No KERS in the world for Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel continued his domination of qualifying in Melbourne taking the pole position to 1m23.529s, despite failing to go quicker on his final run. After the session he admitted that his fastest lap time had been set without using the Red Bull KERS system, which left the team’s rivals scratching the heads because if the KERS had been operational, Vettel would have been even quicker – perhaps 1.1 secs ahead of the rest. In the end he was seven-tenths faster than all his challengers, with the rivals led by Lewis Hamilton in his McLaren.

Mark Webber was edged to third but stayed ahead of Jenson Button in the second McLaren, while Fernando Alonso ended up fifth 1.3 seconds off the pace of the pole car. Vitaly Petrov was sixth with Nico Rosberg seventh, but the Mercedes was almost two seconds off Vettel’s time. Felipe Massa was eighth after a spin, with the top 10 completed by Kamui Kobayashi’s Sauber and Sebastien Buemi’s Toro Rosso.

Over one lap therefore there was no question about it: Red Bull is gone… The key point now is whether or not the car will maintain the same sort of pace over 58 laps. If it is that competitive then Vettel will win the race by three-quarters of a minute.

“A good sign for all of us in the team,” he said.

Not subtle… but understated.

Lewis Hamilton said he was thrilled to be second on the grid after a poor time in winter testing.

“We have a lot of work to do,” he admitted.

Webber was third.

“I tried my best,” he said. “I am a bit mystified about the gap to Seb.”

25 thoughts on “No KERS in the world for Sebastian Vettel

  1. Missed the last few minutes online sadly. Where the devil did Petrov find that speed? Buemi hasn’t done his career any harm either. Looking like a fascinating race and season so far. How did the evening go Joe?

  2. hi Joe, sad you did not mention that neither did Lewis Hamilton have KERS functioning on his final lap. Both Sebastian and Lewis blew away their team mates and rivals without KERS to snatch pole and second place.

  3. Pretty good from the new kids.
    Kobayashi!
    Midfield looks interesting for tomorrow.
    Haven’t Really Tested look a danger to fast circulating cars.

    . . .

    but i missed many details whilst humming and ahhing and scratching my head over what these tyres are up to. What was with the extra curing / heat cycle RBR did? Did anyone else do that? Is that the sauce?

    Or Ferrari running straight to softs, presumably SF on hard for the race?? Very curious season start.

    . . .

    Foreca weather is showing approx moving avg 10% chance of rain hourly until 2pm local time.

    Does the sharding / stripping of the Pirellis rather than balling, affect rubbering in of the track?

    How’s the atmos there Joe? I picked up this sense of deep subdued concentration like the tyres were a prof giving a particularly tricky lecture.

    – j

  4. Maybe there is a an increase in braking performance to factor into the time against the loss of deployed boost as the “Charging” cycle under braking must have some influence compared to non charging

  5. It seems Webber was not using his KERS as well, for “internal reasons”?

    Now what is that about. Can it be reliability worries. Or feeling so confident they don’t even need it?

    Sebs system was not fully charged, so maybe the RBR team wanted to give both drives an equal shot at pole? Only they did not count on McLaren bumping them from the first row?

  6. Had Renault done well, the other teams might have had cause to protest, since according to what I heard, the Renaults had aero features attached to the front brake ducts. This is strictly against the rules and very obviously so. This came to light since Nick managed to knock both of them off, the right on Friday and the left on Saturday

  7. I’m amazed at the gap between Vettel and Webber. Not quite Monaco ’88, but still a fairly impressive effort by Vettel.

    Hope Mark can pick himself up tonight and make a decent stab at it tomorrow.

  8. I noticed Webber taking a close look at Vettel’s front wing after qualifying on the TV…they couldn’t be running different wings again surely…or are they…

  9. Petrov’s name sticks out a mile for me, where would Kubica have qualified I wonder. great result for him none the less, Kobayashi too.

    Lets see what the race brings tomorrow, a strategists delight I’d say, the Red Bulls maybe fast over a short distance but that’s not gonna count for squat when the tyres start going off & the wheel nuts get all crossed up in the myriad of stops we’re going to see.

    Fun times ahead.

  10. A bit of an “out there” theory but I’ll see what you guys make of it; I know from a team insider that Red Bull spent considerable time and effort in 2009 investigating a ‘KERS-lite’ package whereby the drivers would have a lightweight single use KERS for use off of the startline only. It would have been lightweight as none of the recharging mechanisms would have been installed as you can run the system fully charged in the pitlane before heading to the grid. The weight and COG benefits from this approach outweighed the benefits from running full KERS.
    They ultimately didn’t end up running this system, but I wonder if this has now been employed by Red Bull for 2011? It would explain why they aren’t using KERS in qually…

  11. I read on the Autosport forum that the Bull’s have a pre charged system that can only be used once on quali or at the start of the race. The Purpose is to save weight.

    Cant confirm though if true would be more than interesting.

  12. Vettel’s race engineer Rocky delivered a surprising message in practice 2: “Use KERS, use KERS, urgent!”. This suggests to me the team has a problem with their KERS (maybe overcharging of batteries) that meant it was urgent to dump the energy from the system. This is most likely why they didn’t use it in qualifying.

  13. I thought the RBR KERS was used just for the start of the race, as it’s too small to be charged up during the race, and that’s why he didn’t deploy it during his lap.

  14. Hi Joe!

    Been reading some rumors about RBR’s alleged mini-KERS and how it’s only a 1 use, off-the-line/grid start system. Now if other teams copy this, which I am sure they will, then what is the point of KERS in such a case?

  15. A bit mystified, Mark? Maybe you broke your shoulder again, or the team gave you a Toro Rosso without telling you. Don’t make it into a soap opera or a conspiracy every time, Mark…

  16. Maybe they had only one functioning KERS unit and gave it Vettel, but only to use it in the race and not in qualifying so as not to start another “team favors Vettel”-saga?

  17. Well it looks like they did not have KERS in their car at all….at least that was what the US broadcast on SPEED said.

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