M With Sebastian Vettel as the fastest in training, few had expected. The World Championship third placed fewer laps than his direct rivals in free practice, he lost practice time once due to a flat tire, once due to a too daring set-up change, and in two of the three sessions he was behind his team-mate Mark Webber. In a dramatic qualification, he then beat his stable rival by the minute of 0.074 seconds.
Webber was visibly annoyed to have lost the training duel as in Suzuka with a minimum gap. 'We didn't let the problems in training make us nervous,' Vettel praised himself and his crew. 'Mark showed me how good the car is.' Vettel got most of his time against Webber in the first sector with his three hard braking points. The Suzuka winner also knows that his ninth pole position is no guarantee of the lead on the first lap. He is less afraid of Webber and more of the McLaren and Ferrari with their good top speed. 'I think', he anticipates, 'that the first few corners and straights will be pretty interesting.'
For Nico Rosberg, starting position five is a small triumph. After all, no one would have expected before qualifying that he would end up in the McLaren before Jenson Button. 'Of course it's great that I was able to leave a McLaren and a Ferrari behind me,' said Rosberg. 'That's great for our standards.'
More was not possible for Rosberg. Instead, he enjoyed the route. 'It's a great mix,' says Rosberg. Rosberg is not worried about the lack of overtaking opportunities. 'The first sector is definitely good to overtake,' he said. 'But we mustn't forget that it's not easy to overtake in Formula 1. I don't think it's a big issue that it's dirty inside. Of course, it makes it a little more difficult.'
The seven-time world champion didn't seem exactly euphoric about starting the race from ninth place, but he wasn't unhappy either. 'We tried something this morning, but then put it back. We should have a good race pace.'
In addition, Schumacher had trouble with Rubens Barrichello again. Read more about it here: Now there is Zoff again
Nico Hülkenberg was on his way to the top ten when a sideways stay in turn 12 cost him two and a half tenths. In the end he ended up in eleventh place, the first place where you have a free choice of tires. But that wasn't the only reason why Hulkenberg wasn't too angry about the missed top ten chance: 'I'm starting on the right side. That seems to be a real advantage on this circuit. More than on other tracks.'
At the Analysis of the training times noticed the alarmingly weak top speed of the Williams. At 307 km /h, the blue and white cars were 13 km /h slower than the first division. 'We tried it with fewer wings, but we didn't get as fast as we had hoped on the straights. And then it wouldn't have worked in the corners. It looks like our car wouldn't be on this type of track efficient enough ', regrets the German.
Nick Heidfeld is happy with 13th place. The Sauber driver could not beat Kamui Kobayashi, but he is still happy. However, Quick Nick and Kamui Kobayashi separated at least five km /h in the top speed values.
'We both drive with the same downforce,' says Nick. 'The difference is so big because I'm not exactly in a happy situation with the engines. On the other hand, Kamui probably had slipstream.' During qualifying, things didn't go as well as they should. 'I had understeer and the new tires pitted,' reports Heidfeld. 'Fortunately, I'll be starting from the clean side tomorrow.'
Adrian Sutil's conclusion spoke from his face: '14th place is not great.' Force India is no longer in the pots and remains in midfield. 'It was very close,' says Sutil, who lost 0.063 seconds on Heidfeld. 'But the jump into Q3 was also very close.'
The Force India driver is a little worried about tomorrow. 'The start could be a problem,' he said. 'On the dirty side you certainly have a disadvantage because there is no rubber.' Speaking of rubber. The tires also give him a headache. 'Yesterday it was a catastrophe, today it's just bad.' If you were to hire Sutil as a strategist, he thinks two or more pit stops are likely.
Timo Glock was second fastest in the field of newcomers. That means position 19 in the training ranking. This results in 18th place because Vitaly Petrov has been given five positions as a penalty for his starting crash from Suzuka. Glock could be satisfied with his two timed laps. 'In the end, the Trulli gained its usual two tenths, which have been following us all year. I gave everything that shows my distance to di Grassi.' That was sixTenth.
Part of Glock's deficit on Trulli is at top speed. The Lotus are 2.5 km /h faster on the straight than the VirginF1. 'Compared to the cars with F-shaft, I lose seven tenths to a second there.' The worst thing for Glock is lapping. 'If we have to move to the side, it will take half a lap to get the tires clean again.'