Home - The Official Formula 1 Website Skip to content

Qualifying analysis - can anyone stop Red Bull? 17 Apr 2010

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing celebrates his pole position in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 17 April 2010 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 17 April 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/25.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 17 April 2010 (L to R): Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Williams talks with team mate Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 17 April 2010 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Lotus T127.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 17 April 2010

Red Bull dominated qualifying in Shanghai on Saturday, with Sebastian Vettel taking pole position ahead of team mate Mark Webber. Behind the Red Bull duo, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, Mercedes GP’s Nico Rosberg and McLaren’s Jenson Button made up the top five. We take a team-by-team look at how all the runners performed…

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 34.558s, P1
Mark Webber, 1m 34.806s, P2

Changes to his car that were more in line with Webber’s set-up turned the tide for Vettel by Q3, when Webber admitted that the German’s poise on fresh Bridgestones echoed his own when he was racing on Michelins. He was clearly impressed with his team mate’s speed, having believed his own lap to be excellent. It was Red Bull’s fourth consecutive pole position.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, 1m 34.913s, P3
Felipe Massa, 1m 35.180s, P7

Alonso said that he got the absolute maximum out of his F10 in Q3, and that he was pleased with his third third place on a 2010 grid, which boded well since Ferrari’s race pace has been good all season. Massa was disappointed after a mistake in the final corner on his last Q3 run hurt his times and dirtied his tyres when he was on for a top five placing.

Mercedes GP
Nico Rosberg, 1m 34.923s, P4
Michael Schumacher, 1m 35.646s, P9

Mercedes were delighted to leapfrog the McLarens following a great final lap by a very happy Rosberg, while Schumacher could not do better than ninth as he struggled for rear-end grip and admitted that he never really found the car’s balance all weekend.

McLaren
Jenson Button, 1m 34.979s, P5
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 35.034s, P6

Button said he struggled with his McLaren’s balance in Q1 and Q2 but that some judicious front wing juggling helped to improve things for Q3. Hamilton, however, was disappointed, having set much of the weekend pace to that point. He reported that his MP4-25’s balance went away by Q3, when it became quite oversteery.

Renault
Robert Kubica, 1m 35.364s, P8
Vitaly Petrov, 1m 36.311s, P14

Kubica thought his lap was his best of the season from the driving point of view. Petrov thought he recovered well after his off in the morning, and thanked his mechanics for doing a fantastic job to repair the car in time for qualifying.

Force India
Adrian Sutil, 1m 35.963s, P10
Vitantonio Liuzzi, 1m 37.161s, P18

Sutil was very happy with another top-10 qualifying position, but having been the quicker Force India pilot in the morning’s free practice yet again Liuzzi was a victim of traffic - Hulkenberg’s Williams (again), an HRT and a Virgin on three of his four runs.

Williams
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 35.748s, P11
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 36.647s, P16

Barrichello said that it was a great shame that he was pipped in the dying moments of Q2 by Schumacher, but that the FW32 had improved in comparison with the frontrunners. Hulkenberg said that he spoiled his best lap with a mistake in the final corner.

Toro Rosso
Jaime Alguersuari 1m 36.047s, P12
Sebastien Buemi, 1m 36.149s, P13

Hedging their bets, Toro Rosso put Alguersuari on a dry set-up since he had completed the greater amount of dry road running this weekend, and Buemi, who crashed thanks to that spectacular front upright failure yesterday, on settings more suited to a wet track in anticipation of rain tomorrow. Both men performed well.

BMW Sauber
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 36.422s, P15
Pedro de la Rosa, 1m 37.020s, P17

For outgoing technical director Willy Rampf’s last race, Kobayashi and De la Rosa qualified 15th and 17th. The former thought he got the best from a car that lacked grip, understeered and had imperfect braking stability. The latter said his first Q2 lap on soft tyres wasn’t good and that on his last one he locked a rear wheel under braking for Turn 14 and lost half a second.

Virgin
Timo Glock, 1m 39.278s, P19
Lucas di Grassi, 1m 39.783s, P22

Virgin leapt ahead of Lotus towards the end of Q1 to end the day as best of the new teams. Glock achieved that result with 19th place but felt he might have dipped into the 1m 38s without subsequent traffic, while Di Grassi said he should have been ahead of the Lotuses but that he had made time-consuming errors in the final sector. It was, nevertheless, a solid performance from both men.

Lotus
Jarno Trulli, 1m 39.399s, P20
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 39.520s, P21

Both Lotus drivers said that the high winds affected their cars’ handling adversely, and Kovalainen had a half spin early on which ultimately didn’t have any untoward influence on his subsequent quick laps.

HRT
Bruno Senna, 1m 40.469s, P23
Karun Chandhok, 1m 40.578s, P24

Senna said he made a small mistake and ran wide on his best qualifying lap, and that changes to the throttle settings had made the car harder to drive and robbed of the speed he showed in free practice. Chandhok had some gearbox problems which required some components to be changed, earned him a five grid-place penalty and stole some straight-line speed.

David Tremayne