Vettel on pole again but Webber slumps to 18th

2011 Chinese GP qualifying

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Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, Shanghai, 2011

Sebastian Vettel set pole position for the fourth race in a row and continued his unbeaten run in 2011.

But team mate Mark Webber will start from the ninth row of the grid after being knocked out in the first part of qualifying.

The McLarens will start second and third, with Jenson Button ahead of Lewis Hamilton.


The first part of qualifying produced a shock – Mark Webber was eliminated at the first stage.

The Red Bull driver was already running without KERS following a problem with the system in practice.

Despite not setting a particularly fast time with his first effort, Webber returned to the track on another set of hard tyres, not wanting to use a set of softs which he would need for the race.

But he could only manage 16th fastest. Improvements from Michael Schumacher and, finally, Pastor Maldonado’s Williams, condemned him to starting the race 18th.

He was joined by the six ‘usual suspects’ – the two Lotuses, HRTs and Virgins.

Driver eliminated in Q1

18Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’36.468
19Heikki KovalainenLotus-Renault1’37.894
20Jarno TrulliLotus-Renault1’38.318
21Jerome d’AmbrosioVirgin-Cosworth1’39.119
22Timo GlockVirgin-Cosworth1’39.708
23Vitantonio LiuzziHRT-Cosworth1’40.212
24Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’40.445


The McLaren duo headed the times at first, with Hamilton two-tenths of a second faster than Button, and Vettel a tenth further behind.

Vitaly Petrov set a time good enough for fourth but his Renault came to a stop shortly afterwards. That brought the red flags out with two minutes left to go.

Among the drivers inconvenienced by that was his team mate, who had just left the pits to do his first and only lap when Petrov stopped.

The session restarted with a string of cars queued up at the exit of the pit lane, led by Sergio Perez. But Felipe Massa made his way past the Sauber driver to make sure he had the advantage of a clear track.

While Massa made it through Perez driver failed to make the cut for the top ten, as team mate Kamui Kobayashi.

Michael Schumacher was also eliminated, as were both Williamses and Adrian Sutil’s Force India.

Heidfeld was also unable to get a clear lap in following the delay, leaving him 16th.

Driver eliminated in Q2

11Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’35.874
12Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’36.053
13Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’36.236
14Michael SchumacherMercedes1’36.457
15Rubens BarrichelloWilliams-Cosworth1’36.465
16Nick HeidfeldRenault1’36.611
17Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Cosworth1’36.956


Button and Vettel were the only drivers to go out at the start of the final ten minutes, the rest not wanting to use up soft tyres, including Hamilton, who hadn’t used any more than his two rivals.

Vettel set a stunning pace with his first lap, a 1’33.706, seven-tenths of a second faster than Button could manage.

It was more than Hamilton could do either, who made just a single run. He was fractionally faster than Button in the last two sectors, but a tenth slower in the first, and took third behind his team mate.

Nico Rosberg beat the Ferraris to fourth place, with Alonso just three-hundredths of a second faster than Massa.

Jaime Alguersuari took seventh ahead of Paul di Resta, followed by Sebastien Buemi, and Vitaly Petrov who was unable to set a time.

Top ten in Q3

1Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’33.706
2Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’34.421
3Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’34.463
4Nico RosbergMercedes1’34.670
5Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’35.119
6Felipe MassaFerrari1’35.145
7Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso-Ferrari1’36.158
8Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’36.190
9Sebastien BuemiToro Rosso-Ferrari1’36.203
10Vitaly PetrovRenaultNo time

2011 Chinese 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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    214 comments on “Vettel on pole again but Webber slumps to 18th”

    1. Its so difficult to respect Vettel’s pole. That car is just so much better than any other (well, at least Vettel’s is…!).

      Great lap though – but my stars were Button, Di Resta and Rosberg. Petrov gets a shout too.

      Really poor by Schumacher. Starting to think now that this whole comeback was misjudged. Also Williams? Oh dear :(

      1. Agree with you on all points.

        Hopefully that moment from Hamilton didn’t damage the tyres and the McLarens can take the fight to Vettel tomorrow. Hope to see Webber come through the field too.

        Incidentally, that’s what’s so good about the new tyres. Before, anyone out of position could just start on the hard tyres, go long and make up 10 places without having to pass anyone. Now they have to fight. Shame it’s not being replicated at the front yet, but we have Vettel to blame for that!

        1. We need battle for win, not cruising!!

          1. Exactly! I get it, Vettel is an amazing driver and deserves to win, but its getting old already!!! It feels like were entering the new era of Schumi domination, and that is not a good thing! I mean we could atleast have pitstop battles for 1st but there is nothing… It’s always the same car, same guy, same position, just cruising away for that top step of the podium!

            1. It feels like were entering the new era of Schumi domination, and that is not a good thing! I mean we could atleast have pitstop battles for 1st but there is nothing… It’s always the same car, same guy, same position, just cruising away for that top step of the podium!

              It isn’t nice for viewers, but to have success in F1 you need to do precisely that. Sebastian is showing great qualities and deserves his place as number 1, but certainly it would be better if more teams were able to fight for wins and he had to fight to earn them!

            2. Especially as the red bulls front wing is still bending and the FIA seem to be unwilling to do anything about it!

          2. For us Vettel fans, it’s great as it is. Yeaaaaah, VIVA LA VETTEL! Hope he wins all races this season.

            1. Agreed Klaas


            2. I would rather see Vettel racing instead of cruising.

      2. I agree too… Vettel and Newey a perfect match.

        1. We always wondered what Schumacher would be like in a Newey car…we have our answer.

          1. Well, we already had Schumacher and Brawn/Byrn, right?

            1. Very true. Byrne owned Newey for 4 years straight.

            2. It is time for someone to pack his bags. Nope its not Schumi but Brawn. Why on earth would you run with hard tires in the first stint of Q2, when you clearly don’t have the pace to match the top4? What happened to put in a banker lap theory?

              Alonso’s run on fresh tires was disrupted and the last two minutes was chaos with everyone seemingly intent on making to the start line rather than warming up their tires. Difficult for those fellas. Still expecting something wonderful from Michael in the race.

            3. Brawn has made some strange decisions in recent years. Remember him trying to get Schumacher to go half of the Canadian race on soft tyres?

            4. @Kev

              the run on the hard tyres was a banker lap.

              The team only had 1 set of softs allocated for each of the qualy sessions as they had to use them in Q1. Don’t think it was the fault of the team at all – rather the fault of the rather ridiculous red flag rules.

              As ajokay commented on twitter – a red flag should be like injury time. An amount of time should be added on – perhaps an average lap time + 20 seconds.

            5. Yes. It seems very different to the Brawn of previous years. Even with BrawnGP and such a huge advantage with the DDD, it became very close at the end of the season. Schumi is slower than Rosberg in qualifying but definitely not that slower than how people have been talking about him.

              Wish he would show us some of the magical moments like he did with Ferrari.

            6. I don’t think we can blame Vettel. It is not about having the best car, it is about putting the car in its rightful place. Vettel seems happy taking pole at all the races since his car has the potential.
              Look at Alonso in 2010 Monaco GP. The car had the potential but he crashed it out of qualifying and lost a minimum of podium place for that race.

              Vettel has a race-winning car and is using it to the fullest. I wouldn’t bet against him for a second world title this season.

          2. i’m afraid I can’t quite agree with this statement. Not yet. Vettel is good – he’s a world champion – but there are still doubts. Same as I have for Massa strangely.

            Simply – he can lead from the front but can he overtake? The only pass I can remember him completing (that was against an equal-ish car) was against Button this year but as we know that was a slightly questionable pass.

            Drivers who win in dominant cars always have these kind of question marks – Mansell and Schumacher for example. However these drivers have numerous examples of devastating overtakes from their careers that Vettel doesn’t have yet.

            1. We need poor car for Vettel, or at least average class to confirm his talent to compete.

              Actually Vettel is very fortunate boy. He have had always competitive car considering his level of career. BMW-Sauber was not great but good enough for rookie, Toro Rosso of 2008 was awesome(probably the most successful car of the team) and Redbul from 2009…

              No one have had such consistent gift. except Schumacher.(a little different though)

            2. Don’t get me wrong, I have doubts over Vettel too. But for pure pace, the combination is boggling.

              I’m agreeing with you across the board today! Mansell and Schumacher showed so much more than Vettel has so far. And when he’s been tested he’s often come up short (Webber and Button incidents, his 50% share of the collision with Kubica in 2009).

            3. I totally agree with you EGGRY & SW6569. And I am sure there is something wrong with Webber’s car. Despite Horner’s explanations i am sure they knew he wasn’t gonna make it and they put on the hard tyres so he could go longer at the race.

            4. Eggry, and to think people complained about Hamilton “lucking” into the best car from the beginning!

            5. There is a question mark regarding his overtaking abilities .. but he more than makes up for that in his qualifying performances. He is arguably the best qualifier we have had on the grid since Senna. And lets not forget that he is still 23-24 years old, and he still has a lot of potential to improve and mature as a racer.

            6. @Icthyes Well, It is true that Hamilton had luck to have great car from rookie season! but He also have had difficult challenges from 2008 and I think he proved his talend as well.

            7. has had. has had. sorry.

            8. I don’t think he’s the best qualifier since Senna. Even in races where Red Bull haven’t had the best race pace they’ve still had the best car over a single lap. You’d expect him to dominate quali. If he was in a McLaren, or a Ferrari last year, would he be as impressive? Hamilton has never had a car that was dominant over a single lap, if he had then I’m sure he would have done much the same.

            9. Why was his pass questionable?
              He made the pass on Button, and then he had to leave the race track to avoid a collision.

            10. Williams4Ever
              16th April 2011, 15:23

              @Eggry –

              Actually Vettel is very fortunate boy. He have had always competitive car considering his level of career.

              Its the same case for Lewis,who always had competitive car, even in the season where McLaren car is not the fastest out of the box, the team throws everything on that car, put countless number of hours in Testing(Simulator) and turns around the car, and sometimes just for him (deny upgrades to his team-mates). So I guess its just goes again to underline how F1 is all about being in the right team at right team.
              A Mid-tier, lower team may have a smart designer, but just don’t have enough resources to win the development race through the season.

            11. @Williams4Ever the thing is, in Hamilton’s case it gets worse but in Vettel’s case it gets better. Today’s Hamilton is definetely better driver than 2007 but he doesn’t have such a great car as that time. However Vettel has never been tested by worse car.

              Bottomline : Vettel has got through very easy course. That is why people have doubt about him.

      3. Isn’t that what Formula 1 is about, having the best car? It’s a team battle, just as much as a battle between the drivers.

        1. F1Lover: Starting the race on the tyres they set the fastest time on in quali, only applies to the ten that actually participate in Q3.

      4. Hamilton is one of the only top drivers with a fresh set of softs, I think. I imagine he was being super conservative today after mis-managing his tires in quali last Saturday. Looking good for second in the race.

        1. He locked up tires again in his qualifying run. Will be interesting to see his first stint against Button. Maybe he will be saved by his extra set of tires, but catching Vettel seems impossible.

          Kudos to Vettel. He has put the car on the right spot it deserves on the grid.

          A qualifying champion, I should say.

          1. A qualifying champion, I should say.

            Indeed. I hadn’t checked the stat in a while, but he’s now surpassed both Hamilton and Schumacher (whose stats have both dropped as his have gone up with each pole he’s achieved) for percentage of poles. Only Senna, Clark, and Fangio have higher percentages. Good company to be in I’d say.

        2. I think it is a very positive sign that Hamilton adjusted his tactics that quickly after Malaysia. A very shrewd tactical move I feel.

          1. I don’t know why anyone would expect anything else. Hamilton is a top driver (one of the top 3 on the grid, in my opinion), who has already adjusted his driving style for this season – see Brundle’s comment about how smoothly he drives now.

            Having pushed the limits a bit too far last week, he was certain to try and rectify the situation this week.

            A good performance by Button too, which should help with pushing each other along this season (at least within the team).

            1. Williams4Ever
              16th April 2011, 15:27

              see Brundle’s comment about how smoothly he drives now.

              Brundle is paid by British TV channel,so has to say all the right things when it comes to British drivers. Ironically as Brundle was praising “Smooth Style” of Lewis, Lewis had that massive flat spot when he locked up the front right. Steve Matchett had predicted correctly on Speed TV that flat spot was going to bite Lewis back, and thats what happened..

            2. Brundle was also first to make a comment last year about “the Lewis of 2007 [i.e. making mistakes}” coming back – after he had made only the first major error of his season. Brundle is hardly biased, cut the rubbish.

        3. Well, Webber has all his softs I think… whether he qualifies as a ‘top driver’ or not anymore is open to discussion. Unless you meant top qualifiers for this race, in which case my point is void.

          1. All the softs in the world won’t get him to the front if they can’t get that KERS ironed out though.

      5. Williams4Ever
        16th April 2011, 15:14

        Its so difficult to respect Vettel’s pole. That car is just so much better than any other

        So true, just like 2009 season and Button’s rigged title….

        1. Oh let’s not have any silly bickering. The BGP 001 was legal, the RB7 is legal.

          This is F1, and few are the cars that win championships and don’t get protested over something-or-other.

          1. Williams4Ever
            16th April 2011, 15:30

            Oh let’s not have any silly bickering.

            Agreed, lets just have a one way street of selective preaching…

            1. The idea that Button’s title was somehow “rigged” because his team had the foresight to innovate in a grey area of the rules that turned out to pay off for them is just pure fantasy. Sure Button had an easier time of it, and Vettel probably would’ve taken the championship if the double diffuser had been banned, but as has been pointed out countless times before on this site and others it’s the driver AND car that win a title, not just one or the other. Keith is not “preaching” at anyone. I would guess he’s just sick (as am I) of conspiracy theories in F1.

        2. Rigged? They had the fastest car by a country mile, and it was never excluded from any races, so you have to assume that the car was legal. Given Sauber were disqualified for a minor infraction with their rear wing in Australia, I would think it’s fairly safe to assume that the FIA’s scrutineers look over these cars with a very fine tooth comb and find anything that happens to be illegal about them.

          Formula 1 is an engineering competition. As such it’s all about building the fastest car, and getting some good drivers to drive it. Not many drivers, in any sort of racing series win in cars that aren’t fastest. Just because a driver wins the championship in the fastest car doesn’t take anything away from their achievement.

    2. For the first time today the BBC coverage seriously annoyed me, the di Resta hype was unbearable.

      On another note, if Webber keeps this kind of performance up he won’t last the season. He could single-handedly lose Red Bull the constructor’s championship.

      1. BBC always likes British driver. It’s not secret.

        1. Younger Hamii(Formerly Younger Hamilton)
          16th April 2011, 12:29

          Yeah i think everyone who is not British and has made statements about the BBC F1 Team hyping over Paul is considered Hypocrites.

          Wouldnt that be the same case with German Commentators and Vettel and any other F1 German Driver,Especially with Spanish TV and Alonso,Again Australian Commentators and Webber.

          Why is the Finger pointed at us British all the time?

          1. I think it may be because the bbc claim to be impartial, and focussing on british drivers isnt being totally impartial.

            Plus I know the the bbc commentary is available in other countries, so maybe some of the comments about bbc partiality come from people overseas who watch the bbc feed if they get bbc pre/post race coverage too.

          2. Well, I am british and I find it annoying. Nationality has absolutely nothing to do with who I support.

      2. Di Resta did do a good job today though, 8th was a good effort.

        1. I know, it was a good result, but they start praising him before he has even done anything. Also they should have acknowledged that he was very lucky to stay in the top ten. If there hadn’t been a red flag, Schumacher, Kobayashi, Sutil and Heidfeld would probably have all beaten him.

          1. It’s not like Paul was at the front of the queue in Q2. They messed up, he didn’t.

            1. He did mess up, he had a clear track and didn’t improve. All the other drivers were in traffic. Kobayashi was hindered by Schumacher’s mistake, Sutil was cut up by a Williams going into turn 1. I don’t know what happened to Heidfeld. But certainly Kobayashi and Sutil were innocent victims, and di Resta profited from that.

            2. His original time proved enough to get him through. If others can’t beat that, that’s their problem.

            3. It’s bad luck for the other drivers if their lap was ruined by the red flag or by the mistakes of other drivers. Di Resta and to a certain extent the STRs benefited from the bad luck of other’s. Still, they all did a good job and good luck to them in the race.

            4. Di Resta went out and got a good enough “banker lap” in that he was in the top ten. The other teams and drivers know yellow/red flags do happen and either werent fast enough or chose not to do a banker themselves so have no one to blame but themselves. Well done Paul Di Resta.

          2. ScottishNotBritish
            16th April 2011, 9:14

            TFLB I’m wondering why you constantly want to play down Di Resta’s achievements?

            Are you a Sutil fan? Or do you just not like him? Genuine question.

            Your comment that Sch, Kob, Sut and Hei would “probably have beaten him” is preposterous. Especially Sut and Kob. Why then was Di Resta ahead of these drivers in the first run of the session and Q1?

            As I see it Di Resta has made the most impressive debut as an F1 driver since Lewis Hamilton. He has out-qualified his experienced and highly rated teammate in his first three GP! Although it will be very difficult for him to maintain this dominance his achievements so far should be acknowledged by the BBC (and prehaps you?).

            1. I do like di Resta, but it annoys me how everyone keeps talking him up. No, I am not particularly a fan of Sutil, but I do think that people are far too harsh on him. Also, Sutil was on course to be about eight tenths faster in Australia before he spun, had a gearbox problem in qualifying in Malaysia. He might have beaten di Resta here if the Williams had not cut him up. I would not call that dominance by di Resta – more like luck. That said, he is doing a very good job for a rookie and I apologise if I caused offence.

            2. ScottishNotBritish
              16th April 2011, 9:27

              No worries TFLB. I do accept your points to an extent, and we need to keep our expectations in check, but good luck to him I say!

            3. I absolutely agree with you!!
              Paul Di Resta is an unbelievable talent I can see him driver for Ferrari or McLaren in around 2015. Best of luck to the Scot.

            4. “Sutil was on course to be about eight tenths faster before he spun”

              That sums up Sutil’s problem quite well.

              He’s either rather mediocre or when he does perform he spins or crashes.

            5. Actually that’s a myth. He hardly made any mistakes at all last year (yes, I know, Korea) and has only made that one mistake this year.

        2. Seems like Macca have a Brit race driver on hand to replace Lewis if he moves for greener pastures:-)

          1. or indeed is MSC quits at the end of this year

            1. Bigbadderboom
              16th April 2011, 11:14

              Thought that myself this morning! Di Resta like the real deal to me and I wondered where his next drive might be, I think MSC may call it a day at the end of the season, and I don’t think being German will be a prerequisite for a new driver, MGP would do well to look at new younger talent rather than older less motivated drivers.

            2. The answer is a lot closer to home. Senior Hamilton was seen hanging out with RB guys so I am sure he is involving himself for a drive for his clients.

      3. cant blame webber if he kers didnt work now, can you?

        1. Vettel managed to win in Australia and Malaysia without KERS

          1. He had KERS in Malaysia, only Webber was without for Malaysia. This was confirmed after the race.

            1. He only used KERS very rarely in Malaysia though.

            2. Not really. More like “he only didn’t have it for a short while”. Even when RBR were telling him not to use it, that apparently was an “erroneous” message according to Horner, as evidenced by Vettel setting the fastest lap even as they were telling him not to use it. And for the brief time he wasn’t meant to use it, it was only a precautionary measure, not because of any big failure.

          2. Vettel did have KERS in Malaysia, as opposed to Webber.

          3. Why was he out on Primes if he didn’t have KERS? It makes no sense… I’d almost swear that Webber is self destructing.

            1. It wasn’t Webbers call, the team sent him out on primes…Helmut Marko is making sure he cant upset Vettel at all this year.

        2. KERS = 0.3 seconds not over a second.

          But yeah we can’t blame Webber. Better blame Red Bull for favouring Vettel

          1. I’m not sure if they’re favouring Vettel over Webber, but Webber certainly got the shot end of the stick when it comes to cars.

            1st race front wing and chassis (supposedly)
            2nd race no KERS
            Current race yet again no KERS and rumored front wing/brake problems.

            If they continue like this they’re going to lose the constructors.

            1. @TFLB From what I hear he had use of KERS straight off the bat (a big advantage im sure you’ll agree), and only after half of the race was complete did he start using it every other lap.

              Choose 1 of the below:
              a/ No KERS at all
              b/ KERS off the line until you’ve cemented your 1st place, then using it every other lap.

          2. It was just a stupid idea to put him on another set of hards, wasn’t it? We’ve seen Ferrari not taking that unnecessary risk in Q1, and Webber should be at fault as well, for not insisting to go on soft tyres.

            1. Apparently he was held up by the weigh bridge as he was trying to go out? They didn’t really elaborate much on commentary but it sounded like they were speculating if he wasn’t able to do a second lap on Hards due to being held up.

              But yes. Big mistake going out on Hards so late in q1.

            2. I think you are right. Responsibility needs to be passed around to everyone. Then again when you see the pole time that Vettel put in its not surprising they were a little bit on the cocky side.

          3. Younger Hamii(Formerly Younger Hamilton)
            16th April 2011, 9:29

            No Actually KERS are worth up Half a Second per lap.But like your Suggestion of 0.3Secs it May Depend on the Amount of Downforce a Particular Car has.

            1. KERS at Shanghai is worth 0.24s/lap, according to Williams.

            2. According to the 6th-9th fastest car. It’s not a linear relationship, might be worth more to a car 3 seconds in front of Williams in the first place.

      4. It’s not as if they’ve ignored the other rookies. They were talking up Perez as Massa’s replacement the other week which I thought was a bit over the top.

        1. Williams4Ever
          16th April 2011, 15:34

          They were talking up Perez as Massa’s replacement the other week which I thought was a bit over the top.

          Agreed, seems like Massa has rubbed someone on the wrong side in British Press, They simply can’t find anything good about that chap. Of course this season he has fared good as compared to the bigger evil, the Spaniard. So hopefully the Brazilian will get some British Love :)

          1. Anyone with eyes to see would have doubts over Massa’s future at Ferrari. He was pretty comprehensively thrashed by Alonso last year. The idea they might replace him is not fanciful, though talking up the prospects of a driver with one start to his name (at that time) was what I thought was a bit much.

            But this hyper-sensitivity about nationality is really, really tedious by the way.

        2. No, they haven’t ignored them, but they must have mentioned him about five times as frequently as the other rookies. And it’s especially annoying when Humphrey asks someone (like Senna) a leading question to get him to praise di Resta, and then Coulthard gives a monologue about him during the commentary. We must have heard the abbreviated history of di Resta’s career at least three times already this season.

          1. Can’t say I’d noticed. It’s nothing compared to ITV’s fortnightly Button-/Hamilton-fests.

            1. No, it’s nowhere near that level, but it’s still irritating. I still like the BBC coverage though, it’s such a massive improvement.

    3. Well done Bruno Senna for making me miss Eddie Jordan.

      1. where was eddie btw?

        1. I’d wager he’s back in 1976 picking up a few new shirts a skin tight trousers.

          1. whoops. thats meant to be and skin tight trousers

        2. I’m not sure EJ was in China for the GP last year either, so maybe he has a recurring reason for missing this weekend each year.

          1. I think that was just because of the whole Icelandic volcano affair.

      2. Younger Hamii(Formerly Younger Hamilton)
        16th April 2011, 9:33

        Bruno Sure gave Jake some company,I think Jake would have been really Upset obviously being alone

    4. What was the deal with the Bulls at the end, any clue? No cheering, no on-radio congratulations, Seb sitting in the car for a good 2 minutes… Odd?

      1. Horner said it was to do with him abandoning his last lap and coming in early, catching the stewards offguard. How true that is, i dont know, as Button followed him in and was out of his car quick enough…

        1. Yes he said that but that is rubbish as Button did the same and was out of the car 2 minutes before Vettel, it was odd…. maybe a KERS problem and making the car safe.

    5. So can someone please tell me why the lap record still stands? Why doesnt Qualifying times count for the Lap record. It’s still A lap of the track? Why should it not count for the for the lap record?

      1. Because it’s a special circumstance, low fuel and fresh tyres. It’s like saying someone doing a lap with a JATO strapped to their back should still stand.

        1. Yea but what im saying its still a lap of the track, so it should count as the fastest lap a car has done of the track, thats what a lap record is suposed to reprsent, the fastest a car has been around the track.

          like the comentators were saying “thats a 1.33, the fastest a car has been round this track, faster than micheal schumachers lap record”.

          1. I’d like to agree with you but then we have to change all lap record of all times. maybe we’d rather find time machine to go back to 1950.

          2. The lap record applies to laps done durig the race, not qualifying. That’s why Vettels pole lap doesn’t count, and neither does Schumacher 1.28 at Suzuka in 2006

            1. Wait a minute

              Why would laps done in Practice count to lap records, but not Qualifying

              Is this just another stupid rule the FIA has invented that makes no sense?

              A lap record should be the fastest EVER lap done at a circuit.

              I just tried to update Wikipedia Montreal with Montoya’s 2002 record, only to be told that Qualifying laps do not count.

              Er, why?

              Makes absolutely no sense. Dumb FIA.

      2. and now we have DRS which is allowed always only in quali. so it’s fair. DRS make quali time faster than last year even though cars have less downforce.

        1. In 2004 they had 950hp engines, performance racing tyres (instead of tyres designed to fall apart) and probably more downforce. So that’s unfair too. I say we scrap those times …

          1. In 2004 they had grooved tyres.

    6. Another 2004? No!!

    7. If it was only the car then there should have been two Redbulls on the front row at every race this year

    8. Oh dear, I predicted Webber 2nd and Heidfeld 5th in the race…

      1. Ouch….Then again, I’m so confident in my predictions that I’m suggesting to Keith that he contact Virgin, Air Asia or Kingfisher and suggest to them that they provide a round trip air fares to and from Silverstone for the winner of the predictions competition in exchange for a spot of advertising on this glorious blog.


      2. same here, but swapped HEI with PET ;)

    9. 18th pole for Vettel as Webber qualifies 18th.

      1. Haha. I’m sure the irony in that has escaped the Red Bull team.

    10. Vettel on pole again but Webber slumps to 18th

      That’s not a slump, that’s falling into the abyss.

      1. apologise for the double post… it didn’t seem to post the first time.

    11. thanks to renault, Q2 is so heart pumping.
      Don’t why renault decide to go out very late at Q2 and eventually cost them Q3 for heidfeld.

    12. Catch him if you can then…

    13. No way dave ! I have`nt heard Bruno yet cos I was listening to Radio 5, but no way can it be worse than EJ, the man is the biggest joke of a pundit in any sport ever. And people thought Blundell was bad. He is the worst thing about the BBC coverage. What I also don`t understand is why they have to end the show so soon after the end of quali, delayed Q2 or not. And what comes on next ? News. In fact just the BBC News channel, but on BBC1. What is the point in that ?

    14. I like how Hamilton was so chuffed at having hoarded the maximum number of tires tomorrow, never mind the massive gap to Vettel. Unless those extra tires are going to be strapped to Vettel’s wings, not going to matter.

      1. shame tyre conservation doesn’t matter so much at shanghai compared to malaysia.

      2. Yeah, qualifying probably isn’t that important this year.

        Maybe someone should try starting on the hard tyres. The softs should last slightly longer/better later on in the race.

      3. Good call there.

    15. Im sorry but Im still far from convinced that these tyres are good for F1. I dont think its even a case of who can look after them best, they just suit certain driving styles very well and its pot luck if you get a duff set. I feel sorry for Webber as the Red Bull is easily fast enough on hards to get through Q1 but he has been let down by inconsistent pirelli’s.

      Tyres arent good for racing the drivers cant race on them, F1 isnt endurance racing and it saddens me that so many on here think these pirelli’s are good for the sport.

      1. 305km over 100+ minutes sounds like an endurance to me.

        1. @mild7nick
          This is so true. anyone that think this new tyres are anything positive to F1 is another think coming. F1 is not endurance racing for crying out loud!

          1. But compared to a lot of forms of motorsport an F1 race is a lot longer both in terms of time and distance. Even in shorter type events, british touring cars and moto gp to name 2, tyre management is still an important aspect in getting a good result.

            1. @mild7nick totally agree the tyres are c£&p and not good for the sport.
              Driver can’t do anything about a ‘duff’ set, I assume that was Webbers main problem.

              People talking about drives making a difference on these tyre haven’t got a clue. Yes you can destroy your race but not the opposite, you can’t stop them falling off the cliff, its more car and set-up dependant.

      2. How was that any different to Goodyear, Bridgestone or Michelin?

        Webber is the driver. Ultimately, it’s his call what tyres to run on. I can’t even blame his team for this.

        He chose wrongly.

        Didn’t hurt Vettel,Button or Hamilton a bit.

        I don’t understand you blaming the tyres for Webber’s dreadful performance.

      3. Poll is faster than last years on Bridgestones and with a double decked diffuser.

        1. Thanks to DRS

          1. Looking at FP2 and FP3 times I really didn’t think that Q3 times would be so fast.

            But, if the flippy flappy wing gives us a faster race, well… that’s a good thing isn’t it?

        2. Adrian Morse
          16th April 2011, 9:16

          Yes, but with DRS. Does anyone have an idea how much time DRS is worth?

          1. Thing is, everyone has it so it should more or less balance its self out across the grid.

            Not a clue as to what it it’s worth a lap.

            Pole time is really a stunner this year.

            1. Sorry… I stutter when I type :P

          2. BBC(I don’t know whether it’s Brundle or Coulthard) said DRS gives aprx. 0.7 sec per lap. If circuit has more straight line there would be more gain. I saw some onboard footage of this weekend and drivers reach 300kph before a third of straight. It was great.

            1. Thanks Eggry

            2. P1 2011 1:33.706
              P1 2010 1:34.558

              Nope it not just the flippy flappy wing.

              It may be the FFW and Kers.

    16. Would be interesting to know the last time Webber has gone out in round 1, I even remember in bad cars Webber getting through to the last 10…

      1. bahrain 2009, held up by sutil in q1

        1. And he pulled off one of the most awesome first laps ever in that race, before being held up by the kers-renault of piquet jnr from memory.

          Given he is without kers in this race, while ‘surprise’ his teammate isn’t, let’s see how far he can get this time.

    17. Le Mans is endurance racing, Sebring is endurance racing. Im all for a bit of “looking after the tyres” but not at the cost of the actual racing

      1. Did you watch last weekend?

        1. I think anyone complaining about the races this year should really stop watching them. F1 is not for them. It is time they understood that preserving tires to help their strategy is also one of the skills of the drivers.

          No offence meant!

          1. Agree Kev, if you want short races then people are better off watching BTCC or some sprint races series. If people think its an “endurance” now, imagine 50 years ago when it would go on for a good hour more then today. Imagine 100 laps now of Monaco, for example Monaco 1961 & 2010 (monaco because its only slightly changed of all the circuits from then to now)

            2010 – 78 laps, 260.52 km (162.24 mi)
            1961 – 100 laps, 314.5 km (195.4 mi)

            Moss took 2hr:45to finish the race, Webber took 1hr:50.

            The point is, that races are supposed to be long as F1/GP racing isnt a sprint series, never has been & never will be. If anything, it gets quicker & short (more or less, restrictions on the regulations play their part) by the year for all races, F1 has much shorter and quicker races then its ever had.

            1. I certainly wouldn’t complain if the races were closer to 3 hours again! And as far as tire management goes, it’s just one of many skills that the drivers need, and it’s fascinating to see who can handle it and who can’t. The best drivers adapt and thrive with whatever technology comes their way.

      2. F1 has always been a bit about conserving the car and its tyres. And we got plenty of good racing in Malaysia.

    18. paul di resta has done a great job, beats sutil again and bad to see williams going down.

    19. The more we go deeper into the 2011 season, the more I am going to appreciate Vettel.

      This season is showing us how having the best car alone is not sufficient to do well. Webber has had the short end of the stick more often than not, but he has compounded his problems by making wrong decisions.
      Inability to get a 3-stopper work at Sepang, over-confidence of using a harder tyre while he was about to be eliminated are mistakes that are solely down to Webber.

      This shows that Vettel is being able to do so many things right at the perfect time which is why he is winning comfortably. In Vettel I see a driver who is putting his equipment to perfect use, in Webber I see a driver who is making things difficult for himself.

      1. Adrian Morse
        16th April 2011, 9:23

        I partially agree with you, sumedh. I think it was definitely a risky call to do a second run on hards by Webber, but if he had had KERS, he would have made it.

        Without taking away anything from Vettel’s performances, and certainly not implying favouritism, I find it somewhat painful that the mighty Red Bull is unable to provide Webber with a properly functioning KERS for the second weekend in succession (ok, it worked in Malaysia’s quali but let him down in the race), while Vettel’s is working well enough.

      2. I think the most remarkable thing about Vettel is his relentless consistency. Since he T-boned Button at Spa last year he hasn’t made a single mistake.

        1. Well he did fluff his Singapore qualifying and handed pole to Alonso. I agree though that Vettel seems to be getting everything right while Webber is the one getting into a bit of a mess and this year it seems that he’s getting all of the car troubles so far. So I agree with Sumedh but at the same time Webber’s a capable racer and qualifying seems a little less important so I wouldn’t be surprised if he recovered quite well tomorrow.

    20. I am wondering about Alonso and why he was not able to improve his lap time significantly from Q2. I doubt he was taking the lap conservatively since there was no way he could have challenged for the top4 and the Renaults were nowhere near him. Rosberg spoiled the party with the 4th place, but again Alonso gets to start from 5th and clear side of the track.

    21. Another good performance by redbull to get pole for Seb. I am starting to wonder just what on earth is going on with Webbers car though.

      He clearly is not a great deal slower than vettel, but has had a load of car issues and been generally off the pace. I cant believe that is suddenly webber whos fallen off a cliff of pace.

      Good performance also from JB today, and Paul Di Resta. The force india has the uggliest nose seen in F1 since Alain Prosts doesnt it…

      It just doesnt seem like Lewis, talking about tyres and so on. He doesnt look very happy at McLaren to me at the moment. Lost of words on both sides in the press.

      I do wonder whether this will be the beginning of the end between Lewis and McLaren. Just a personal opinion from someone who is a McLaren fan. Hes a great racer no doubt, but there seems to be a lot of edge between them. Anyone else feel the same?

      1. In my opinion, he is being super conservative with the tyres so he can maximise his Sundays.

        Lewis always bounces back from a bad weekend. Remember Malaysia was the first time Lewis made it to the finish line of a grand prix outside of the top six since Germany 2009

      2. I don’t think so. I think after Malaysia hes prehaps just very aware of how having severa goods sets of tyres is important for the race.

        As for him leaving Mclaren I dont think he will as things stand at the moment. In being non commital hes just being sensible really, saying the same as every other driver would. eg. I’m happy here but if my team go backwards, someone offers me more money, or my team make me feel unwelcome, then i’m off. He’s just keeping his options open and doesn’t want mclaren to take him for granted.

    22. I wonder why people are blaming Webber for Redbull not giving him a good car all weekend and also since the first race.
      Webber’s woes will magically end after race 5 or 6. But he will continue to get the odd technical issue just to ruffle him before qualifying but not enough to drop him lower than 6th on the grid.
      So at the end of the year, if Redbull want to also win the constructors championship, they have enough in hand. However, if they want to get rid of Webber, they will just point at the final championship points tally, and tell him ,.. You are not performing mate.

      1. Because Webber’s car is of cause so much worse then Vettel’s car was last year relatively? Oh wait no. Vettel had all the technical issues last season. Now it is Webber’s turn.
        And seriously why would Red Bull give Webber a worse car on purpose? They still need to win the constructors championship don’t they? They didn’t do that last year (giving him a worse car of cause), and Vettel still beat him, they wouldn’t need too worry about that this year.
        What didn’t work was the KERS, but with a car that can set pole by 0.7 seconds why wasn’t Webber second? Even with the lack of KERS that is what he should have delivered.
        Webber only has contracts year by year, so they wouldn’t need Webber to under perform to kick him out by the end of the year. They could have done that last year. If they don’t want Webber he wouldn’t be driving the car. It is as simple as that. Contract or not, as soon as the big money is on the table they can easily be torn apart.

        1. When you are on a queue you get served after the man in front. And his problem wasn’t just KERS but also electrical. You may also add that he had not done any qualifying simulation. So his car wan’t optimized. Coupled with the fact the team ran out of time. I am not a Webber fan but in his situation it can’t be easy. Redbull’s priority is car one before any spares.

          1. I believe Horner said that both driver’s mechanical crews worked on Webber’s car to get it right for Q after P3.

            1. Xtophe is right.

              In another article here on F1Fanatic, Horner is quoted as saying “It’s been a rotten day for Mark today. He had an electrical issue this morning and a massive effort by the entire crew, including the mechanics on Sebastian’s car, to get the car ready for quali”.

              And, in the post-qualifying email that Webber’s press people sent out Horner was quoted as saying “After a Herculean effort from all the team to get Mark’s car repaired and out for Q1, it was disappointing for both Mark and the team that he missed the cut. We elected to run the hard tyre for his second run thinking it would be enough, but unfortunately they weren’t up to the temperature to do it. Obviously with 20 / 20 hindsight, you would run the option tyre”.

              I think those two quote pretty well some up the situation. In my mind there is no conspiracy theory, just a lot of bad luck.

          2. The cars are set up quite similar, and if Vettel had a good setup for qualy this morning Webber would be running the same setup more or less. His situation might not have been easy, but he was in a car that was easily half a second clear of the rest. To only be quicker then the 3 back marker teams is remarkably bad.

            1. Perhaps, both cars even run the same paint scheme so we can say they are virtually identical. Fact how do you know if Vettel is running an update or not that can require subtle differences in car setup. Matter of fact most drivers who used the hards, set their faster time on the second lap. Webber didn’t have sufficient laps to get the optimum performance out of hkis tyres. How do you know for sure if Webber has an exactl replica of the bendy wing.

            2. I don’t know that, but why wouldn’t they give Webber equal equipment? They would never want him to be that far off Vettels pace. If they would want to sabotage him they should just tell him that his career in F1 is over if he don’t stay second every time Vettel is leading.
              There would be no point in running the team with Vettel in a secure no. 1 postition and Webber no. 2 if Webber can’t get up there and help him. Then they could just as well save the money and effort and only run one car. If they wanted to sabotage Webbers championship in favor of Vettel, they would still want him in front of the two McLarens.
              And do you remember how much of an uproar that started when they took Webbers front wing in Silverstone last year? If there were clear favoritism on the mechanical parts Webber would have told us by now. He still is Mark Webber.

      2. Webber’s on one year contracts anyway, they can bin him anytime they want, no need to sabotage him and get an excuse to fire him like you suggest, that would be ludicrous and dumb of them. He’s just been horribly unlucky and is just not on top of his game either.

    23. Webber may just as well bring his family car and use it during the race. Surely it will be more reliable and should have received quality care from his mechanics back home.

    24. I don t question vettel s overtaking ability. See brittish gp 2010. It’s time we recognize the unbelievable talent of this guy!

      1. Adrian Sutil would disagree on that example.

        1. Why, cause they bumped wheels as Vettel passed him? I’ve seen that a hundred times in F1, it doesn’t mean a thing.

    25. What’s most interesting is now Vettel won’t have the buffer of a slower Renault jumping the Mclaren’s at the start, or Webber splitting the Mclaren duo up on the grid. No more excuses for the Mclaren boys, if they want to go toe to toe on race pace vs Vettel, this is the perfect opportunity to do so.

      1. I so hope that happens… Buuuut we all know Lewis will go too deep into T1 after a bad start, and take out either Seb or Jenson.

    26. chasing Vettel ;)

    27. He didnt get held up by the weighbridge, he got weighed when he got back to the pits after q1, then he went down there in person to check if he needed to be weighed seperately to his car, as he doesnt often finish qualy in q1. At least thats what the bbc said.

      I think the team should have sent him out on softs for his last run. They should have seen how much slower he was then Vettel, and noticed that everyone but Vettel, and the mclarens had to use softs in q1, which would have meant he wouldnt have lost anything to anyone else in terms of strategy.

    28. Vettel has so much in reserve that I genuinely dont think the Mclarens will worry him tomorrow. He wont streak away because of the tyres but whenever Mclaren look fast Seb always has another half a second in his pocket.

      As for whether F1 is endurance racing, it clearly isnt. 6 hours onwards is what you call Endurance racing as found in the Le Mans Endurance Series funnily enough.

      Mark Hughes said on autosport yesterday that Hamilton is struggling to reign in his talent for the sake of tyre management. This is sad to hear as F1 should be about the best and fastest drivers driving to their full potential.

      Who here honestly finds tyre management exciting compared to two drivers duelling it out at the limit in a final stint with the tyres having no effect on their performance!?

      Who on here would rather watch a race like last weekend or a race like suzuka 05 or spa 00?

      F1 has become tyre obssessed, I dont watch F1 for the tyres, I watch it for the cars, the drivers, the skill and most importantly the racing!

      Some on here seem to be brainwashed by pirelli!

      1. The 2005 season which was more about tyre management than any other in recent history?

        Good races are good races, what Pirelli are trying to do is spice the processions up by introducing a bit of variety. At the very least it breaks the monotony I witnessed for 90% of the first ten years of watching F1.

        1. There was very little tyre management in 2005, bridgestone and Michelin just built them to last.

          Im all for some variety but all I see at the moment are drivers all conserving tyres instead of pushing and racing each other

          1. all I see at the moment are drivers all conserving tyres instead of pushing and racing each other

            You’re just seeing what you want to see. There was a lot of racing and passing in Malaysia.

            1. true but nearly all of it was kers/drs/tyre induced, there was very little wheel to wheel racing between cars of the same speed

            2. By definition, there never will be. If two cars are going at the same speed one isn’t going to overtake the other.

              I’m not sold on the way DRS is used in races but I don’t think the complaints about KERS and the tyres are merited. Everyone has the same options available to them as far as that’s concerned.

          2. Wrong again. There was tyre war and both manufacturers tried to get the maximum performance out of their tyres. That will inevitably come at the cost of preservation and it did. They lasted because the drivers had to make them last.

          3. Not going to dispute any of these points. But it’s worth considering, additonally, that we got rid of race-fuel qualifying precisely because we wanted Saturday to be about a duel of raw pace, rather than just a strategic prequel to Sunday. Now it’s worse than that, because all the fuel was the same. Do we need to start doing a “tire correction” based on how many laps a driver did on saturday?

    29. I think McLaren have gone for tactics today :\

      They knew they couldn’t beat Vettel in Quali so have kept a new set of fresh softs to maybe do one less pit stop than Red Bull..?

      Thats what im thinking/hoping anyway :)

    30. Qualifying laps and race laps should have different records.

      In qualy, its just 1 lap, you may have low fuel, different tyres and set up (in the past), its a lot easier to concentrate and be on the limit, and there’s less risk involved in a single lap sprint.

      Where as during the race you have to look after tyres, manage fuel, have a different setup (in the past), its more difficult to concentrate and be on the edge and theres the risk of going off track and ruining your race.

      Therefore fast qualy laps and race laps are set in entirely different circumstances.

    31. Great stuff by Nico to get 4th, not bad for having the 5th best car on the grid.

    32. Younger Hamii(Formerly Younger Hamilton)
      16th April 2011, 12:35

      Notice nobody has Quoted on Webber yet about his shocking Exit in Q1.LOL

      1. There was a story up on that ages ago: Webber knocked out in Q1 on “frustrating day”

    33. Its not about getting rid of webber, I think it is clear to all that it is about giving vettel a clear no 1 status in the title hunt, so they don’t trip on their lies of last year again by saying we have no favouratism at red bull! Eg- take webbers front wing coz we want you to win!
      How can you not have fixed kers on his car?? There is more wrong with that car than kers!! And don’t tell us crap that its about tyre wear coz who cares about that during qualifying!

      1. i don’t care what anyone says there is no way vettel and webber have the ‘same car’ :)

    34. Massa, why could you not find the .03 seconds somewhere and do Alonso…skip a curb,remove that one thin film from visor, something. Thats all I wanted.


      1. he may have done all those things you suggested and that’s why he came so close.

      2. Guilherme (@the_philosopher)
        16th April 2011, 16:17

        I hate to jump into the “different equipment” bandwagon, but Alonso had a newer front wing, while Massa was using the old Malaysia spec (he even confirmed it on an interview).

        I’d love to know how much that wing was worth a lap…

        1. Guilherme (@the_philosopher)
          16th April 2011, 17:08

          Please ignore my comment, I have just watched Q3 again and Alonso used the old spec too…

    35. Good point Eggry. Vettel might be talented – I think he is; however he always had a good car. When comparing Schummacher’s domination at Ferrari with Vettel’s domination at RedBull, there’s one aspect: when Schummi came to Ferrari, the car wasn’t that good; he worked and made it competitive in 3 years.
      Anyway, Schummi should have chosen to stay away of F1. Nico is better than Schummi. Mercedes needs another young driver and not a 42 years old guy. A 42 years old driver obviously cannot have a future in F1.

    36. Lucas "Mr. Veloce"
      16th April 2011, 15:01

      Di Resta is an immense driver compared to Sutil, I mean Adrian is experienced and highly rated after being in F1 since 2007 and the last time Di Resta drove a single-seater in a race was 2006 in Euro F3. Up your game Adrian or Vijay will get the Hulk to replace you in Germany.

    37. lovin the red macca overalls, the white one’s always look so drab. Hope they make the change permanent!

      1. imagine a “mclaren and ferrari drivers only” podium, Montezemolo would have a glimpse of his 3-car fantasy!

    38. Keith I’ll almost not agree with you there. Fact is there still is much racing and overtaking. But the general consensus is a driver cannot afford to defend aggressively because he risks destroying his tyres and by extension whatever strategy he is on. Case in point, Kobayashi didn’t attempt to defend his position from cars that were significantly faster than his, he only defended and re attacked those cars that had the potential to mess with his race pace. Which is a lot different from his attitude last year. So we can say the tyres are affecting the quality of the racing.

      1. You’ve taken an extreme example as the Saubers seem to be the only team making that sacrifice.

        1. That is why I said almost not agree. Because in general it’s not so clear cut who is right you will have to agree that Button and Massa battling it out wrecked both their tyres. Button could perhaps have gone a few laps longer.

    39. Whats up with the red McLaren ovaralas. Red is Ferraris color

      1. Yeah but it’s also the colour of their primary sponsor – the legendary tax-dodgers Vodafone.

    40. Interesting qualifying, with quite a few surprises, as far as I’m concerned. Hopefully, we’ll get another interesting race tomorrow.

    41. If Petrov’s car had been okay I reckon he would’ve been 4th easily.

    42. Is this the first time both Toro Rossos have made it to Q1? And is that Alguersuari’s best qualifying performance?

      1. I wonder how they did it, yeah that red flag in Q2 may have helped them but boy they were quick. In pre season testing some drivers were telling that Torro Rosso have some good speed.

    43. Love the new commentary team, the way coultard was explaining petrovs problems was detailed and interesting – see on his wheel, clutch. Still has hydrolics etc. A detailed runthrough! Great stuff!!

    44. Schumacher really need to work on qualifying, not sure why he is failing this year so far where his team-mate is doing a good job.Another good session from Vettel, Webber’s crew was overconfident, he should have had gone with the soft tyre.The last two minutes of Q2 was epic.

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