Monthly Archives: October 2011

Vettel romps home with 10th victory of the year in Korea

Sebastian Vettel has taken his 10th victory of the year at the Korean Grand Prix, while Red Bull have sealed up the constructors’ championship.

Vettel took the lead on the first lap from Lewis Hamilton, who held up Mark Webber and Jenson Button for most of the second half of the race, preventing any chance of a battle for the lead. Fernando Alonso spent most of his race battling with Felipe Massa, eventually finishing 5th. Here is what happened:

Hamilton leads at the start, but not for long

Hamilton leads at the start, but not for long

At the start, Hamilton retained his lead to the first corner, while Felipe Massa leaped up to 4th place. The Red Bull refused to stay behind though, and out-braked Lewis into Turn 4, taking the lead. Jenson Button slipped from 3rd to 6th position.

While Lewis stuck to the back of Vettel, the main battle was between Webber, Massa and Alonso for 3rd, with Button clinging to the back of this group. After an excellent first few laps, Felipe was now backing his teammate into Jenson.

Button opted not to pass, and pitted on Lap 14, taking on new super-softs. However, he was released alongside Nico Rosberg, with the Mercedes taking the position. While Button sliced past him at pit exit, the excellent straight line speed of Rosberg’s car allowed him to retake the place.

Mark Webber pitted for primes, alongside Felipe Massa. After losing much time to the race leader, Hamilton took on new options on Lap 16, while Fernando Alonso decided on the soft compound.

Petrov launches into Schumacher, taking both cars out

Petrov launches into Schumacher, taking both cars out

Despite indicating a different strategy during qualifying, Vettel took on super-softs at his stop. This timed perfectly with a sudden safety car deployment, for an incident at Turn 3. Vitaly Petrov messed up his braking, and launched into the back of Michael Schumacher, damaging the Renault’s front wing and breaking the steering arm, while Schumacher lost his rear wing. Both cars retired that lap, and Alonso was lucky not to be taken out in the crash.

After the safety car pitted, Button had moved up to 4th, and was challenging Webber for 3rd place. Kamui Kobayashi soon pitted for a front wing change, after hitting the back of Bruno Senna.

After several laps of tussling, a lock-up by Rosberg allowed both Ferrari cars through. Up at the front, Vettel held off Hamilton, while Webber closed in on both of them. Lewis’ tyres soon began to heavily wear, allowing Vettel to tear away, and allowed Mark to close up behind.

Hamilton and Webber both pitted on Lap 34, retaining their positions and taking on prime tyres. The two cars tussled it out in the midfield, while Vettel and Button pitted, oblivious to the cameras.

Vettel seals the second constructors title for Red Bull

Vettel seals the second constructors title for Red Bull

While Webber struggled to pass the McLaren, Alonso pitted from the lead, dropping to 5th, but moving ahead of Massa. As the race progressed, Mark still failed to get past Hamilton, while Button and Alonso joined the increasing queue.

Oddly enough, Webber kept moving off line at Turn 1, preventing any chance at using DRS down the main straight. This continued up until the end of the race, ensuring that Vettel comfortably took the chequered flag.

The stream of cars behind retained their positions, while Jaime Alguersuari, quiet but fast the entire race, swept past Nico Rosberg on the final lap to take 7th place. His teammate Sebastien Buemi was 9th, after a very good day for the Toro Rosso team.


Hamilton breaks Red Bull’s pole position streak in Korea

For the first time since the 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix, a Red Bull will not start from pole position. Today, it was Lewis Hamilton who took top spot for the Korean Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver was on the pace all weekend, but his teammate was unable to challenge for pole, instead being split for 3rd by Sebastian Vettel. Mark Webber was disappointingly slow in Q3, finishing 4th, with the off-pace Ferraris 5th and 6th. Here is what happened:


The Renaults briefly led Q1, before a flurry of cars exited the pits. Strangely enough, both Red Bull cars decided to make their first runs on the super-soft tyres.

Lewis Hamilton soon went top with a 1:38.278, with Jenson Button half a second off his teammate. Despite being on faster tyres, both Red Bulls were unusually slow, lapping in the 1:39s.

Lewis went another 7 tenths faster the next lap, with Jenson again off the pace. The Williams drivers, as well as Vitantonio Liuzzi, only left the pits with 4 minutes to go. Although he was using the super-soft compound, Pastor Maldonado could only go 16th.

Rubens Barrichello abandoned his final run, allowing Maldonado to take his teammate out of Q1. Daniel Ricciardo failed to set a time in this session, with an apparent technical problem with the HRT.

Drivers knocked out of Q1:

18) Rubens Barrichello – 1:39.538

19) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:40.522

20) Jarno Trulli – 1:41.101

21) Timo Glock – 1:42.091

22) Jerome D’Ambrosi – 1:43.483

23) Vitantonio Liuzzi – 1:43.758

24) Daniel Ricciardo – No time


Again, Hamilton comprehensively led Button in the early stages of the session, with Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso off the pace of McLaren. A little twitch from Vettel’s car on his first run slipped him to 7 tenths off Hamilton.

Michael Schumacher’s first run put him only into 9th place. Felipe Massa was forced to use another set of super-softs to survive the session.

Jaime Alguersuari and Paul di Resta briefly made it into 10th place, with the Scot staying there as the chequered flag fell. This left Michael Schumacher stranded down in 12th position for the race.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Jaime Alguersuari – 1:38.315

12) Michael Schumacher – 1:38.354

13) Sebastien Buemi – 1:38.508

14) Kamui Kobayashi – 1:38.775

15) Bruno Senna – 1:38.791

16) Pastor Maldonado – 1:39.189

17) Sergio Perez – 1:39.443


Pole favourite Lewis Hamilton was first out, setting a 1:36.130. The Ferraris were well off the pace, with Button still nearly half a second off his teammate. Sebastian Vettel was slower than Hamilton by only 0.03 seconds after his first run.

A 1:35.820 improved Hamilton’s benchmark, with Button 0.3 seconds off. Mark Webber abandoned his final run after a dismal first sector, a move copied by Paul di Resta.

While the Ferraris failed to make any impact on the front runners, Vettel was on a charge to knock Hamilton off top spot. However, for the first time this year, the Red Bull car will not start on pole position, as Sebastian could only get within 2 tenths of the McLaren.

With that, Lewis will start on pole tomorrow, with Vettel preventing a McLaren front row lockout. Webber will be 4th, ahead of the two Ferraris. Nico Rosberg was 7th, with Vitaly Petrov 8th. Neither Force India car set a time in Q3.

Hamilton leads McLaren 1-2 in wet second practice

Hamilton set his time early on in FP2

Hamilton set his time early on in FP2

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button streaked ahead of the opposition in second practice for the Korean Grand Prix.

Both Brits set fast times early on in the session, when the track was at one of its drier points. For much of the 90 minutes, the McLarens were 2 seconds in front of the rest of the field.

Jaime Alguersuari took a risk on the super-soft tyre in the damp conditions, but was hit by Nico Rosberg, the Mercedes sliding wide at Turn 1 and hitting the Toro Rosso. While Rosberg was not given a penalty for his mistake, he was fined €10000 (€5000 suspended) for failing to appear “in a timely manner” to the stewards afterwards.

The field was split between worn intermediates and super-softs – with neither choice working out. Drivers on slicks, such as Sebastien Buemi, spun out, and the intermediates eventually ran out of grip, as Bruno Senna and both Ferrari drivers can attest to.

As no driver could even get near the McLarens, Hamilton and Button ended the session miles in front.

Times from FP2:

 1.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes       1:50.828          26
 2.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1:50.932   0.104   19
 3.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1:52.646   1.818   30
 4.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1:52.774   1.946   25
 5.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1:53.049   2.221   27
 6.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:53.402   2.574   25
 7.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1:53.707   2.879   24
 8.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1:53.914   3.086   18
 9.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:53.948   3.120   27
10.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1:53.957   3.129   32
11.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault                1:54.200   3.372   26
12.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1:54.392   3.564   26
13.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1:54.831   4.003   30
14.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes               1:54.965   4.137   21
15.  Bruno Senna           Renault                1:55.187   4.359   28
16.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1:55.203   4.375   24
17.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari         1:55.544   4.716   23
18.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth      1:56.067   5.239   22
19.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault          1:56.669   5.841   20
20.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault          1:57.173   6.345   19
21.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth        1:58.269   7.441   25
22.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth        1:59.458   8.630   26
23.  Daniel Ricciardo      HRT-Cosworth           1:59.958   9.130   19
24.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth           2:00.165   9.337   20

Schumacher leads quiet rain-affected first practice in Korea

Schumacher set the fastest time in the dying minutes

Schumacher set the fastest time in the dying minutes

Michael Schumacher topped the timesheets for first practice for the Korean Grand Prix, in a session heavily disrupted by rain.

The first 30 minutes of the session were mostly silent, as only Lewis Hamilton set exploratory times on extreme wet tyres.

The track burst into life with half an hour to go, however. Hamilton, Sebastien Buemi and Adrian Sutil all briefly headed the timesheets with less than a minute to go.

Right at the end of the 90 minutes, Schumacher set a 2:02.784 to lead Sebastian Vettel and Paul di Resta. The new 2011 world champion had a slight scare near the end, almost running into the back of a Virgin car.

Managing only 5 laps, Mark Webber was 10th, 2.3 seconds off the pace. Karun Chandhok was 11th, while Jean-Eric Vergne was 13th for Toro Rosso in his first ever official practice session in F1.

Both Ferraris and Renaults, as well as Heikki Kovalainen and Jenson Button, opted not to set a time in FP1.

Times from FP1:

 1.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes                2:02.784           10
 2.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault        2:02.840   0.056    8
 3.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes    2:02.912   0.128   12
 4.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes    2:03.141   0.357   12
 5.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari      2:03.182   0.398    9
 6.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari          2:03.292   0.508   13
 7.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes        2:03.391   0.607    6
 8.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes                2:04.311   1.527   12
 9.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari          2:04.797   2.013    8
10.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault        2:05.183   2.399    5
11.  Karun Chandhok        Lotus-Renault           2:06.350   3.566   11
12.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth       2:06.852   4.068   11
13.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari      2:07.541   4.757    9
14.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth       2:08.218   5.434    5
15.  Narian Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth            2:08.832   6.048   14
16.  Daniel Ricciardo      HRT-Cosworth            2:09.232   6.448   14
17.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth         2:12.658   9.874    7
18.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth         2:14.508   11.724   4
19.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                 N/A                 0
20.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                 N/A                 0
21.  Bruno Senna           Renault                 N/A                 0
22.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault                 N/A                 0
23.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault           N/A                 0
24.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes        N/A                 0

Jean-Eric Vergne and Karthikeyan to race in Korea practice

Jean-Eric Vergne will drive the Toro Rosso 3 times this year

Jean-Eric Vergne will drive the Toro Rosso 3 times this year

Jean-Eric Vergne and Narain Karthikeyan will be driving a Toro Rosso and HRT car respectively in Friday Practice for the Korean Grand Prix.

Karthikeyan will be driving the Hispania to re-adjust himself to the car, before he races in India at the end of this month.

Meanwhile Vergne, who was runner-up in this year’s Formula Renault 3.5 series, will be driving Jaime Alguersuari’s car in FP1. Toro Rosso have also confirmed that he will be using Sebastien Buemi’s car for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice sessions. Whichever driver has the least points going into the season finale at Interlagos will submit their seat to Vergne on the Friday.

He will not  be participating in any way at the Indian Grand Prix weekend, as the team feels they need to allow their main drivers to learn the circuit.

Previously, the 21-year-old Frenchman drove for Toro Rosso in last year’s young driver test.

Japanese Grand Prix stats and facts

Button took his first win in the dry for McLaren

Button took his first win in the dry for McLaren

Today Sebastian Vettel has become the sport’s youngest ever Formula 1 back-to-back world champion, at the age of 24 years and 98 days. Here are the statistics from this weekend:

  • Jenson Button took the 12th win of his career, as well as his 6th fastest lap. It was the first ever victory he has ever taken in the dry for McLaren.
  • Vettel continued his crushing form, taking his 16th podium finish in 17 races. He is now absolutely certain to break the Formula 1 record for most points scored in a season.
  • He also took his 27th pole position out of 77 races – a better ratio than Michael Schumacher. It is also the second time this year that Sebastian has scored 5 consecutive pole positions.
  • Michael Schumacher led a lap for the first time since the 2006 Japanese Grand Prix, and the 141st time he has done so. He has also become the oldest driver to lead a lap
  • Since this style of article hasn’t been updated recently, there’s one stat I missed a while back – Lewis Hamilton has broken the record for most penalties in a season, with 6 so far.
  • While Red Bull recorded their 35th pole position, McLaren took their 147th fastest lap and 173rd race win.
  • After a string of shocking results, Lewis Hamilton has now gone without a podium finish since the Nurburgring.
  • Vettel is the 9th driver in F1 history to take back-to-back drivers’ championships, following the likes of Juan Manuel Fangio, Jack Brabham, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Mika Hakkinen, Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso.
  • He is only the second world champion from Germany, yet they have 9 titles between them. This is one more than Brazil, and 5 less than Great Britain.
  • Pirelli have now supplied tyres to 6 world champions, the most recent one before Vettel being Juan Manuel Fangio in 1957.
  • Button’s victory ensures McLaren took their 9th victory in 27 races at Suzuka, although they previously hadn’t won here since 2005 with Kimi Raikkonen.
  • The next race in Korea will be contested with 13 world championship titles between the drivers – the highest ever. It will also be the first time since the 1991 Australian Grand Prix that 3 double world champions (Schumacher, Alonso, Vettel) will contest a race together.
  • Finally, to end with a strange stat – In very similar fashion, the pole sitter for the 2000 Japanese Grand Prix (Schumacher) (also the title decider at the time) was also 0.009 seconds ahead of the contesting McLaren (Mika Hakkinen) in 2nd place.

Points standings after Japanese Grand Prix

Driver Standings

Driver Points
1 Sebastian Vettel 324
2 Jenson Button 210
3 Fernando Alonso 202
4 Mark Webber 194
5 Lewis Hamilton 178
6 Felipe Massa 90
7 Nico Rosberg 63
8 Michael Schumacher 60
9 Vitaly Petrov 36
10 Nick Heidfeld 34
11 Adrian Sutil 28
12 Kamui Kobayashi 27
13 Paul di Resta 20
14 Jaime Alguersuari 16
15 Sergio Perez 13
16 Sebastien Buemi 13
17 Rubens Barrichello 4
18 Bruno Senna 2
19 Pastor Maldonado 1
20 Pedro de la Rosa 0
21 Jarno Trulli 0
22 Heikki Kovalainen 0
23 Vitantonio Liuzzi 0
24 Jerome D’Ambrosio 0
25 Timo Glock 0
26 Narain Karthikeyan 0
27 Daniel Ricciardo 0
28 Karun Chandhok 0

Constructor Standings

Team Points
1 Red Bull-Renault 518
2 McLaren-Mercedes 388
3 Ferrari 292
4 Mercedes GP 123
5 Renault 72
6 Force India-Mercedes 48
7 Sauber-Ferrari 40
8 Toro Rosso-Ferrari 29
9 Williams-Cosworth 5
10 Lotus-Cosworth 0
11 HRT-Cosworth 0
12 Virgin-Cosworth 0

Button wins, while Vettel seals title in Suzuka

Vettel retains his lead, while the McLarens switch places

Vettel retains his lead, while the McLarens switch places

Sebastian Vettel is the new 2011 Formula 1 world champion!

The German driver finished 3rd in today’s Japanese Grand Prix, with Jenson Button winning the race, ahead of Fernando Alonso. Vettel lost the lead at the second round of pit stops, then fell behind the Ferrari later on. However, with no obligation to race for the win, he calmly sat back and clinched his second world title. Here is the full report:

At the start, Button made the best getaway, but was blocked by the Red Bull in front. This allowed Lewis Hamilton to sweep around the outside of Turn 1 and take 2nd place. Local hero Kamui Kobayashi slipped to 12th.

However, Button was less than pleased with the German’s move, and was complaining to his team for a penalty. Fernando Alonso easily moved past teammate Felipe Massa for 4th place.

While Lewis clung on to Vettel at the start, he appeared to slow with a slow puncture on Lap 9. He pitted, releasing Button to catch the Red Bull.

Buemi's race ends in the gravel trap

Buemi's race ends in the gravel trap

Sebastian pitted on Lap 10, while Button and Alonso picked up the pace. Both cars, plus Mark Webber, all stopped the following lap. Once the running order calmed down, it became clear that Hamilton had lost two places from his tyre problems.

Sebastien Buemi became the first retirement of the day, as a faulty wheel came off during his pit stop, and the Toro Rosso coasted to a halt in the gravel trap.

The gap between first and second was only 2 seconds, while the top 6 were separated by just 9 seconds. Oddly enough, it soon became apparent that Lewis Hamilton was again struggling with his tyres, allowing Felipe Massa and Mark Webber to give chase behind.

Vettel’s tyres wore off quicker than expected, with both Red Bulls pitting on Lap 20 – with only a few seconds between each pit stop. Jenson followed the same strategy, and emerged just ahead of the championship leader.

Within a few laps, the safety car was deployed. As Felipe Massa tried a move on Lewis Hamilton at the final chicane, Lewis squeezed the Ferrari and broke off a piece of Massa’s front wing, which landed in the middle of the track. The debris was causing cars to swerve to avoid it under braking, and the situation was deemed unsafe.

The safety car pitted after several laps, and Jenson tore away by over half a second per lap. Nico Rosberg continued his ascent through the field, pushing Vitaly Petrov aside to take 11th.

After being reeled in by Alonso, Vettel chose to switch to the harder tyre on Lap 34. Webber followed the tyre call the following lap, indicating heavy tyre wear by the Red Bulls.

Sebastian emerged behind Adrian Sutil, getting badly held up for a lap before passing the Force India. Despite being on the prime tyre, he set the fastest sector 1 time the next lap, prompting Button to bring forward his stop.

Button wins, while Vettel causes the biggest celebrations

Button wins, while Vettel causes the biggest celebrations

Fernando Alonso pitted two laps later, and emerged ahead of Vettel. Meanwhile, Hamilton made a slightly more safe pass on Massa on the pit straight. For a few laps, Michael Schumacher was actually granted the lead of the race due to the pit stop, the German leading a race for the first time since the 2006 Japanese Grand Prix.

However, he soon pitted, slipping to 6th. Meanwhile, the battle for 2nd place began to heat up, with Vettel attempting several passes on Alonso, with the Ferrari driver cutting Sebastian off at every opportunity. Soon though, these battling cars began to catch Jenson Button at quite a considerable rate.

With 5 laps to go, the gap between first and second was 2.1 seconds. However, Jenson was able to pull out enough pace to maintain the gap to Fernando behind.

Sebastian Vettel celebrates back-to-back championships

Sebastian Vettel celebrates back-to-back championships

Button crossed the line to take an excellent victory, while Sebastian Vettel clinched the title from 3rd place. Interestingly enough, Jenson pulled over after the chequered flag, indicating the McLaren was extremely short on fuel.

The podium celebrations featured three world champions, one of which had just become the youngest ever back-to-back winner. After 9 wins out of 15 races, it is without doubt that it has been a fantastic season for the young German.

Hamilton and Schumacher miss final Q3 run after “ridiculous” incident

Hamilton was clearly frustrated after today's qualifying

Hamilton was clearly frustrated after today's qualifying

Both Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton lost out at the end of Q3 in today’s Japanese Grand Prix qualifying, missing out on the final run in the dying minutes.

As a pack of four cars approached the final chicane – led by Jenson Button – teammate Lewis Hamilton backed off to create a raceable gap between the two McLarens. However, Mark Webber dived down the inside of Hamilton in order to retain a clean section of track in front of him. Meanwhile, Schumacher was on the outside, and took to the run-off area to avoid the duo.

Hamilton was on top of the timesheets at the time, but failed to set another time after crossing the line after the chequered flag. Schumacher suffered the same fate, while Webber made little impact on the frontrunners.

When asked about the incident, Lewis was initially coy on explaining, but later gave his view:

"It is what it is. Jenson was in front of me and he slowed down to get his gap. I 
was coming up to the last corner to make sure I had a gap between me and him. It 
wasn't that big.

Just as I was coming into the chicane I looked in my mirror and I saw Mark diving 
up the inside of me. Out of nowhere, he just shot up the inside and nearly 
crashed with me, so I had to avoid him.

And then I saw...I didn't even see Michael as I gave Mark room, but he nearly 
crashed on me on the left, so it was quite dangerous.

I don't know what the hell he was doing, but he went off onto the grass. It was 
just the most ridiculous thing I've ever experienced in qualifying.

I really hope somebody finds the footage for what happened because it wasn't right 
and it stopped my last qualifying lap."

On the other hand, Schumacher claimed that Hamilton had pushed him onto the grass:

"I had Webber in front because Hamilton slowed down. I don't know what was in front 
of him, if he really had to slow down that much, but it was tight for all three of 
us so we all had to push somehow to make it through and do another lap.

At that moment I was set to do a lap because I didn't know whether Kobayashi, or 
somebody, may go out [to set a time]. I tried my best and Lewis pushed me a little 
bit wide onto the grass."

As of yet there is no television footage of the incident.

Vettel pips Button for Suzuka pole position

Sebastian Vettel muscled his way into pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver was several thousands of a second ahead of Jenson Button, with teammate Lewis Hamilton failing to make his final run after a timing problem. Here is the full report:


Sebastian Vettel was out early in the session, setting a 1:33.051, with his teammate several hundreths of a second behind. Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button soon went faster than the Red Bulls on the prime tyres.

Hamilton soon went 2nd, 0.02 seconds slower than Fernando. On the soft tyres, Adrian Sutil pipped the Ferrari for first place in the dying few minutes of the session. However, he was quickly displaced by Kamui Kobayashi.

Neither Nico Rosberg or Vitantonio Liuzzi left the pits after undisclosed problems with their cars. Jerome D’Ambrosio beat his teammate on his final flying run for 20th position.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:35.454

19) Jarno Trulli – 1:35.514

20) Jerome D’Ambrosio – 1:36.439

21) Timo Glock – 1:36.507

22) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:37.846

23) Nico Rosberg – No time

24) Vitantonio Liuzzi – No time


Vettel was once again out of the pits early, setting a 1:31.424, marginally ahead of Jenson Button. Lewis Hamilton then lowered the benchmark by 0.3 seconds.

Pastor Maldonado set his times on the medium tyres, and as a result was nowhere near progressing to Q3. Kamui Kobayashi went 8th, but was promptly pushed back by Vitaly Petrov, with Adrian Sutil and Bruno Senna behind.

The Toro Rossos, following their promising practice pace, were relegated to 15th and 16th.

Sergio Perez became the third driver of the afternoon not to set a lap time in his session, and the Mexican will start 17th.

Drivers knocked out of Q2:

11) Adrian Sutil – 1:32.463

12) Paul di Resta – 1:32.746

13) Rubens Barrichell0 – 1:33.079

14) Pastor Maldonado – 1:33.224

15) Sebastien Buemi – 1:33.227

16) Jaime Alguersuari – 1:33.427

17) Sergio Perez – No time


Kamui Kobayashi was the first car out of the pits for Q3, but pitted before setting a time. Fernando Alonso was the first man to set a flying lap, but the Ferrari ran wide at Spoon corner.

A 1:30.617 was Lewis Hamilton’s time, with Button and Vettel each a further 0.1 behind. Mark Webber was half a second off the leading group.

Only 6 out of 10 cars exited the pits for the final few minutes. Hamilton failed to cross the line by the chequered flag, Fernando Alonso went 5th, with Felipe Massa 4th. Sebastian Vettel pushed his way onto provisional pole, and Jenson Button missed out by only 0.009 seconds.

Mark Webber was 6th, with Michael Schumacher, Bruno Senna, Vitaly Petrov and Kamui Kobayashi all electing not to run in Q3.