Sebastian Vettel couldn’t contain his delight at clinching his second career pole position, and his for Red Bull Racing in Shanghai on Saturday.
The German ace, still only 21-years-old and in his first season with Red Bull Racing, has been threatening to breakthrough at the front in both of the opening two races of the 2009 season, but a last lap collision with Robert Kubica in Melbourne, and the heavy delude in Malaysia masked the true pace of the Vettel-Red Bull package.
Not so in Shanghai though, as Vettel, winner of the 2008 Italian Grand Prix for Toro Rosso, hustled his vastly improved RB5 – still without a split-diffuser but with undoubtedly the best front wing on the grid – into P1.
“I’m very, very happy – it’s unbelievable,” Vettel said after clinching pole.
“It was a bit last minute! I only had one run in each qualifying session but, as you can see, you don’t need more! It wasn’t easy, we had a problem with the car and had to run as little as possible.”
“The car was really quick though, Mark had two runs in each session and was always up there, so I didn’t have any concerns. Still, if you have only one lap, you can’t make any mistakes. “
“I’m really happy we made it to pole position in the end! This morning wasn’t ideal, but it seems the less I run in the morning, the better it is in qualifying!”
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow, it’s a long race and there’s a long way to go, but we have the best starting position.”
Teammate Mark Webber, who briefly held the top spot in qualifying three before being piped by both Vettel and Renault’s Fernando Alonso, was happy to be on the second row.
“The work that’s gone into this from the team, especially over the last few weeks, has been incredible,” he said.
“It would have been good to have both cars on the front row, but Fernando did a great job. I was expecting to be a little bit tighter in the end, but we’ll see how the fuel loads pan out tomorrow.”
“We’ve done a good job. Q2 was strong for us and the car is behaving well, with a lot of grip. I’m doing what I can to give the youngster (Seb) a hard time, we’re pushing each other hard and it’s working very well!”
Team Principal Christian Horner added: “A fantastic team result and the team’s first pole position that was brilliantly executed by Sebastian.”
“He stuck to a disciplined strategy, which paid off and now he starts tomorrow’s race with a clear track in front of him the best place to be! Mark has also been absolutely on it all weekend.”
“I’m delighted with the performance and the effort that has gone into this today, not only here in Shanghai, but also in Milton Keynes. The whole team has been working really hard, but now we have to convert it. Tomorrow will be a big day!”