature in the slow corners. Whereas Red Bell were better on the tracks with long fast corners. I thought I remember the drivers saying that they couldn’t believe that the Red Bulls were going flat out through certain corners last year.

          1. The impression I got last year was that McLaren were actually rubbish in the slow corners (Monaco? Hungary?) and were good at the fast stuff (Turkey, Spa)

            1. I’d agree, the McLaren seems so stiff that the bumpy slow staff throws it way out of wack, although it seemed to pass that somewhat in Singapore, in Hamiltons hands at least.

              It did alright in Aus but that was a barley tested car so what we’re seeing here might be closer to the cars potential on a track that suits it better.

              It remains to be seen how well McLaren can develop what they got now, what lessons they’ve learned from last year, an whether it’ll be a bit like last year an only able to challenge the incredibly versatile Redbull on certain circuits.

              One characteristic I’d still like to see is the differance in race peace the McLaren seemed to have last year, I’d liked to know also whether the Redbulls still suffer from the mild slow down they seem to last year.

          2. anddddd where are Ferrari……… where are they good, any body have any idea?

            1. Last year Ferrari had the best all rounder car, at least in the hands of Alonso. They were not the quickest on the straights (that was Mclaren), nor were they through the corners (that was Red Bull).

              I reckon they’ll be the same this year once they’ve sorted out the gremlins they currently have. Mercedes is clearly the most powerful unit on the grid, so what Ferrari need to do is figure out how to get a bit more downforce to get themselves on to the front rows of the grid.

      3. If you consider that Webber is better than Button in quali, you can conclude that Mclarens are even faster this weekend.
        Vettel is definitely making the difference.

        1. Your post isn’t exactly at the right place but that’s one big conclusion you pulled there. From when to i have to conclude that Webber is better than Button. For all i know Button could be better.

          1. Actually I’d say Webber simply performed poorly here.

            Last year Webber was on average only 5 hundreths of a second slower than Vettel in qualifying. In most places there really were only hundreths or at worst a tenth between them.

    4. Ferrari are going to have their hands full with Renault tomorrow. I bet they never thought they would be battling for 5th and 6th before the season started.

    5. with the top 5 cars in the speed trap all mercedes powered, expect some more moaning from christian horner

      1. I don’t think that having a Mercedes engine makes you faster in the straightlines.

        1. @Himmat

          I know the Mercedes engine has a “few” more horsepower than the Renault engines, just not sure from the top of my head how much…

          1. @last post

            James Allen says around 18hp which gives just under 3 tenths a lap over the Renault engine, but the Renault is more fuel reliable which evens it out they say.

            1. Doesn’t Newey quote 30-40? or about 4-5%? As Icthyes suggests, but this why Newey likes them anyway, don’t need all the cooling the Mercedes does. More power equals more heat.

      2. Let them have a Merc too. Newey is all too happy to let them blow up in the name of his designs! :)

    6. I’m almost a littlebit disappointed that HRT didn’t beat one of the Virgins, still it looks like they can live up to the expectations I had after Mebourne. Still I’m a little undecided if thats more positive for HRT or negative for Virgin.
      Overall, the small teams don’t look so bad today :-)

      1. The real battle at HRT or anyother team is between team mates. Who will be the fastest of the slowest.

        Yarp! They look OK to me.

        1. But at this rate of improvement by HRT, the Virgins might come under pressure from Liuzzi at the next race already.

          Not sure about Karthikeyan, it might be a lot to do with getting into it again. And I can understand how rookies have more trouble getting a perfect lap in (Perez, Maldonado), although D’Ambrosio did fine and Di Resta has no trouble.
          Is it possible Di Restas winning not a “hatchling” series but a real adult racing series (DTM) helps him here?

          1. Maybe that helped DiResta. The qualifying in DTM has multiple rounds building up to a single lap quali and he did fine there, so he sure knows to handle the pressure. Lets see how that develops.

            I’m looking forward to the improvements by the litte teams, this should get interesting! :-)

    7. To all the people who believed that we should just crown Sebastian Vettel World Champion after qualifying in Melbourne, I say this: ha!

      1. I’m listening…

      2. Where is that VXR guy who couldn’t stop claiming over and over how Red Bull was gonna smoke with big time difference everyone away in Malaysia? He has gone awfully quiet.

        1. Big time gaps referring to Raceday, not Qualifying.

        2. Australia always has different lap times. Kimi in 2007 was I think 1 sec ahead in qualifying.

        3. You don’t score points in qualifying. There’s a long way to get yet.

          1. Yeah but you where saying they could qualify ahead of everyone easily and without using KERS.
            Not only did they need KERS but even with that on, it still wasn’t easy.

            1. Maybe they’re running more downforce than McLaren? It’s probably going to rain for the race, isn’t it? Maybe they just needed the KERS to make up for what they have lost in straight line speed by putting more wing on?

              If they disappear off into the distance tomorrow on a wet/damp track, we’ll know for sure.

            2. RBR running more DF of course there are they have it in buckets full.
              Interestingly it seems Hamilton has wound on a lot more down-force than Button.

    8. Cluffy_Wedge
      9th April 2011, 13:58

      Anyone noticed how Schumacher seemed to yank the wheel momentarily and then straighten out too early in basically every corner? Maybe he can’t handle the G forces anymore ;)

      1. Or maybe he just isn’t good enough

        1. I think he is well past his best. HE shows glimpses of his old self but it;s just not there anymore.

          It’s a shame he didn’t carry on after 2006 really.

          1. he needs to get out. If he wasnt who he was he wouldnt be sitting in that car now I can tell you that.

          2. Not arguing about Schu being a bit off the boil, but his malfunctioning DRS would not have helped as well.

        2. Cluffy_Wedge
          9th April 2011, 14:32

          I think the fact that he completely dominated F1 with 5 back to back WDCs at Ferrari and made Senna wonder how on earth Schumacher could breeze past him so easily shows that he was once good enough. But again, Formula 1 is supposed to be the most physically straining sport in the world, if footballers can’t handle it past 40 (remember david Seaman in the world cup? Oh no my back’s gone!) what chance does he stand?

          1. What parallel universe are you coming from, where Schumi was breezing with his Ferrari past Senna?

            1. Cluffy_Wedge
              9th April 2011, 19:21

              it was when he was at benneton. Duh?

            2. The-Masked-Racer
              9th April 2011, 19:43

              I guess, he’s referring to GreatBritan-1993

            3. He is referring to when ~Sennas tyres were shot

            4. Senna shot his tires by lap7? I have not had the privilege to watch the race, but read reports about it. He was passed by Prost in lap7 and a few laps later was done in by Schumacher.

              Please do share if you have any info if his tires were shot. I would love to read about the great man I have known very less about. (certainly not sarcastic).
              Link to report:

            5. Why isn’t the link appearing on my original post?:-(

    9. It’s sad because people will always question his greatness now. Was he really that good? Would he have ever had coped with the likes of alonso, Hamilton etc. Personally I think they would have quite easily beat him with equal equipment. This comeback was in my eyes the biggest mistake of his life

      1. Agreed Damon, it’s sad but maybe he deserves this medicine, maybe it was the whole reason why he came back, to see if he really was the “GOAT” and it’s showing with a dark horse like Nico beating him at everything.

        After this year he might just drop it and admit he was the best in his era with reasons, but not this one.

      2. Was he really that good? Would he have ever had coped with the likes of alonso, Hamilton etc.

        Just how long have you been watching F1?

        It’s quite clear that the Mercedes is currently no match for the front running cars, and it’s also quite clear that he shows glimpses of speed when the car does what it’s told.

      3. I think that he’ll call it a day if this season proves to be like the last – i.e. no wins, no podiums, struggling to get into Q3 and being thrashed by his teammate. The car might be off the pace but I think Rosberg is showing where it’s actually at, and Schumacher is underperforming.

        I don’t think he made such a huge mistake by coming back, I think it’ll end up being more of a mediocre footnote to a glittering career than completely destroying his reputation.

        1. Let me see, Schumi is a 7-time world champion. Proved his stuff at two different teams. Alonso won at Renault and Hamilton at McLaren. Let Alonso do it atleast thrice more at Ferrari and let Hamilton atleast win another title with McLaren and then we will see about putting their names in the same line as Schumi.

          Even they would laugh if they have been told they are better than Schumi. His dedication, commitment, desire to win and the knowledge to help the team in unrivaled.

          Him and Senna are a different breed and I think we should be happy that we get to watch them race in the same generation albeit with a few years difference.

    10. How Lewis managed fastest S3 time with only 14th top speed? Something doesn’t add up here.

      1. Sector 3 starts just after the infield hairpin, so it’s not just the long straights.

      2. You run more downforce to help get around the bendy bits faster, but this has the side effect of lowering your top speed. It’s a fine balance.

        1. More downforce also does your tires a world of good as it balances the car better.

          However the amount of wing Lewis is carrying means he’ll be very reliant on the tow and DRS to overtake Vettel if it comes to it.

          That might have been McLarens thought process, might also be a problem to the first corner. On the other hand it may well help the car grip better of the mark.

          1. Button went for less downforce. It gives him a better straight line speed. May come in handy.

            1. Not in the rain it won’t. :)

      3. you win most time in slower and medium speed corners if you take them well, and by getting earlier on the throttle coming onto a straight.

        1. @Bernard.

          No. Probably not in the rain, but it won’t rain all of the time. And the Pirelli wet tyres are going to be a bit weird for all of the drivers.

    11. It’s frustrating that Massa matched Alonso all through qualifying until the final runs.

      Apart from Bahrain 2010, he still hasn’t got back the knack of producing barnstorming Q3 runs, which he used to do with ease.

    12. maybe lewis hamilton drank a lot of red bull.

      On a serious note, I think if mclaren figures out the flexing front wing technology, they’ll probably rule the track.

      1. Yea, definitely. Considering how some say that’s worth well over a second.

      2. I actually think that the octopus exhaust could make the difference, if they make it work later in the year. It was a fascinating concept but really technically difficult.

    13. UKfanatic (@)
      9th April 2011, 16:05

      Like I´ve said in the aftermatch of melbourne mclaren are as fast as the reds, they discovered black powder with that new copycat titanium diffuser (they didnt had time to make it on carbon fiber or does titanium has special heat isolation properties). Ferrari remain as bad as they were in testing, not a very stable car when you see that you know that they arent going to be fastest, finnaly what a surprise vettel again very smooth driver very smoth drive. have you seen his front wheel camber and toe setting? just check the pictures really extreme.

      1. Rumour has it that Red Bull have used a set up that takes into account that it will definitely rain tomorrow. 90% chance of rain is forecast.

        1. How come everytime I read a thread it involves you with a rumour that always seems to put the best possible spin on the actual known facts for Red Bull.

          I don’t mind Vettel, but reading your posts is going a long way to making me cheer against him.

          1. Obviously he drinks too much Red Bull. Lol! Seriously dude. Link to where you have read that or stop talking about supposed rumors you create yourself.

    14. i like your rumours lol why would they run a lower downforce setup for the chance of rain??

      1. Who says Red Bull are running a ‘lower’ downforce setup? It’s Button that has gone for less downforce than either of the Red Bull’s or his team mate.

        Oh, and I’m neither a Vettel nor a RedBull fanboy. I just have a bit more insider info than most. :)

        1. you stated that the redbulls have gone for a setup that takes into account the chance of rain. the best setup for that would be a higher downforce setup. mclaren have matched them in every sector

          1. Indeed they have, but just how much of that is down to Red Bull using KERS to negate the extra downforce?

    15. so you are admitting that the mclaren is on par on the downforce stakes seeing as though hamilton was slower on the straights than both redbulls

      1. But Button was faster so I think the picture is more complicated than that.

        1. i was talikng about hamilton in particular. what we do know is it is very close between the two teams. lets up they are similar on race pace and tyre preservation then we will be in for a thriller

          1. It will be interesting to see who pits first. Red Bull may just be using it’s KERS to make up for the larger amount of downforce it’s using. I wouldn’t be too surprised to see both Red Bull’s disappear into the distance if it rains. Maybe at races where the threat of rain is less likely, they will run less downforce and the gap will go back up again.

            Pole slot has also been moved to right hand side.

        2. Indeed it is. :)

          No one is expecting it to rain all of the time during the race.

          Some drivers are thinking further ahead than qualifying.

    16. go Tonio, 1 sec faster than his teammate, the guy isn’t so bad indeed…

    17. But his team mate had already qualified long before him so there was no need t keep pushing when reliability can be an issue for the race. So why not just save your engines. But beating someone who hasn”t raced in 5yrs can’t be considered a great feat.

    18. Feels to me like Red Bull lost relative performance after fitting KERS.

    19. So far it looks like Mclaren are the only one who can spoil the Red Bull party

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