2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Rd 18, Qualifying, Nov 12th, TV Notes)

Yas Marina Circuit. © Creative Commons / Arz.

Sebastian Vettel took his fourteenth pole position of the season at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi.

The Red Bull driver pulled a sensational effort to set a lap of 1:38.481, pushing one tenth ahead of McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button in the final moments.

Indeed, it looked as if Hamilton would have the advantage as the trio entered into their final Q3 runs, with the Briton initially ahead of Vettel.

This wasn’t to last. Despite improvements for both silver and red machines, Vettel’s sculpted the perfect lap, dragging every ounce of speed from his RB7 to snatch the top spot.
For the Red Bull man, this pole equalled record number of poles set in a season, originally posted by Nigel Mansell in 1992.

Mark Webber could only secure 4th in his Red Bull, comfortably ahead of both Ferrari’s, led by the always quick Fernando Alonso.
Felipe Massa came close to losing his third row place to the younger Mercedes flyer, Nico Rosberg – the gap between Massa and Rosberg, a mere 0.078 seconds.
Michael Schumacher did just enough to garner 8th ahead of Force India’s Adrian Sutil, while Paul di Resta never set a timed lap in the final part of qualifying.

Sauber’s Sergio Perez will line-up 11th for today’s race, with Renault’s Vitaly Petrov alongside. The Mexican missed out on Q3 by nearly three-tenths – a gap that cover the five drivers behind him.
Sebastien Buemi placed his Toro Rosso 13th, despite making a mistake on his final run. The Swiss racer finished two spots ahead of teammate Jaime Alguersuari, while the second Renault of Bruno Senna split the Red Bull junior squad.
A disappointing run saw Kamui Kobayashi claim 16th spot, while the last driver in Q2 – Pastor Maldonado – takes a grid penalty for using a 9th engine, dropping the Venezuelan to last on the grid.

The day was made much worse for Williams with Rubens Barrichello garage-bound throughout Q1. In what is looking like his penultimate race weekend, the Brazilian suffered an oil leak in the earlier practice – an issue not fully fixed come qualifying.
There were no surprises ahead of the Williams pair. Heikki Kovalainen leads an all-row nine Lotus pairing, with Virgin’s Timo Glock starting 19th, just ahead of Daniel Ricciardo (HRT).
On the eleventh row, Jerome d’Ambrosio (Virgin) beat Vitantonio Liuzzi (HRT) to 21st position.

Qualifying did see a brief stoppage during Q2, following some bollard destruction at turn eight. The bollard – thwacked to pieces by an errant driver – was dragged onto the racing line, prompting race control to have it removed.

Pos Driver Team Time Gap 
 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m38.481s
 2.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes     1m38.622s  + 0.141
 3.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m38.631s  + 0.150
 4.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m38.858s  + 0.377
 5.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m39.058s  + 0.577
 6.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m39.695s  + 1.214
 7.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m39.773s  + 1.292
 8.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes             1m40.662s  + 2.181
 9.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes 1m40.768s  + 2.287
10.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes
Q2 cut-off time: 1m40.554s Gap **
11.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari       1m40.874s  + 2.440
12.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault              1m40.919s  + 2.485
13.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m41.009s  + 2.575
14.  Bruno Senna           Renault              1m41.079s  + 2.645
15.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m41.162s  + 2.728
16.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari       1m41.240s  + 2.806
17.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth    1m41.760s  + 3.326
Q1 cut-off time: 1m42.605s Gap *
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault        1m42.979s  + 3.197
19.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault        1m43.884s  + 4.102
20.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth      1m44.515s  + 4.733
21.  Daniel Ricciardo      HRT-Cosworth         1m44.641s  + 4.859
22.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth      1m44.699s  + 4.917
23.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth         1m45.159s  + 5.377
24.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosoworth   no time
107% time: 1m46.766s
* Gap to quickest in Q1
** Gap to quickest in Q2

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