Red Bull Racing driver and World Championship leader Sebastian Vettel has taken his seventh pole position of the season and the 22nd of his career at round eight of this year’s Formula One World Championship in Valencia, using the P Zero Yellow soft tires to set a time of 1m36.975s. It means that Red Bull Racing is undefeated so far in qualifying throughout this year.
The German driver’s time was more than half a second faster than his pole position of 2010: 1m37.587s.
Vettel used the P Zero White medium tires to get through Q1 before moving onto the softer P Zero Yellow tire for Q2 and Q3. Earlier in the day, Vettel broke last year’s benchmark in FP3, by setting a time of 1m37.258s on the P Zero Yellow tires. Vettel proved to be the quickest of the runners on the P Zero White tires as well in the first stages of FP3.
Conditions were dry and hot throughout qualifying with an ambient temperature of 27 degrees centigrade (81 degrees Fahrenheit) and a track temperature of 46 degrees centigrade (115 degrees Fahrenheit). Fernando Alonso took provisional pole for Ferrari in Q3 before being edged out by McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton, but Vettel’s lap of 1m36.975s halfway through the final session was enough to seal pole position with the P Zero Yellow tire.
Vettel then came out again with two minutes to go on the same soft tires that he had used before but was not able to improve on his time. His team mate Mark Webber did improve though, and consequently the Australian will start from second on the grid tomorrow, also using the P Zero Yellow tire.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery commented, “It was interesting to see the relative pace of the P Zero White and P Zero Yellow tire in today’s hot conditions, with more rubber laid down on this quite aggressive track. We’re seeing a difference of over a second now between the medium and the soft, depending on the individual team. But in the hot temperatures that we’re going to experience again tomorrow, with similar track temperatures to today, the advantage that the P Zero Yellow has in terms of pace is going to be balanced by the extra stability and durability of the P Zero White. This tire has performed very well on its competition debut, and it’s going to be interesting to see how the teams choose to use it during the race tomorrow.”
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