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Qualifying - Vettel storms to Shanghai pole 16 Apr 2011

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 16 April 2011 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 150 Italia in the pits.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 16 April 2011 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Williams FW33.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 16 April 2011 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB7. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 16 April 2011 Narain Karthikeyan (IND) Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT) F111.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 16 April 2011

Sebastian Vettel took yet another pole position for Red Bull in a disjointed but exciting qualifying session in Shanghai on Saturday afternoon.

€n overcast conditions the Red Bull driver performed his usual trick of pulling something extra out of the bag in Q3 and moved well clear of the McLarens of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. The world champion lapped in 1m 33.706s, far and away the fastest time of the weekend, leaving Button to 1m 34.421s and Hamilton to 1m 34.463s, a wobble exiting the final corner costing him crucial fractions.

Nico Rosberg put his Mercedes fourth on 1m 34.670s, well ahead of the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa on 1m 35.119s and 1m 35.145s. The Spaniard was the only one to run a new aero package.

The surprise was that both Toro Rossos made it through to Q3. Jaime Alguersuari starts seventh on 1m 36.158s and Sebastien Buemi ninth on 1m 36.203s. €n between them, birthday boy Paul di Resta underlined his great potential and was the one giving the presents as he took a terrific eighth place for Force €ndia in 1m 36.190s.

Earlier, Red Bull had suffered a major setback when Webber failed to get through Q1 after yet more problems with KERS were compounded as the team elected to send him out on hard tyres rather than getting a run on the softs. Renault, too, were unlucky.

With three minutes of Q2 left, Vitaly Petrov did one run on soft rubber and leapt up to fourth place on 1m 35.149s, but then his R31 stopped on the track, necessitating the red flag with two minutes left. That was, however, enough to leave him 10th on the grid. But his misfortune put those who had yet to put decent laps together in their first Q2 runs - notably team mate Nick Heidfeld who had been saving tyres - on their back foot when the session resumed.

Also on the bubble were Sergio Perez, Rosberg, Rubens Barrichello, Michael Schumacher, Kamui Kobayashi and Pastor Maldonado. They were joined by the Ferraris and Force €ndias in a mad scramble.

Di Resta missed the clock but with only Rosberg improving significantly that was okay. As Hamilton set the pace from Button and Vettel, with the fastest lap thus far of the weekend in 1m 34.486s, Adrian Sutil once again was outqualified by his rookie Force €ndia team mate, taking 11th spot with 1m 35.874s.

Then came Perez on 1m 36.053s in the lead Sauber, Kobayashi on 1m 36.236s in the second, Schumacher on 1m 36.457s for Mercedes, Barrichello in 1m 36.465s for Williams, the frustrated Heidfeld on 1m 36.611s and Maldonado in the second Williams on 1m 36.956s.

Webber’s weekend of disaster was made even worse when Schumacher and Maldonado staged late improvements in Q1, leaving the unhappy Australian only 18th on 1m 36.468s.

This was an odd session, with people using their tyres in different ways. Rosberg finally displaced Petrov as fastest, after the Russian had vaulted ahead of the Ferraris of Alonso and Massa, leaving Vettel sixth, Button 10th and Hamilton 12th.

Behind Webber, Heikki Kovalainen retained the upper hand over Lotus partner Jarno Trulli with 1m 37.894s to 1m 38.318s, then Jerome D’Ambrosio headed Virgin team mate Timo Glock with 1m 39.119s to 1m 39.708s. At HRT, Tonio Liuzzi headed Narain Karthikeyan, with 1m 40.212s to 1m 40.445s.

With the 107 percent ante at 1m 41.941s, everyone qualified.

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