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1 Lewis Hamilton 413
2 Valtteri Bottas 326
3 Max Verstappen 278
4 Charles Leclerc 264
5 Sebastian Vettel 240
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19 Robert Kubica 1
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1 Mercedes 739
2 Ferrari 504
3 Red Bull Honda 417
4 Mclaren Renault 145
5 Renault 91
6 Toro Rosso Honda 85
7 Racing Point Mercedes 73
8 Alfa Romeo Ferrari 57
9 Haas Ferrari 28
10 Williams Mercedes 1

Chinese GP: Renault powered cars to start 1-2-3

Vettel wins Red Bull's first ever pole
Saturday, April 18, 2009


(L to R) Fernando Alonso (2nd), Sebastian Vettel (1st) and Mark Webber (3rd)
Most admit he is F1's most talented driver and he proved it again on Saturday in Shanghai.  Sebastian Vettel secured Red Bull's first ever pole position in qualifying for the Chinese grand prix. 

A jubilant Vettel, who last year captured sister team Toro Rosso's debut pole and win at Monza, played it cool with very few laps throughout the session to beat Fernando Alonso to the front row and lead a Renault 1-2-3 on the grid.

Alonso's Renault has been fitted with a new 'double' diffuser in Shanghai on Saturday, having been flown from the UK in the back of Flavio Briatore's own jet.

Sebastien Vettel, by far the most talented F1 driver today, didn't need a double-decker diffuser to put the Red Bull car on pole.  Imagine when he gets the new Adrian Newey designed diffuser.  It might be lights out for the rest of the F1 grid.
It is almost certain the Spaniard, who struggled for laps in practice as the device was being fitted, was using low fuel in the Q3 phase.

Vettel's teammate Mark Webber is third, ahead of both Brawns, with Australia and Malaysia winner Jenson Button just fifth.

"It's not quite as good as I expected," Button told the BBC.  Referring to Red Bull's pace, the Briton added: "They're competitive.  It's not us driving around slowly or with a lot of fuel."

World champion Lewis Hamilton said he was happy to be inside the top ten: an achievement not managed by either BMW and Ferrari's Felipe Massa.

The BMW Sauber F1 Team faces a challenging Chinese Grand Prix with Nick Heidfeld having missed the final qualifying session by just a hundredth of a second and Robert Kubica starting from only 18th. The evaluation of the data from Friday’s Free Practice sessions indicated using KERS would not give Kubica’s F1.09 a lap time advantage at Shanghai. The Pole will therefore not have KERS on his car for the rest of the weekend. Due to its advantage Heidfeld will go into the race with KERS.

“A team like Ferrari cannot claim to be happy with getting one car through to the final part of qualifying, but given our current technical situation, that’s what we could aim for today,” commented Stefano Domenicali. “It was a shame for Felipe who could also have got through to Q3. We knew this would be a difficult weekend, fought out on the back foot and that is proving to be the case. Now we have a race to run, in which there will be many unknown factors to contend with. Reliability will be crucial: we will try and get the most out of the potential at our disposal, to bring home the best possible result.”

Toyota's Timo Glock qualified just fourteenth, and his penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change drops him nearly to the back of the grid.

“I’m very, very happy – it’s unbelievable," said Vettel. 

"It was a bit last minute! I only had one run in each qualifying session but, as you can see, you don’t need more! It wasn’t easy, we had a problem with the car and had to run as little as possible. The car was really quick though, Mark had two runs in each session and was always up there, so I didn’t have any concerns. Still, if you have only one lap, you can’t make any mistakes.

"I’m really happy – we made it to pole position in the end! This morning wasn’t ideal, but it seems the less I run in the morning, the better it is in qualifying! A big thanks to the mechanics, who have been working very, very hard, basically all night, and thanks to all the team back in Milton Keynes too.

"We made it! I’m looking forward to tomorrow, it’s a long race and there’s a long way to go, but we have the best starting position.”

Though Button and Barrichello again led the way in Q1, the fact that they trailed Red Bull rivals Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber in the low-fuel Q2 session – the first time over the course of the weekend when everyone’s true pace really becomes apparent – was perhaps a warning sign that this time they would not be having things quite all their own way.

Indeed, solid if understeer-afflicted final runs from both drivers in Q3 were trumped by Vettel, Webber and an inspired performance by former double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso, consigning Barrichello to the second row of the starting grid and Button to the third, just under four hundredths of a second further in arrears. The latter fears the Milton Keynes-based squad’s turn of speed is no flash in the pan.

“We struggled in Q2 compared to the Red Bulls,” the 29-year-old is quoted as having said by ITV-F1. “They seem to be very competitive .You’d say they were probably [faster] by three tenths; that’s quite a lot of time, so I don’t know how it’s going to go tomorrow. We don’t know what fuel loads they’re on, but I’m guessing it’s going to be pretty similar to us.

“Our car feels good around here, but there were a few cars quicker than we expected in qualifying. You could see in Q2 that the Red Bulls were very strong in the high-speed corners, and we knew then that we would have a fight on our hands. It’s going to be interesting to see how the different strategies work out in the race. Of course we would rather be on the front row of the grid, but we will give it our best shot in the race tomorrow and see what happens.

“Our race pace, looking at it today and yesterday, seems to be a bit better than the Red Bull’s, but we’re behind and that’s always very difficult. It’s not a disappointment because we’re still up there – we’re still fourth and fifth – so it’s not really a big issue, and for sure it’s going to make the race very exciting. It’s just going to be very tough tomorrow to come away with a victory, especially starting fifth on the grid.”

“I had a good qualifying session today, but you can see how F1 can progress so quickly,” remarked Barrichello. “I attacked all the qualifying sessions really well, and whilst we were surprised to see that the Red Bulls were quite so fast, it makes for great competition at the front.

“For me it was a big, big surprise – a good surprise in a way, because it ends this bulls**t conversation about diffusers a little bit. Our car is good because it’s good; Red Bull has done a fantastic job to put the car up there. When [engineer] Jock [Clear] said on the radio ‘you’re in front of Jenson’, I said ‘I am in P1?’ and he said ‘no’. Then the radio cracked and I said ‘I must be second’, but he said ‘no, you’re P4’.

“It was a bit of a shock, but I’ve got to say Red Bull did a brilliant job. They will be tough to beat, but we believe we have a good strategy. Both Jenson and I know the way to the podium here, so let’s hope we can repeat that tomorrow.”

“A tougher qualifying session in Shanghai today than we have experienced in the first two races,” agreed team principal Ross Brawn. “We have always said that our competition would catch up quickly, and the evidence of that is clear to see today. Our car is working well around this circuit, although both Jenson and Rubens experienced too much understeer on their final runs.

“We are still well-placed in fourth and fifth positions on the grid and looking forward to a challenge tomorrow. Many congratulations to Red Bull for their first pole position in what is proving to be a very exciting season.” 



1. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 1:36.184
2. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault 1:36.381
3. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1:36.466
4. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Brawn GP-Mercedes 1:36.493
5. Jenson Button Britain Brawn GP-Mercedes 1:36.532
6. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota 1:36.835
7. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota 1:37.397
8. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari 1:38.089
9. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1:38.595
10. Sebastien Buemi Switzerland Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:39.321
11. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW Sauber 1:35.975
12. Heikki Kovalainen Finland McLaren-Mercedes 1:36.032
13. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari 1:36.033
14. Timo Glock Germany Toyota 1:36.066
15. Kazuki Nakajima Japan Williams-Toyota 1:36.193
16. Sebastien Bourdais France Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:36.906
17. Nelson Piquet Brazil Renault 1:36.908
18. Robert Kubica Poland BMW Sauber 1:36.966
19. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes 1:37.669
20. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Force India-Mercedes 1:37.672

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