Sebastian Vettel in league of his own
Sebastian Vettel has turned out to be the man to beat in 2011World champion Sebastian Vettel secured the eighteenth pole position of his career, the third in 2011 and his fourth in a row. He was the last man over the line and abandoned his second attempt when the team told him that his previously set time was out of reach for his competitors.
As expected before the start of qualifying it was McLaren who came closest to Vettel. Jenson Button for the first time in 2011 beat teammate Lewis Hamilton in qualifying to take second place on the grid. There is a gap of 0.715 seconds to Vettel, though.
Button beats Hamilton in qualifying for the first time in 2011Nico Rosberg came astonishingly close to the McLaren's pace, he finished just 0.207 seconds behind third placed Hamilton.
Ferrari occupies the third row on the grid with Fernando Alonso being a marginal 0.026 seconds in front of Brazilian Felipe Massa. Both Ferraris were almost 1.5 seconds adrift of Sebastian Vettel already.
For the first time Toro Rosso were able to get both drivers into the top ten shootout with Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi lining up on seventh and ninth position.
Strong performance in qualifying from Jaime AlguersuariScot Paul di Resta impressed once more by beating his experienced teammate Adrian Sutil in Q2, although by only 0.016 seconds. But this fraction of a second decided in his favour to take part in Q3 where he managed to take eighth position on the grid.
Vitaly Petrov could not get out in the final part of qualifying because his engine stopped working at the end of Q2. Due to his car stopping on the very track the session had to be red flagged two minutes and two seconds before the end. From the drivers outside the top ten at this stage, only Nico Rosberg managed to get into Q3 after the restart.
For the third time in a row Michael Schumacher was both being beaten by his teammate Nico Rosberg and incapable of going through to Q3. After two eleventh grid positions in the first two grands prix of the season he goes further down to fourteenth this weekend.
Mechanics trying to solve electronic issues on Webber's car
Mark Webber went out in Q1 already. The Australian had electronic problems on his car in practice 3 and the team decided not to use KERS on Webber's car in qualifying. The crucial mistake, though, was the estimate to make it through to Q2 on the prime tyre, which did not work out for the Australian. He has to cope with eighteenth place on the grid.
According to weather forecasts tomorrow's race is expected to be dry, so the podium seems to be already booked for Vettel and the McLaren drivers Button and Hamilton.
In the last two grands prix the Ferraris proved to be competitive in race conditions. Whether Alonso and Massa will be involved in the fight for the podium, depends on whether they can clear Rosberg in the early stages of the race.
All drivers managed to stay within 107 percent (1:41.941) of the fastest time of Q1 set by Nico Rosberg, so Sunday's race will see all 24 drivers on the grid.
Qualifying - final results
1Sebastian VettelGermanRed Bull1:35.6741:34.7761:33.706
7Jaime AlguersuariSpanishToro Rosso1:36.1331:35.5631:36.158+2.452
8Paul di RestaScottishForce India1:35.7021:35.8581:36.190+2.484
9Sebastien BuemiSwissToro Rosso1:36.1101:35.5001:36.203+2.497
10Vitaly PetrovRussianLotus Renault1:35.3701:35.149no time set
11Adrian SutilGermanForce India1:36.0921:35.874+1.388
16Nick HeidfeldGermanLotus Renault1:35.9101:36.611+2.125
18Mark WebberAustralianRed Bull1:36.468+1.196
19Heikki KovalainenFinnishTeam Lotus1:37.894+2.622
20Jarno TrulliItalianTeam Lotus1:38.318+3.046
- Shanghai - Practice 3
- Shanghai - Practice 2
- Shanghai - Practice 1
- And the Winner Is...
- Hamilton or Button?
- Estimated Pecking Order for 2011
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