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Vettel on pole number 10 in Italian Grand Prix qualifying battle
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Posted By: James Allen  |  10 Sep 2011   |  2:28 pm GMT  |  122 comments

Sebastian Vettel’s rivals are again scratching their heads tonight about where he found half a second in the final part of qualifying after he took his 10th pole position of the season for the Italian Grand Prix, ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. It had looked like he would face a closer challenge from the McLarens, but in the end Hamilton and Button couldn’t get close. Hamilton’s final lap started badly and he aborted it.

However both McLaren drivers point to the fact that Vettel has chosen to run with quite a short top gear and has the lowest top speed of any car through the speed trap at 327km/h. The Ferraris are doing 342k/h while the McLarens are confident that they have the right trade off between DRS and gear ratios with top speed at 333km/h. That means that if they can get within a second of Vettel, which would allow them to use the DRS, they will have a speed advantage of around 12km/h over the Red Bull.

Vettel’s tactic is based on getting pole and then opening a gap of more than a second over the McLarens before the DRS is allowed on lap 3. Vettel described his set up as “racy”, and Button alluded to the fact that the Red Bull had huge downforce despite running very skinny wings.

Mark Webber did only one run, saving a set of new soft tyres for the race, but his strategy didn’t work out too well. As he admitted himself there was poor communication with his engineer and they made the wrong choices, underperforming in a car easily capable of getting on the front row. He could manage only fifth. His can had some problems after Friday practice and the mechanics had to put in a late night, changing the engine. In qualifying he also had KERS problems.

Hamilton was noticeably down after qualifying, clearly upset that Vettel had found half a second in the final part of qualifying, something he hadn’t expected. This is something we used to see a lot but which hasn’t happened so noticeably since the rules were changed whereby engine maps cannot be changed between qualifying and the race. There is no suggestion that anything unusual is going in, more that Vettel found something. As Webber said, it was a sensational lap by Vettel, one of his best, according to Webber.

The Ferrari was very fast in the first sector, particularly Alonso, who qualified fourth. Massa was sixth, while Vitaly Petrov did a fabulous job to qualify ahead of the Mercedes, who were very quick in practice.

The track temperature was 44 degrees for qualifying.

In Q1, Jaime Alguersuari, the hero of Spa qualifying, was relegated together with the small teams, with Jarno Trulli 1.3 secs behind in the Lotus ahead of team mate Heikki Kovalainen. At HRT Daniel Ricciardo outqualified Tonio Liuzzi for the first time.

In Q2 Hamilton set a time of 1m 23.7secs on medium tyres and clearly toyed with the idea of not going out again in order to save a set of soft tyres. But the team didn’t want to risk it and sent him out again on softs at the end to be sure. In fact the P10 cutoff was 1m 24.1 so he would have got away with it, but we’ve seen those gambles go wrong in the past.

Bruno Senna left it late but managed to get into the top ten shootout for the second race in a row, pushing Paul Di Resta down to 11th. Also eliminated in Q2 were Sutil, Barrichello, Maldonado, Perez, Buemi and Kobayashi.

ITALIAN GRAND PRIX, Monza, Qualifying
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m22.275s
2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m22.725s + 0.450
3. Jenson Button McLaren 1m22.777s + 0.502
4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m22.841s + 0.566
5. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m22.972s + 0.697
6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m23.188s + 0.913
7. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m23.530s + 1.255
8. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m23.777s + 1.502
9. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m24.477s + 2.202
10. Bruno Senna Renault No time

11. Paul di Resta Force India 1m24.163s + 1.249
12. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m24.209s + 1.295
13. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1m24.648s + 1.734
14. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m24.726s + 1.812
15. Sergio Perez Sauber 1m24.845s + 1.931
16. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1m24.932s + 2.018
17. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m25.065s + 2.151

18. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1m25.334s + 1.358
19. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1m26.647s + 2.671
20. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1m27.184s + 3.208
21. Timo Glock Virgin 1m27.591s + 3.615
22. Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin 1m27.609s + 3.633
23. Daniel Ricciardo HRT 1m28.054s + 4.078
24. Tonio Liuzzi HRT 1m28.231s + 4.255

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122 Comments
  1. Glenn says:

    Looking forward to an interesting race tomorrow. Apart from Vettel, the next 4 are very close indeed, 0.3ish. Once again RBR (at least one of them) have performed beyond expectations at a track they weren’t supposed to excel at. The proof of the pudding will be Sunday.
    I was surprised Lewis went out on the soft tyre in Q2 after a great time on the harder tyre. From my armchair he was always going to make the top 10.
    Let’s hope someone can take it to Vettel tomorrow for interests sake.

    1. wayne says:

      Anyone who has read anything I have posted here before knows what an ardent supporter of Hamilton I am but……… I was waiting for him to make a mistkae unlike the days I would sit back in comfort knowing he would not make an error. And he promptly served one up. I thought, and still think, he had a shot of pole in this race but the mistakes continue to rack up. I do think he has a real shot at the race though.

      1. wayne says:

        Sorry I also have to say what a great track Monza is! It’s brilliant to see gravel traps as well. Down with Tilke!!

      2. coal crusher says:

        Something doesn’t smell right about Button’s aborted lap, he was faster than Hamilton and yet wasn’t allowed to complete the lap.

      3. Horacio Macca says:

        i thought that hamilton too would have made it to q3 on mediums tyres but i can see why he didnt want to risk it. shame that he did do a run because now one set of his hard tyres have 1 qualyfying lap on them now

    2. iceman says:

      Lewis would have ended up, what, 8th with his first run time in Q2? And in by 4 tenths or so. So as it turned out the second run was indeed unnecessary, but 4 tenths is not a lot so probably better to be safe than sorry!

      I thought the same about DiResta in Q1 actually, he set a great time on his first run (faster than Schumacher). They sent him out again, which also turned out to be unnecessary, but his first time would only have got him in by a couple of tenths so again it was probably right not to take the chance. Schumacher decided not to go again in Q1, and would have been out if the Torro Rossos had found an extra two tenths!

  2. Michael S says:

    Vettel is on another planet this year. We are watching something very special. Vettel is without question the fastest man in F1 these days. I would put money on him to beat anyone in equal equipment the way he is driving.

    1. Stuart Harrison says:

      Reminds me of Bryan Adams “Everything I do, I do it for you” – different fiddler, same tune; enough to be sick of having Vettel in the number one spot for quite so many weeks running. Roll on 2012!

      Is he really what’s best for the sport?

      1. Mark L says:

        At this rate the Sky deal won’t be only reason fans are switching off.

      2. Dave C says:

        Whether or not he’s best for the sport is up for debate but what is certain is Vettel is the best in the sport.

      3. Jimmi C says:

        He’s good. It happens. I’m a neutral and have no affiliation to any driver, but to watch someone so young, so talented and also such a personality… I think the sport is lucky to have him.

        If the rest of the field want to beat him, they should drive faster. Simple.

      4. Grayzee (Australia) says:

        “If the rest of the field want to beat him, they should drive faster. Simple.”

        Got it in one! Well put.

    2. wayne says:

      Well we know for sure that Hamilton can beat Alonso in equal machinery. I’d pay seriously good money to see him race Vetell in equal machinery next. I just honestly do not think that there is anyone faster than Hamilton on his day but who knows………..

      1. Jimmi C says:

        Vettel and Hamilton remind me of Pedrosa and Rossi in Moto GP. The former duo is perfectly capable, when in the lead, of running away and hiding; setting lap after lap of consistent times and pulling away, but with question marks over their ability to fight when cars are around them. The latter duo are street fighters, who can run away and hide but are more prone to mistakes and prefer to be swapping paint and can be utterly ruthless when they want to be.

      2. HansB says:

        Difficult to say who is the fastest driver of the ones you name, for sure Hamilton is the number one involved in crashes…

      3. Bayan says:

        Isnt that true for anyone, not just hamilton? Like no one was faster than vettel today, on his day

      4. William Wilgus says:

        I find that hard to believe. Different driver have different driving styles, so ‘equal machinery’ does not necessarily mean ‘equal opportunity’ to win.

      5. pargo says:

        Except that Hamilton keeps running into everyone…

      6. glenn says:

        I’d pay to see that too, but not in front running cars. Put them both in Saubers, Toro Rosso’s or Mercedes maybe. That’s what I’d pay to see. Throw Nico into a 3rd team car as well. Just curious ;)

      7. frank says:

        “Well we know for sure that Hamilton can beat Alonso in equal machinery”

        We do?

      8. wayne says:

        Yes of course we do, because he did it didn’t he.

      9. frank says:

        I guess you mean the one season they were on the same team where they tied in points, wins, podiums and retirements. So either they were dead even, or you could look at Alonso’s average finish position of 2.9 vs hamilton’s being 3.0 as a tie breaker, in Alonso’s favour

      10. wayne says:

        frank, or you could factor in it was Hamilton’s rookie season up against a double wdc.

      11. wayne says:

        Or you could even say that as they were tied on race wins you could factor in that Lewis more second places? This is a much more acceptance yardstick of measurement than your average finish position, because it IS the measure used. The table for that year shows Hamilton above Alonso and that really is the end of the conversation isn’t it…?

      12. frank says:

        could you please explain your position more fully?

      13. wayne says:

        frank, no.

    3. Sam says:

      Totally agree. A driver’s champion. How does he do it week in week out?

    4. wolf says:

      Considering no one on the grid has equal equipment (yet another KERS issue for Webber) we can’t know that for sure. What are the odds Webbers anti stall kicks in on the start tomorrow too?
      There seems to be two different spec cars at Red Bull this year.

  3. christos pallis says:

    Did anyone else see that on Buttons final run he was up on the pole time through the first two sectors and didn’t seem to make any mistake in the final sector but the team pulled him into the pits. Why didn’t he cross the line???? he surley would have improved his time by 2 tens and jumped Hamilton, or is that why he was called in? looked odd to me….

    1. Dave C says:

      Something doesn’t smell right about Button’s aborted lap, he was faster than Hamilton and yet wasn’t allowed to complete the lap.

      1. Michael S says:

        I thought the same… was he called off for Hamilton to keep 2nd? that seems very odd to me….

      2. Stuart Moore says:

        I was wondering that too – would love to hear his reasoning.

      3. Anthony says:

        He made a mistake in 2nd sector, didnt improve and aborted the lap

      4. Jonathan says:

        The timing on screen showed Button as being up in sector 1 & 2.

      5. wayne says:

        Oh come on, let’s not start the conspiracy theory stuff on this website as well! I have no idea why Button did not finish the lap either but there is no way on earth he would have submitted to a call to come in for ‘no good’ reason.

      6. Adam says:

        If Button had crossed the line he would have had to pit on the same lap as Hamilton messing up both pit strategies.

        Button is playing the long game here. He now has an extra lap in hand over Vettel (as does Lewis) plus whatever he can get with making his tires last longer than anyone else!

        He also has one lap of fuel in hand to burn in pursuit. A small but important luxury Vettel does not have if it is close later in the race.

        Key is not letting Vettel go and gap the field at the start! If the two McLarens do that he will crack under pressure as he did earlier this year with Button breathing down his neck with newer tires. One lap of newer tires and one of fuel could make all the difference at the end!

      7. WiLL says:

        what on earth r u talking about. they are all fueled to finish the race from Sunday morning. you are talking like its 2009 or something!

      8. Sam says:

        There is no extra fuel. They are fuelled to the end of the race from the start …

    2. Aey says:

      Button didn’t do that lap faster than the Previous lap he did in the first sector.

      First trial lap in Q3 . . He did S1 27.0 – S2 27.8 . . . but second try he did S1 27.1 and S2 the same

      so he might know that he is not doing better his previous time, so there is no point to damage the tyre further.

    3. Mark L says:

      Yeah, he was + 0.2 in sector one and + 0.15 in sector two. He must have lost it somewhere in sector three and aborted.

  4. Parazar says:

    James, any idea why Jenson aborted his final lap?

    1. James Allen says:

      Button’s own words: “On my second attempt, I went a tenth down in the first sector and never really caught that up for the remainder of the lap, so I aborted it.”

      1. Dave C says:

        His own words are what the team tells him to say, but the stop watch wasn’t lying when it clocked him with a purple and 2 tenths fastest overall at the time after sector 2 and it didn’t look like any mistakes were made, it was staged so Hamilton could be ahead, its a complete joke.

      2. christos pallis says:

        Dave i agree, thats exactly what i saw… Doesn’t smell right at all

      3. christos pallis says:

        in fact i just watched it again on iplayer. Button was a tenth up in S1 then 2 tenths in S2 and that was on Vettel’s previous fastest lap. Given Redbull’s pace in sector 2 you gotta think Button could have been maybe a tenth off Vettel’s final time maybe closer… I don’t think McLaren would have pulled him in to favour Hamilton but it does look that way

      4. Robbiehooper says:

        I believe the McLarens had always been faster than the RBR in sectors 1 and 2, they must have known that the loss in sector 3 wouldn’t have been enough to beat his own time.

      5. Aey says:

        I look at real time for Formula1.com

        1st try S1 = 27.0 S2 = 27.8

        2nd try S1 = 27.1 S2 = 27.8

        so He is slower

        On TV

        his time show he is better than Vettel from Vettel Previous lap, which both Mclaren are faster in S1 and S2, and Slower in S3

        after S2, Team should know Button is Slower, Vettel is Faster

        No need to compare time to anyone else, if he is slower than his previous best, how can he beat Lewis time.

        abort the Lap is right thing to do. . . unless u really know that u have something left in sector 3

        I see no point why some one think the team favour Lewis by abort Button lap.

      6. wayne says:

        Guys, come on! You are massively disrespecting Hamilton for suggesting that he needs intervention to beat Button, McLaren for suggesting they would stage such a thing when Button has clearly been allowed to race Hamilton all year and Button himself for suggesting that he would capitulate to that sort of thing! Let’s get real, there are enough sites out there where posters bang on about conspiracy theories!

        Of more interest is the fact that Massa was clearly orders to try and boost Alonso, does Massa have any self respect left at all?

      7. Kyle says:

        Button’s comment about being a tenth down refers to his own lap delta times. He was comparing his final flying lap with his previous best, NOT those of his rivals.

        Mclaren are strong in sectors one and two when compared to Red Bull but weak in sector three where they are losing upwards of half a second.

        This explains why Button chose to pit rather than finish the lap despite being faster than Vettel heading into the final sector.

        No conspiracy here.

        N.B. This also explains what Vettel was alluding to when he said Red Bull are “racy” in the post qualifying press conference.

        Red Bull has considerably higher mid-corner and exit speed through the Parabolica onto the pit straight, quite akin to Button last year with his high downforce setup which enabled him to pull away entering the long straights sufficiently to buffer overtaking attempts from Alonso whose car was 11.5kph faster than Button’s through the speed trap.

      8. Dick Goodey says:

        Has JB outwitted you,and his team?
        Knowing pole is out of reach, starting from P3 is better than P2 is it not?

      9. Bayan says:

        At least he is on the clean side of the grid

      10. Paul says:

        Still think he was in line to move above Lewis, maybe he preferred 3rd for the clean line :-)

      11. frosty1 says:

        Can you challenge him on that James when you see him as that doesn’t seem right, thanks.

  5. JohnBt says:

    No comment. I’ll wait for raceday.

  6. Common Sense says:

    Lewis is obviously the moral pole sitter. No reason why Vettel should’ve gotten it this time.

    But in the end, it’s just worth the stats – Lewis has this one pretty much in the bag. No more than a formality on Sunday, I should say.

    1. Galapago555 says:

      Moral pole sitter? Obviously?

    2. KRB says:

      I think CS is taking the mickey. I saw this “moral winner” post before. Hard to think of what such a thing would be in F1.

    3. Robyn says:

      Brilliant! So that puts Hamilton out in front on the moral grid — maybe he’ll be able to maintain the lead through the moral first corner! (Wait…who’s second on the moral grid? He’ll be on the moral dirty side, but he might have a shot…)

    4. Heartworm says:

      I’m confused, why?

  7. goferet says:

    Oh I forgot to add the Tifosi put a curse on Hammy for what he did to Massa at the last lap of the last race at Interlagos.

  8. DonSimón says:

    Seb did a very good job, cant help but feel Lewis could have got closer. Can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow. Alonso did a good job with the tools he had and hads off to both Renault drivers.

    1. Dave C says:

      Lewis could have got closer? He was over the limit and blown his final lap, Jenson was going faster on the final lap before the team pulled him in for whatever reason.

      1. James Allen says:

        JB said he was down and pitted to take one less lap out of the tyres. No conspiracy

  9. Peter C says:

    Why is Senna shown as ‘No time’? He is tenth, so must have a time, even if it was made in P2 & he didn’t go out in P3.

      1. Peter C says:

        But nobody after 10th set a time in Q3, because they didn’t get there. They all have times.
        The only one not having a time is Senna.

        I know. Typo.

      2. Steve says:

        No, he didnt do any laps on Q3, thats why he doesnt have a time.

    1. Martin says:

      Hi Peter

      The times are segregated so that you don’t get a situation where Senna’s Q2 time is faster than Rosbergs’ Q3 time but Senna is behind him on the grid without a penalty. You would then need something stating that Senna didn’t run in Q3. Listing the Q2 time for a top ten runner would take a lot more explanation.

      Cheers,

      Martin

      1. Peter C says:

        Thanks Martin, the penny has now dropped!
        I think the key word I needed was ‘segregated’, …that makes it clear.

        Thanks

  10. mo kahn says:

    Deservedly it is a Sebastian era.

    Interestingly, my girlfriend asked while watching Sebastian qualify “how does he do it?” and I said “I’m clueless, the say its the car, but this is beyond that.”

    1. KRB says:

      He is a very good driver, very fast, no question. Quite a leap to then say that no one else, in the same car, would beat him. I would bet big money on both Hamilton and Alonso beating him in the same machinery.

      I guess the closest we’ve ever seen of that was in the 2005 F3 Euro Series. Hamilton and Vettel had similar chassis (all Dallara), and the same engine (HWA Mercedes). In that season Hamilton won 15 of 20 races.

      There’s a great YouTube clip of a Vettel v. Hamilton battle in Lausitz that year.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkLZBxHWRXA

      1. shane says:

        Didn’t di resta beat him in equal machinery in a lower formula…..he can be beat.

      2. AA says:

        Some of the replays showed Vettel drifting his car. He clearly has a very aggressive setup, tending more towards oversteering. I think he has the perfect car balance / setup that suits his driving style. But car is right on the edge…..unless he cruises, we may see Vettel have a few trips onto the run off areas. Or is that just wishful thinking?

      3. Well says:

        You ‘forgot’ to mention Vettel was a rookie that year and in the lesser team (same machinery does not mean the teams are the same, they all have different engineers, mechanics, etc, who do better/worse jobs in preparing the car).

        Vettel would beat Hamilton more than vice versa…because Hamilton screws up so much, it’s now just funny.

      4. Martin says:

        And all F3 teams are created equal too… It was Hamilton’s second season in F3. As Autocourse notes, in 2004, Hamilton won one race, but he had set-up issues in hot weather conditions. In 2004, Jamie Green won for the ASM team, and McLaren chose to move Hamilton to ASM for 2005. To quote from Autocourse 2005, “It was also a story of the superiority of the ASM squad and of the Mercedes engine over the Opel Spiess, but suca a dominant performance by Hamilton pointed to more than just a technical brilliance.”

        It is a nice clip, but it doesn’t prove anything.

        Both Hamilton and Vettel have had a lot of top cars throughout their careers. They got these cars because key sponsors in McLaren and Red Bull recognised their talent.

        You pick all sorts of data and results to make a case. For example in GP2, Piquet Jr had something like 6 poles and Hamilton 1 in 1l races. Lewis was better in races, but gaps was nothing like what it was in F1.

        Personnally I don’t rate Hamilton’s one lap pace as anything remarkable. I think his race is much more noteworthy. A particular aspect of Lewis’s driving is his braking performance and this is something he usually able to maintain through a race. Through various things I’ve seen and things Lewis has said, I don’t think his one-lap high speed pace is quite where Vettel’s or Alonso’s is. In racing situations this doesn’t matter much as the time gain isn’t that great and it comes at the expense of increased tyre wear. In slow corners the forces are less and the time spent in the corner is longer.

        Once you get the top level of any racing series, unhappy drivers drop a lot more time than the really speical lap gains. A driver who’s not quite there (e.g Massa for much of this year) ends up dropping 0.7 to 1 second quite easily, while the really great laps are unlikely to yield more than 0.3-0.4 seconds.

        Comments are regualarly made about Hamilton being hard on his tyres. Most of the time I don’t really think this is true, but there are times, such as Valencia this year, where his management of tyre could be better. This is one area that Vettel and Alonso seem to do it better.

        You could point to overtaking and car-to-car racecraft, and I’d agree that Lewis is really good in this area. A factor this year though is that McLaren has lost its straightline performance advantage, so there are fewer opportunities. The McLaren’s aerodynamic philosphophy also seems to help it follow other cars closely. These are two areas where the Red Bull has not been so good. This year however the tyre situation has allowed a couple of passes, such as Vettel on Rosberg at Blanchimont and Webber on Alonso at Eau Rouge that I suspect that drivers in other cars couldn’t do as they don’t have the downforce.

        I don’t have access to the data that the teams have that allows them to assess all the drivers, but the experts all seem to be pick Alonso. While we saw that Hamilton edged Alonso in 2007, Fernando wasn’t always that comfortable, firstly with the brake feel and then with the team environment. He didn’t go to pieces (apart from Brazil where he was nowhere), but in ultimate potential, the teams may be seeing more than equal points and second and third in the 2007 championship. Right now we have suggestions about external factors in Hmailton’s life.

        I only have the data in the public domain, but if winning greatly benefits by being on pole (which it has been), then I’ll take Sebastian thanks. Lewis might win the race of the year and put in a few stunners, but I expect Vettel and Alonso to be ahead at the end of the year.

        Cheers,

        Martin

    2. Peter C says:

      If it’s ‘beyond the car’, you would assume that Vettel could take any car on the grid & qualify it 0.5sec faster than its regular driver.

      I don’t think so.

    3. Nevsky says:

      He does it because he is very clever at Geometry and Trigonometry. This allows him to shave the extra tenths off some corners. He is also more aggressive with the DRS.

      1. unoc12 says:

        Think it is partially also….

        Webber has been struggling with the tyres this year, changed Chassis, was using a used old engine and had no KERS.
        Vettel has using chassis 5, had KERS and an engine turned on for the first time on Saturday.

        It’s not hard to add one and one and work out that Vettel, while good is also getting a quite a bit from Webber having a hard time and mucking up a bit.

        KERS is worth the most here, we know Webber was faster last year in quali, the KERS is about 4-5 tenths here, new engine is probably 1-2 so that’s 6-7 tenths there, or about the gap between them. Webber was probably slightly slower in quali but Vettel’s gap is because he has the car and his teammate didn’t.

        Simple as that.

    4. For sure says:

      haha that is part of F1 isnt it

    5. mo kahn says:

      Would like to point out one thing though… Fretzen and Karl Wendlinger were both faster than Schumacher while they were racing in Mercedes sports cars, by own admission of Eddie Jordan the decision to give Schumacher was not on talent but it coz’ he needed the money. And in F1 Schumacher evolved into a legend while the other two are almost forgotten.

      In F1 it is all about how you evolve and adapt as driver.

      Seb unlike Hamilton didn’t have the best car always and yet he won in Monza with a Torro Rosso. Interestingly, the Main Team which is the Redbull hadn’t won as at that point, but the Junior Team which is Torro Rosso won in the hands of Vetel.
      So, this does say a lot that says about this chap.

      1. James Allen says:

        Not true. Ross Brawn has said many times when he was with Jag racing against Merc they needed a different strategy when MS was in the car.

  11. Jo Torrent says:

    Ferrari was suffering from lack of downforce and inability to put heat into the tyres. Monza requires tiny wings & was super-hot yet Ferrari was still far away.

    This is a nightmare of a year for them, nothing seems to work and since they blamed the WindTunnel at the start, I don’t see great improvement since the WindTunnel started to work properly.

    I’m waiting for the next excuse but more importantly I don’t see how can Dominicali stay next year if he repeats this year’s performance.

  12. Peter says:

    Why was Button called in on its final lap in Q3 when being faster than Hamilton?
    Hope people will start to give this Vettel some credit now, fantastic car control in Ascari, too, great moment.

  13. Heartworm says:

    I missed Q1/Q2 and only just got in on time to see Q3, why did Senna not do a run?

    1. Peter C says:

      I reckon it was because in 10th, he wasn’t going to be pushed down any lower, so don’t go out in P3 & save a set of soft tyres.

      Funny no time against his name,though !!!

  14. rossco says:

    James who do you think has the best set up for the race? from watching it looks like mclaren are running a massive rear wing where as redbulls wing looks tiny in comparison even though they seem to be producing more downforce.

    1. James Allen says:

      McLaren seem very confident, Ferrari will do better in the race than qualifying.

      1. JohnBt says:

        I like hearing that James.

  15. snailtrail says:

    James would like to hear your comments on the ride height/ flexing front wings fights the teams were involved in recently – this all seemed to die down???
    Noticed today the redbull front wing didnt seem to be touching the road – but I may be wrong?

    1. James Allen says:

      That’s all died down now

  16. MrExasperated says:

    I’m still convinced that RB is doing something tricky / edge of legality right at the end of Q3′s …

    It always looks so much closer in Q1 and Q2 and then suddenly in the dying moments of Q3 (even with supposed problems) they always seems to find 3,4 or 5 tens of a second.

    In days on gone by you would be lucky to find hundreds of a second.

    Who can explain this to me?

    1. James Allen says:

      Pre Valencia it may have been engine mapping, today it seems to have been a very fast lap by Vettel, plus some sandbagging in Q1 and Q2

  17. Andras F. says:

    I saw many drivers to cross the white line with all four wheels right after the Ascari chicane. Is it legal?
    One example is Senna’s last lap in Q2.

    1. Mark L says:

      They are allowed to get away with that at that point for some reason. Probably because they are running wide and taking a longer path with faster exit speed, as opposed to shorter path with slower exit.

  18. Patrick McLaughlin says:

    Why did Button abort his final run when he was up in Sectors 1&2 ? He would have qualified 2nd on the grid.
    Do not get that at all. Anyone with info ?

    1. RobH says:

      Maybe it was him being a bit cute with regard to grid slot? 3rd is on the clean side & he’ll likely get a tow from Vettel, it’s a long straight.

      1. KRB says:

        Though Button took Alonso from 2nd (dirty side) in the start last year.

        Vettel usually has good starts, and isn’t above sweeping right over to protect the lead.

      2. Steve says:

        Which usually lets the guy in 3rd past him into 1st.

  19. Joe S says:

    Button was up in both sectors in his final lap, which he abandoned for some, unexplained reason. He wouldn’t have got pole with it, but he could very well have gotten 2nd after Hamilton having to move over.

    It was good of Lewis to allow the cars behind him past, though, as he was on a flying lap wouldn’t he have been within his right to keep going on his lap anyway?

    1. Aey says:

      Where did you get information that Button was up in his final try.

      He is actually slower than his own best time. . . that why he abandoned the last lap.

  20. Sebee says:

    You ever think that McLaren, Mercedes or Ferrari can’t push the rules as far because they may be branded cheaters. Where as the risk is not the same for marketing efforts for non car owned teams like Benetton, Red
    Bull or even Brawn?

    I’m not saying they are cheating, because FIA is checking those cars. But they are perhaps pushing further than others and risking just a touch more to be fastest.

    1. . says:

      They just do a better job, end of.

      All these conspiracies against RBR and Vettel have gotten old now.

      1. Sebee says:

        No conspiracy. Just pointing that they can push a bit further because consequences and public perception are not same if they go too far as they may be for a car linked team. I’m not sure I’m gettin the meat of the thought across.

    2. frosty1 says:

      McLaren and Ferrari can’t push the rules??? Where have you been for the last 10 years?.

      All the top teams have bent the rules in the name of competition. Hence the large fines and reclassification of the rules we have seen dished out by the FIA.

      1. Sebee says:

        Yes, I guess.

        I would actually say Renault was the one pushing it most as car manufacturer last ten – pushing past the rules as we know. I would also say Michelin. But I don’t recall anything that tested the limits of rules by McLaren or Ferrari recently. Sure, there has been some DQs for wrong sidepod size or brake ducts. But defuser, engine mapping, exhausts, flex wings, all none car manufacturer items. F-Duct is all I remember – not good enough for championship, so not that significant.

  21. Craig says:

    Pretty much every weekend Red Bull pull out another 5 tenths in Q3 – it amazes me that anyone is even surprised by this anymore. I just expect it to happen now, so if the times are close at the end of Q2 (a tenth or two between Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari) then i know Red Bull will be on pole. Or rather i know their one quick driver will be.

    It’s more depressing here because this used to be a weak track for them, but apparently they could detach the rear wing and still go around corners faster than the other teams. Perhaps some alien technology from Newey’s brain is sucking the car to the road and it doesn’t even need wings.

    Sorry i’m going off topic. To be honest i should be more annoyed at Mercedes, McLaren and Ferrari for being unable to topple a soft drinks company. It’s totally ridiculous.

    ‘Soft drinks company’ + Adrian Newey i should say, and one quick driver = F1 World Championship success.

    Vettel is last in the speed trap figures though, so let’s take him to the cleaners!!

  22. Roddy says:

    VET will have to be on top form tomorrow also to stop BUT taking the win, as he seems the more relaxed of the two McL drivers imo.
    Of course Ferrari are sandbagging. Can they really have nothing special for Monza?

    1. Andrew Cumbria says:

      I agree, I think the McLarens will take him down straight, and after that his compromised setup will mean he shouldnt get near enough even with DRS because he is so much slower. McLaren to win. Lewis to take or be taken out be Vettel and help his team mate to take a small bite out of his lead, however Vettel will still be WDC lead is massive others have no chance. McLaren to be constructors (I hope) as this means geat end of the season for their drivers, and plenty of wins to come. We have to admit though that this has been the best season of racing in our lifetimes, we just need the big three to find downforce for start of next season and all top 4 teams to that bit closer for next year to make that the best season ever………… heres to hoping.

  23. Matthew says:

    I watched (and listened) to the Red Bulls into the second chicane and lesmos – they sound like they’re in a different category to the rest of the field – so aggressive on their off-throttle blowing.

    Has that always been the case this season?

    It would certainly explain how Red Bull have so much downforce but skinny wings. With no adjustment on settings between Q3 and the race, it might also explain why Seb described his set-up as racey.

      1. Andrew Cumbria says:

        James, why did Vettel go for the slower top speed are they expecting to still be quicker overall, is this because this gear gives them quicker acceleration to the lower top speed ?

        I’d also like to know the tyre angles again on the leading cars following the issues in Spa, are Red Bull again pushing the envelope.

        I also think an in depth article on all the setup options a team has for a given race weekend would be very interesting to read, the trade off between grip and tyre wear seems to be affected by wheel geometry and suspension. I know you did a piece on gearing, but that also seems to affect the setup of the rear of the car, suspension etc and how these differing settings cant affect handling and typre wear.

      2. RichyF says:

        Final Q3 VET outlap, the off-throttle blowing sounded so much more pronounced than previous runs. I thought the specialist qualy maps had been reduced somewhat. I cannot help but feel RB have a ‘-0.5 second button’ on the steering wheel / computer.

        Maybe a feature could be done giving us some insight into how the ECU’s and other electronic systems are checked to ensure they meet with regs?

        I’m not saying they are not, just that I imagine it to be a difficult area to police.

  24. Rob Newman says:

    Vettel’s setup is a compromised one. He is not fast in the first sector. He will be slow off the start line tomorrow and someone else is going to take the lead before turn one.

    I don’t think the Ferrari’s have any chance of a podium.

    1. . says:

      If gets a clean start after 2 laps he will have a 2 second gap and no DRS will be allowed against him.

      If someone does get him at the start, a McLaren, he will drive up close to him in the 2nd and first part of 3rd sector and whizz by thanks to DRS which gains 15-20km/h with the McLarens only on average 8km/h faster on the main straight.

      1. James Allen says:

        DRS effect is much less here

  25. Olga Perez says:

    How would you sum up Bruno Senna’s performance so far?

    1. James Allen says:

      Bit early to say. Good qualifying in Spa, poor start, reasonable qualifying today, let’s see how it goes tomorrow

      1. DamonOvertheHill(DOH!) says:

        Senna is looking pretty good to me, please remember he’s not had much time behind the wheel in a decent f1 car yet already he seems competitive. He has talent, one to watch for the future. Good on Eric B etc for putting him the car.

      2. unoc12 says:

        He hasn’t had much time in racing period. Stopped after Ayrton’s death and his fathers.

        Only started a few years ago and is already matching quali pace with his experienced teammate.

        Hoping for Senna to come out well on top

    2. Peter C says:

      Much better than most of the predictions,so far. It must be good for his confidence to have a top 10 car to drive.He needs to make the most of it in the final races of 2011, to impress other teams for when/if Robert Kubica returns.

  26. Kedar says:

    Great Pole but this “Schumacher”esque performance of Redbull is getting pretty boring no matter how much Christian Horner and his team claim of the ‘Struggles’ in their ‘Bogey’ circuits.
    I hope the race tomorrow is different

  27. Danish-F1 says:

    The Story will change tomorrow?

    See the straight-line speed Analysis: -

    Red Bull’s poor straight-line speed maybe change the results
    http://www.formula1onlive.com/2011/09/red-bulls-poor-straight-line-speed.html

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