Formula 1 2011 is officially back in action with the first qualifying session of the season bringing plenty of drama, shock and entertainment. Heidfeld took and an early exit, as did Rubens Barrichello. Massa had a tricky time and Hamilton gave McLaren something to smile about. Oh and Petrov is flying the flag for Lotus Renault – who’d have thought that 12 months ago!?
Qualifying Round One
Oh dear, Ferrari and Felipe Massa narrowly avoided a disasterous start to the season until a last moment quick lap took Felipe to 11th. As a result, Nick Heidfeld in the Renault was the first ‘big name’ to drop out of qualifying and join the Virgin, Lotus and Hispania cars.
Thanks to the reintroduction of the 107% rule, Hispania may well not be allowed to race on Sunday with their quickest times being more than 107% of the quickest time. Renault now have to rely on Vitaly Petrov to bring home some points for the team on Sunday unless Nick can live up to his name (Quick Nick Heidfeld) and do something amazing for the grand prix.
|POS||DRIVER||TEAM||BEST||DIFF (to P1 in Q1)||LAPS|
Qualifying Round Two
Michael Schumacher’s return to Formula 1 just doesn’t get any easier for him – he tried and gave it is all, but failed to make the pole position shoot out with his time leaving him 11th. Ex-teammate Rubens Barrichello will be rueing a mistake on his first lap of Q2 where he mis-judged the braking point into turn 3 and buried his Williams in the gravel – an unusal error for the most experienced driver on the grid.
Toro Rosso and Sauber will be chuffed with each of them having a driver in the final round of qualifying, joining both Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari drivers along with Nico Rosberg and Vitaly Petrov.
|POS||DRIVER||TEAM||BEST||DIFF (to best in Q2)||LAPS|
|14||Paul Di Resta||Force India||1'26.739||2.649||6|
|16||Adrian Sutil||Force India||1'31.407||7.317||6|
Qualifying Round Three – Pole Position Shootout
As everyone expected, Sebastian Vettel took his Red Bull to pole position in a worrying (for his rivals) fashion with a time that saw him nearly a whole second faster than Mark Webber. Lewis Hamilton managed to get his McLaren up to second place to split the Red Bulls with his team mate just behind Webber in 4th. Jenson started from 4th and won last year, he’ll be looking to try and recreate that on Sunday.
Petrov has taken full advantage of the rather rapid Renault o secure 6th, just behind Alonso and ahead of Nico Rosberg. Massa, Kobayashi and Buemi complete the top 10 for Sunday. The first couple of laps are going to be very interesting and it will interesting to see if Vettel’s stunning qualifying performance translates into him taking the top step of the podium in 24hrs time…
|1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1'23.529||6|
|3||Mark Webber||Red Bull||1'24.395||0.866||6|
|10||Sebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso||1'27.066||3.537||4|