Webber on pole for Spanish Grand Prix
Mark Webber will start tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix from pole position after winning an intense duel with team-mate Sebastian Vettel in qualifying this afternoon. As expected, both Red Bulls were significantly quicker than the rest of the field leaving Webber and Vettel to fight it out for pole, with McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton claiming a distant third place.
During the first two parts of the hour-long knockout qualifying session, Webber had beaten Vettel to the front, and ominously held a comfortable margin over their competitors, but their true advantage only became apparent when the fuel was drained out and Q3 got underway.
After Kubica, Button, Hamilton, Alonso, Rosberg and Schumacher had all set their benchmark times early in Q3, Red Bull’s target stood at Hamilton 1m21.413s. And, with Vettel crossing the line in 1m20.342s to go over a second quicker than the McLaren the battle for pole predictably became a two-horse race, with Mark Webber crossing the line seconds later with a time of 1m20.239s to oust the favourite from top spot.
Although their main rivals were able to close in on the Red Bulls on their second runs, the status quo between the team-mates remained, and Vettel’s improvement to a 1m20.101s was not good enough to deny Webber his third career pole with an impressive lap of 1m19.995s, the first driver to lap under 80 seconds since yesterday. Having topped all three qualifying sections, it was a just reward for Webber, but it won’t stop Vettel eyeing his second victory of the campaign from the front row.
Hamilton’s final lap of 1m20.829s was enough to demote home favourite Fernando Alonso to fourth in his Ferrari, having set a 1m20.937s just prior to Hamilton, but the former team-mates will nevertheless be disappointed at being over eight tenths of a second behind the Red Bulls. Jenson Button (1m20.991s) was half a tenth adrift of Alonso in fifth, while Michael Schumacher (1m21.294s) outqualified his team-mate for the first time this year at Mercedes with Nico Rosberg (1m21.408s) taking eighth behind Renault’s Robert Kubica (1m21.353s).
There were contrasting fortunes at the bottom end of the top ten, where Ferrari’s Felipe Massa (1m21.585s) finished a disappointing ninth and BMW Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi managed to secure his second top-ten grid slot of 2010, although he failed to figure much in Q3 with a time of 1m21.984s. Kobayashi progressed to Q3 with almost three tenths of a second to spare, pushing top-ten regulars Force India into the teens.
Adrian Sutil was the fastest of those knocked out in Q2, setting a time of 1m21.985s for 11th, meaning he starts outside the top for the first time this season, and for only the second time in the last eight races. He was joined by local hero Pedro de la Rosa (1m22.026s) in the BMW Sauber, Williams’ Nico Hulkenberg (1m22.131s) and Renault’s Vitaly Petrov (1m22.139s). There was little to choose between both Toro Rossos in 15th and 16th, with Sebastien Buemi (1m22.191s) getting one up on Barcelona’s Jaime Alguersuari (1m22.207s), while Vitantonio Liuzzi struggled with balance on his way to 17th on a 1m22.854s.
There was an unexpected scalp from Q1 at the start of qualifying when Williams’ Rubens Barrichello failed to make the cut. Despite having the latest updates on his FW32, the Brazilian only set a time of 1m23.125s, blaming traffic for his woes. He was predictably joined by the six newcomers, led by Lotus and followed by Virgin and HRT. The order was Jarno Trulli (1m24.674s), Heikki Kovalainen (1m24.748s), Timo Glock (1m25.475s), Lucas Di Grassi (1m25.556s), Karun Chandhok (1m26.750s) and Bruno Senna (1m27.122s).
Here are the full results;
|6||3||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP||1:22.528||1:21.557||1:21.294||18|
|8||4||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP||1:22.419||1:21.867||1:21.408||22|
|10||23||Kamui Kobayashi||BMW Sauber-Ferrari||1:22.577||1:21.725||1:21.984||20|
|11||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:22.628||1:21.985||17|
|12||22||Pedro de la Rosa||BMW Sauber-Ferrari||1:22.211||1:22.026||17|
|17||15||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Force India-Mercedes||1:23.084||1:22.854||18|
|22||25||Lucas di Grassi||Virgin-Cosworth||1:25.556||7|