F1 Barcelona Quali: Webber on Pole, Ahead of Vettel and Hamilton

What Happens When It’s Time to See What the Updates Hold

9:03am EST — Mark Webber will start the 2010 Spanish GP on pole, having beat teammate Sebastian Vettel to the top position in a sunny and clear Saturday qualifying session in Barcelona.  Lewis Hamilton will start third, with Fernando Alonso splitting the McLarens in fourth, and Jenson Button starting fifth.  Michael Schumacher will start sixth, ahead of eighth-place starting teammate Nico Rosberg.

During the final practice session Saturday morning, Sebastian Vettel showed the pace of the Red Bull, posting a time nearly a half second slower than teammate Mark Webber, who was second fastest.  Close behind were the McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, then Michael Schumacher.  He made Barcelona three-for-three in outpacing teammate Nico Rosberg, who was seventh fastest.  Since it had rained before the session, there were a few incidents, with one involving Vitaly Petrov’s off into the gravel and tire wall causing a red flag.  Multiple drivers will be moved back by a five-place grid penalty.  Petrov, due to his crash, Chandhok,a gearbox change, and both Virgin Racing drivers will also start further back with the team not submitting their gear ratios on time.

Q1: The Lotuses were the first out, soon followed by the Ferrari’s, who set the early fast times.  Seven minutes into the session, it was Alonso, Massa, Liuzzi, Buemi, and Trulli as the five fastest, with neither Red Bull yet onto the track.  It took both Vettel and Webber half of the session to get out on the circuit. The Ferraris were using their version of the F-duct, though known to them as a “blown rear wing.”  With five minutes left, Webber led Vettel, Hamilton, Button, and Kubica as the fastest five, but those who were in the knockout zone were Petrov, Trulli, Kovalainen, Glock, Chandhok, di Grassi, and Senna.  Button set a fast time, moving into fourth fastest, with Alonso sneaking into fifth.  The top four, and Kubica in sixth, were in the garage with two minutes left.  They were the only ones.

In their last gasp efforts, both Saubers of Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi went to sixth and ninth, respectively and for the moment, with Rubens Barrichello the likely driver to join the new teams in being knocked out.  The fastest five were Webber, Vettel, Button, Hamilton, and Alonso, with Schumacher ninth and Massa tenth.  Both Ferraris were on hard tires, according to the team.

Knocked Out at the End of Q1:
18. Barrichello 1:23.125
19. Trulli 1:24.674
20. Kovalainen 1:24.748
21. Glock 1:25.475
22. di Grassi 1:25.556
23. Chandhok 1:26.750
24. Senna 1:27.122

Q2: Liuzzi in his Force India was the first man out for the fifteen minutes of Q2.  Soon nearly all seventeen drivers were on track, barring the Mercedes of Schumacher and Rosberg, and Robert Kubica’s Renault.  Both Ferraris were on soft tires for their early runs in Q2.  Ten minutes in, and only six drivers had set times, but more times were soon coming, with Webber then leading Vettel, Hamilton, Button, and Alonso as the fastest five.  Schumacher Kubica and Rosberg had yet to set times ans were in the knockout zone, joined there by Petrov, Buemi, and Alguersuari.  Just past the halfway point of the session, only Schumacher and Rosberg were out, and posting lap times third and ninth fastest.

Two minutes left in the session and only Schumacher and Rosberg were in the garage, but they also soon returned to the circuit.  In the knockout zone were an ever-changing melange of drivers.  At the end, Hamilton and Schumacher appeared safe enough in the garage with their fourth and sixth fastest laps.  Webber, Vettel, Button, Hamilton, and Alonso were the fastest five.  In a bit of a surprise for the bleaguered Sauber, Kobayashi moved forward into Q3.

Knocked Out at the End of Q2:
11. Sutil 1:21.985
12. de la Rosa 1:22.026
13. Hulkenberg 1:22.131
14. Petrov 1:22.139
15. Buemi 1:22.191
16. Alguersuari 1:22.207
17. Liuzzi 1:22.854

Q3: Kubica and Button were the first out for Q3, where the true success of the European updates will be shown.  The McLarens set the early pace in the final qualifying session, but the Red Bulls took the faster positions from them as soon as they finished their laps.  Webber was faster than Vettel by a tenth halfway through Q3.  Further back, Schumacher was fifth fastest, then Massa, Alonso, Kubica, Rosberg, and the timeless Kobayashi.  With three and a half minutes left, only the young Japanese was on track.

Vettel was the first driver back on track, with barely and possibly enough time for three laps, though likly only one of those would be a proper flyer.  Webber soon followed, as did both Ferraris and Rosberg.  With two minutes left, Schumacher was the only one left in the garage.  Kobayashi went to seventh with his first lap.  Vettel’s early sector time was fastest of the session, but Webber matched it, then went faster than the German in the second sector.  Vettel took the top spot, but then Webber took that as well.  It looked as though ALonso would start third, but Hamilton’s final lap just pipped him, as Kubica, then Button did to Rosberg.  Schumacher then slotted between Button and Kubica for sixth.

Final Times and Starting Positions for the Spanish GP:**
1. Webber 1:19.995
2. Vettel 1:20.101
3. Hamilton 1:20.829
4. Alonso 1:20.937
5. Button 1:20.991
6. Schumacher 1:21.294
7. Kubica 1:21.353
8. Rosberg 1:21.408
9. Massa 1:21.585
10. Kobayashi 1:21.984

**if my calculations are correct, the following will be the penalty-changed end of the grid:

14. Buemi
15. Alguersuari
16. Liuzzi
17. Barrichello
18. Trulli
19. Petrov
20. Kovalainen
21. Senna
22. Chandhok
23. Glock
24. di Grassi


1 Comment

  1. The Red Bulls are almost a second clear of the field. This is incredible. Adrian Newey has built them a rocket ship. They don’t even have a McLaren style F-Duct yet and I am sure they will be faster still with that device. The rest of the teams must be shaking in their boots………..

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