May 2, 2013, 10:15 AM EST
The four flyaway rounds to start the 2013 Formula One season have produced three different polesitters and three different race winners. Only one polesitter, Sebastian Vettel, has gone on to win the race – and controversially so in Malaysia.
While Mercedes seems to excel on one-lap speed but has consistently dropped back in the races, other teams are tending to opt to set their cars up for the race rather than qualifying. Overtaking has certainly been made easier of late thanks to the 2013 tire compounds and DRS.
So does qualifying still matter nearly as much as it once did? Not so, according to Mark Webber, who was one of several drivers to admit their thoughts to Autosport.
“Qualifying has become less and less important over the years,” he said. “Back in the day it was everything really – it was 75-80 percent of where you come around on the first lap. Now it is less of a factor, but it is still important in terms of traffic. You don’t want to be sitting in too much traffic with the tires – they don’t like being in disturbed air and they wear a lot more.”
For Felipe Massa, qualifying still takes precedence – and not just because Ferrari needs to improve its average grid position.
“This is something we always need to work for,” he said. “Although we cannot make the car worse for what we have in the race because we need to be the quickest car in qualifying.”
Leave it to Kimi Raikkonen, meanwhile, to be as succinct as ever.
“It helps if you can be in front, to save your tires, and you also have less chance of having issues at the start,” he said.
- Team co-owned by Leonardo DiCaprio is 10th and last for FE 0
- Franchitti’s ride appears down to Briscoe or Tagliani vs. the field 1
- Jay Mohr’s skewering monologue stars at NASCAR banquet (VIDEO) 1
- Todt re-elected as FIA President, plans “ambitious” second term 1
- NASCAR’s Brian France looks back and looks ahead 1
- Eddie Gossage: “Foolish move” by F1 to go head-to-head with NASCAR at Texas (12)
- GP of America organizers issue statement on race postponement (10)
- IndyCar TV sked for 2014 released; 13 races to be shown on NBCSN (9)
- NASCAR Sprint Cup silly season update for 2014 (8)
- Mark Miles talks about the road ahead for IndyCar (8)