Perfect lap not enough for Sebastian Vettel

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Sebastian Vettel has admitted that not even a perfect lap would have been enough for him to claim pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver qualified second behind pole-sitter Nico Rosberg, and he congratulated his fellow countryman after the session today.

“Congratulations to Nico, he did a very strong lap. It was all his today,” Vettel said in the post-race press conference.

“I’m definitely not disappointed. When I crossed the line I saw I didn’t go first, saw second place on the screen and did not know how much was missing because my lap was fine.

Vettel, who has claimed 38 pole positions during his Formula One career, believes that Rosberg’s time was unbeatable.

“It was clear that even with a perfect lap I couldn’t have done it.”

Instead, the Red Bull driver appeared to be focusing on strategy, with tire management being highly important this weekend.

“I am very happy we managed to save some tires throughout qualifying.

“It will be all about tires and tire deg tomorrow once again. We will see what happens but it’s good to start from front row.”

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With Rosberg uncertain of his own race pace, Vettel is in a strong position to capitalize on any issues for Mercedes. However, with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa starting 3rd and 4th, the defending world champion will have to race well if he is to win in Bahrain for a second time.

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NHRA: John Force-like motor explosions get contagious during Sunday’s Gatornationals

Photo and video courtesy NHRA
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John Force is rubbing off on others – but probably not the way they or he would like.

The 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion has had spectacular motor explosions in each of the first three races of the new NHRA season, including during Friday’s qualifying for this weekend’s Gatornationals.

During Sunday’s quarterfinals of eliminations, Force’s teammate (and son-in-law and president of John Force Racing) Robert Hight squared off with fellow Funny Car driver Matt Hagan.

As the duo closed in on the finish line, both cars experienced spectacular motor explosions of their own – virtually side-by-side and nearly at the same time.

Hight’s car was the first to explode, tossing its body high in the air. A split-second later, Hagan’s car exploded, also sending the body flying.

Check out the NHRA video:

Hight wound up losing the race.

Hagan, meanwhile, and his crack pit crew rolled their backup car off the hauler, put in a new motor and went on to race through the semifinals and into the finals, losing to race winner “Fast Jack” Beckman.

“We had a pretty great race day, to be honest,” Hagan said. “I’ve never been to the finals in Gainesville.

“We obviously had a huge blow up in the second round, then to watch these guys pull the other car back out and put it together in the amount of time they had, then turn a win light on against Capps (Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the semifinals), then to be able to go to a final, it was huge and it speaks for itself.”

As for Hight, here’s his take on what happened with the motor explosion:

“I couldn’t see (Hagan) over there and it wasn’t like it was hazing the tires or anything else. As it turns out it wasn’t spinning at all. It kicked two rods out when it blacked the bearings in the crank then it hit the valves and blew up.

“The thing gave me no indication at all before that. What really scared me was once I got it under control and I look over and see his body is off his car. I am thinking ‘Oh man, he got gathered up in me.’ Then I stood up and looked and his injector was sideways so I realized he had an explosion as well. We are just lucky we didn’t get into each other.”

As for the guy who has had so much trouble in the motor department, John Force, he lost in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations to daughter Courtney Force.

John Force planned on shutting the motor off on his car at around the 700-foot mark of the 1,000-foot dragstrip, not wanting to risk another motor explosion – even though it meant a likely loss to his daughter.

Now John Force and his entire four-car team, including Courtney Force, Robert Hight and daughter and Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, will be off for extensive testing to try and determine what’s been causing the motor explosions.

“We have to evaluate it and go test,” Force said. “We’ll figure it out.”

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