Vettel takes pole in China

April 17, 2011 - 0:0

The Red Bull driver topped all three practice sessions coming into qualifying and did not disappoint his legion of fans when it mattered most, taking top spot with a best time of one minute 33.706 seconds.

Despite Vettel's crushing display, it was not all plain sailing for Red Bull.
Mark Webber was the victim of more KERS drama and poor tyre selection as he went out at the first hurdle, leaving the Australian with it all to do from 18th place.
Button set the benchmark early in Q3 with a 1:34.421, but championship leader Vettel, as he has done all weekend, duly responded with six minutes remaining, setting a time that would not be bettered to claim his third pole in as many races this season.
Nico Rosberg impressed as he took his Mercedes to fourth place, while the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were fifth and sixth respectively.
Toro Rosso enjoyed a hugely encouraging session, with Jaime Alguersuari seventh and team-mate Sebastien Buemi ninth, sandwiching the Force India of Britain's Paul di Resta, who celebrated his 25th birthday with eighth place.
Renault's Vitaly Petrov will line up 10th after failing to feature in the shootout having suffered a car failure moments after posting the fourth-fastest time in Q2.
""Yesterday was very good, a strong day and a lot of laps, so we were very happy with our pace. Today was smooth,"" said Vettel, who is eyeing at hat-trick of wins at the start of 2011 after taking the chequered flag in both Australia and Malaysia.
""I was as happy as I can be in Q1 and Q2, and in Q3 we were able to get more out of the car again. I was very happy with the lap I did. But it all starts again from zero. I'm very happy with the team and the way we all remain focused.""
Button was also delighted with his best qualifying performance of the season, saying: ""We're in a good place for the race. I look forward to it here, it's always a good place for a race.
""We made some good changes and the car was a lot more consistent to drive. We extracted what we could out of it today.""
Hamilton, meanwhile, appeared more downbeat than his team-mate, saying: ""We need to make some more steps forward, but I think there's some good things in the pipeline.
""We're doing our best to catch up.""
By far the shock of qualifying was the early exit of Webber, who ran Vettel close in first practice yesterday but tailed off as KERS woes ravaged his weekend.
The Australian had only limited running in final practice as the team battled to remedy the KERS issue this morning, but few would have predicated it would leave him floundering so far down the grid.
Webber began qualifying with the KERS system switched off, but looked to have the pace to make it through to Q2.
However, he critically failed to switch to the softer option tyre in the final minutes of the session, which would have gained him valuable time.
That error meant Webber was helpless to defend himself when first Mercedes' Michael Schumacher and then Williams' Pastor Maldonado improved their times to leave him in the drop zone.
The second session was hit by a red flag with two minutes remaining when Petrov's Renault stopped on the circuit just moments after setting the fourth quickest time.
The Russian's demise meant just two minutes remained for the rest of the drivers to seal their place in the Q3 shootout, and when the clock started again a snake of cars made their way out of the pits.
Among the losers in the one-lap lottery was Schumacher, who made an error on his flying lap and finished 14th, trailing Adrian Sutil (Force India) in 11th and the Sauber pair of Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi in 12th and 13th respectively.
The Williams of Rubens Barrichello was 15th, with team-mate Maldonado 17th, while Nick Heidfeld was also a victim of team-mate Petrov's exit as his sole flying lap could place him no higher than 16th.
In addition to Webber, the remainder of the Q1 casualties comprised, predictably enough, last season's new boys.
Lotus' Heikki Kovalainen was the best of the bottom six, one place and half a second ahead of team-mate Jarno Trulli.
Virgin fared better than yesterday's practice times indicated, the team comfortably ahead of the Hispanias, with Jerome D'Ambrosio 21st ahead of team-mate Timo Glock.
Vitantonio Liuzzi got the better of Narain Karthikeyan to avoid the final berth on the grid, but the good news is both Hispanias were inside 107 per cent of pole and will take the start today.
(Source: Telegraph)