Round 1 – A difficult start for Timo. You really have to feel for Marussia Virgin, 2011 just doesn’t get any easier for them with their cars qualifying dead last for the Indian grand prix. Timo had a car troubles sand Jerome didn’t do much better with a working car. Liuzzi makes way for Karthikeyan who in fairness, wasn’t exactly far off from Red Bull junior Ricciardo. Sauber’s bid for 5th or 6th in the constructors championship took a blow with Kobayashi failing to get into the second round. Team Lotus on the other hand continue to put themselves in prime position to have a good race and cement their 10th place. Button and Schumacher also had tricky sessions and had to use some of their soft (faster) tyres to ensure they got through to round 2.
Knocked Out: Kobayashi, Kovalainen, Trulli, Ricciardo, Karthikeyan, d’Ambrosio, Glock
Round 2 – Toro Rosso comfortably quick. The battle for 5th/6th took a swing in the direction of Toro Rosso, with both cars getting through to the top 10 shoot out, ahead of Renault’s Petrov and Senna in 11th and 15th. Schumacher’s tricky Saturday came to a premature end with the ‘great man’ (Brundle’s words, not Badger’s) only completing the 12th best time. Di Resta failed to beat his team mate Sutil and Perez ended up only one place ahead of Kobaysahi, in 17th. Maldonado pulled out a great lap in the dying moments to out qualify Barrichello in 14th.
Knocked Out: Petrov, Schumacher, Di Resta, Maldonado, Senna, Barrichello, Perez
Round 3 – Vettel takes another pole, Massa crashes out. Once again, Sebastian Vettel takes the fastest time, with no one else able to trouble him for it. Hamilton popped in the second best time, but Webber in third will make it a Red Bull 1-2 for the grid with Hamilton’s 3-place grid penalty. Lewis’ penalty also promotes Fernando Alonso to 3rd who will be pleased with his result after Ferrari’s difficult start to the weekend. His team mate Felipe had a bit of a moment on his final flying lap when his suspension broke after hitting the kerbs too hard.
Toro Rosso were celebrating, even without setting times with both drivers in the top 10. Jenson’s 5th (net 4th) is under question after he went past the accident of Felipe Massa on his fastest lap. The decision is with the FIA now. Massa’s premature end to qualifying left him in 6th, just ahead of Rosberg in 7th.
The Top 10 Qualifying Times (before any penalties)