2011 India Grand Prix (Rd 17, Qualifying, Oct 29th, TV Notes)

New Delhi International. © John Chapman / Creative Commons.

Sebastian Vettel claimed his thirteenth pole position of the 2011 Formula 1 season at Delhi on Saturday.

It was also Red Bull’s sixteenth pole of the year – a record for a team in a single season.

The double-world champion claimed the accolade as others hit traffic on their fast laps – or in the case of Felipe Massa, the barrier.
Vettel set two fast laps in the final qualifying stint – both of which would have been good enough for the top spot; however it was his final run (at 1:24.178) that became the benchmark.

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was 2nd quickest as the chequered flag emerged, but a three-place penalty for a Friday transgression dropped the Briton down 5th, behind Mark Webber (Red Bull), Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) and McLaren teammate Jenson Button.

Indeed, it would prove to be a nervy run for Button. Suffering from poor grip throughout the session, the former champion used all three sets of his soft tyre, opting for only a single run in Q3.
Button’s quick lap – some seven-tenths shy of Vettel – was initially called into question, as he sped through a yellow flag area while Massa was busy going off. As the incident was still unfolding, Button avoided a penalty.

For Massa, the Brazilian pounded the kerbs at turn nine, breaking the suspension of the Ferrari, sending him careering into the barriers. His first timed run was enough to garner 6th on the grid.
Nico Rosberg completed only one run, assuming 7th on the grid, while Force India’s Adrian Sutil and both Toro Rosso’s did not complete fast runs, in order to save tyres for the Grand Prix.

Michael Schumacher heads the sixth row in his Mercedes after Renault’s Vitaly Petrov’s Korean Grand Prix penalty was applied. The Russian had initially qualified 11th with a best of 1:26.319, but drops five places on the grid.
The alteration leaves Schumacher 11th, with Paul di Resta (Force India) alongside, while Pastor Maldonado continues to show rather impressive form in the Williams, taking 13th ahead of the other Renault of Bruno Senna.
Rubens Barrichello (15th, Williams) lost out to his rookie teammate once again – his best was a startling seven-tenths shy of Maldonado. Sergio Perez initially qualified 17th in his Sauber, but a three-place grid penalty from Friday practice incident knocked the Mexican down to 20th.

Perez’ teammate Kamui Kobayashi took that 17th place instead. Like Perez, the Japanese pilot spent the weekend struggling to find any grip in the Sauber C30 chassis; however Kobayashi’s qualifying turned from bad to worse when his Q1 run was blocked by Massa.
Both Lotus’ were also promoted due to the Perez penalty, with Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli assuming 18th and 19th respectively.

Jerome d’Ambrosio (21st) was next up in the Virgin, but only because both HRT’s suffered penalties themselves – a dampener for the Spanish / German squad who had out-qualified both Virgin’s for the first time.
Following the session, Daniel Ricciardo fell to 22nd for changing a gearbox, while Narain Karthikeyan dropped to 23rd for impeding Schumacher. Timo Glock props up the grid due a gearbox failure after two laps.

Pos Driver Team Time Gap 
 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m24.178s
 2.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m24.508s  + 0.330
 3.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m24.519s  + 0.341
 4.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m24.950s  + 0.772
 5.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes     1m24.474s  + 0.296 **
 6.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m25.122s  + 0.944
 7.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m25.451s  + 1.273
 8.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes
 9.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari
10.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari
Q2 cut-off time: 1m26.319s Gap **
11.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes             1m26.337s   + 1.680
12.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m26.503s   + 1.846
13.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth    1m26.537s   + 1.880
14.  Bruno Senna           Renault              1m26.651s   + 1.994
15.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth    1m27.247s   + 2.590
16.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault              1m26.319s   + 1.662 *
Q1 cut-off time: 1m27.479s Gap *
17.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari       1m27.876s   + 1.687
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault        1m28.565s   + 2.376
19.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault        1m28.752s   + 2.563
20.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari       1m27.562s   + 2.905 **
21.  Daniel Ricciardo      HRT-Cosworth         1m30.216s   + 4.027
22.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth         1m30.238s   + 4.049
23.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth      1m30.866s   + 4.677
24.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth      1m34.046s   + 7.857
107% time: 1m32.222s
* Gap to quickest in Q1
** Gap to quickest in Q2

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