Daily Archives: June 25, 2011

Vettel takes 7th pole of the year in Valencia

Sebastian Vettel took his 7th pole position of the year at qualifying for the European Grand Prix today.

The Red Bulls locked out the front row, with Mark Webber one tenth of a second behind. Lewis Hamilton was 3rd, and Fernando Alonso 4th. Here is the full report:

Q1

Fernando Alonso cancelled his first run early on in the session. Sebastian Vettel set a 1.39.9, half a second faster than his teammate.

Alonso’s first fast lap was 2 tenths off the Red Bull, despite several mistakes in the last corner. Button went 3 tenths faster than Vettel, while Lewis Hamilton remained in the pits.

Lewis eventually went out, and swiftly took the top spot, but the Mercedes cars struggled, with Rosberg 1.5 seconds away in 7th, and Schumacher another 6 tenths off..

Perez, Maldonado, Buemi and Alguersuari all waited until the final 5 minutes to set their laps. Sergio lept up to 4th on the softer tyres but was quickly replaced by Buemi. Jaime went 9th, and Pastor took 5th.

With a few minutes to go, eyebrows were raised as both Mercedes drivers and Felipe Massa felt the need to take on soft tyres in Q1. Schumacher went 2nd, with Rosberg 4th. Kamui Kobayashi escaped the drop zone, moving into 16th.

Surprisingly, Massa could have been knocked out of Q1 if he hadn’t taken on the new tyres. His newer soft rubber easily moved him into 1st.

Jarno Trulli ruined his final run by spinning at the final corner. Jaime Alguersuari was the casualty of Q1, while Mark Webber was incredibly close to a shock exit, finishing only 16th.

Drivers knocked out of Q1:

18) Jaime Alguersuari

19) Heikki Kovalainen

20) Jarno Trulli

21) Timo Glock

22) Vitantonio Liuzzi

23) Jerome D’Ambrosio

24) Narain Karthikeyan

Q2

Felipe Massa was first out on the soft tyres, setting a 1.38.5. Alonso beat his teammate by 6 tenths, but Vettel was quick to take back first spot.

However, the red flags were soon thrown, as Pastor Maldonado’s Williams was stranded out on track. This ruined several laps, most notably Felipe Massa’s, as he was on his 3rd lap on the same set of tyres.

Once the session resumed, both Kamui Kobayashi and Rubens Barrichello locked up at the final corner, ruining two laps and their sets of tyres.

The top 5 drivers remained in the pits for the final few minutes. Adrian Sutil pushed Vitaly Petrov out of 10th place, while Paul di Resta failed to improve from 12th.

Drivers knocked out of Q2:

11) Vitaly Petrov

12) Paul di Resta

13) Rubens Barrichello

14) Kamui Kobayashi

15) Pastor Maldonado

16) Sergio Perez

17) Sebastien Buemi

Q3

Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were the only drivers who left the pits as the session started. Alonso seta 1.37.4, while Massa was 4 tenths further off.

Lewis Hamilton improved by 0.07 seconds, while Vettel smashed the 1.37 barrier, setting a 1.36.975.

Nico Rosberg was 1.2 seconds off the Red Bull’s time. With 2 minutes to go, all drivers bar Nico left the pits for one final run.

Mark Webber was the first to set his time, but failed to unseat his teammate, going 2nd. Alonso gave up on his final run, followed swiftly by Vettel. Massa only went 5th, so pole position went rather easily to Vettel.

Neither Nick Heidfeld or Adrian Sutil went out in Q3 at all.

Top 10 results:

1) Sebastian Vettel – 1:36.975

2) Mark Webber – 1:37.163

3) Lewis Hamilton – 1:37.380

4) Fernando Alonso – 1:37.454

5) Felipe Massa – 1:37.535

6) Jenson Button – 1:37.645

7) Nico Rosberg – 1:38.231

8 ) Michael Schumacher – 1:38.240

9) Nick Heidfeld – No time

10) Adrian Sutil – No time

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