• 2011 F1 Korean Grand Prix - Mercedes Qualifying Report: Nico Claims 7th and Michael slips to 12th

      Mercedes GP took a very strategic approach to the Korean weekend. They spent all practice sessions on finding the right setup for race conditions. When qualifying rolled around, both drivers chose to do only one run in each of the qualifying periods in order to save tires for the race. Unfortunatly because of that Schumacher after complaints of vibrations in the car could ony manage 9th before dropping to 12th at the end of Q2. Nico Rosberg on the other hand made it through all three sessions and finished qualifying in 7th place.

      The big story of qualifying was Hamiton. He dominated most of Friday's practice and Saturday's qualifying. At the end of qualifying, it was Hamilton, who grapped pole position, the first for Mclaren this year. This years newly crowned champion, Sebastian Vettel was 0.222sec slower to claim second. Jensen Button will start third, with Webber in fourth place.

      The Ferrari's were third best, not being able to match Mclaren and Red Bull, but good enough to beat Mercedes. For the second time in a row Massa was able to outqualify Alonso, who was running Ferrari's new rear wing. Renault's Petrov took eighth, behind him were the updated Force India cars with Di Resta in ninth and Sutil, who did not run in tenth.

      Nico Rosberg - 7th

      "I'm quite pleased with today. To find the right set-up for the qualifying and the race is always a compromise, particularly after such limited dry running, so I'm happy that we saved one set of option tyres. It will be tough to catch one of the top six drivers tomorrow but hopefully I'll have a good start and may be able to gain a position there. It will be an interesting race from the tyre perspective with a lot of stops, and I'm confident that our boys will do a great job in the pits again."
      Michael Schumacher - 12th

      "To start with the positives of today's qualifying, I have saved two fresh sets of option tyres which is always helpful. On the other hand, it was obviously a pity what happened. Everything went normally in Q1, and from what you can expect of the tyres under normal circumstances, it was absolutely justified to go for just one run in Q2. But unfortunately I could feel that something was not right when leaving the pits as I had vibrations straight away. All that was left for us to do was hope that the gap would be big enough to remain in the top ten but that turned out not to be the case. We will now have a close look into what exactly happened and fully concentrate on trying to make up some positions in the race tomorrow."
      Ross Brawn, team principal

      "It was a straightforward afternoon for Nico, and P7 represents what the car was capable of. We took a balanced approach to tyre usage with Nico making a single run in each session, and he goes into the race with one new set of options and two new sets of primes. The uncertainty over tyre performance after yesterday's wet running meant we wanted to keep as many new sets back as we could, although the performance is now looking more consistent than had been anticipated. Michael's pace on the prime in Q1 was very good, then as he went out on the options in Q2, he complained of a vibration. We debated whether to change tyres, but decided to stay out and try for the lap time. In the end, the pace did not reflect what the car was capable of, and there wasn't enough time to complete another run. Even so, Michael was just one tenth away from Q3, and he will have opportunities tomorrow. The track is definitely rubbering in after the rain, but the sparse support race programme means this is not happening as much as at other circuits. It will be very interesting to see what the race has in store."

      Norbert Haug, vice president of motorsport

      "Like at previous races, we concentrated on setting up our cars for the best possible race performance. This was especially challenging here in Yeongam after the wet conditions yesterday left the teams just one hour of dry running this morning in P3 to prepare for qualifying and the race. Nico and Michael focused on saving tyres for the race, which possibly compromised our qualifying performance a little bit. We did longer runs this morning on the supersoft and the soft tyres, and the lap times on both compounds looked consistent. It should be dry tomorrow and our aim is to repeat our performances achieved in the recent races at Spa, Monza and Suzuka to get the best possible result from our current technical package. Congratulations to Lewis and McLaren Mercedes for the first non-Red Bull pole this season - and the 68th pole position for McLaren-Mercedes."
      Full Qualifying Results:

      This article was originally published in forum thread: 2011 F1 Korean Grand Prix - Mercedes GP Race Preview started by Scourge82 View original post
      Comments 8 Comments
      1. DavidV's Avatar
        DavidV -
        And Vettel wins his 20th F1 GP.
        A very good placed DRS zone kept this race very exiting and gave some good overtaking and defensive moves.
        A shame for Schumacer, who was torpedoed by Petrov, who just overtook Alonso and overshoot his breaking point, taking out MS.
        Verry strong drive from Vettel, also ticking the fstest lap box in his last lap.
        Also Alonso, who was stuck behind Massa, made a strong effort at the last part, getting clear of Massa at his last pitstop.
        I enjoyed this race Click here to enlarge
      1. Scourge82's Avatar
        Scourge82 -
        Despite a promising weekend for Mercedes GP, the team couldn't show it where is counts, the race. Rosberg could only manage to claim eighth place, after battling it out with Jenson Button and the Ferrari's. In the end, he's tires gave out and was passed by Torro Rosso's Alguersuari on the last lap of the race. Michael had an unfortunate race and had to retire after Ranault's Vitaly Petrov completely over-braked and took out Schumacher on turn 3. Petrov and Alonso were battling for position after the first pitstops and both outbraked themselves. Alonso was on the outside and went off the track, but Petrov on the inside, ran into Schumacher, destroying his rear wing and puncturing his rear tire.

        At the end of the race, it was Sebastian Vettel, who crossed the line first, handing him his tenth win of the season, after passing Hamilton on the first lap on turn 4. After the second pitstop, the battle raged between Hamilton and Webber for second. Both racers drove professionally with the advantage switching back and forth and running wheel to wheel on their outlaps from the pits. In the end the Red Bull lost out with Hamilton keeping Webber at bay to claim second. With Webber finishing third, Red Bull laid claim to the Constructor's Championship.

        Button finished fourth, after being held up by both Ferrari's and gain his position after the first round of pitstops, but wasn't quick enough to join the Hamilton-Webber fight. Alonso finished fifth ahead of Massa, after being outqualified by his teammate. Questions by Ferrari bosses will be raised when a frustrated Alonso told his team over the radio "I give up" after being faster than Button by 0.5 sec and was unable to pass him. Torro Rosso's Alguersuari finished 7th, His team mate Buemi took 9th after passing 10th place finisher Paul Di Resta on lap 31.

        In two weeks time, F1 heads to India for the inuagural Indian Grand Prix. Even though Red Bull has wrapped up the F1 top titles, still expect to see some brilliant battles between the teams.

        After being forced to retire on lap 16, Michael had:

        "It was another unfortunate end to a race which could have been encouraging today. It's a big pity as the car was again very good in race trim and I had already gained some positions. It would have been interesting to see what was possible, and I think we could certainly have taken some points. As for the incident, I didn't see Vitaly coming; I was just suddenly spun into a direction I had not intended to go, and then I saw my rear wing hanging off. It was unfortunate but these things happen when you fight hard - that's racing."
        After the race, Nico said:

        “I had good speed at the start of the race today but after we changed to the prime tyres, it became more difficult as the degradation was too strong. I had some nice battles against Jenson and the Ferraris, and was pushing hard to defend my position against Felipe and Fernando in the middle stint. During this, I flat-spotted my front tyres so I had to pit earlier than expected which made my last stint on the primes very long. I didn't have enough grip by the end and so I just wasn't able to defend the position against Jaime. A difficult race for me today but I'm still happy to score some points."

        For Ross:

        "The early stages of the race looked encouraging and both drivers were making good progress on the option tyres, with Nico fighting among the top three teams and jumping the Ferraris thanks to more strong pit work. We fitted prime tyres to both cars at the first stop in order to ensure we could complete a two-stop race - something that would have been marginal if we had run options in the second stint. Nico was driving well but had a big flat spot on his left-front tyre on lap 27, which forced him to pit out of sequence for another set of primes.

        From that point on, he had to nurse the tyres for over half the race distance to the flag. He did this extremely well, climbing back from P14 to P7, but was unable to hold off Alguersuari on the final lap, whose tyres were ten laps fresher. As for Michael's incident, he was driving well, making up positions and minding his own business when somebody simply forgot to brake at turn three. Although we didn't score points to our full potential today, there were encouraging signs of our competitiveness for the remaining three races of the season, and we will aim to build on this in India - which will be a new adventure for us all."
        Norbert felt that:

        "Our race started well, with Nico lying fifth after the first round of stops and ahead of both Ferraris, and he had some thrilling battles with Jenson Button, the winner of the last race. The end of Nico's race was less satisfying. He came in early after flat spotting his front left tyre, had to do a very long third stint and was overtaken on the very last lap courtesy of DRS. Michael drove strongly from 12th on the grid, fighting his way through the field and running ahead of Alonso's Ferrari when he was taken out by a very optimistic competitor. Our team can take some positives from this weekend as the beginning of the race with heavy fuel loads on the softest tyre looked strong - something we struggled with earlier in the season.

        Our learning process is certainly guiding us in the right direction, which is one of the targets we set ourselves. Lewis Hamilton's second place is the 100th podium finish in 105 races for our V8 engine, which has won 34 times in the last 86 races. Well done to all our colleagues at Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines in Brixworth for reaching this milestone. Now we are all looking forward to the inaugural Indian Grand Prix in a fortnight."

        01. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h30:01.994
        02. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 12.019
        03. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 12.477
        04. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 14.694
        05. Alonso Ferrari + 15.689
        06. Massa Ferrari + 25.133
        07. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 49.538
        08. Rosberg Mercedes + 54.053
        09. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:02.762
        10. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1:08.602
        11. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1:11.229
        12. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 1:33.068
        13. Senna Renault + 1 lap
        14. Kovalainen Lotus-Renault + 1 lap
        15. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
        16. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
        17. Trulli Lotus-Renault + 1 lap
        18. Glock Virgin-Cosworth + 1 lap
        19. Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth + 1 lap
        20. D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth + 1 lap
        21. Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth + 3 laps
        Did Not Finish
        Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 31
        Petrov Renault 17
        Schumacher Mercedes 16

        Click here to enlarge
      1. Scourge82's Avatar
        Scourge82 -
        it was a fun race, the Hamilton and Webber battle was amazing, suprised the didn't take themselves out. They managed to keep it professional. I was suprised to see Alonso give up like that and again bad luck strikes Schumacher again.
      1. DavidV's Avatar
        DavidV -
        Nah, Alonso didn't really give up. It was just a trick trying to lull Button to sleep.
        But he didn't fall for that. First 4 competitors for second place finishing within 5 seconds.
        Exiting race. Tactically very strong drive for Lewis H. Side by side actions with Webber had me on the point of my seat.
      1. Scourge82's Avatar
        Scourge82 -
        Ah gotcha. I haven't seen the race yet, It just seemed really out of character from Alonso to say I give up.

        They're showing it in 20 mins. I had to follow the live commentary from to get the info for the article.
      1. DavidV's Avatar
        DavidV -
        Oeps. Hope I didn't spoil it for you. Anyways, the race is worth watching. Hardly knew where to look at the start.
      1. Scourge82's Avatar
        Scourge82 -
        Nah, yuo didn't. I was reading the live commentary, I couldn't wait to actually watch it, plus Sticky likes his article on time Click here to enlarge
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Scourge82 Click here to enlarge
        plus Sticky likes his article on time
        That I do Click here to enlarge