Super Vettel takes historic 15th pole in Brazil
26 November, 2011
Nov.26 (PVM) Sebastian Vettel broke an almost two decades old record, held by Nigel Mansell since 1992, when he powered to his 15th pole position of the season during qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix at Circuito Jose Carlos Pace in Sao Paulo.
Vettel scorched around an overcast Interlagos circuit in 1 minute 11.918 seconds, the only driver to dip into the 71 seconds zone with a staggering final lap in the session.
The 24-year-old German, who had equalled Nigel Mansell’s 1992 record of 14 in a single Formula One season at the previous race in Abu Dhabi, went a step further in Sao Paulo and etched his name in the record books yet again.
His team mate Mark Webber made it an all Red Bull front row of the grid when he too delivered an impressive lap to finish second quickest, 0.181 seconds down on his world champion team mate.
Clearly Red Bull found some energy and were given wings when it mattered. Record breaker Vettel summed up his history making afternoon: “There has been quite some talk before qualifying about this particular record and the best thing to do was not to think about it at all. We did have a rough start to the weekend where I was not 100% happy with the balance.”
He added, “But we made changes and I was happy. I put everything into my last lap and I was very emotional when I crossed the line because I knew whatever happened I gave it my all. It’s really special. It’s different than other poles. Obviously it took that master Nigel Mansell a couple of races less to do it but it is still very special to me. Now I’m just happy to be here and start from the front.”
Webber said: “I thought qualifying went well. The whole weekend, we’ve been strong. Seb did a good lap and my lap was pretty good which is very positive for tomorrow.”
Red Bulls lockout of the front row will come as a blow to McLaren’s race hopes, as the Woking squad looked strong on Friday, but 24 hours later Jenson Button was third quickest – 0.365 seconds down on Vettel – with Hamilton fourth fastest, albeit over half a second down off the champ.
Button was focusing on the positive side of his afternoon, commenting afterwards: “I’m enjoying the moment because this is my best qualifying here for the last six years. I always love racing here; it’s such a good circuit for fighting and overtaking. Whatever happens this has been a great season for us but just not quite good enough. Hopefully we can end on a high tomorrow.”
After ending Friday fastest of all, Hamilton was expecting more from qualifying as he explained: “It’s a little bit disappointing. We’re still on the second row but I would have liked to have been stronger. I’m not too happy with my performance. I just wasn’t quick enough. I was a couple of tenths off Jenson [Button]. The Red Bulls were just massively quick. It’s definitely a place where you’re inspired because this is [Ayrton] Senna’s home. I’ve started fourth quite a few times here. Four is a good number for me. Let’s hope I can turn it into something more positive tomorrow.”
Digging deep, as he has had to do all year with the awkward Ferrari 150 Italia, was Fernando Alonso who will head up the third row after setting the fifth fastest time with his team mate Felipe Massa starting behind him on the grid, in seventh. The Brazilian. sporting a gold helmet for his 100th race for the Maranello squad was half a second down on the Spaniard.
Splitting the red cars was Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes GP who ended the session sixth and will start beside Alonso on the grid, while fellow German Adrian Sutil will start from eighth in the Force India VJM04.
The great Senna/Schumacher names will share a grid row for the first time in over 16 years as Bruno Senna – Ayrton Senna’s nephew – lines up his Renault beside Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes GP on the fifth row of the grid.
Senna was ninth fastest and Schumacher tenth, the seven times world champion opting to save a set of tyres and not do a fast lap in Q3.
Paul di Resta was best of the rookies and will start 11th on the grid alongside the most experienced F1 driver of all time.
Delivering a remarkable performance and ending the session 12th was Rubens Barrichello in the woeful Williams FW33. If this weekend is the 39 year old’s last in Formula 1, then he obviously intends going out in style at his home grand prix.
The session ended as dark, clouds heavy with rain shifted into the Sao Paulo skies, with rain predicted for race day at Interlagos…
Saturday, 26 November – Qualifying
|8||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:13.480||1:13.261||1:13.298||23|
|10||7||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes||1:13.694||1:13.571||No time||18|
|11||15||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:13.733||1:13.584||17|
|Q1 107% Time||1:18.410|
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- Vettel sad that phenomenal year of F1 dominance is now over
- Webber leaves Formula 1 respected and proud after amazing journey
- Tears, anger, uncertainty as long and hard 2013 Formula 1 season closes in Brazil
- Hamilton: With hindsight perhaps I should have just let him past
- Kovalainen: I was anticipating that it would be easier to come back and race competitively
- Massa: Unbelievable, unacceptable, they didn’t do the right thing, I’m disappointed
- Ferrari: We have ended a difficult season with our heads held high