Hamilton beats Webber for first 2010 pole
Lewis Hamilton took his first pole position of 2010 in Canada this afternoon, ending Red Bull’s run of seven straight pole positions this season. Different tyre choices by the top teams resulted in a thrilling battle between for top spot between Hamilton and Webber, with a late lap by the former handing him pole position by over two tenths of a second.
Tyre graining had been a major problem for teams throughout the weekend’s practice sessions, and expectations had been high that at least one team would opt for an alternative tyre strategy. With all Q3 drivers being forced to start the race on their qualifying tyre, an exciting qualifying was in prospect.
And sure enough, Red Bull opted to go with the more durable medium compound tyre for their Q3 laps, as main rivals McLaren went for the quicker but more fragile super-soft. After their first laps Hamilton predictably went quickest on a 1m15.500s, but as he pitted for a fresh set of super-softs Webber began to bed his tyres in and before long had bettered his rival’s time with a 1m15.373s.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso got himself in the hunt too by setting a time of 1m15.435s to beat then quickest Hamilton, remarkably on the fourth flying lap on the super-soft tyres, showing there is life to be extracted from the tyres if treated properly. However, once Hamilton had re-emerged with a new set of super-softs he put a near-perfect lap together, stopping the clock at 1m15.105s thereby securing his first pole position of the season and ending Red Bull’s stranglehold at the front of the grid.
Webber’s second place went unchallenged, but team-mate Sebastian Vettel came from ninth to third thanks to a time of 1m15.420s just half a tenth shy of the Australian. Alonso failed to improve on his final lap to stay fourth on his 1m15.435s, his best grid position in three races, while McLaren’s Jenson Button recovered to fifth on a 1m15.520s after struggling to make it into Q3.
Force India’s Vitantonio Liuzzi produced a superb performance to take sixth on the grid on a 1m15.648s, beating such luminaries as Felipe Massa (1m15.688s) and Robert Kubica (1m15.715s). Liuzzi’s team-mate Adrian Sutil was two tenths adrift in ninth (1m15.881s), while Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg rounded out the top ten (1m16.071s).
Rosberg’s team-mate Michael Schumacher was the surprise scalp from the second part of qualifying, after setting a time only good enough for 13th. The German set a time of 1m16.492s and had to abort his final lap after straightlining the final chicane, consigning him to his worst qualifying performance since the rain-affected 2005 Japanese Grand Prix. Also knocked out in Q2 were Rubens Barrichello (1m16.434s), Nico Hulkenberg (1m16.438s), Vitaly Petrov (1m16.844s), Sebastien Buemi (1m16.928s), Jaime Alguersuari (1m17.029s) and Pedro de la Rosa (1m17.384s).
Q1 was more predictable, with BMW Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi joining the six new team runners in the bottom seven. The Japanese driver had to wait for his final lap to put him ahead of Lotus’s Heikki Kovalainen, as the Finn and his team continued to close the gap to the established teams. Kobayashi set a time of 1m18.019s, still four tenths adrift of team-mate Pedro de la Rosa. Kovalainen (1m18.237s) was the fastest of the new teams, ahead of team-mate Jarno Trulli (1m18.698s) and Virgin’s Timo Glock (1m18.941s). HRT’s Bruno Senna qualified ahead of a Virgin runner for the second consecutive race after lapping in 1m19.484s to Di Grassi’s 1m19.675s, while gearbox problems for Karun Chandhok meant he could do no better than 24th on a time of 1m27.757s.
Here are the full results;
|6||15||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Force India-Mercedes||1:17.086||1:16.171||1:15.648||22|
|9||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:16.495||1:16.295||1:15.881||21|
|10||4||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP||1:16.350||1:16.001||1:16.071||20|
|13||3||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP||1:16.598||1:16.492||16|
|17||22||Pedro de la Rosa||BMW Sauber-Ferrari||1:17.611||1:17.384||19|
|18||23||Kamui Kobayashi||BMW Sauber-Ferrari||1:18.019||10|
|23||25||Lucas di Grassi||Virgin-Cosworth||1:19.675||12|