Vettel cruises to his usual position at the front of the grid

Posted on June 25, 2011


Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull dominated qualifying yet again, defying predictions that engine mapping rule changes would break their grip on Saturday sessions.

No prizes for guessing who was fasted in qualifying. Credit: Red Bull/Getty

The reigning world champion was peerless again, firing in a 1m 36.975s on his first Q3 run – and he was going even faster on the second run before calling it quits when it was clearly unnecessary. Mark Webber had one of his better qualifying sessions of the year to finish second, less than two tenths off the pace.

If Red Bull were slowed by the rule change on engine maps, there was no evidence of it. Fundamentally, it seems the RB7 has so much downforce it can run around fast circuits like this with the rear wing wide open – it gives them qualifying pace no one else has.

Lewis Hamilton from third and Fernando Alonso from fourth will fancy their chances, even on a circuit which historically has next to zero overtaking. The flurry of Pirelli pitstops will help mix things up and double DRS zone will also mean the cars will swap around a bit.

Jenson Button will disappointed to be starting in sixth place after his heroics in Canada. It’s hard to see how he can latch on to level and try to lock in his second place in the championship race from here.

All the signs are Red Bull will be able to control the race tomorrow. The wall lined track will ensure there are few passing opportunities even in this overtaking rich year. It will be a dry race and most of the front runners have roughly the same number of tyres.

It’s hard to see past Vettel taking yet another victory and extending his lead even further at the top of the table.