Vettel scores Red Bull Racing’s maiden pole position in China

Sebastian Vettel took his second career pole position – and Red Bull Racing’s first – using just a single lap in Q2 and Q3 to deliver the perfect performance in Shanghai.

Double world champion Fernando Alonso qualified his light-fuelled and KERS-free Renault in an excellent second position, ahead of Mark Webber. It’s interesting that the top three cars are all powered by the same spec engine, each running without that fancy diffusers or KERS…

As for the dominant Brawns, they could only manage fourth and fifth positions, with Rubens Barrichello edging ahead of team-mate Jenson Button.

Vettel opted to make only one qualifying run in the second and third session to set the benchmark. His time of one minute, 36.184 seconds on a dry track at the Shanghai International Circuit was enough to take his second career pole, which follows his impressive result in Monza last year at the sister Red Bull team (Scuderia Toro Rosso).

In fact, it would have been a fantastic result for the energy drink-backed team with a front row lockout as Mark Webber set the initial pace with a time of one minute, 36.466 seconds. But in the final moments of Q3, Fernando Alonso split the Red Bulls with a lap time of one minute, 36.381 seconds.

The Australian was pushed back from first to third in the closing seconds, with Barrichello dropping to fourth having held provisional pole following his first Q3 runs.

Jarno Trulli completed the top six for Toyota, followed by Nico Rosberg’s Williams, who set the pace in final practice in the run-up to qualifying.

Kimi Raikkonen took eighth for Ferrari, while the current world champion Lewis Hamilton, producing his best qualifying performance of the season to take ninth for McLaren.

Toro Rosso’s rookie Sebastien Buemi also enjoyed a breakthrough session, reaching Q3 for the first time and taking tenth.

While Hamilton showed better form featuring a new front wing and diffuser on his MP4-24, his team-mate Heikki Kovalainen fared less well. The Finn could only manage P12, one place ahead of Felipe Massa. The Brazilian yet again made a driving mistake during his fast run and without the aid of KERS (the team decided not to use it this weekend), Massa will find the job of racing from the mid-pack more challenging.

So a Renault 1-2-3 on the grid in China, with the young German Vettel setting his sights on scoring the team’s dream victory. Can he do the job and take his second victory? What about Alonso? Will the Spaniard cause an upset to Red Bull in his light-fuelled R29? How about the super-soft option tyre from Bridgestone? Will this tyre compound be durable enough around the 3.44-mile track without falling to pieces? We will find out to this and more on race day.

Qualifying times from Shanghai:

1.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault      1:36.184
2.  Alonso       Renault               1:36.381
3.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault      1:36.466
4.  Barrichello  Brawn-Mercedes        1:36.493
5.  Button       Brawn-Mercedes        1:36.532
6.  Trulli       Toyota                1:36.835
7.  Rosberg      Williams-Toyota       1:37.397
8.  Raikkonen    Ferrari               1:38.089
9.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes      1:38.595
10.  Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:39.321
11.  Heidfeld     BMW Sauber          1:35.975
12.  Kovalainen   McLaren-Mercedes      1:36.032
13.  Massa        Ferrari               1:36.033
14.  Glock        Toyota                1:36.066
15.  Nakajima     Williams-Toyota        1:36.193
16.  Bourdais     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:36.906
17.  Piquet       Renault               1:36.908
18.  Kubica       BMW Sauber             1:36.966
19.  Sutil        Force India-Mercedes   1:37.669
20.  Fisichella   Force India-Mercedes   1:37.672

One thought to “Vettel scores Red Bull Racing’s maiden pole position in China”

  1. The young German was overjoyed after taking his second pole position of his F1 career. Read the article in full below, taken from

    Sebastian Vettel celebrated an “unbelievable” pole position after emerging on top of the times in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.

    The German gave his Red Bull Racing team its first pole position after beating Renault rival Fernando Alonso to the quickest time by just two tenths of a second.

    Vettel, who had scored his first pole at last year’s Italian Grand Prix, was delighted to be on top after a difficult practice session this morning.

    He admitted his car had problems during qualiying, which meant he tried to run as little as possible.

    “It was always last minute: I had only one run in Q1 on the hard tyre and one run on Q2 with softs, and one with Q3 – as you see you don’t need more,” said Vettel.

    “It was not easy. We had a problem wit the car so we tried to run as little as possible.

    “The car is quick, as you can see. I had no concerns, but with only one lap if you run wide or make a mistake it means the end.

    “I am very, very happy. Unbelievable we made it to pole position in the end. This morning was not ideal, but it seems the less I run in free practice the better in qualifying.

    “I am happy with the team, all the mechanics are working really hard, they were working all night, so great job to them.”

    The youngest ever GP winner said he was relieved Alonso will not be using KERS this weekend, as it would have been an advantage at the start.

    Vettel, however, is cautious ahead of tomorrow, as he is aware that it will be a long race.

    “First of all I am happy that Fernando does not have KERS, here is a long straight so it can make a difference,” said Vettel.

    “We will see, it is a long race. We have to see how the car is after checking it in parc ferme. We check this for tomorrow but I’m confident the boys will do a very good job.

    “It’s a long race, 56 laps, and it’s the best position to start but we have not scored any points yet. It is along way to go, anything can happen, we have to focus hard and see where we are tomorrow.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *