McLaren missed out on one-two in final sector

2011 Korean GP qualifying analysis

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Button was on course for second until last corner

McLaren were on course to lock out the front row of the grid until Jenson Button hit the rev limiter in the final sector of his lap.

The last sector was also where Michael Schumacher lost the time that cost him a place in Q3.

Here’s all the data from qualifying for the Korean Grand Prix.

Qualifying times in full

  • Schumacher missed out on a place in Q3 for the first time since his wheel fell off at Spa. He was on course to reach the top ten until the final sector. He said: “I could feel that something was not right when leaving the pits as I had vibrations straight away. All that was left for us to do was hope that the gap would be big enough to remain in the top ten but that turned out not to be the case.”
  • One of the drivers who beat him was Jaime Alguersuari, who is pleased with Toro Rosso’s progress, saying: “I think we now have a better understanding of some of the upgrades we introduced in Suzuka and made the most of them.
  • Sergio Perez starts 17th for the second race in a row and was the only driver not to improve his time between two parts of qualifying. “I am not happy with the balance and the set-up of the car,” he said. “I didn’t feel at all confident in the car. My final lap in Q2 was particularly bad because I hadn’t got the brake balance right and had the fronts locking.”
  • Williams limited their drivers to one run in Q1 and it proved insufficient for Rubens Barrichello to get into Q2. He said: “My first lap in Q1 was quite good but my tyres had started to go off by the third lap. As we had decided to conserve tyres before the session started, we aborted the run and came in.”

Q2 (vs Q1)

Q3 (vs Q2)
1Lewis HamiltonMcLaren1’37.5251’36.526 (-0.999)1’35.820 (-0.706)
2Sebastian VettelRed Bull1’39.0931’37.285 (-1.808)1’36.042 (-1.243)
3Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’37.9291’37.302 (-0.627)1’36.126 (-1.176)
4Mark WebberRed Bull1’39.0711’37.292 (-1.779)1’36.468 (-0.824)
5Felipe MassaFerrari1’38.6701’37.313 (-1.357)1’36.831 (-0.482)
6Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’38.3931’37.352 (-1.041)1’36.980 (-0.372)
7Nico RosbergMercedes1’38.4261’37.892 (-0.534)1’37.754 (-0.138)
8Vitaly PetrovRenault1’38.3781’38.186 (-0.192)1’38.124 (-0.062)
9Paul di RestaForce India1’38.5491’38.254 (-0.295)
10Adrian SutilForce India1’38.7891’38.219 (-0.570)
11Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso1’39.3921’38.315 (-1.077)
12Michael SchumacherMercedes1’38.5021’38.354 (-0.148)
13Sebastien BuemiToro Rosso1’39.3521’38.508 (-0.844)
14Kamui KobayashiSauber1’39.4641’38.775 (-0.689)
15Bruno SennaRenault1’39.3161’38.791 (-0.525)
16Pastor MaldonadoWilliams1’39.4361’39.189 (-0.247)
17Sergio PerezSauber1’39.0971’39.443 (+0.346)
18Rubens BarrichelloWilliams1’39.538
19Heikki KovalainenLotus1’40.522
20Jarno TrulliLotus1’41.101
21Timo GlockVirgin1’42.091
22Jerome D’AmbrosioVirgin1’43.483
23Vitantonio LiuzziHRT1’43.758
24Daniel RicciardoHRT

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.

  • On his birthday Bruno Senna could only manage after what he called, “my first poor qualifying performance of the year.”
  • Felipe Massa beat Fernando Alonso, which he has now done four times in the last six races having qualified behind his team mate in the first ten races of the year.
TeamDriverLap timeGapLap timeDriverRound
Red BullSebastian Vettel1’36.042-0.4261’36.468Mark WebberQ3
McLarenLewis Hamilton1’35.820-0.3061’36.126Jenson ButtonQ3
FerrariFernando Alonso1’36.980+0.1491’36.831Felipe MassaQ3
MercedesMichael Schumacher1’38.354+0.4621’37.892Nico RosbergQ2
RenaultBruno Senna1’38.791+0.6051’38.186Vitaly PetrovQ2
WilliamsRubens Barrichello1’39.538+0.1021’39.436Pastor MaldonadoQ1
Force IndiaAdrian Sutil1’38.219-0.0351’38.254Paul di RestaQ2
SauberKamui Kobayashi1’38.775-0.6681’39.443Sergio PerezQ2
Toro RossoSebastien Buemi1’38.508+0.1931’38.315Jaime AlguersuariQ2
LotusHeikki Kovalainen1’40.522-0.5791’41.101Jarno TrulliQ1
VirginTimo Glock1’42.091-1.3921’43.483Jerome D’AmbrosioQ1

Sector times

Here are the drivers’ best times in each sector.

  • Jenson Button was faster than Vettel in the first two sectors but ended up behind him on the grid: “On my final run, I think I lost some ground in the last corner: I hit the limiter at the apex and lost a bit of time, but I feel good in the car.”
  • As a result, Mark Webber was also faster than Button in the final sector – but had already lost too much time earlier on his lap: “I lost the rear a little bit on the exit of turn one. I tried to get it back through turn three, but I was down tyhree-tenths of a second; it’s a pity as you’re not going to get that back in the last sector – which hadn’t been too bad on the previous run.”
DriverSector 1Sector 2Sector 3
Lewis Hamilton34.245 (3)41.834 (1)19.730 (1)
Sebastian Vettel34.202 (2)41.968 (3)19.860 (2)
Jenson Button34.168 (1)41.961 (2)19.997 (4)
Mark Webber34.399 (6)42.110 (4)19.943 (3)
Felipe Massa34.251 (4)42.273 (5)20.286 (6)
Fernando Alonso34.500 (12)42.319 (6)20.095 (5)
Nico Rosberg34.436 (9)42.798 (7)20.434 (7)
Vitaly Petrov34.447 (10)43.030 (8)20.439 (8)
Paul di Resta34.403 (7)43.143 (10)20.708 (14)
Adrian Sutil34.389 (5)43.330 (12)20.500 (11)
Jaime Alguersuari34.520 (13)43.281 (11)20.456 (9)
Michael Schumacher34.426 (8)43.130 (9)20.742 (15)
Sebastien Buemi34.474 (11)43.482 (16)20.490 (10)
Kamui Kobayashi34.671 (15)43.346 (13)20.758 (16)
Bruno Senna34.552 (14)43.350 (14)20.586 (12)
Pastor Maldonado34.769 (17)43.606 (18)20.814 (17)
Sergio Perez34.918 (18)43.368 (15)20.675 (13)
Rubens Barrichello34.717 (16)43.546 (17)21.171 (19)
Heikki Kovalainen35.420 (19)44.047 (20)21.055 (18)
Jarno Trulli35.676 (21)43.946 (19)21.465 (20)
Timo Glock35.631 (20)44.933 (21)21.527 (21)
Jerome D’Ambrosio36.073 (22)45.478 (23)21.932 (22)
Vitantonio Liuzzi36.104 (23)45.347 (22)22.170 (23)
Daniel Ricciardo36.315 (24)52.079 (24)25.130 (24)

Speed trap

Here are the drivers’ maximum speeds.

  • Alguersuari complained of hitting the rev limiter in the last race. He has the quickest car in a straight line here, suggesting Toro Rosso have got his gear ratios right this time.
PosDriverCarSpeed (kph/mph)Gap
1Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso320.3 (199.0)
2Sebastien BuemiToro Rosso320.0 (198.8)-0.3
3Michael SchumacherMercedes316.4 (196.6)-3.9
4Nico RosbergMercedes316.4 (196.6)-3.9
5Kamui KobayashiSauber316.0 (196.4)-4.3
6Felipe MassaFerrari315.9 (196.3)-4.4
7Paul di RestaForce India315.8 (196.2)-4.5
8Bruno SennaRenault315.6 (196.1)-4.7
9Vitaly PetrovRenault315.6 (196.1)-4.7
10Adrian SutilForce India315.6 (196.1)-4.7
11Sergio PerezSauber315.6 (196.1)-4.7
12Jenson ButtonMcLaren314.7 (195.5)-5.6
13Lewis HamiltonMcLaren314.6 (195.5)-5.7
14Pastor MaldonadoWilliams314.5 (195.4)-5.8
15Fernando AlonsoFerrari313.9 (195.0)-6.4
16Rubens BarrichelloWilliams313.7 (194.9)-6.6
17Sebastian VettelRed Bull312.5 (194.2)-7.8
18Mark WebberRed Bull312.2 (194.0)-8.1
19Vitantonio LiuzziHRT309.9 (192.6)-10.4
20Daniel RicciardoHRT309.5 (192.3)-10.8
21Jerome D’AmbrosioVirgin309.1 (192.1)-11.2
22Timo GlockVirgin308.9 (191.9)-11.4
23Heikki KovalainenLotus308.3 (191.6)-12.0
24Jarno TrulliLotus308.1 (191.4)-12.2

2011 Korean Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
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    31 comments on “McLaren missed out on one-two in final sector”

    1. Its clear both McLarens are really fast here and Red Bull less so. That wing allowing more use of DRS in qualifying seems to have been just the thing to get the cars on the front row.

      Lets see what everyone will be up to in the race though.

      1. Actually it seems that the DRS wing can be used less because it’s so powerful. In Suzuka qualifying the McLarens were the only team not to use it while HRT could use it. Basic logic would then dictate that this means McLaren with DRS open has less downforce than HRT with DRS open.

    2. I think that this is an another example of why Button doesn’t perform that well in qualifying. You could say that hitting the rev limiter was an oversight, however you could also see it as preferring a setup more appropriate for the race.

      Lower gear ratios will help acceleration, and on a full tank or when DRS is unavailable hitting the rev limiter would be less likely.

      1. Except the fact that Button actually has top speed in the McLaren cars.

        1. How can he be 0.1km/h faster but hit the limiter while Hamilton does not. Or did both McLarens do that just Hamilton got the run from the last corners to the finish line better!? Quite weird.

          1. Of course I can think of reasons how that could happen but still its a bit weird.

          2. I don’t think he hit the limiter in terms of top speed. He shifted gears too late.

            1. It does seem strange to hit the limiter at the apex of a corner, so you are probably correct.

            2. @Ady Yep – it may seem trivial but when you’re trying to shift constantly as close as you can to 18,000 without going over 18,000; you’re looking at hundredths and thousandths of seconds for the perfect time to shift gears. Not easy.

    3. One thing I was wondering about, was Perez. He stayed in for a really long time and then did two fast-ish laps, with the first a bit quicker than the last. So was he on the soft tyres there?

    4. Looks like the Glock vs D’Ambrosio order has been restored then.

      That first sector by Alonso was awful, must have been a mistake. Seems like he clawed some of it back in 2 & 3 but it wasn’t enough.

    5. You could see all weekend that Jenson was 3-4 tenths down on Hamilton in the last sector. He needed to find that before they could have a 1-2.

      The last part of the track is very twisty/technical though, thats where driver skills come under greater scrutiny

    6. Astonishing straight line speed by the STRs! Nearly 4 kp/h faster than the super fast Mercedes!

      1. They’re just running less wing angle probably.

      2. @fixy They do usually end up being one of the fastest cars out there.

    7. 9 Paul di Resta Force India 1’38.549 1’38.254 (-0.295)
      10 Adrian Sutil Force India 1’38.789 1’38.219 (-0.570)

      why is paul infront of adrain sutil ?

      1. Paul did a lap in Q3 and Adrian didn’t leave the pits.

    8. I was wondering after I saw Rosberg got out of the car, is it possible that you alter your set up during Q3, to be more suitable for race conditions?
      Then, you don’t drive and your car goes to parc fermé.

      And what about all the non-drivers this year, or all the only-outlap-drivers?
      Could it be that they, apart from saving tyres, also set up their car beter for both qualifying (more extreme) and the race (during the session in which they don’t, or almost don’t drive)?

      1. I think as soon as Qualifying begins the car is under parc fermé

        1. Sporting Regulations:
          34.1 Each car will be deemed to be in parc fermé from the time at which it leaves the pit lane for the first time
          during qualifying practice until the start of the race

    9. It is great to see Mclaren has finally found speed when the championship is over.
      Let us hope they can carry this momentum into the new season and also soft out their strategy misfires.

    10. Mclaren’s race and I tip Button for the win if Vettel does not take him out off the start line.

      1. Why would Vettel take Button out at the start? At what point during this entire season (and indeed the last 18 months) has Vettel looked like he’d take anyone out at any point during the race?

        1. Not this year hugely, but in the last 18 months there was Webber in Turkey and Button in Spa. But I assume he’s talking about last week where that defending at the start was a bit aggressive.

          1. Vettel did not cause either of those collisions. Granted he wasn’t entirely innocent, but he didn’t deliberately take out anyone.

            The Spa incident was just cause he had his wheels on the wet part of the track while he had dry tyres on, he couldn’t have done much else.

            The Webber one, they were both at fault, Webber didn’t give Vettel any room..

            Japan this year? Have a look, he made one move, Button didn’t touch the grass, it was a perfect defensive move yet people still slate him for it, why?

        2. In the last two years Vettel has pushed off or banged wheels with any driver that challenged for the first corner, last year it was mostly MW this year mostly nobody.

    11. I got excited when I saw Vettel take a long look at the MP4-26 after the quali :-) . Then I knew RBR is in big trouble for the reminder of the season!!

      To buttress that, their faster tyres earlier taken was still slower than both McLaren on the harder tyres. Those were very telling of their situation atm.

      1. Vettel takes a look at other cars at almost all races this year. It’s not a curious glance; Adrian would have sent him on a mission to look at something specific that they have targeted for copying.

        I think you’ll find that Q1 and Q2 didn’t see the Bulls pushing. They were just driving to target times to get through to the next session.

        I wouldnt say they’re in trouble yet. Vettel only lost pole by around 2 tenths after getting slightly held up by a Force India

        1. @raymondu999 Agreed. It would be naive to think RBR have anything at all to worry about. Even if they do spend this part of the season on the backfoot, they have all but tied up the Constructors and could use the remaining sessions to test out 2012 aero.

          1. I don’t think they care much about the results anymore. Sure they want to win; and they would LOVE to win the last 4 races; but I think it’s inconsequential to them.

            Given that it’s a German at the helm; who are renowned for their clinical efficiency; I have a very sneaky suspicion that this tyre strategy is Vettel’s doing.

            As Autosport wrote in a piece about Vettel working very closely with Pirelli engineers over the winter, “Vettel’s title defense began days after he won his title,” referring to the Abu Dhabi tyre tests.

            I think that Vettel is going on a tangential strategy with a purpose. They will have strategy information that other teams don’t have. When have we seen a team that has dared to go option-prime-prime-prime? Using the prime as the “primary” race tyre? I’m willing to bet that this is a strategy simulation exercise for them.

      2. To buttress that, their faster tyres earlier taken was still slower than both McLaren on the harder tyres. Those were very telling of their situation atm.

        Christian Horner said in an interview afterwards that they were not going for it, they were just driving for a target lap time.
        One that was fast enough to get them to Q2 without taking too much out of the tyres, so they could reuse them for Q2.

        If RB’s pace on the option in Q1 were real pace, they would be somewhere like 1.5-2 seconds off the pace of McLaren in Q3, but that didn’t happen.

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