Vettel steals Abu Dhabi pole from McLaren duo
12 November, 2011
Nov.12 (PVM) Sebastian Vettel stole pole position from McLaren pair of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button with his very last lap in qualifying around the posh Yas Marina Circuit, ensuring he will start the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from the best spot possible and equaling Nigel Mansell’s record of 14 pole starts in a single season.
Red Bull’s Vettel, who has already notched up the 2011 F1 world championship, dug deep in his final run to set a time of 1 minute 38.481 seconds, which was 0.141 seconds up on Hamilton’s best.
Vettel said afterwards, “On Friday I wasn’t very happy with the car. We thought there was more in the car but we couldn’t really get to it. This afternoon was quite a bit better, but this place is tricky in many ways. You practice in day conditions when the sun is up and the track is hot. Then in qualifying it’s getting dark and cool, so the car behaves differently. In qualifying I had a much better feeling, especially on the soft tyres. It is difficult getting everything into one lap – it’s a long lap and there’s plenty of opportunities to gain time, but a little mistake and it’s easy to lose time. I wasn’t so happy with my first run in Q3, but I was happy with my second. All in all, I had just enough to jump ahead of Lewis, who has been strong all weekend.”
After topping the timing sheets in FP2 and FP3, Hamilton looked the man to beat on the night he came tantalising short of defending his countryman’s pole position record. The 2008 world champion reflected, “It was a good session for me and a good couple of days. It’s a big improvement for me from the last race. We were quick in qualifying. The car is feeling good. Just at the end, that was as fast as I was able to go on that lap. It was not particularly great. That’s the way it is. Well done to Sebastian. He did a great lap. The race is tomorrow and that’s most important day.”
Team mate Button will start from third on the grid, sharing the second row with Mark Webber.
Button said, “I don’t think it’s a surprise but we know the pace is in the car and it’s a case of finding the right balance. I have not felt 100% comfortable this weekend but we’ve improved and tried a few different things. Q3 was strange because there was less grip as it was cooler. The car was acting differently which was a good thing for me because I couldn’t get enough front end on the car. It was not a bad lap but still, as Lewis said, the car is working well round here.”
Row three will be all red, an all Ferrari affair with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa setting the fifth and sixth best times respectively.
Row four will be all silver, an all Mercedes affair with Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher, seventh and eighth respectively.
Making it six Mercedes powered cars in the top ten were the Force India pair who annexed row five, with Adrian Sutil starting ninth and Paul di Resta tenth on the grid.
Double world champion, Vettel, will be looking to add to his 21 career victories on Sunday night at a circuit where he has never lost and will be gunning for a hat-trick of wins at the slick venue.
Saturday, 12 November – Qualifying
|9||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:40.595||1:40.205||1:40.768||17|
|10||15||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:41.064||1:40.414||15|
|24||11||Rubens Barrichello||Williams-Cosworth||No time||0|
|Q1 107% Time||1:46.766|