Vettel unchallenged to China pole position

Sebastian Vettel took his 3rd pole position of the year for the Chinese Grand Prix. Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton were 2nd and 3rd, while Mark Webber was knocked out of Q1. Here is the full report:

Q1

Webber lost out and will start 18th

Webber lost out and will start 18th

A quiet start to Q1 was marked by only Sergio Perez setting a lap, a 1.38.295, and soon improving to a 1.37.585. A huge lock-up hindered Paul di Resta, while Jenson Button soon went fastest.

Vettel soon overturned the McLaren’s first place, but Webber languished in 7th. Kobayashi was the last driver to set his first time, going 5th only 4 tenths off Sebastian.

Nick Heidfeld made a mistake at Turn 14, but still got within 2 tenths of the Red Bull.

The Ferraris soon took 1st and 2nd, albeit on soft tyres. Vitaly Petrov, initially struggling in 18th, went 1 hundreth faster than Alonso to go fastest, but was swiftly overturned by Rosberg.

Mark Webber decided to stay out on the harder tyres, a decision which completely backfired. Pastor Maldonado went 15th, and shoved the Red Bull into 18th, and out of Q1.

HRT failed to beat the Virgin cars in qualifying, but still got within the 107% rule.

Drivers knocked out of Q1:

18) Mark Webber

19) Heikki Kovalainen

20) Jarno Trulli

21) Jerome D’Ambrosio

22) Timo Glock

23) Vitantonio Liuzzi

24) Narain Karthikeyan

Q2

The cars line up for the last 2 minutes of Q2

The cars line up for the last 2 minutes of Q2

Jaime Alguersuari started Q2 significantly faster than his teammate Buemi. Jenson Button set a 1.34.662, which was sure to raise eyebrows at Red Bull. Lewis Hamilton went quicker by 2 tenths, while Vettel was in the 1.34.7 range.

Nico Rosberg went 10th on the hard tyres, and soon switched to the softs after lacking pace. Buemi went 5th, splitting the Ferraris. Vitaly Petrov jumped to 4th on his first run.

The Renault soon slowed after a gearbox problem, and the red flag came out as his car was recovered. As there were only 2 minutes to go, a huge amount of cars had to queue up at the end of the pitlane at the restart.

A huge train of cars crossed the line with less than 30 seconds to go. Paul di Resta was incredibly lucky to cross the line with only one second to go.

Masa went 5th with Rosberg 9th. Schumacher was 13th, and Heidfeld 16th, with both drivers knocked out of Q2. Di Resta didn’t end up setting a lap, but stayed in 10th position.

Drivers knocked out of Q2:

11) Adrian Sutil

12) Sergio Perez

13) Kamui Kobayashi

14) Michael Schumacher

15) Rubens Barrichello

16) Nick Heidfeld

17) Pastor Maldonado

Q3

Vettel was 7 tenths clear of Hamilton and Button

Vettel was 7 tenths clear of Hamilton and Button

Vitaly Petrov failed to show in Q3 after his car troubles in Q2. Sebastian Vettel easily beat Jenson Button by 7 tenths of a second, setting a 1.33.706. These were the only 2 drivers going for 2 runs, as the others stayed in the pits at the beginning of the session.

The two Toro Rossos failed to match the frontrunners’ pace, going 2.3 and 2.4 seconds off the pace. Lewis Hamilton deciced to conserve one of his soft tyre sets for race day, as the drivers went out on their final run.

Alonso was well off the pace of Vettel, more than a second off the Red Bull. Nico Rosberg went 3rd, while Hamilton made several mistakes en route to 3rd.

With his fastest time unchallenged, Vettel called off his final run, as did 2nd placed Button. Lewis was disappointed not to challenge for pole, although Rosberg was surely pleased with 4th position.

While it’s another pole for Vettel, the McLarens are poised to capitalise on any mistake tomorrow.

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One response to “Vettel unchallenged to China pole position

  1. pickle92 April 16, 2011 at 14:22

    Only three drivers have a chance of winning this race. Baring disaster that is.

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