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“Too easy” for Vettel as he takes pole for Chinese Grand Prix
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“Too easy” for Vettel as he takes pole for Chinese Grand Prix
Posted By: James Allen  |  16 Apr 2011   |  10:24 am GMT  |  176 comments

Sebastian Vettel made it a hat trick of poles in 2011, setting the fastest ever lap of the Shanghai circuit, no less than seven tenths of a second ahead of the McLaren drivers, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.

Vettel on pole again (Red Bull)


“It’s too easy,” Lewis Hamilton said to him as they climbed from their cars in parc ferme. Having been a tenth away in qualifying in Malaysia, the colder conditions again helped the Red Bull to stretch its advantage over McLaren.

It was Vettel’s 18th pole and his third in China. Tomorrow he bids to become the first driver to win the Chinese Grand Prix twice.

“In Q3 we were able to improve by quite a lot,” said Vettel, who was a second faster in Q3 than he had been in Q2. “But it’s a threat to feel too good and I’ll pay attention that doesn’t happen.”

“Sebastian’s pace in Q3 was phenomenal,” said Button for whom P2 is the best grid slot of the season so far.

But if Vettel had it too easy, the real talking point was a terrible mistake on his team mate’s side, which meant that Mark Webber was knocked out in Q1 and lines up 18th on the grid. It is the first time that Red Bull hasn’t had both cars in the top ten since 2009.

Webber had an electrical problem in Saturday morning practice, it was still being worked on at the start of Qualifying. Team boss Christian Horner said that even some of Vettel’s mechanics were involved in the frantic work.

After such a troubled build up, it was perhaps overconfidence on Red Bull’s part to send Webber out on hard tyre on both runs in Q1, when the soft was over a second faster. It left him terribly vulnerable. The team would argue that he should have had enough speed in the car to get through, but he didn’t and they paid a huge price for their hubris. They will have to review the priorities in a situation like that. He suffered warm up problems and managed a best of 1m 36.4 when Vettel also on hards had done 1m 35.6.

And with the midfield teams all using soft tyres, the pace was too much. Webber didn’t miss by a fraction; he was three tenths away from making the cut. “I thought we had enough to get through,” said Webber. “We had a few plates spinning in the background and paid the ultimate price.”

We saw a little of what Paul di Resta is capable of in qualifying; he was under pressure in Q1 when he was P17 with moments to go. He set a lap of 1m 35.702 and went up to P2. It turned out to be his fastest lap of the day and had he repeated it in Q3 he would have been 7th on the grid instead of 8th. But he again outqualified team mate Adrian Sutil;, a great effort after losing the second Friday practice session with a fuel pressure problem.

At the back, Lotus didn’t have the one lap pace in the cold conditions and were again almost two seconds off the slowest of the established teams. Virgin had a better day relative to Hispania, putting a gap of a second between them. However Timo Glock, who had had a frustrating Friday was six tenths off team mate D’Ambrosio.

In Q2 the drama came at the end when Vitaly Petrov’s car broke down on the slowing down lap after setting his time. This brought out a red flag and left just two minutes for the drivers out on track at the time to set a lap. It led to a flurry of cars going out at the end. Many drivers like Alonso had been a long way into their lap when the red flag came out so the tyres had given their best and another set was needed. It was a major compromise on the strategy. Petrov’s team mate Nick Heidfeld was the most compromised, ending up 16th.

Williams had another disappointing afternoon with Barrichello 15th and Maldonado 17th.

Both Toro Rossos made it through to Q3 after very strong laps in Q2, which they couldn’t repeat in Q3. But nevetheless a return of 7th for Alguersuari and 9th for Buemi show the enormous gain that Toro Rosso has made. This is symbolically very important for F1 as it shows that a small team can challenge for the top ten.

But another crucial theme from today was the relative importance of qualifying to the race. We some tactical thinking from Lewis Hamilton, who decided to only do one run in Q3 to save a soft set of tyres for the race. The gamble didn’t work for him in the sense that he ended up third behind his team mate Button, who did two runs.

But Hamilton seemed pleased with his decision as he was thinking about the tactics for the race more than qualifying. He now has a new set of soft and a new set of hard tyres for the race. After running out of tyres in Malaysia, he doesn’t want a repeat this weekend. It shows how strategic thinking is beginning to impact on qualifying.

Rosberg did a great job to qualify fourth ahead of both Ferraris, especially as team mate Michael Schumacher was only 14th, after a problem with his DRS wing at Turn 14 on his hot lap. That’s a really bitter pill for the seven times champion to swallow.

Meanwhile the gulf in qualifying pace between Ferrari and the Red Bull team was highlighted with Alonso’s time which was 1.4 seconds slower than Vettel. Massa did well to qualify less than 1/10th of a second slower than his team mate.

CHINESE GRAND PRIX, Qualifying
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m33.706s
2. Jenson Button McLaren 1m34.421s + 0.715
3. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m34.463s + 0.757
4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m34.670s + 0.964
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m35.119s + 1.413
6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m35.145s + 1.439
7. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1m36.158s + 2.452
8. Paul di Resta Force India1m36.190s + 2.484
9. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1m36.203s + 2.497
10. Vitaly Petrov Renault No time

11. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m35.874s + 1.388
12. Sergio Perez Sauber 1m36.053s + 1.567
13. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m36.236s + 1.750
14. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m36.457s + 1.971
15. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1m36.465s + 1.979
16. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m36.611s + 2.125
17. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m36.956s + 2.470

18. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m36.468s + 1.196
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1m37.894s + 2.622
20. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1m38.318s + 3.046
21. Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin 1m39.119s + 3.847
22. Timo Glock Virgin 1m39.708s + 4.436
23. Tonio Liuzzi HRT 1m40.212s + 4.940
24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1m40.445s + 5.173

All cars within 107%.

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176 comments

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1

What a dissapointment that was, as I said in a previous post the fact the Bulls had to alter their cooling for the last Grand Prix whereas McLaren didn't gave a false impression as to the difference between them.

What's worrying for me is the new mods McLaren are bring do not seem to be making any headway into the Bulls car advantage.

I think (I so hope I am proved wrong) that what we saw today with the Bulls (Vettel at least) just romping away.

Don't seem to be able to get enthused about this seasons F1 what with the kers, drs and tyres the way they are, I saw less rules (let the designers design and innovate) and better tracks (great watching the long straight in China - NOT)

2

I regret as much as you the Vettel solo right now but I don't understand how you can blame that on circuits and rules.

3

Rules because the designers are so constrained in their design. If a team have a different concept that just proves faster the only way other teams can catch up with the current rules is to copy it - cast your mind back to the Brawn as an example. If the rules were freer we'd see different concepts and different solutions as it used to be.

TRacks, take the last race of last year where the Ferrari was so much faster than the Renault and just could not overtake due to the (in my view) dreadful design of the track, had that race been in Brazil or Japan then we'd have a different world champion!

4

It seems that you would have to go as far back as the pre-ground effect days to see an F1 that was not a copycat formula. The Lotus 79 changed everything.

5
Andrew Woodruff

Dale - IMO this argument doesn't stack up at all. You seem to have a selective memory about the last 20 years of F1.

As far as the rules are concerned, I see that there are two main reasons why the regulations have become ever more restrictive. 1) To control costs by avoiding technology arms races; and 2) to reduce the likelihood of one team discovering a silver bullet solution that gives them a dominant car advantage - i.e. the opposite of what you say.

Examples of this from my lifetime watching the sport are Williams in '92 and '93, Benneton in '95, Williams '96 and '97, McLaren '98 and '99, Ferrari '00-'04, Renault '05, Brawn '09. Basically, in around 13 of the last 20-odd seasons you could argue that one team found something (usually a combination of factors) that gave them a significant technology advantage. In the mid to late 1990s the spectacle was only saved by Schumacher's brilliance with inferior equipment.

The idea, therefore, that fewer design constraints leads automatically to closer racing at the front, is simply false.

Circuits-wise - everyone should just stop complaining! I think it's good that there are different types of circuit that challenge the cars in different ways. On the subject of long straights - come on! The vast majority of overtaking manoeuvres happen at the end of a long straight leading into a slow corner. If you moan about the existence of straights, then you have no right ever to complain about a perceived lack of overtaking!

Can we not all just sit back and enjoy the show for what it is? Watching Vettel in the RB7 is a priviledge. Whether Button or Hamilton will emerge as his main challanger in each race, is intriguing. Can McLaren out-develop Red Bull over the course of the season? Fantastic. Too many long term conclusions are drawn following the evidence of just a single session!

6

To the best of my knowledge McLaren weren't running their updates in qualifying. I think after practice Hamilton & Button weren't happy with them so they took them away.

Either way, it shows that Mclaren r bringing updates that effectively don't help at all. At the end of the day, if the driver isn't happy, he won't perform fully

7

You don't know they haven't worked. Malaysia suited the Mclaren more than the Red Bull, they might of been even further back without these updates.

8

They (McL) have to keep trying updates. Look at the situation they were in by the end of testing in Spain.The car then was really radical, a bit too radical, so in a couple of weeks they re-jigged everything & have made themselves into a front row proposition. Their race pace is even better,too- but too early to be consistent with both cars.

Everyone tries updates all the time, otherwise there would be no improvement. They have to keep trying, particularly when you are P2 on the grid & 0.7sec behind the Red Bull !

9

According to the BBC website Mclaren ARE running the updates they brought. Even if they are not catching the Red Bulls, they are still faster than the rest with scope for further improvement in future races.

10

Wasnt that the case most of last season though? Mclaren threw new parts on their car at a rapid rate and most of it didnt work hence why they slipped behind Ferrari as the season went on.

Red Bull proved last year they are consistently the best at developing a great car into an even better one

11

I'm interested about Hamilton's tyre-preservation strategy.

If he has to start on the set of used softs that he qualified with, and if the race turns out to be one stop for everyone, then he will have to use the hard tyres on his second stop - thus the new set of softs goes unused.

Is the above train of thought correct?

12

The one stop strategy is still extreme I would imagine, so a two stop would still be optimum. It means at each stop he has a brand new set. But Button and Vettel only did an outlap and a partial flying lap on their other option set, so it will be interesting to see what difference it really makes.

13

I think the 2 stop is going 2 b the quickest strategy

14

I can't see anyone doing a one stopper

15

Perhaps if Perez doesn't have a large piece of metal puncture his monocoque on Sunday, he'll make a one stopper.

16

that is correct, but I seriously seriously doubt it will be a one stop race.

17

Probably right, I read on Autosport however that Pirelli said one stop might be possible.

For what it's worth, it's going to be cooler tomorrow.

18

The race will not be a one stop for everybody. It's highly unlikely that it will be a one stop for anybody.

19

... but yes, if that had been the case, Hamilton would have had to use his hard tyers and the fresh softs would have gone unused.

20

I wonder if it really is a strategy or if he flat spotted one or more pairs in quali meaning they would be useless for the race. Seems strange to not go for two runs as the indication from Q2 was that Vettel wasn't that far in front.

21

I've heard it'll certainly be a two-stopper and maybe three stops so I think he'll get the benefit somewhere. Not sure if it'll help though. I'm slowly losing my faith in Hamilton's title chances for this year with these tyres and RB's early dominance.

22

by RB do you mean vettel? Or maybe you should have said losing faith in Mecca due to Vettels dominance!!!

23

It's only the third race, so how can you be slowly losing your faith?

Seems like very quickly to me!

24

*second stint, I should say.

25

Also as Vettel and Button aborted their last fast lap, will their tyres be better at the start than Hamilton who did a full fast qualifying lap on his.

26

oops sorry meant Q3

27

Actually they start from the tyres they used for their fastest in Q3, not Q1. Q1 is where the HRT's stop, Q3 is the top 10.

Putting a heat cycle, aka running them through a lap or two before pitting gives the tyres a bit more life, and so if they need to change to them during a stop in the race they should alst longe r because of it.

Turns out they might not as they need to use the hard and so they will only use the 2nd soft (1st is the set they qualified on) if they need 2 stops

28

No, because they have to use the tyres they used for their fastest quali lap in Q1

29

I think most teams are still looking at two stops. Its the likes of the Sauber and maybe Button looking at one stop I think. So I assume Hamilton wants a set of fresh soft tyres for the final stint?

30

di Resta is simply brilliant, however, Jenson and Nico were both good today.

31

I agree. di Resta has looked really good all season, and I wonder if the leading team bosses have taken notice yet.

32

I'd also include Massa. It's been ages since he's that close to his teammate. He was within a tenth of Alonso's time.

33

I agree. Massa's finishing position on the surface looked dreadful in Australia although he did show some fight holding off Button. He looked pretty racy in Malaysia and through practice and quali was pretty decent here in China. I think he is in good form.

34

Scotland always provided F1 with great drivers. There's also DC.

35

Poor DC 🙂

36

Maybe you should have mentioned Jim Clark.

Or Innes Ireland (who?-I hear you say)

Or Jackie Stewart,even

37

So what are Webber's options? He's going to have a hard time without KERS from the back. Can they improve things by fixing bits on the car and taking a penalty?

38

Option is to find a team where the team provides equality & recognizes the hard work Webber put in during it's worst seasons.

39

Had been any other team, I'd say look for another team but there's not really any other show in town at the moment.

Strange that it's mostly Weber that is having Kkers issues in the team.

40

The question is why. If it was the brakes going each race one could assess that the driver oversued their brakes, or if it was engine blowing then maybe driving their engine too hard. (and too much time on max).

But KERS is either on or off. The problem isn't due to over driving it at all which is why it is anoying for fans.

41

Not strange at all mate. We all knew this would happen by the British GP last year when Vettel was given the front nose of Webber's car. Don't reckon Horner will give Webber Vettel's car tomorrow

42

Why would he? Even without Kers Vettel would've still whupped the rest of the field by about half-a-second. Unfortunately, Webber couldn't even get out of 1st quali. Sure, you could say the team made a mistake by putting him out on hards-but I say it shows they were confident that thier car was fast enough to make it to 2nd quali. There's no conspiracy here mate - do you really think Red Bull want their car at the back of the grid. Webber has embarrased them this year, and it can't be long before) start looking for a driver who will actually compete with rest of the field, let alone with Vettel.

43

they can fix it without taking a penalty i believe

44

They should be able to make repairs to the KERS in parc ferme for safety reasons and not take a penalty.

I feel that despite the problems on Webber's car he's has been very disappointing this year and is vindicating the teams decision to put its faith in Vettel.

45

Nico - maybe review the previous race - by lap one Webber down to 10th - race end 4th - was very entertaining!

46

Which Mark Webber have you been watching?

47

Charlie, which Mark Webber have YOU been watching?

48

Even without kers Webber in the Bull will be much faster than many around him, wouldn't be at all surprised to see him in the points at least (probably better for the team championship if he isn't though)

49

RBR have to replace Webbers KERS overnight and take the penalty. The maccas and the rest are still a long way behing Vettel Red Bull. If the season continues like this, it will be very dominant for Vettel indeed.

50

James, what do you think of this? Does it have anything to do with the tire marbles on track being thrown up against other cars?

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/90778

Looks like Schumi is again limited by a faulty rear wing. Hope he has good race since the Merc seems to be faster here than Ferrari and Renault.

51

Schumacher had a problem or looking for excuses because he is 10 places behind his teammate on the grid?

52

Yup, we all know better than Brawn himself, right? And he is no rookie to hide behind excuses. He will have a strong race if he manages to avoid any cars bumping into him.

53

I like the note about Seb's mechanics helping to get Mark out of the garage.

Nice bit of team spirit on display.

54

Maybe that is why he didn't make it to Q2

55

That'll be it!

The conversation must have been:

"You three pretend to fix the car whilst I go and hide his soft tyres!"

56

Wonderful. LMAO.

57

DI RESTA!!! You beauty. Quality effort from DI Resta, he looks class. Hope for a few more points tomorrow.

Got to hope that 1 Mclaren gets Vet into turn 1 otherwise it's race over. If after the first corner it's Vet then Rosberg followed by the Macs then Vet could have a pitstop in his pocket by lap 12.

At least we can watch webber make his way through the pack, probably Heidfield as well.

58

Luke what you said is so funny, I'm a fan and believer in Vettel and it sounds like you're not and is already looking at the worse case for Hamilton, but I feel that bad luck will strike seb sooner or later it's f1 and mclaren will have their day and it could happen tomorrow. But what everyone can't deny is the fact that Vettel is undoubtedly the fastest driver in f1.

59

He's very, very good.

He's also driving a car which is nearly a second a lap better than anyone else.

The fastest car.

Monaco should be good - not too much aero needed so it will be more down to drivers.

60

Oops! I,ll take your word for that, Jose.

61

monaco is the highest downforce track

62

I wouldn't call myself a Vettel fan, but i entirely agree with you that at the moment he is the fastest driver.

I'm not really a Hamilton fan either! I just think that if Rosberg gets ahead of them at turn 1, it will scupper any (slim) chance of a fight for the win.

63
Michael Grievson

great quali

with mark being at the back with more softs hopefully he'll be working his way through the field.

64

It will be a wonderful race if Mark can run from 18th to the podium, must be fun.

65

Might want to double check that first sentence. Michael Schumacher did a 1:32.238 in 2004 which stands as the current official lap record. Detailed here: http://www.formula1.com/races/in_detail/china_848/circuit_diagram.html

66

Yup, I was going to say that too!

67

That's the Fastest Lap record, not the qualifying record, the qualifying time that year was a 1:34:012 set by Barichello which was broken today

68

actually true though, that first sentence implies it would b faster than Schumi's. Fair point

69

we are in an era of redbull domination. They are the best on everything. They built the best car, they have the best crew a powerfull and reliable engine, and vettel is a good qualifier, good in the wet and dry.

How is anybody going to beat them? Long live the king.

70

I expect it will all be over by Silverstone.

71

i hope not. But everything seems to go this way.

72

The Chinese Grand Prix is going to be a mighty scrap on who finishes second. Jenson can make his tyres last much loner so can Rosberg.

With Hammy having a fresh set of soft tyres & a resurgent Ferrari not far away, oh well, it's an all you can eat buffet.

Disappointed that Kobayashi is all the way down in P13 but at least he has Schumacher to keep him company. So I expect a lot of one stoppers coming from that camp

The way things are going, Di Resta won't be in a Force India for long while Webber looks like a beaten man.

Anyway I will see you teletubbies on track tomorrow. Have fun

73

Is it just me, or is it smelling awful like a conspiracy in the red bull camp. Each race it's a small thing that keeps Mark off the pace, making the gap between them (points wise) greater and greater. My bet is another "2-3 poor races" from mark, then his car will miraculously come good enabling him to perform, but be so far behind in the points table he has to back Vettel for the win.

74

I think you're conspiracy theory is wrong, in fact completely wrong. You are just grabbing at random straws and drawing inconceivable lines in an attempt to find a reason why Vettel is a mile in front and Webber is so far behind.

Taking a look at Webber's problems we can see that he still seems to be having trouble with the tires. He has also been unfortunate with the KERS on his car as well.

I will also point out that Vettel has had problems with his KERS. In your Red Bull conspiracy theory may ask you to explain where Vettel's problem with KERS came from? Is this in fact some elaborate conspiracy within the conspiracy to make sure the real world don't know that there is a conspiracy? Then again it could be just a rather large reliability problem with KERS, a system reasonably new to the Red Bull car and not particularly liked by their Chief Designer.

75

I think Vettel has no problem with KERS but problem on Mark's car make team have no confidence in KERS and tell Vettel not to use it.

76

Don't rely on pit to car radio for a truthful reflection of what is happening. The fact that the other teams are monitoring it makes them guarded & coded about what they say.

What we armchair (sofa in my case) critics hear is selective 'old' news anyway.

77

Webber has always been pretty unlucky, excluding last year when his luck seemed to be turning around a bit.

There's no conspiracy, just bad luck, hopefully things turn themselves around for webber soon.

78

the same thoughts have crossed my mind, just chance that all the Red Bull gremlins have been on Marks car this season?

79

Even without KERS the RBR car was good enough for 2nd on the grid. Why was Webber so much slower than Seb in Q1? Yes KERS accounts for 3 tenths, but what about the remainder? Quite simply Webber hasn't ever consistently had the measure of Vettel, and what we're seeing at present is the superior driver performing well.

80

Who had the fastest lap last race?

Who has had KERS failures in addition to mechanical faults for the last two races while RBR's poster boy has had none?

You seem to have a conveniently selective memory Paul.

Perhaps you should review the articles below to refresh it.

http://www.grandprix.com/ft/ft23125.html

http://crash.net/f1/news/168280/1/kers_saved_us_today_admits_vettel.html

http://www.pitpass.com/fes_php/pitpass_news_item.php?fes_art_id=43330

81

LOL

82

Only when the gap between McLaren and RBR diminishes and then they will let Webber back in to defend Vettel lead.

83

Last year when it was all happening to Vettel (lost 76 points just because of mechanical problems, 5 times more points than Webber and 3 times more than the next championship contender), I didn't hear any of you complain about a conspiracy against Vettel by RBR?

That is the real conspiracy here 😉

84

It does look a little suspicious and I wouldn't put it past these people. The way things are they might wrap up both titles with one driver.

85

No it certainly starting to smell very bad.

It is all down to Helmut Marko, he calls the shots, what you are saying makes sense.

86

I know it is early days and all that but it seems pretty sure from a perfomance point of view that Webber and Massa are not going to keep their seats. If Kubica won't get back (and I truly hope does), that leaves 3 juicy seats for next year. Barichello and maybe Schumi will also leave. Can't remember the last with pottentially this many seats available

Few more weekends like this Mr. di Resta and you could find yourself in a top team next year!

Sorry I'm writting about this but I just fear this season belongs to RB and Vettel as a gap this big to 2nd without something 'replicable' (like the dubble difuser on the Brawn 2 years ago when RB caught up once copied)is insurmountable. In fact it has to be going back to Beneton days that we saw this kind of gap I think.

87

2012: Webber retires, Hamilton moves to Red Bull to join Vettel, di Resta goes to McLaren to join Button, Massa joins Petrov at Renault, Kubica or Perez to Ferrari with Alonso, Heidfeld to Sauber with K. Kobyashi.

Innit.

88

Actually I think when Webbo retires (sadface) Red Bull will grab his countryman, Ricciardo.

89

More like Russel Grant. Very funny,though.

90

Hi James, are you able to enlighten us as to why Vettel stayed in his car for so long in parc ferme? Christian Horner said that he was waiting for clearance from the FIA to get out of the car. I have never heard this before, is it really true?

Thanks

91

Yeah that reason was a bit odd - Button came in at exactly the same time and jumped out fairly quickly.

92

Probably waiting to make sure the KERS was discharged.

93

Does this imply that RBR has a dangerous Kers system. Didn't look good for Mark sitting in his car and the mechanics having to wear safety gloves to touch the car either.

94

Well it looks like Ferrari's strategy for winning the world title is going according to plan...they are perfectly poised 1.4 seconds behind poll position. I believe that Fernando is starting to get sick of chasing teams down while whistling the tune that Ferrari is the best team in F1...something they haven't been in years. I think that is why Massa is closer to him in qualifying...why should Alonso push when the gulf between him and the Mercedes (not even the Mclarens or the Red Bulls) is half a second?

I think if Ferrari have a bad show at tomorrow's race (note that Ferrari's pit stop time in Malaysia, first round of stops, for Massa was absurd, and Alonso was 4.3 seconds...Mclaren, RedBull, Mercedes, Renault all were well below 4 seconds) we'll start to see Alonso push even less as winning would be nearly impossible unless there is a minor miracle. If a team has a slow car its one thing...but when they can't even match their competitors on pit stop times then there is a bigger problem.

Don't know if i can handle seeing Vettel's face again if he wins....he looks like a sickly Curious George. I might consider taking a break from F1 for a race or two until things even up...never thought I'd say that. Having said that though, I think we are in for an exciting race tomorrow, because some of the slower teams have higher positions on the grid for this race. Fingers crossed that the race director keeps the video on the back of the grid rather than on the sole (fully functional) Red Bull at the front.

95

I think it's good for Ferrari, this will make them hunger to win.

I'm not sure that after Vettel have a lot of continuous win , Do him still hunger for the win like when he get his first championship?

Do he act as he's very happy but inside think 'oh I win this again( start to bored )'?.

96

Nando, as a Brit myself I find it hard to fathom that I can be accused of 'racism' towards British people. As I understand it, being British is a nationality and not an ethnicity. I was not making a 'thinly veiled' dig at British fans - it was a plea to get over the fact that 'your guy' was being beaten by his rival and to give the rival credit.

My evidence is based on posts on many F1 forums, where you can tell the nationality of the posters and the teams they support by looking at profiles and their signatures. Have a look yourself. Also, given the level of English on the comments thread here, it is clear many posters are English-speaking and the absence of Americanisms suggests they are British.

Nando, I agree with you that as with any sportsman, some people will be naturally drawn to him and others will be naturally put off by a particular feature of his character. As you've put very well, a quaint smile can become a smirk.. But it's not about people 'liking' or not 'liking Vettel. I don't mind who likes whom.

The issue here is when posters (usually Ferrari or McLaren fans) like to trump that Vettel is in a superior car and thus still has to 'prove' his worthiness.

My post was designed to get over national or team boundaries and to suggest that anyone who is capable of winning a Formula 1 World Championship is worthy of praise.

Again, I reiterate that as a Brit I am not motivated by any racism towards my fellow countrymen. The term 'don't mention the war' attitude is I believe justified as it derives from a classic sitcom, Fawlty Towers - and is light-hearted in tone.

It was used to reflect a knee-jerk reaction to rival's success. Sorry if you took any offence at that, Nando, it was meant in jest.

97

OK that's enough of that thread.

98

I dont think you could ever say Fernando Alonso would be the type of racer not to push 100 percent whatever his situation.

99

Usual guff from the British fans with the 'don't mention the war' type attitude.

Sure, Sebastian is currently in a car that is comfortably faster than its opposition in qualifying trim and a margin faster in race trim.

Why does Vettel have to demonstrate *anything*, he is the world champion.

As Camaro says, why do so many people begrudge him his success? Because he's German? Or because he celebrates by raising a finger - why are celebrations deemed obnoxious because 'your guy' didn't win.

Hamilton has only ever driven a so-called 'top car (at least by the end of each season.

I find it hard to go along with the view of the original poster in this thread that Alonso is 'fed up' and won't push because the RB is so dominant.

As was evident today Alonso knows the limitation of the car so got it to where he thought it would go and eased off. Similarly, why can't we congratulate Massa for a good performance rather than automatically reacting by saying it must be because Alonso is 'not trying.'

As a fan I just want to see a good performance from everyone and let the best man win, be he a Brit or otherwise. Of course we all have our own teams ( I'm behind Lotus-Renault and Williams) but if one of 'my' guys is beaten fair and square by a 'faster' guy you take it on the chin and congratulate them. We're meant to be British after all...

It's very unsporting to begrudge someone deserving praise for victories or to denigrate success because their team mate 'wasn't trying'.

100

Hmm, accusations of racism without a shred of evidence. You don't even know the posters are British it could be like the 'Scottish' fan who throw a banana at Neymar. I've heard from a few Germans who don't like Vettel, and most Brits I know actually like him.

Vettel isn't liked universally because he's winning too easily people will pick out his flaws his quaint smile will become an arrogant smirk etc.

It's the Steve Davis / Lance Armstrong syndrome if he continues being successful he'll become well liked again.

James can we have less of the thinly veiled digs at 'British fans' please.

101

Extremely well said!

102

How about actually look at what this 23 year old is achieving and call it what it is.....a brilliant performance by a special driver.

Does that hurt that much to concede?

103

I never said Vettel was a poor driver, he's a good driver. I don't think it was a 'brilliant performance by a special driver' as you say though, by any means. Its a good performance from a good driver....driving a brilliant car designed by a special technical director.

But for the record, I could never call Vettel a special driver at this point in time, because in my opinion there are at least 2 drivers that are far better than him (Schumacher, Alonso) and 2 that are probably better than him (Hamilton, Kubica).

104

It helps when you have a car that is 1sec clear of the field Alchemy

105

At this point in time he drives better than any of the ones you mentioned.

Alonso and Hamilton and Schumacher made mistakes in the first 2 races, Vettel? Zero.

This nonsense that he doesn;t deserve to be called great because he is driving in the best car is an invalid argument because 99% of the great drivers won driving in the fastest cars.

106

I think any driver that wins the world champion, deserves to be called 'great' especially after seeing off competition from his more experienced team-mate, Lewis, and Alonso. It's not like it was a hollow victory. The 'good' win races, the 'great' win championships.

107

His doing a good job, but is not in the same league as alonso & Hamilton the two outstanding racers in f1

108

Who says he's not in the league of Hamilton? He's probably better than Hamilton right now.

109

Wise words. Vettel has yet to demonstrate he can overtake cleanly. Having said, was MS ever any good at passing anyone other than back markers under waved blues?

110

Some of the greatest drivers were not well liked. Senna wasn't liked in the UK especially and neither was Schumacher. Vettel is a special talent, what he's achieved is amazing given his young age and the low number of races RBR have had the best car in F1.

As things stand in F1, only two drivers on the current grid (excluding Schumacher) look like making it as a great of the sport, and they're Alonso and Vettel, time will tell.

111

I would like to see Vettel come back from eighteenth to third, when this week he couldn't even win from pole.

He is not in Webber's league!

http://crash.net/f1/news/168485/1/hamilton_wins_webber_stars_at_sparkling_shanghai.html

112

Let's see Vettel overtake more than one car in per race before you start comparing him to Alonso.

Vettel's skill level is somewhere around Button's in my opinion, and nowhere near Webber's and Alonso's as far as coming back through traffic is concerned.

113

Still Won't call Vettel special yet, His car is head and shoulders above the rest.

115

Wow, Michael Schumacher's second season doesn't appear to be going much better than his first.

116

Lol, what? He's the only one of the two drivers who has scored points and completely outpaced Rosberg in the last race.

And if you watched qualifying today you would have noticed Schumachers DRS system fail in the final sector, hence the massive slide which he luckily sorted out.

Hilarious how people think he is so far behind Rosberg given the amount of times they had to switch places in pit stops last year; he is much closer to Nico than Massa has been to alonso and Jenson (at least last year) was to Lewis.

Interestingly, Jenson seems to be loving these tyres!

117

There won't be another chance, I am afraid...

118

Great performance from Paul di Resta after his car issues in practise - starting to show Sutil up now and its only his 3rd GP.

Good to see Massa up there with Alonso and Nico's doing a fine job.

Schumacher not really demonstrating greatness these days - when Mansell was Schumacher's age he was taking pole for Williams, 7ths ahead of Hill despite being unfit and overweight! I'm sure Schumacher is a lot fitter now than Mansell was then!

119

Nigel was much more physical with the car and at the time it was a driving style that could extract a few more tenths from the car.

Some would say that modern F1 cars have a smaller 'sweet spot' that requires a smooth technique. Mr Button?

Alonso appears to be one of the few drivers that uses both styles, on a regular basis, to good effect. I seem to remember at Benetton he was very aggressive behind the wheel, indeed the Ferrari today had very good bite during the fist half of his quali lap. Schumi is very similar, heavily dependent on the front end turning in when and where he needs.

120

Agree but Alonso's softened his aggressive turn in a lot with the current Ferrari. Being able to adapt is part of it - was Schumacher only a one-trick pony...? Only able to drive one way with a Bryne centric team.

121

maybe Rosberg is just way better than Hill.....

122

And Schumacher it would seem!

I'm very impressed with Nico, it was difficult to quantify him during his final seasons @ Williams (as indeed it is any driver without any direct competition from the other seat) but he's really putting in the numbers now.

123

Schumacher's DRS failed on the final corner, hence the massive slide.

With your logic Heidfeld is infinitely inferior to petrov and massa to alonso.

124

Well it doesn't help when your teammate kills his car and parks it on track on your only hotlap, didt do schumy many favors either. Nico barely made it to q3 and he got out near the front of the massive rush at the end of q2. Looked like a NASCAR race on their warmup lap, props to Felipe risking his tires to beat perez to clean air for his hotlap

125

I don't think Webber is getting the magic hardware. The team are saying so long to him - and not giving him secrets to take away.

126

It's possible. Top drivers certainly learn how to set up the car to extract maximum performance. However, I doubt that Mark really understands the detail of why the RB is so fast.

127

I think what webber has is a basic configuration of the RB.. No Front Wing Flexi Mod, No Kers, No Nothing. He may very well be given te standard F1 Car build and it shows..that way he will have no secrets to take with him..Question is: What about Last Year's Secrets? Some teams would still pay a premium for what he may know.

128
Andrew Woodruff

Absurd conspiracy theories. It is unfortunate that Webber has had the bulk of the KERS/DRS gremlins at Red Bull so far, but these ideas are nonsense!

All teams need to sort out the reliability of KERS and DRS to avoid the whole season being shaped by who had the use of these devices at any given time. It is spoiling the show and clouding the true performance of cars and drivers alike.

129

How is this Red Bull so fast? I just can't get my head around it!

Vettel's time today was the fastest qualifying time ever around this circuit! He beat the record that was set in a car with a bigger engine, less weight, more downforce!

kk, Vettel did have KERS and DRS, but does that really make up for it?

130

It wasn't lighter in 2004 - it was heavier as it was carrying race start fuel load, nowadays they run dry tanks for qualy. They were also (possibly)on grooved tyres back then. (Newey is the other reason)

131

Newey, Newey & Newey. Aero.

132

Well done to SV and Red Bull. Absolutely awesome. This smacks of the FW14B's dominance in Mansell's hands in 1992, also an Adrian Newey creation which prompted Senna's famous offer to drive for Williams for nothing! One still has to wonder what is the actual secret of the Red Bull's performance which is feeding SV's confidence to new heights and getting even more out of the car that way? It was well known in '92 that the FW14B's active suspension gave Mansell a very high level of confidence such that he could exploit his upper body strength to get even more than his team mate Patrese. It was such that in the British GP his superiority was greater than SV's today, which is nothing short of phenomonal.

It's a case of catch me if you can!

I ask again though, what is the secret and he's barely using KERS?

133

Someone should offer to drive for Red Bull for free and being a world champion. I prefer Robert Kubica, like his aggressive driving style.

134

Toro Rosso's drivers only had used softs for Q3, that is the reason they couldn't match their performance of Q2.

135

Toro Rosso look handy. Maybe Webber might consider switching? 😛

136

You forget that drivers start the race with the tyres which they set their fastest Q3 time on. So Button and Vettel won't be on the grid with those tyres from the aborted last run. Also those laps were aborted right at the end of the timed lap so I think those two will have pretty much used all the 'newness' from them. Hamilton has the advantage in this regard.

137

If I recall correctly Hamilton locked up twice on his Q3 hot lap, neither Button or Vettel did. Thus although Lewis has a brand new set of tyres to change onto at some point in the race his initial stint tyres may be less than perfect.

138
Richard Hoyland

Being in a situation where a driver is too worried about doing two runs in Q3 because of wearing a set of tyres out is ridiculous and makes a mockery of qualifying. I can't imagine any F1 fans want to see drivers sat in their garages.

I am so disaapponted with how this season has started. Qualifying is predictable and races are precessional and I'm sick of all the talk about looking after tyres. For crying out loud this is supposed to be Formula 1.

139

I totally agree !

140
Mike from Medellin, Colombia

100% agree. Bring back 2010.

141

I agree but unfortunately most fans on these forums seem to enjoy tyre conservation racing as opposed to real racing

142

if you want 'real racing' go watch karting. They are always racing at the limit regardless of where the limit is.

Fantastic qualy today, especially seeing Webber go out first and then Petrov setting a stunner before the mayhem that ensued.

It looks like people only find races interesting if they are surprised by the winner or who gets pole and don't care for the rest of the grid. If Vettel dominates this season it'll be miles better than 92,2002 and 2004, that's for sure.

143

I completely disagree! Races are stunning! How come you say they are processional? What was then happening last year or 2 years ago?

F1 rocks this year!

144

If it continues, it is only a matter of time before the rukes are changed. To see LH in Q3 tip-toeing around the circuit because he does not want to strain his tyres is ridiculous to say the least...Looks like the renault demise in Q2 had LH thinking he does not have to worry about anyone overtaking him at the start and all he has to worry about is JB in front and he can chase down SV... Rule Change anyone?

145

I have to agree... Bar webber going out I'm q1 it was the most boring qualifying I have ever watched in 20 years of f1.

If the tactic works for Hamilton tomorrow it will be pointless watching qualifying as all the drivers will just do one stint in qualifying to save there gyres for the race.

Sad day for f1 when you make a racer like Hamilton not want to go for p1 but be content for an ok starting position and saving tyres for the race.

146

eeerrr processional? in what way?

147

As I have exclusively predicted exclusively here, the only way to get ahead of RBR this season (for slower teams) is when RBR make mistakes. It did happen today and will provide us with an entertaining race from Mark'O and his helmut, sorry, helmet.

The song remained the same in the new teams department (even the same chord, sorry - team progression) and we have to ask ourselves, for how long will this be going on? Q1 is really such an irrelevant part of qualifying these days, you know you'll have (G)Lotus followed by Virgin and the HRT guys, all joined by some unlucky driver from the established teams (because of traffic or technical issues). I like MVR personally, they're user-friendly with normal attitude so I hope they can maybe use Pat Symonds' services and be where they want to be on the grid. I mean the gap to P1 in Q3 is monstrous for all new kids on the block; I'm usually not very into technical side of things but you tend to look at lap times anyway and raw speed is just isn't there for MVR, HRT and (G)Lotus. They're also cursed by KERS or rather lack of it, I mean it's a disaster area. But Jérôme will score points in 2011, I can promise you that, my man won't let me down.

Also, I like new racing overalls for McLaren rock stars (dunno - I think Prince qualifies more like a pop star and his golden guitar should go to the LRGP garage to sit there and combine with VP's and NH's golden suits), they looked like short haired versions of Prost and Lauda from 1984 (with 4 ears intact).

148

man but how early was vettel on the kers and drs buttons coming out of turn 13. so much earlier than everyone else.

149

Too Easy? Perhaps or perhaps not looking at Webbers performance. I actually think Lewis's attitude today was all wrong. He was grumpy on camera and all I've read of his comments this week have smacked of bitterness that another team has the fastest car. Maybe he'll grow out of it, but at present he comes across like an immature little boy.

150

Lewis' seems to be imagining himself in that RB of Vettel. His face depicts an exact picture of this thought. Wonder if he thought about that when posing for the pic.

151

Grumpy? The "too easy" comment on camera seemed like good natured banter to me..

152

I'm puzzled by people complaining that qualifying is predictable. You mean the fastest cars will be at the front? Shocking.

If it's that predictable, you'd better get yourself down to the bookies. You should be making a killing.

And boring processional races? Again, head to the bookies, as I'm sure you know who will finish where.

Maybe you should stop concentrating on just who wins each race. There are lots of others cars out there doing exciting stuff.

Which era do you prefer? 90s? 80s? 70? 60s? Even further back? I promise you that very rarely did the slower cars win in those eras and yes, they had boring races too.

And while I'm on my soapbox, Vettel has to "prove himself" still does he? Yes, what is he thinking? One of the best drivers being utilised by one of the best teams. Truly strange.

Michael Schumacher and the other greats were forever known for heading backwards down the pitlane through their careers and racing for Minardi and Arrows so they could "prove themselves" weren't they?

Whether it's Schumacher in a Jordan, Alonso in a Minardi, or Vettel in a Sauber/Toro Rosso, they nearly all have to show their worth before a top team will stick them in their car. Some exceptions in F1, like Hamilton, but every so often we hear the gentle bleating of an F1 fan claiming he's always been in a top car.

Too little overtaking.

Too boring.

Too much overtaking.

Too confusing.

Too much action.

Too much strategy.

Too predictable.

Too many variables.

Wow. You can't please everyone can you.

I'm a huge Webber and Hamilton fan, but I appreciate the talent of all of the drivers out there. Vettel is doing an amazing job and if his finger annoys you so much, maybe you should consider taking up gardening?

153

Well said!

154

Nicely put

155

I agree. Judging from a lot of the posts, you could be excused for thinking Formula 1 boasts the most negative, whining fanbase of any sport! They're never happy!

I don't know if we get 'jokey' whinging posts which are intentional to look to gain a reaction on the board, or whether some people just don't like the sport and its recent increase on strategic depth, e.g. sacrifice of quali tyres for race strength; varied ways of tackling the race in terms of number of pit stops and pace aggression, etc. Perhaps the sport is now too intelligent for some... if so go watch NASCAR, etc.

156

Good to see that only Karthikeyan was outwith 107% of the ultimate pace of Vettel in his Red Bull, with Liuzzi just inside the time.

157

Too easy?

May be it's easy, just use Newey's magic.

158

Well done Paul Di Resta. I am so pleased to see him delivering in that Force India. I was afraid the car will not give him the possibility to show what a racer he is, but so far the car holds it together. Looking forward to tomorrow's race.

Go go Button, Hamilton, Alonso & Di Resta.

159

I wish Webber and his mechanics would sort themselves out, if we can't have a battle between two teams can we please at least have one between two team mates? Either Webber has seriously gone off the boil or there's more to his car problems than meets the eye. I also think that the implication that Vettel is as good as the gap between him and his team mate suggests, is far from the truth.

160

Hey James,

How do you think, where does such a huge gap comes from (0.7 in Q3) comes from. Is it particular solution like flexi-wing or there is more than that?

161

It seems like Ferrari have no real plan for resurgence any soon and will be fighting Renault and Mercedes randomly throughout the season.

162

2011 Chinese Grand Prix Qualifying Analysis: http://www.formula1onlive.com/2011/04/2011-chinese-grand-prix-qualifying_16.html

Interesting! Fantastic...

163

Jens and Lewis look like they have just escaped from prison in those orange suits...

164

Hello,

The key info I’d like when trying to understand the difference in lap times is the distance. i.e. in China what does 0.1 of a second mean in car length. Is it one whole length of a car in front at the line or two?.
 Kind regds Setay

165

Hi James,

after the first three races, will you do an online poll to see what us fans think of the DRS?

Personally I think it does it's job during races, but I would ban it during quali. It seems to be a very artificial way to set your best time, and it is sad to see drivers on the rev limiter at the end of a straight because they need to select the gear ratios for the race etc.

166

'Sad to see' the drivers hitting the rev limit? How so? This is just another form of controlling the car, and in fact in qualifying it's the same for everyone so nothing artificial about that.

167

I'm completely the opposite! I don't mind how it's used in qualifying but I'm really not sure about only letting following cars use it on race day. So I would be either for DRS all of the time or none of the time.

It would be interesting to see the results of this poll because people seem to have a wide range of opinions about the DRS. I suspect that most of the fans on this site won't be completely comfortable with it for one reason or another though.

168

Im beginning to feel that we may not see DRS in qualifying anymore, but it could be a good thing.

With KERs being such an advantage, do we need such an aide as it is making qualifying seem a bit predictable in certain ways and artificial.

It seems the top teams are the only ones who are able to take advantage of it.

I think banning it for qualifying should happen, and drivers have a right to use it practice if they wish.

169

I agree about DRS during qualifying and seems a bit pointless when it can only be used in the DRS zones in the race.

171

Schumacher, hmmm - reminds me of quote about the actor Errol Flyn "You can count on Errol Flynn, he'll always let you down".

That sums up Schumacher perfectly now. There is no hope - nothing will get better for him i'm afraid. He is a walking excuse now and it is getting really depressing and tiring every race to see him perform in the exact same manner - poorly. It's ALWAYS something now, gawd, it's so sad. He cuts a rather pathetic figure in the paddock - laughable almost to the younger drivers. No-one wants you at the party anymore MIchael when whatever talent you had is now completely gone.

Could you hear the total "well that was pathetic" voice from his engineer after qual, telling him he was 14th. PATHETIC.

Michael, really, quit before Turkey and save all you fans from this weekly humiliation. PLEASE.

172

Just a thought. There will be a three week break after China.

Can we organise a go kart race for all the drivers just for 'pure racing' as Senna put it.

Could be the best race to witness.

No aeros - no politics.

174

There's too much overtaking in Formula One.

175

Drive of the Grand Prix poll is going to be boring.

176

James does a Murray Walker!!

'Webber didn't miss by a fraction; he was three tenths away'

Great stuff . .

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