Already coming off a spectacular victory in the recent Formula One round in Malaysia, Sebastian Vettel proved that his Red Bull Renault is the car to beat as the German recorded his third pole of the season, with a one minute, 34.558 second fast...
Already coming off a spectacular victory in the recent Formula One round in Malaysia, Sebastian Vettel proved that his Red Bull Renault is the car to beat as the German recorded his third pole of the season, with a one minute, 34.558 second fast lap for Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Speedway.
Vettel's teammate, Mark Webber, took second with a 1:34.806, giving the team their second 1-2 qualifying position this season, while Fernando Alonso finished his Ferrari in third with his his fastest lap at a time of 1:34.923.
"It was tough today," said Vettel afterwards." I was not so happy yesterday, but it was extremely difficult and I was struggling. But this afternoon, I had two good runs. First run was good but the second one was little bit better. I am very happy today. I think also that the race itself might be wet."
The track was supposed to be wet for qualifying as well, but everyone was treated to cool, clear weather.
As the first session got underway, the newer teams never made it past qualifying one. Karun Chandok and Bruno Senna for HRT, Lucas di Grassi and Timo Glock for Virgin Racing, Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli of Lotus, along with Vitantonio Luzzi of Force India, all were eliminated and could not participate in Q2. Both Chandok and Kovalainen spun their cars early in the session, but managed to return to the pits without incident. Lewis Hamilton recorded the fastest time with a 1:35:441.
The second qualifying segment did not produce any incidents, and once again, Hamilton took the best time, but the Englishman improved it to a 1:34:928, and it looked clear that the 2008 world champion could take the pole after showing improvement this weekend. Knocked out in this the Q2 session were Williams' drivers Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg; the Toro Rosso pair of Jaime Algusuari and Sebastian Buemi; the Sauber duo of Pedro De La Rosa and Kamuri Kobyaschi; and Renault's Russian rookie Vitaly Petrov.
The final qualifying, with the ten fastest drivers, saw many changes in the last few minutes as Webber looked certain just moments from the end that he would take his second pole in a row. But his teammate showed that he can work under pressure, as Vettel chalked up the second 1-2 front row for the team this season. But Webber in his Australian style complimented his German teammate for his effort.
"We were going really well and it was a good battle," said Webber about his teammate. "It was a very good lap from seb. But we locked the front row, and it was another great team effort. We will go have a bit of sleep and come back tomorrow."
Alonso will start third on the grid, but after suffering a couple of engine failures, the Spaniard was quite realistic on what the car can do on race day. "It is the maximum for our potential and considering we can do better with more fuel in the car, it runs well in normal situations. I feel that the car has reached the maximum potential," he said.
Nico Rosberg took fourth in his Mercedes GP car, while Jenson Button and Hamilton followed next in fifth and sixth respectively in their McLaren Mercedes. Felipe Massa, Robert Kubica, Adrian Sutil and Michael Schumacher rounded out the top ten grid positions.
Vettel and the other racers have been warning for days now that the weather could be rainy on race day, and after the same kind of conditions made the race in Australia exciting a few weeks ago, the 23 year old German remembered that one year ago when he and Webber both ended up 1-2.
"We have good memories from the rain last year," said Vettel. "No matter what the conditions for tomorrow dry or wet, we should be good."