F1 China Quali: Vettel on Pole, Followed by Webber & Alonso, with the Regulars Making Q3

What Happens When Teammates Fight Amongst Themselves for Pole

3:09am EST — It will be another Red Bull front row for the 2010 Chinese GP, with Sebastian Vettel on pole, with a lap time of 1:34.558, the fastest of the weekend.  Fernando Alonso set the third fastest time in a qualifying session lacking any of the red flags and incidents that marked the practice sessions.  Nico Rosberg continued the Mercedes speed this weekend, starting fourth and out qualifying teammate Michael Schumacher, who will start ninth.  Fellow world champions Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton will start fifth and sixth, respectively.

Mark Webber broke the McLaren domination of China practice sessions in the third practice, Saturday morning, by beating Lewis Hamilton to the fastest time set, with Sebastian Vettel third fastest, Jenson Button fourth, and Fernando Alonso rounding out the top five after an engine failure in the first practice session.  Check out this article here at On Any Sunday, These Days to find out more about the Friday sessions.  Vitaly Petrov was fifteenth fastest, after stopping the session for eight minutes by crashing into the wall near the end of the session.

Heikki Kovalainen, who suffered a failure at the end of the second practice session, was the first man on-track in Q1 as the sun shone and the temperatures stayed cool.  Teammate Jarno Trulli and Felipe Massa were close behind.  Kovalainen soon spun, but continued on without disrupting the action.  Both Ferraris were the first to set times, possibly learning from their disaster in quali for the Malaysian GP, but still over 1.5s slower than the fastest time of the weekend to that point, set my Webber earlier on Saturday.  Nearly halfway through the session, the entire knockout zone was comprised of drivers who had not yet set a time.  With five minutes left, Hamilton had set the fastest time, despite some gearing problems.  Problems shared by fourth fastest teammate Button, with Webber and Alonso between the two.  Trulli, Kovalainen, Glock, di Grassi, Senna, Chandhok, and Petrov resided in the knockout zone, with the Russian not having set a complete lap time.  He soon set an eleventh-fastest time, dropping de la Rosa into the knockout zone.  The top four (still the same) had removed themselves to the garage, but then Massa posted a time just faster than Button for fourth fastest.  As time ran out and flying laps were completed, it was a roster of the usual suspects of hte new teams fighting to make it to Q2, barring Liuzzi’s moderately unexpected slower time.  At the end, Hamilton (1:35.641), Rosberg, Webber, Alonso, Massa, and Button were the five fastest, with less than .4s separating them.

Drivers Knocked Out In Q1:
18. Liuzzi
19. Glock
20. Trulli
21. Kovalainen
22. di Grassi
23. Senna
24. Chandhok

Q2 began with a stream of cars heading off to the circuit.  Nearly five minutes in and Hamilton was the first to drop below the 1:35s mark, with Rosberg, Alonso, Webber, and Button the fastest five.  In the knockout zone were Petrov, Buemi, Kobayashi, Hulkenberg, Barrichello, Kubica, and de la Rosa.  With on a couple of minutes left, it was again everyone on track but the four fastest: Hamilton, Rosberg, Alonso, and Massa, then Webber posted the second fastest lap.  There was not too much change in the knockout zone in the final seconds of Q2, though Schumacher was down there, and managed to scrape himself out at the end, as did Sutil.  The fastest five were Hamilton, Webber, Rosberg, Alonso, and Vettel.

Drivers Knocked Out In Q2:
11. Barrichello
12. Alguersuari
13. Buemi
14. Petrov
15. Kobayashi
16. Hulkenberg
17. de la Rosa

Again, the field was waiting to begin setting times as soon as the final session began.  Nearly halfway through the ten minute session, Alonso led, with Webber close behind, but then Vettel continued the Red Bull quali dominance by posting the fastest time of the weekend, a 1:34.970.  After stopping back in the garages, all returned to the track for the last few minutes, with Hamilton up two positions to second, Vettel still leading, then Webber and Alonso took the positions from each, but Vettel countered.

Final Starting Positions for the 2010 Chinese GP:
1. Vettel
2. Webber
3. Alonso
4. Rosberg
5. Button
6. Hamilton
7. Massa
8. Kubica
9. Schumacher
10. Sutil



  1. Oh Schumi, what have thou done? Seven tenths off of Rosberg’s time!!

    • Rosberg has out-qualified and finished higher than Schumacher in every practice, quali, and race barring 1 so far this season.

      • I posted this on James Allen’s blog as well but I would be interested to find out the reasons behind Schumi’s lack of performance. Is he still rusty after being away from F1 for 3 years? Have the cars changed so much in the last 3 years that he is struggling with that? Was his speed at Ferrari simply due to the fact that the whole team was built around him and there was no internal competition? Is Rosberg the first team mate that Schumi has had that is truly superior in ability? Is Andrew Shovlin not as good as Luca Baldisseri/Chris Dyer at catering to Schumi’s needs? Ahhh…. all the questions in my mind….

        Coming out of retirement does not seem to be such a good idea after all, now does it Schumi !!

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