Sebastian Vettel claimed another pole position

Eleven races in to the 2011 Formula 1 season, and not a single other team aside from Red Bull Racing has been able to claim pole position. And so Sebastian Vettel once again proved at the Hungaroring, claiming yet another pole – the 23rd of his career – with a scintillating effort ahead of tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

The World Champion had been running slower than last weekend’s race-winner Lewis Hamilton as the final phase of qualifying began to wind down, but the German managed to improve his best time on a new set of Pirelli tyres to beat the McLaren driver by 0.163 seconds.

Jenson Button registered his best qualifying result of late with an impressive run to claim third on the grid, while Felipe Massa’s final lap was enough to net him the fourth-fastest time, also marking the first time all season he has been able to out-qualify team-mate Fernando Alonso.

With Mark Webber a disappointed sixth-fastest, Nico Rosberg, Adrian Sutil and Michael Schumacher completed positions seven to nine, having each opted to save a set of super-soft tyres by attempting only one Q3 run. Sauber driver Sergio Pérez, having made it into the top-ten with a sensational Q2 lap, didn’t bother to go out at all.

The final minutes of Q2 were frenetic, with a host of drivers bolting on the super-soft rubber to have a crack at making it into the final phase of qualifying. Late efforts from Sutil and Schumacher were enough to seem them scrape through, while Paul di Resta just missed out, followed on the grid by Vitaly Petrov, Kamui Kobayashi, Nick Heidfeld, Rubens Barrichello and Jaime Alguersuari.

After bumping Sébastien Buemi out of the Q2 reckoning with his final lap of the session, Williams’ Pastor Maldonado didn’t venture out at all in the second session, perhaps opting to conserve some tyres to use in the race tomorrow, where a three-stop pit strategy is expected to be the norm.

The slower nature of the Hungaroring – along with a raft of technical improvements – certainly made the Lotus outfit more competitive, to the point that Heikki Kovalainen only just fell short of out-pacing Buemi’s Toro Rosso, with the margin between the pair of just 0.3 seconds.

Worse still for the Swiss driver, he will serve a five-place grid penalty for his part in causing the collision with Nick Heidfeld at last weekend’s German Grand Prix.

Despite minor concerns that any combination of Virgin Racing and HRT runners would fail to qualify for Sunday’s 70-lap race, all four drivers comfortably made the Q1 107% cut. Rookie driver Daniel Ricciardo even managed to out-pace the Virgin Racing entry of Jérôme d’Ambrosio.



2011 Hungarian Grand Prix – Qualifying Session Times:

Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Racing Renault 1:21.710 1:21.095 1:19.815
2. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes 1:21.636 1:21.105 1:19.978
3. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes 1:22.038 1:20.578 1:20.024
4. Felipe Massa BRZ Ferrari 1:22.130 1:21.099 1:20.350
5. Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari 1:21.578 1:20.262 1:20.365
6. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Racing Renault 1:22.208 1:20.890 1:20.474
7. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes GP 1:22.996 1:21.243 1:21.098
8. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes 1:22.237 1:22.000 1:21.445
9. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes GP 1:22.876 1:21.852 1:21.907
10. Sergio Pérez MEX Sauber Ferrari 1:23.067 1:22.157 no time
11. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes 1:22.976 1:22.256  
12. Vitaly Petrov RUS Renault 1:23.070 1:22.284  
13. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari 1:23.278 1:22.435  
14. Nick Heidfeld DEU Renault 1:23.024 1:22.470  
15. Rubens Barrichello BRZ Williams Cosworth 1:23.075 1:22.684  
16. Jaime Alguersuari ESP Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:23.285 1:22.979  
17. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Cosworth 1:23.285 no time  
18. Sébastien Buemi* SUI Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:24.070    
19. Heikki Kovalainen FIN Team Lotus Renault 1:24.362  
20. Jarno Trulli ITA Team Lotus Renault 1:24.534    
21. Timo Glock DEU Virgin Racing Cosworth 1:26.294    
22. Vitantonio Liuzzi ITA HRT F1 Cosworth 1:26.323    
23. Daniel Ricciardo AUS HRT F1 Cosworth 1:26.479    
24. Jérôme d’Ambrosio BEL Virgin Racing Cosworth 1:26.510    
  107% CUT-OFF TIME     1:27.288    

* Denotes a 5-place grid penalty stemming from the German Grand Prix.

[Image via LAT]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.