Qualifying analysis - Vettel leaves the rest playing catch-up 07 May 2011
Red Bulls Sebastian Vettel once again dominated qualifying on Saturday in Turkey, setting a spectacular pole position time of 1m 25.049s. Behind Vettel, Red Bull team mate Mark Webber, Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, McLarens Lewis Hamilton and Ferraris Fernando Alonso make up the top five on the grid for Sundays Istanbul Park race. We take a team-by-team look at how all the runners performed
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 25.049s, P1
Mark Webber, 1m 25.454s, P2
Vettel had zero legacy from his Friday problems as he dominated Q3 with just one run to maintain his unchallenged record of poles in 2011 and took the 19th of his career. Webber likewise sat out a second run, albeit a little less easily as he was four-tenths slower, but retained his second place as Red Bull locked up the front row. Both men feel they are in great shape, especially as each saved a set of tyres for what promises to be a tough race.
Nico Rosberg, 1m 25.574s, P3
Michael Schumacher, 1m 25.646s, P8
Rosberg proved the doubters wrong, and confirmed that Mercedes have made some serious progress in the last two races, partly with new parts and partly with a revised set-up. He did one late run, which was just sufficient to snatch third place from Hamilton. Schumacher looked very good at times all weekend, but didnt get the job done so well come Q3.
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 25.595s, P4
Jenson Button, 1m 25.982s, P6
Hamilton and Button each did two runs. Hamilton improved on his second but dropped from third to fourth. Button didnt improve and stayed sixth. This time Hamilton didnt manage to save some new tyres for the race, but believes he can still be a contender thanks to the tracks opportunities for overtaking. Button said he just didnt get a decent balance on his MP4-26. Both cars start on the dirty side of the grid.
Fernando Alonso, 1m 25.851s, P5
Felipe Massa, no time, P10
Alonso maintained his record of qualifying fifth at each race this year, but said that he was happier because the 150 Italia felt more competitive than it has all season, after its minor bodywork upgrades. Significantly, he got into Q2 without having to use the softer tyre, and starts on the clean side of the grid. Massa continued to look stronger, but ran off the road in Turn Nine on his one Q3 lap and thereafter decided to abort and save rubber for the race.
Vitaly Petrov, 1m 26.296s, P7
Nick Heidfeld, 1m 26.659s, P9
Petrov kept Renault in play with a strong qualifying performance, but said he believed he should have done even better and that the R31 could have been closer to the front. Heidfeld was relieved to make the top 10, however, after struggling for grip with the temperature rise in Q2. He just made it through to Q3 in the dying moments.
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 26.764s, P11
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 27.236s, P14
Barrichello gave Williams a much-needed ray of light with the 11th fastest time, which was nearly 10th and Q3 until Heidfeld bumped him in the closing stages of Q2. They needed a boost, after having to revert to the old rear wings after problems with the new ones, and then Maldonados KERS going on the blink.
Adrian Sutil, 1m 27.027s, P12
Paul di Resta 1m 27.145s, P13
For the first time in 2011 Sutil was faster than his rookie team mate. Neither reported any problems. Sutil said things were straightforward. Di Resta opted to conserve tyres and stay in the garage before doing only one late run, and each thought they got out what the car had to give.
Sergio Perez, 1m 27.244s, P15
Kamui Kobayashi, no time, P24
Kobayashi was in trouble right at the start of Q1 as his C30 developed a fuel system problem that couldnt be rectified in time. Perez said he was happier with is cars balance in Q1 on the harder Pirelli, and struggled with it on the softer compound.
Sebastien Buemi 1m 27.555s, P16
Jaime Alguersuari, 1m 27.572s, P17
Buemi was extremely disappointed after the promise hed shown in free practice to qualify only 16th as his STR6 lost grip with the track temperature increase. Alguersuari was similarly non-plussed, but said he had at least saved a set of tyres for the race.
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 28.780s, P18
Jarno Trulli, 1m 29.673s, P19
Kovalainen was very pleased wth his performance and felt he got everything out of the T128 that it had to offer, but Trulli had problems with his DRS rear wing.
Jerome D'Ambrosio, 1m 30.445s, P20 (will start P23)
Timo Glock, 1m 30.813s, P22 (will start P21)
Once again DAmbrosio was faster than Glock. Overnight the team had taken off the new floor and exhausts from the Germans car as heat management problems proved insuperable in the field. The Belgian drops five grid places after ignoring yellow flags in practice on Friday afternoon, however, so will start at the back.
Tonio Liuzzi, 1m 30.692s, P21 (will start P20)
Narain Karthikeyan, 1m 31.564s, P23, (will start P22)
Liuzzi did a great job in the updated HRT to split the Virgins, but will start a place higher after DAmbrosios penalty. The Italian found his F111 coming alive on his second set of tyres, whereas Karthikeyan had exactly the opposite and struggled for grip on his second run.
Pirelli have been pleased with how their tyres have handled the demands of the Istanbul Park circuit. With dry weather forecast, the Italian manufacturer believes most drivers will stop three times during the course of Sundays race, although they didnt rule out some teams opting for unusual strategies.
For tickets and travel to 2011 Formula One races, click here.
For Formula One and F1 team merchandise, click here.