Daily Archives: October 29, 2011

Vettel on pole while Massa crash disrupts Q3 in India

Sebastian Vettel will start on pole position for the 13th time this season, as Q3 was disrupted by a crash from Felipe Massa.

The Ferrari hit a kerb on his final lap, breaking the suspension and sending Massa into the barriers. This prevented several drivers from setting their fastest lap time, allowing Vettel to easily take pole.

Mark Webber will start second, despite qualifying 3rd, as Lewis Hamilton has been docked 3 places after disobeying yellow flags in qualifying. Fernando Alonso will start 3rd. Here is the full report:

Q1

The two Lotus cars led the field out for the first qualifying session in India. The Renault drivers set the pace in the early few minutes, while the frontrunners stayed in the pits.

Fernando Alonso soon set a 1:27.4 on the harder tyre, while teammate Massa was shown running onto the grass, and was swiftly followed by Rubens Barrichello.

Sebastian Vettel moved into the 1:26 range, with Lewis Hamilton 2nd. Timo Glock dropped out of the session, having suffered a gearbox failure, and not set a time within the 107% rule.

The Saubers emerged from the pits with 7 minutes to go on the option tyre. Sergio Perez went 8th, with Kamui Kobayashi 11th. Bruno Senna was dangerously held up by Jaime Alguersuari exiting the pits at Turn 1, gesticulating angrily.

Amazingly, Jenson Button felt the need to take on soft tyres at the end of Q1, and to make matters worse, the McLaren emerged behind backmarkers. However, Button moved his way past to take 3rd place. Michael Schumacher was forced to slice past a HRT to move out of the drop zone, again on the soft tyres.

After abandoning his last lap, Kobayashi was the main driver taken out of Q1.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Kamui Kobayashi – 1:27.876

19) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:28.656

20) Jarno Trulli – 1:28.752

21) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:30.216

22) Narain Karthikeyan – 1:30.238

23) Jerome D’Ambrosio – 1:30.866

Outside 107% rule:

24) Timo Glock – 1:34.046

Q2

With a difference of 2 seconds between the option and prime, soft tyres were the norm for Q2.

Sebastian Vettel took a 1:24.657 to take 1st, with Hamilton and Webber behind. Both Toro Rossos moved into the top 10, while Button again struggled with his tyres, being forced to use 2 sets of the option tyre.

Adrian Sutil pushed Michael Schumacher out of the top 10 in the dying few minutes, while Paul di Resta took 12th. Schumacher improved, but was 0.012 seconds slower than 10th-placed Alguersuari.

Jaime was 0.000 seconds faster than 11th-placed Vitaly Petrov, but the Toro Rosso driver set his lap time first.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Vitaly Petrov – 1:26.319

12) Michael Schumacher – 1:26.337

13) Paul di Resta – 1:26.503

14) Pastor Maldonado – 1:2.537

15) Bruno Senna – 1:26.651

16) Rubens Barrichello – 1:27.247

17) Sergio Perez – 1:27.562

Q3

Lewis Hamilton – who will be dropped 3 places on the grid after an incident in practice – was first out. The McLaren driver only set a 1:26.4, and was swiftly beaten by the Ferraris.

Vettel soon went fastest on a 1:24.4, which was matched by Hamilton. Interestingly, the Pirelli soft tyres seemed to be faster on their second and third laps, so the frontrunners stayed out longer than expected.

Webber was 0.071 seconds off Vettel’s time, as all 10 drivers exited the pits, the first time in quite a while.

With 2 minutes to go, Jenson Button was still massively off the pace, 3 seconds slower in the first sector alone. Sebastian Vettel increased his lead at the front, while Lewis Hamilton abandoned his final run.

However, many drivers’ final laps were ruined by a crash from Felipe Massa. The Ferrari hit the inside of a kerb, ripping off the front suspension and sending Felipe into the barriers.

This resulted in Button only going 5th, with Massa remaining 6th and Nico Rosberg 7th. Lewis Hamilton was 2nd, but will start 5th. Mark Webber qualified 3rd (effectively 2nd), with Fernando Alonso just behind.

Adrian Sutil, Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari failed to set a time, despite exiting the pits.

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