November 26, 2011

F1 Quals: Brazil 2011

The year was 1991.  Operation Desert Storm liberated Kuwait from the Iraqi military.  The New York Giants beat the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV.  Boris Yeltsin was elected President of Russia.  Red Grange passed away.  Mount Pinatubo erupted, killing 800.  The first Sonic the Hedgehog game was released by Sega.  The Warsaw Pact came to an end.  Danny Thomas passed away.  Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested.  The Super Nintendo was released.  Linus Torvalds first reveals the Linux kernel on Usenet.  Rajiv Ghandi was assassinated by the Tamil Tigers.  The Minnesota Twins defeat the Atlanta Braves to win the World Series.  The Halloween Blizzard catches a Grad School student named Wonderduck by surprise.  The Soviet Union officially dissolved.  Freddy Mercury, Dr Seuss and Gene Roddenberry all pass away.  And a 21 year old Brazilian named Rubens Barrichello starts his first Formula 1 race.  In 1992, the very next season, Nigel Mansell set a record earning 14 pole positions in that season.  Today, Rubens Barrichello may be qualifying for his final Formula 1 race, and Seb Vettel has a chance to break Mansell's record.  But did he?  Let's look at the provisional grid for the 2011 Grand Prix of Brazil:

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:13.664 1:12.446 1:11.918
2 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:13.467 1:12.658 1:12.099
3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:13.281 1:12.820 1:12.283
4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:13.361 1:12.811 1:12.480
5 HWMNBN Ferrari 1:13.969 1:12.870 1:12.591
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:14.083 1:12.569 1:13.050
7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:14.269 1:13.291 1:13.068
8 Adrian F'n Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:13.480 1:13.261 1:13.298
9 Bruno Senna Renault 1:14.453 1:13.300 1:13.761
10 Slappy Schumacher Mercedes 1:13.694 1:13.571 No time
11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:13.733 1:13.584
12 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:14.117 1:13.801
13 DJ Squire
STR-Ferrari 1:14.225 1:13.804
14 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:14.500 1:13.919
15 The Red Menace
Renault 1:13.859 1:14.053
16 Gandalf Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:14.571 1:14.129
17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:14.430 1:14.182
18 Murshid Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1:14.625

19 Heikki Kovalaineninnie Lotus-Renault 1:15.068

20 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1:15.358

21 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1:16.631

22 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1:16.890

23 Custard d'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1:17.019

24 Tim O'Glockenspiel Virgin-Cosworth 1:17.060


Q1 107% Time
1:18.410

It wasn't even close.  Not only was Seb Vettel the only driver to break 1:12.000, his 1:11.918 time was only a half-second off the Interlagos course record.  That time was set in 2004, when the cars had unrestricted V10 engines and could have all manner of bargeboards and winglets to increase downforce.  Further, a tirewar was in progress between Michelin and Bridgestone, thus providing wildly grippy (though grooved) tires.  So yes, Seb Vettel blew the field away with a lap that looked like he was on rails.  Everybody else, even his teammate Mark Webber, seemed to be having problems with grip, sawing at the steering wheel to correct and recorrect their paths through turns.  On the other hand, Vettel's pole lap looked like he was just on a casual drive through the country.  Amazing, simply amazing.  We've seen something here today we may never see again, unless Vettel happens to the 2012 season as well.

As far as the race tomorrow goes, there's a high expectation of rain during the race.  If that happens, it's a crapshoot as to who'll win.  No way I'd bet against Vettel though, no matter the weather conditions.

I hope he appreciates what's going on.  The race is Sunday, see ya then!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 12:50 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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1 The year was 1992.

Posted by: flatdarkmars at November 26, 2011 03:22 PM (I55Es)

2 Details, details.  Fixed.

Posted by: Wonderduck at November 26, 2011 05:31 PM (2YMZG)

3 In my defense, the Legendary Announce Team said more than once that it was "20 years ago" that Mansell set the record.  That'll teach me to listen to Hobbes.

Posted by: Wonderduck at November 26, 2011 08:54 PM (2YMZG)

4

It's to Vettel's credit that he isn't letting go. He's still driving every race as if it matters -- and that's how it ought to be.

So this is his 15th pole?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at November 26, 2011 11:27 PM (+rSRq)

5 This is.  15th of the season, 30th of his career.  He now stands sixth all-time on the career list, breaking a tie with St Fangio the Quick, who had 29 (out of 52 career starts).  The record is 68, held by Slappy Schumacher.

Posted by: Wonderduck at November 27, 2011 12:17 AM (2YMZG)

6 Vettel has 11 wins this year, with the possibility of a 12th today. Would that also be a season record?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at November 27, 2011 10:26 AM (+rSRq)

7 Sorry, Steven, I didn't see this question until Monday night.  The single-season win record is 13, held by Slappy Schumacher.  He set it in 2004, the first year I began paying attention to F1.

Vettel's 11 wins ties him for second, also with Slappy, who did that in 2002.

Posted by: Wonderduck at November 28, 2011 09:52 PM (2YMZG)

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