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Qualifying - Vettel on pole as Red Bull dominate 25 Jun 2011

Qualifying top three in parc ferme (L to R): Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing, second; Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing, pole position; Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren, third.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Valencia, Spain, Saturday, 25 June 2011 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4/26.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Valencia, Spain, Saturday, 25 June 2011 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Valencia, Spain, Saturday, 25 June 2011 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 VJM04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Valencia, Spain, Saturday, 25 June 2011 Timo Glock (GER) Marussia Virgin Racing VR-02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Valencia, Spain, Saturday, 25 June 2011

Sebastian Vettel needed only one hot lap in the final qualifying to secure his seventh pole position of the season for Red Bull in Valencia. Just after Lewis Hamilton had lapped his McLaren in 1m 37.380s to set the Q3 pace after the first runs, Vettel replied with 1m 36.975s, and that was it. Job done.

When Hamilton failed to improve on his second try, he was pushed off the front row when Mark Webber got things together in his Red Bull, the Australian joining his team mate at the front with 1m 37.163s.

Fernando Alonso, like Hamilton, failed to improve on his first effort, so 1m 37.454s left him fourth as Ferrari team mate Felipe Massa jumped McLaren’s Jenson Button for fifth, improving to 1m 37.535s on his second run. The Englishman also improved, fractionally, to 1m 37.645s, but it was not enough to keep fifth.

Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher will start seventh and eighth with 1m 38.231s and 1m 38.240s respectively, while Renault’s Nick Heidfeld and Force €ndia’s Adrian Sutil line up on the fifth row even though they did not record times in the final session.

Q2 was red flagged less than eight minutes in when Pastor Maldonado for some reason stopped his stricken Williams in the middle of the road in Turn 20, soon after setting what was at the time the 13th fastest time of 1m 39.645s. €t resumed quickly once the broken FW33 was wheeled away.

Vettel had already set the pace with 1m 37.305s from Hamilton and Button on 1m 37.727s and 1m 37.749s apiece, but subsequently the dramas surrounded Sutil, whose late 1m 39.034s bumped Vitaly Petrov, who was left 11th on 1m 39.068s. Behind the Russian’s Renault, Paul di Resta was also set for a Q3 run until a slide under braking for Turn 13 on his last run stopped him from improving on the 1m 39.422s that left him a nonetheless strong 12th for Force €ndia. Williams’ Rubens Barrichello was 13th in 1m 39.489s, from Kamui Koyabashi on 1m 39.525s for Sauber, Maldonado, Sergio Perez in the other C30 on 1m 39.657 and Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi on 1m 39.711s.

Q1 was a very odd session, as those who had initially been fastest attempted to conserve rubber and thus some people you would not have expected to finish high up did just that. Massa set the pace with 1m 38.413s, which was no surprise, from Vettel, Schumacher Hamilton and Rosberg, but Sutil sixth ahead of Button? Perez eighth? Barrichello ninth and Buemi 10th? Even Kobayashi had two purple sector times against his name before easing off once 17th place was clearly secure.

Those left in the cold were Jaime Alguersuari on 1m 40.232s for Toro Rosso, then the Lotuses of Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli. The former was at one stage 14th on 1m 41.664s until others improved, which left him 19th, while Trulli spun at the end of a quick lap and had to rely on 1m 42.234s for 20th. Timo Glock kept Virgin comfortably ahead of HRT, with a lap of 1m 42.553s to Tonio Liuzzi’s best of 1m 43.584s, then came Virgin’s Jerome D’Ambrosio on 1m 43.735s and HRT’s Narain Karthikeyan on 1m 44.363s.

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