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Qualifying analysis - India victory there for the taking 29 Oct 2011

Red Bull Racing RB7 steering wheel. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying Day, Saturday, 29 October 2011 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/26.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying Day, Saturday, 29 October 2011 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari 150 Italia crashes out of Q3. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying Day, Saturday, 29 October 2011 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying Day, Saturday, 29 October 2011 Adrian Sutil (GER) Sahara Force India Formula One Team VJM04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying Day, Saturday, 29 October 2011 Scuderia Toro Rosso STR6 detail. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying Day, Saturday, 29 October 2011 Bruno Senna (BRA) Lotus Renault GP R31.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying Day, Saturday, 29 October 2011 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW33.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying Day, Saturday, 29 October 2011 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber C30.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying Day, Saturday, 29 October 2011 Jarno Trulli (ITA) Team Lotus T128.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying Day, Saturday, 29 October 2011 Timo Glock (GER) Virgin Racing MVR-02. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice Day, Friday, 28 October 2011 Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT Formula 1 Team HRT F111.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying Day, Saturday, 29 October 2011

Sebastian Vettel took a clear pole in New Delhi on Saturday, but with Felipe Massa’s dramatic shunt bringing out the yellow flags at the end of Q3, the timesheets didn’t tell the full story. Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari all believe they have a genuine chance of winning the inaugural Indian Grand Prix on Sunday…

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 24.178s, P1
Mark Webber, 1m 24.508s, P3, will start P2

Vettel said his RB7 has been brilliant all weekend and it just keeps getting better. He thought he could improve on his first run, which was only very slightly quicker than Hamilton’s, and duly lopped off another three-tenths to match Fangio’s tally of 29 pole positions and to bring Red Bull’s season total to a record 16. Webber was happy to get out of some strife he encountered in Q2 with his first run in Q3, but said the first sector of that one could have been better. Massa’s yellow flags stole his chance of a second run. With Hamilton’s penalty, however, he joins Vettel on the front row.

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 24.474s, P2, will start P5
Jenson Button, 1m 24.950s, P5, will start P4

Hamilton said his first lap was the best he could have got from his McLaren, and that he aborted his second run when it was clear it would not be an improvement. He regretted his ‘silly mistake’ in FP1 which cost him three grid places, but believes that he still has a chance of winning a long race. Button struggled horribly for grip in Q1 and only jumped to third right at the end of that session. His car was unbalanced by Q3, and he had to back off on a good lap when Massa went off and the yellows came out.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, 1m 24.519s, P4, will start P3
Felipe Massa, 1m 25.122s, P6

Alonso was in strong form with a competitive fourth fastest Q3 run. With Hamilton’s penalty, however, he crucially switches to third place and the cleaner side of the grid. With the strong starts he has been making recently, he could be a real threat in the race. Massa starts sixth despite not completing the session after going off the track when his right front suspension broke on impact with the inside kerb at Turn 8.

Mercedes
Nico Rosberg, 1m 25.451s, P7
Michael Schumacher, 1m 26.337s, P12, will start P11

Rosberg hit a kerb quite hard in Q1 which damaged the floor and lost him some downforce for the rest of qualifying. Then in Q3 his second run was quicker until he had to back off because of Massa’s accident. Schumacher once again encountered tyre vibrations on the final lap of his second run in Q2, and just missed out on Q3 by 0.018s.

Force India
Adrian Sutil, No time, P8
Paul di Resta, 1m 26.503s, P13, will start P12

Sutil was delighted with one of his best qualifying performances of the year in a race that is so important to the ‘home’ team, but Di Resta found that the slightly cooler conditions promoted understeer which ruined the balance he had enjoyed while going very quickly in FP3.

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Buemi, No time, P9
Jaime Alguersuari, No time, P10

Once again Toro Rosso were strong and both drivers enjoyed trouble-free qualifying sessions.

Renault
Vitaly Petrov, 1m 26.319s, P11, will start P16
Bruno Senna, 1m 26.651s, P15, will start P14

Petrov set the fastest time in Q1, mainly because he ran at the right time and when the frontrunners decided they’d done enough to get through. In Q2, however, he failed to go as quickly after making mistakes in the final corners. Senna was disappointed that changes made to the car after FP3 took him in the wrong direction for Q1.

Williams
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 26.537s, P14, will start P13
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 27.247s, P16, will start P15

Williams reported a reasonably pleasing session, in which Maldonado got the best out of the car but Barrichello found his FW33’s balance waning on his second set of tyres in Q2.

Sauber
Sergio Perez 1m 27.562s, P17, will start P20
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 27.876s, P18, will start P17

Sauber had an unhappy time trying to balance their cars, which was compounded by Perez’s three grid place drop.

Lotus
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 28.565s, P19, will start P18
Jarno Trulli, 1m 28.752s, P20, will start P19

Lotus took another step forward and Kovalainen was happy to find decent balance when he needed it after struggling earlier to get heat into his tyres. Trulli was reasonably happy, but said he lost out to traffic.

Virgin
Jerome d'Ambrosio, 1m 30.866s, P23, will start P21
Timo Glock, 1m 34.046s, P24

Glock lost fifth gear after his first run and failed to beat the 107% bogey time, but has been allowed to start based on practice form. D’Ambrosio struggled with his car’s balance and was never happy with it.

HRT
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 30.216s, P21, will start P22
Narain Karthikeyan, 1m 30.238s, P22, will start P23

HRT looked good after out-qualifying the Virgins, and yet again Karthikeyan did a fine job to run within hundredths of a second of Ricciardo. But they each drop back five grid positions, the Australian because of a gearbox change earlier on, the Indian because he was adjudged to have impeded Schumacher in Q1.

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