Mark Webber, Red Bull, Melbourne, 2011

Final sector key to Red Bull’s advantage

Australian GP qualifying analysis

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Mark Webber, Red Bull, Melbourne, 2011
Mark Webber, Red Bull, Melbourne, 2011

Qualifying showed Red Bull have found a huge performance advantage over their rivals in the final sector of the lap at Melbourne.

But Mark Webber was not able to find the same size of advantage as team mate Sebastian Vettel.

The final sector begins with the high speed turns 11 and 12 – exactly the kind of corners that Red Bull thrived on last year.

Neither of their drivers used KERS during their lap. When asked about it Vettel joked that he “couldn’t find the button”. They were ranked 17th and 18th through the speed trap with only the HRTs, Virgins and Lotuses behind them.

There are now rumours the team have a special, smaller KERS, designed only to be used at the start of a race, which allows them to package their car more tightly at the rear and generate more downforce.

Qualifying times in full

  • Sebastien Buemi put Toro Rosso in Q3 for the first time since 2009 but he didn’t have any new soft tyres left, which is why his Q3 lap was slower.
  • He was aided by Rubens Barrichello and Adrian Sutil losing time with spins
Driver Car Q1

Q2 (vs Q1)

Q3 (vs Q2)
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’25.296 1’24.090 (-1.206) 1’23.529 (-0.561)
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’25.384 1’24.595 (-0.789) 1’24.307 (-0.288)
3 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’25.900 1’24.658 (-1.242) 1’24.395 (-0.263)
4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’25.886 1’24.957 (-0.929) 1’24.779 (-0.178)
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’25.707 1’25.242 (-0.465) 1’24.974 (-0.268)
6 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’25.543 1’25.582 (+0.039) 1’25.247 (-0.335)
7 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’25.856 1’25.606 (-0.250) 1’25.421 (-0.185)
8 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’26.031 1’25.611 (-0.420) 1’25.599 (-0.012)
9 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’25.717 1’25.405 (-0.312) 1’25.626 (+0.221)
10 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’26.232 1’25.882 (-0.350) 1’27.066 (+1.184)
11 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’25.962 1’25.971 (+0.009)
12 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’26.620 1’26.103 (-0.517)
13 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’25.812 1’26.108 (+0.296)
14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’27.222 1’26.739 (-0.483)
15 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1’26.298 1’26.768 (+0.470)
16 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’26.245 1’31.407 (+5.162)
17 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’26.270
18 Nick Heidfeld Renault 1’27.239
19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1’29.254
20 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1’29.342
21 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’29.858
22 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1’30.822
23 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1’32.978
24 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’34.293

Driver comparisons

Compare the best times of each drivers in the last of part of qualifying in which they both set a time.

  • Sebastian Vettel had a particularly large margin over Mark Webber, who said he was “mystified” by the gap.
  • The extent of Nick Heidfeld’s problems in Q1 are clear from his 1.6s deficit to team mate Vitaly Petrov
Team Driver Lap time Gap Lap time Driver Round
Red Bull Sebastian Vettel 1’23.529 -0.866 1’24.395 Mark Webber Q3
McLaren Lewis Hamilton 1’24.307 -0.472 1’24.779 Jenson Button Q3
Ferrari Fernando Alonso 1’24.974 -0.625 1’25.599 Felipe Massa Q3
Mercedes Michael Schumacher 1’25.971 +0.365 1’25.606 Nico Rosberg Q2
Renault Nick Heidfeld 1’27.239 +1.696 1’25.543 Vitaly Petrov Q1
Williams Rubens Barrichello 1’26.270 -0.028 1’26.298 Pastor Maldonado Q1
Force India Adrian Sutil 1’31.407 +4.668 1’26.739 Paul di Resta Q2
Sauber Kamui Kobayashi 1’25.405 -0.703 1’26.108 Sergio Perez Q2
Toro Rosso Sebastien Buemi 1’25.882 -0.221 1’26.103 Jaime Alguersuari Q2
Lotus Heikki Kovalainen 1’29.254 -0.088 1’29.342 Jarno Trulli Q1
HRT Narain Karthikeyan 1’34.293 +1.315 1’32.978 Vitantonio Liuzzi Q1
Virgin Timo Glock 1’29.858 -0.964 1’30.822 Jerome d’Ambrosio Q1

Ultimate laps

An ultimate lap is a driver’s best time in each of the three sectors that make up a lap combined.

  • Both Mercedes drivers had the performance in hand to qualify better
  • Four drivers did all their best sectors in one lap, including Vitantonio Liuzzi in his effort to break the 107% barrier.
  • Vettel was more than half a second faster than any non-Red Bull driver in the final sector.
Pos # Driver Ultimate lap Gap Deficit to best Actual position
1 1 Sebastian Vettel 1’23.453 0.076 1
2 3 Lewis Hamilton 1’24.157 0.704 0.150 2
3 2 Mark Webber 1’24.240 0.787 0.155 3
4 4 Jenson Button 1’24.570 1.117 0.209 4
5 5 Fernando Alonso 1’24.974 1.521 0.000 5
6 8 Nico Rosberg 1’25.103 1.650 0.318 7
7 10 Vitaly Petrov 1’25.247 1.794 0.000 6
8 16 Kamui Kobayashi 1’25.351 1.898 0.275 9
9 6 Felipe Massa 1’25.527 2.074 0.072 8
10 7 Michael Schumacher 1’25.712 2.259 0.259 11
11 17 Sergio Perez 1’25.714 2.261 0.394 13
12 18 Sebastien Buemi 1’25.882 2.429 1.184 10
13 19 Jaime Alguersuari 1’26.010 2.557 0.093 12
14 11 Rubens Barrichello 1’26.115 2.662 0.155 17
15 14 Adrian Sutil 1’26.180 2.727 5.227 16
16 12 Pastor Maldonado 1’26.282 2.829 0.486 15
17 15 Paul di Resta 1’26.739 3.286 0.000 14
18 9 Nick Heidfeld 1’27.077 3.624 0.162 18
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen 1’29.156 5.703 0.098 19
20 21 Jarno Trulli 1’29.262 5.809 0.080 20
21 24 Timo Glock 1’29.829 6.376 0.029 21
22 25 Jerome d’Ambrosio 1’30.582 7.129 0.240 22
23 23 Vitantonio Liuzzi 1’32.978 9.525 0.000 23
24 22 Narain Karthikeyan 1’33.540 10.087 0.753 24

Sector times

Here are the drivers’ best times in each sector.

Driver Sector 1 Sector 2 Sector 3
Sebastian Vettel 28.088 (1) 22.320 (1) 33.045 (1)
Lewis Hamilton 28.149 (2) 22.399 (2) 33.609 (3)
Mark Webber 28.197 (3) 22.643 (6) 33.400 (2)
Jenson Button 28.237 (4) 22.556 (4) 33.777 (4)
Fernando Alonso 28.427 (5) 22.549 (3) 33.998 (6)
Vitaly Petrov 28.443 (6) 22.662 (7) 34.142 (8)
Nico Rosberg 28.499 (7) 22.563 (5) 34.041 (7)
Felipe Massa 28.561 (9) 22.764 (8) 34.202 (11)
Kamui Kobayashi 28.619 (10) 22.828 (11) 33.904 (5)
Sebastien Buemi 28.727 (12) 22.983 (15) 34.172 (10)
Michael Schumacher 28.548 (8) 22.815 (10) 34.349 (14)
Jaime Alguersuari 28.809 (14) 23.030 (18) 34.171 (9)
Sergio Perez 28.635 (11) 22.833 (12) 34.246 (12)
Paul di Resta 29.108 (18) 22.968 (14) 34.663 (17)
Pastor Maldonado 28.787 (13) 23.013 (17) 34.482 (16)
Adrian Sutil 28.902 (17) 22.803 (9) 34.475 (15)
Rubens Barrichello 28.842 (15) 22.998 (16) 34.275 (13)
Nick Heidfeld 28.883 (16) 22.866 (13) 35.328 (18)
Heikki Kovalainen 29.947 (20) 23.586 (19) 35.623 (19)
Jarno Trulli 29.645 (19) 23.754 (20) 35.863 (20)
Timo Glock 30.023 (21) 23.853 (21) 35.953 (21)
Jerome d’Ambrosio 30.169 (22) 24.048 (22) 36.365 (22)
Vitantonio Liuzzi 31.250 (24) 24.577 (23) 37.151 (23)
Narain Karthikeyan 30.991 (23) 24.740 (24) 37.809 (24)

Speed trap

Each drivers’ highest speed through the speed trap.

Pos Driver Car Max speed (kph) Gap
1 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 314.2
2 Sergio Perez Sauber 313.5 -0.7
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 313.4 -0.8
4 Jenson Button McLaren 312.8 -1.4
5 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 312.7 -1.5
6 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 312.6 -1.6
7 Adrian Sutil Force India 311.7 -2.5
8 Pastor Maldonado Williams 311.7 -2.5
9 Paul di Resta Force India 311.4 -2.8
10 Rubens Barrichello Williams 311.3 -2.9
11 Vitaly Petrov Renault 311.1 -3.1
12 Nick Heidfeld Renault 311.0 -3.2
13 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 309.7 -4.5
14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 309.7 -4.5
15 Felipe Massa Ferrari 309.5 -4.7
16 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 309.5 -4.7
17 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 308.3 -5.9
18 Mark Webber Red Bull 308.3 -5.9
19 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 305.1 -9.1
20 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT 304.3 -9.9
21 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 303.5 -10.7
22 Jarno Trulli Lotus 303.4 -10.8
23 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin 301.6 -12.6
24 Timo Glock Virgin 301.1 -13.1

2011 Australian Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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113 comments on “Final sector key to Red Bull’s advantage”

  1. Redbull wing flex and refined bodywork is key…

    Once McLaren refine the bodywork & get a flippin flexy wing then they should be challenging them!

    1. They knew it since last year i wonder why they haven’t tried something similar?

      1. bleeps_and_tweaks
        26th March 2011, 15:22

        I think it’s quite a lengthy process to develop the special weave of carbon fibre to make the flexi wings, a process RBR may have started a long while ago. I read that during all the controversy about the wings last year, but unfortunately I can’t find an article to support it online. The bulge on the nose at the Barcelona tests is a blatant sign that Mclaren are trying to measure the flex of their wing, and maybe increase it.
        The improvements they’ve made with the floor and exhausts are unbelievable. I’m really hoping that in terms of pace it’s going to be really close between RBR, Mclaren and Ferrari this season.

        1. Yeah, Red Bull had the luxury of optimizing the RB6, whereas the other teams wasted the time designing and building their cars from the ground up.

          But they’ll catch Red Bull sooner or later.

        2. Newey have been doing this a long time. Already 2005 people where talking about flexing wings on the Mclarens.. Newey’s cars.

      2. Bruce McLaren
        26th March 2011, 17:36

        They still don’t get it, that’s the reason…

    2. I’m sure mclaren tried to figure out the secret of flexy wings last year and didn’t suceed. What makes you think that this year will be different?

      1. If they’d spent half as much time researching it as they did talking about it I’m sure they would have figured it out.

        1. Good point Toro Stevo, the front end of the McLaren is as stiff as a barn door, they complained far too much about the flexy wing and should’ve looked into it.

          1. Well, this is what they were testing with the dolphin nose we saw at Barcelona no? The ‘support arms’ coming from the nose were likely for measuring tension, hence flexing of the front wing.

          2. I thought they were air flow probes?

          3. The MP4-26’s front wing is already flexing, but not nearly as much as the RB7. Many widely available photos from Australia describe a sagging McLaren wing.

            You would imagine further revisions and upgrades to said front wing will try to further bridge the current gap, either that or the FIA will finally figure out a proper test that actually works to enforce their own rules.

            And since you decided to have a snide pop at someone’s spelling down below, I’ll point out that the metaphor is ‘big as a barn door’, not stiff. Barn doors aren’t in anyway known for their rigidity.

        2. People don’t seem to realise that there isn’t just one person working at a team.

          While the team princible and drivers can talk about it, the engineers can r&d.

          1. They were convinced it was illegal though so why would they waste resources on something that would in their eyes possibly be banned?

            Helps if you spell Principal correctly too.

          2. Picking on someone’s spelling doesn’t make you look better though.

            It doesn’t matter if they thought it was illegal. Everyone though double deck diffusers were illegal and the sure as hell were researching those, obviously they all look at controversial concepts just incase they are legal.

          3. Correct spelling builds character lol…anyway if what you are saying is true then Red Bull obviously have a better development team than McLaren then, even when they are “supposedly” researching an already created aspect of a car.

          4. and being illegal doesn’t stop them from developing their own. far from it: almost all new developments in F1 are claimed to be illegal by the competition.

            Like the double diffuser situation, where McLaren were: “oh it isn’t illegal? ok we will put ours on the car then”

          5. My point was more a less than thinly veiled swipe at the constant chatter about it last year. The flexing wings became all the drivers, team principal, and even the bbc commentators and every commenter on this website were talking about. It became tiresome, and I see it happening again.

            Red Bull had a big moan about the double diffuser in 2009, but they didn’t prattle on all season about it. They went to the judiciary, and eventually the ruling went against them, but in the mean time just set about building their own.

      2. From their testing with that nose bulb sensor thing, they are still working on understanding how to do it.

    3. mclaren’s flexi wing is old news already. watch a good onboard shot of the mclaren and see the front wing flex downwards and then upwards under braking .

  2. Final sector time and speed trap record is interesting. and Alonso did his cleanest lap! even though it’s not enough.

    1. Wowee, didn’t spot that. Only driver to get the maximum out of himself and you’d assume his car.

      I’m getting serious de ja vu from last year. Everyone is going on about how Ferrari are due to restart their rivalry with Redbull from last year. As i remember it, it was Mclaren first half and Ferrari second. With Redbull taking the prizes in the end.

      Not twice please?

      1. Petrov did his ultimate lap as well… I have a feeling Alonso might be in for a season of a lot of racing alongside of Petrov. I’m hoping he is anyhow…

        1. hahaha nice to see them racing again. I’m a new Petrov fan now. :)

  3. Good comparisons, but the teams don’t match up with the correct drivers under DRIVER COMPARISONS -Vettel and Webber in a Mclaren- ha ha.

    1. Yeah and Schumacher in a Ferrari – utter nonsense!

    2. The teams are put in 2010 order, the drivers in 2011 order.

    3. The Saubers really slow too

    4. Sorry, have fixed that.

      1. In the last table Vettels ultimate lap is listed as 1:23.453, – where did that come from, when his fastest lap was 1:23.529?
        But good and impressive fast analysis despite a few errors with the teams and driver pairing.

        1. Red Bull are going to Infiniti and beyond!

  4. Hi guys,

    Could someone please explain to me what

    to package their car more tightly at the rear and generate more downforce


    Beacause i don’t see any apparent different at the rear of the cars. I tried to find out what the small williams rear is and i still can’t figure out. For me they are all the same…

    1. F1lover, “to package their car more tightly” generally means to have fewer obstructions blocking the air to the rear wing & diffuser. With the banning of double diffusers this year teams have gone to extra lengths (such as the William’s gearbox and Renault’s front exit exhausts) to recover lost downforce at the rear of the car.

      1. Thanks Jungly that was one area that i didn’t get properly now it makes sense.

    2. Its funny to read that you don’t see the differences (especially with such nickname), but check out these drawings:


      And Williams’s rear end:

      1. Mateuss, I wanted to thank you for these links. I just read through them. What a great site. It’s no wonder F1 is so difficult to compete in as there’s so much to be considered and taken into account. I wonder how many people could do better than HRT, let alone Ferrari, Mcl, RedBull et all.
        Thanks again.


      From the ever-excellent Scarbs blog, hope they explain, or help you understand. The basic gist is, the less obstruction to the diffuser and wings, the more airflow can hit them and make more downforce.

      1. lol, beaten to it by Mateuss and Jungly.

      2. Lol@mateuuss, I love F1 but it’s not my strenght to see such details. But i’ve become more interested to better understand the technical stuff this year. Thanks

        Thabks@S.J.M that’s explains it more clearly

    4. Well, if all looked the same to you, why bother for explanation?

      Anyway, take a look at the back of the Williams, you will see a bronze-rod that went steep downwards to the central section and compare it to other cars.

      Also, try to find the pull rod at the back of the cars (except the F150) and not in front as all cars have push-rod in there.

      1. BBQ2 this what the article says,

        “Williams said their new car would be aggressive, but at first look the FW33 seemed quite conventional. Until the area above the gearbox is looked at. ”

        Which means you don’t just notice it at a glance, Unless you know the stuff. I wasn’t interested in those aspects before but i do now that’s why i asked.

        Thanks for still contributing to my understanding…

        1. Best of luck. I am also watching the sport from last 10years but as i m not a engineering guy so it seems very tough for me to follow the sports, but i tried my best and now started to understand a lot of things. you may try the following link which has a lot of useful resource to understand F1.
 is also one of the best blog for formula one to understand the sports. Wish you luck. :-)

  5. Great analyses Keith. It clearly shows Sutil was doing pretty fine until he got overzealous with the KERS and the DRS there.

    Liuzzi was probably driving one of the best laps in his F1 career there. Just imagine him pulling along that car, shedding pieces all the while. Impressed.

    Vettel … where to start, him and this Red Bull are just the ultimate qualifying package. Red Bull got us looking for their magic bit again this year. Interesting to see where Webber lost out to Seb as well.

  6. Emma Rouse-Deane
    26th March 2011, 14:36

    In the driver comparison, the teams don’t match up to the drivers :)

  7. sid_prasher (@)
    26th March 2011, 14:38

    Did we have 3.5 seconds separating first and tenth last year?
    I thought teams were going to get closer this year…not happening at least in round 1.

  8. Any news yet on HRT getting a dispensation to race?

  9. Perez’s Time in Q1 would have been sufficient for Q3 if he did it in Q2… That must be quite frustrating !

    1. Still, he has had a very impressive weekend and is proving that he is not there only because of Mr Slim.

  10. Interestingly (at least I think it is) apart from Lewis (who had quali problems in 2010) Vettel is the only driver to improve his time compared to last year’s qualifying. Once again Adrian Newey and his team have made the best interpretation of the new regulations and have another early advantage. Expect 3 poles from Vettel in these first 3 flyaway races.

    1. well, lets not jump the gun just yet. I know mclaren are supposed to have updates in Malaysia and id bet some others do to. But il admit that its very possible if theres no interuptions or bad weather…

  11. Really confused!! I see qualifying times in full, driver comparisons, and ultimate laps. Where oh where is the sector 3 timetable that would correspond to the title of this thread?

    1. Vettel was more than half a second faster than any non-Red Bull driver in the final sector.

      1. This will be very worrying for the other teams as the next four fast flowing tracks are even better suited to the RB7?

      2. If he is that fast in sector 3 i suppose it will be hard to be close enough to him to be able to use DRS against him.

  12. regarding the start only KERS. The technical regulations define KERS as:

    “A system that is designed to recover kinetic energy from the car during braking, store that energy and make it available to propel the car.”

    Surely if RBR aren’t recovering energy from braking, it isn’t KERS and therefore isn’t legal

    1. What makes you think they aren’t?

      1. Ted Kravitz wrote:

        I understand – and rivals believe – that Red Bull have built a Kers system with a smaller battery which is charged before the race, discharged only once at the start and not used again.

        The system would still need a fairly large battery to deliver the high current needed but weight could be saved because the parts needed to charge the battery during the race would not be required

        1. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. There is more to it. If its “one use only” then why not use it once on the hot qualifying lap, like I said it makes no sense.
          I assume it does still trickle charge (but not enough to be used frequently or a second time) otherwise it is not KERS and should be illegal.
          The truth will out… this story is just breaking, it could be a while before we find out but I believe what has been reported so far is not actually factual correct and an ill conceived guess at what’s going on at the moment. Why didn’t they use it on hot laps?

          1. Good point, it doesn’t make sens at all. Especially in Webber case, when he so much wants to beat sebastian at his home GP. He said he did his best? How can you do your best without using a tool that is suppose to boost your speed?

          2. The story is just breaking…

            It makes me laugh at how quickly the teams come to these obvious conclusions – why didn’t they think of it over the winter then!

          3. I don’t buy it. Even if the battery and total kit is half the size, it becomes dead weight–non-ideal distributed mass–after the first turn. If you are going to shift the cars internal organs around, and integrate the electric motors into the drive train, you need to get a return on that design compromise more than 4 seconds on lap one. Even if the overall package is stellar with a mini-KERS, they’ll be sorry if Vettel, say, gets stuck behind a Force India armed with KERS and Mercedes ICE, i.e., unpassable, DRS or no.

          4. Its much more likely they just didn’t need to use it, I just watched an interview with Horner and I reckon the reason they didn’t use it was because they were focusing on the DRS and qualifying without the distraction of KERS (keeping a bit of performance back?). I believe they agreed amongst themselves as Horner said not using KERS cost Webber the front row.

          5. But after quali the cars go into parc ferme, so it couldn’t really be recharged. Being the only car in the top 10 without KERS could be a bit tough on the opening lap.

        2. The parts needed to charge the batteries are the same parts that deliver the power.
          All of the electric systems use a combined generator/motor to collect and deliver power. Any GCSE physic’s student will know an electric motor and a generator are basically the same device. The switching electronics would weigh a couple of grams at most. Although a saving would be made aerodynamically in not having to cool the whole KERS during the race.

          1. Considering the first part of your comment is wrong, the second is remarkably insightful.