F1 Turkey Quali Results & Report: Vettel Dominates to Pole, Leaves Others to Fight

What Happens When A Second Quick Run Doesn’t Matter

8:12am EST — In a shocking display of superiority, Sebastian Vettel (1:25.049) took pole for the 2011 Turkish Grand Prix after a single early run in Q3. He and second-place starting teammate Mark Webber simply got out of their Red Bulls and left the rest of the drivers to fight for the starting positions behind them as the minutes ticked away. Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, and Fernando Alonso completed the fastest five during Saturday’s qualifying, while Jenson Button, Vitaly Petrov, Michael Schumacher, Nick Heidfeld, and Felipe Massa will be the top ten starters for Sunday’s race. Massa did not set a Q3 time after using an extra set of soft tires just to get out of Q1. It was a bad day (that will likely produce fabulous racing) for Kamui Kobayashi, whose Sauber failed during the early moments of Q1 and was unable to produce a qualifying time.

Friday held both rain and sunshine, though all temperatures were cooler than expected from Istanbul. Alonso led in the wet during the morning session, followed by Rosberg, Schumacher, Heidfeld, and Petrov. The rain was a bad omen for both Red Bull teammates, as Vettel shunted his way out of the entire day’s running and Webber finished the session only eleventh fastest. It was Alonso who was eleventh fastest in the dry and sometimes sunny afternoon session, fouled by a hydraulic leak and inexplicably odd-sounding engine notes. Button was the leader in the second practice, followed by a phalanx of Mercedes engines: Rosberg, Hamilton, and Schumacher, with Webber fifth fastest.

Saturday morning dawned sunny but still cooler than usual for the final practice, with Vettel (1:26.037) making the most of his limited time on track to go quickest of the weekend. He led Schumacher by just a thousandth, with Webber, Rosberg, and Button keeping McLaren and Mercedes the best of the rest. Alonso’s woes continued, ending his session early after some sort of power loss just as soft tires came into play. The team had to rebuild the car before qualifying and changed Massa’s engine as a precaution in the break as well. Virgin Racing’s Jerome D’Ambrosio will be penalized five starting positions from his qualifying position after going too quickly for yellow flag conditions during the Friday afternoon practice. He set a personal best sector time while passing yellow flags for Maldonado’s incident near the end of that session.

The temperature was much warmer in Istanbul for the afternoon qualify session, and just as important, the sun was shining brightly as Kobayashi led the way onto the track for the twenty minute Q1 session. Liuzzi (1:32.524) was the first to set a time, soon bettered by D’Ambrosio. Kobayashi did not fare well, returning to the garage slowly and possibly not under his own power. Soon, the Force Indias of di Resta (1:29.223) and Sutil led the way over D’Ambrosio, Glock, Schumacher, and Liuzzi. However, Vettel’s first lap put him at the top with a 1:27.039. Alonso was second, only to be eclipsed by Buemi. Times continued to drop as more drivers began their hot laps.

Vettel led Webber, Rosberg, Buemi, and Alonso halfway through the session, with Liuzzi, Hamilton, Button, Kobayashi, Perez, Heidfeld, and Petrov in the knockout zone. Both McLarens had set times, but only slow ones. On their first proper laps, they slotted into third and fourth, with Hamilton over three tenths quicker than his teammate. With seven minutes to go, most drivers were back in the garage. Only Perez, Liuzzi, Heidfeld, and Petrov were out with five minutes remaining. Petrov went fifth fastest on his first timed lap, while Heidfeld was only eleventh fastest. Some of the other slower drivers made their way back onto the track, leaving di Resta and Kobayashi with the “new” teams in the relegation zone.

Massa was also well down the order, only fifteenth fastest. He soon dropped to sixteenth ans was circulating on soft tires in an effort to move beyond Q1, going fastest (but only .046s faster than Vettel, who was on the harder tire). Alonso moved up to fifth from eleventh, keeping himself safe for Q2. Kovalainen nearly dropped Sutil out in Q1, but the Lotus was not quite there. Sutil himself was able to move up to seventh across the line. At the end of Q1, Massa (1:27.013) was fastest, followed by Vettel, Webber, Hamilton, Alonso, Button, Sutil, Maldonado, Petrov, and Rosberg as the fastest ten. Though Kobayashi did not technically qualify, he will likely race at the discretion of the stewards. In explanation for Trulli’s much slower pace than Kovalainen’s, Mike Gascoyne tweeted, “Jarno had no DRS for qualifying…Will be fixed for the race.”

Knocked Out in Q1:
18. Kovalainen
19. Trulli
20. D’Ambrosio
21. Liuzzi
22. Glock
23. Karthikeyan
24. Kobayashi

Schumacher was first out for Q2, quickly followed by more than half of the field. Five minutes into the fifteen minute session, Webber (1:26.075) led Barrichello, Schumacher, Petrov, and Sutil. That would soon change, with more drivers using the softer tires. Vettel (1:25.610) led at the halfway point, with Hamilton, Webber, Alonso Button, Massa, Rosberg, Perez, Buemi, and Barrichello the fastest ten. di Resta had yet to set a time and was joined in the knockout zone by Schumacher, Petrov, Maldonado, Alguersuari, Sutil, and Heidfeld.

Twelfth fastest Petrov was the only driver on the track with five minutes to go. Schumacher joined him as di Resta readied for a single soft tire run. The Russian went sixth fastest on his next lap, with all but the top five drivers and Alguersuari on the track, and two minutes remaining. Schumacher moved up to fourth, while he was inexplicably told “magic paddle latched.” Teammate Rosberg moved up to second fastest, leaving Sutil, di Resta, Maldonado, Perez, Buemi, Alguersuari, and Heidfeld in the knockout zone with no time left. Heidfeld moved up to tenth, pushing Barrichello out. di Resta was also knocked out as Massa improved to seventh. In the end, Vettel, Rosberg, Hamilton, Webber, Schumacher, Alonso, Massa, Button, Petrov, and Heidfeld were the fastest ten moving on to fight for pole.

Knocked Out in Q2:
11. Barrichello
12. Sutil
13. di Resta
14. Maldonado
15. Perez
16. Buemi
17. Alguersuari

Petrov was out on soft tires straightaway, followed by Button then Alonso as the ten minutes of Q3 began. The Russian’s time (1:26.411) was first up, though both Red Bulls and both McLarens were also on track. Button, then Alonso (1:25.851) took the top spot, only to have Webber take it away. Hamilton soon slid into second fastest. Vettel (1:25.049) was quickest by four tenths on his first fast lap, leading Webber, Hamilton, Alonso, Button, and Petrov as the top six with less than five minutes remaining.

Massa, Schumacher, Rosberg, and Heidfeld still had not set a time with four minutes to go. No one was on track when three minutes were left. Soon thereafter, Massa, Rosberg, Heidfeld, Schumacher, and Alonso were back out, joined by the McLarens. With two minutes, only the Red Bulls remained in the garage. Vettel climbed out of the car with a minute to go, leaving his time to stand and saving tires. Webber also stayed in the garage. Rosberg stayed third on his final lap, while Alonso aborted his, as did Massa. Schumacher was eighth, while Button was only able to make sixth, and Hamilton remained fourth.

Final Qualifying Times for the 2011 Turkish Grand Prix:

Driver Team Time Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:25.049 12
2. Mark Webber Red Bull 1:25.454 10
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:25.574 15
4. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:25.595 13
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:25.851 16
6. Jenson Button McLaren 1:25.982 14
7. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:25.296 15
8. Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:26.646 13
9. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1:26.659 13
10. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:26.764 16
11. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1:26.764 10
12. Adrian Sutil Force India 1:27.027 14
13. Paul di Resta Force India 1:27.145 11
14. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:27.236 14
15. Sergio Perez Sauber 1:27.244 11
16. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1:27.255 9
17. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1:27.572 7
18. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1:28.780 8
19. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1:30.119 8
20. Tonio Liuzzi HRT 1:30.692 7
21. Timo Glock Virgin Racing 1:30.813 8
22. Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1:31.564 8
23. Kamui Kobayashi* Sauber N/T 2
24. Jerome D’Ambrosio** Virgin Racing 1:30.445 8

*at the discretion of stewards
**after 5 place penalty for driving too quickly under yellow flag


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