F1 Spain Quali Results & Report: Webber Finally On Pole Again, McLaren Copy Red Bull


What Happens When It’s Mark’s Time

9:08am EST — Mark Webber took pole for the 2011 Spanish Grand Prix on a single lap, beating out Sebastian Vettel by two tenths, early in the final third of qualifying, with both Red Bull drivers again stepping out of the cars after a single run early in q3. McLaren followed suit, which worked well for third-place starter Lewis Hamilton, but not so much for Jenson Button, who was pipped by Fernando Alonso for fourth at the end of the session. Interestingly, Webber was not affected in qualifying by the KERS issues that have plagued Red Bull through much of the season, but Vettel was. Pastor Maldonado had a surprisingly good qualifying session to start next to Michael Schumacher, who did not post a time in Q3 presumably to save tires. Rubens Barrichello had a terrible qualifying session to start nineteenth, while Heikki Kovalainen managed to move on to Q2 for the first time in the dry for Lotus.

Red Bull led the timesheets in every practice session in Barcelona, with Webber taking the lead on Friday and narrowly missing out on the top spot to Vettel Saturday morning. Vettel posted the fastest overall time of the weekend (1:21.707) Saturday, though he was a second off Webber’s time Friday morning and third fastest during Friday’s afternoon session. Vettel was stuck in the garage with an electrical problem Saturday morning, leaving the German time for a final installation lap and one flying lap on the session. It was enough to knock Webber’s time off the top.

Rosberg, Alonso, and Perez joined the Red Bull drivers in the fastest five Friday morning while Hamilton split them in the afternoon, with Button and Alonso rounding out the top five. Schumacher gained speed for Saturday’s practice, ending up third fastest, with Hamilton, Button, and Rosberg continuing the Mercedes-powered charge to stop Red Bull. Alonso was only ninth fastest with an “undriveable” car Saturday after their innovative new rear wing was declared illegal. Other than Vettel’s final quick lap, the most drama in any of the practice sessions came from a fire on Heidfeld’s Renault on Saturday. Caused by an exhaust failure, according to Renault, Heidfeld was forced to pull over and jump quickly out of the car while marshals extinguished the blaze.

Q1:
Karthikeyan, Liuzzi, and D’Ambrosio were the first drivers out in Q1, while Renault was still frantically setting up Heidfeld’s car. Teammate Petrov was the next out while the rest of the field waited for some time to tick away from the twenty minute first qualifying session. Karthikeyan’s was the first time posted, but Petrov soon bettered it. Five minutes into Q1, nearly half the field was already out, including many of the frontrunners. Petrov continued to better his own time, only to lose the top spot when Button went fastest of all on his first timed lap. Alonso slid into third on his while Webber was fastest on his own first lap.

Halfway through, Webber led Alguersuari (who had taken second fastest), Vettel, Button, Petrov, Alonso, Rosberg, Massa, Maldonado, and Hamilton, who was complaining of sever understeer. Seconds later, Schumacher moved up to fifth. Times continued to move around, though Barrichello, Buemi, D’Ambrosio, Kovalainen, Kobayashi, and Perez had yet to set times. Heidfeld was in the car, but had not yet left the garage. Buemi went second fastest on his next lap, with both Toro Rosso drivers really trying to move on the Q2 on soft tires. Kobayashi was soon second, also on soft tires along with Sauber teammate Perez.

Webber still led when five minutes remained, with Kobayashi, Buemi, Alguersuari, and Vettel the top five. All were in the garage while di Resta, Liuzzi, Karthikeyan, Glock, D’Ambrosio, Trulli, and Heidfeld were in the knockout zone. The final three had yet to set a time. Petrov soon secured his move to Q2, going fastest on the soft tires. Maldonado soon joined him in second, while Ferrari also suggested that they might need to do the same with Alonso in twelfth and Massa fifteenth. In the continued use of soft tires, Schumacher went quickest while Massa was on the bubble, with Barrichello, Glock, Liuzzi, Karthikeyan, and D’Ambrosio were in the knockout zone, along with Trulli and Heidfeld who had not set times. Trulli was having gearbox issues.

In the end, Ferrari went for the soft tires to put Alonso and Massa in the top five. Hamilton and Button were only in fourteenth and fifteenth as they saved their soft tires. Kovalainen moved up to seventeenth to make it to Q2 for the first time in a dry session. Schumacher (1:22.960) ended the session quickest, with Petrov, Maldonado, Alonso, Massa, Rosberg, Webber, Kobayashi, and Alguersuari the top ten. Vettel (11th), Hamilton (14th), and Button (15th) were well down the order, but had set times only on the harder tire. Barrichello managed only nineteenth with a gearbox issue.

Knocked Out in Q1:
18. Trulli
19. Barrichello
20. Glock
21. Liuzzi
22. Karthikeyan
23. D’Ambrosio
24. Heidfeld

Q2:
No driver was straight out for the fifteen minutes of Q2. In fact, it was not until three minutes into the sessio that the Red Bulls made their way out on the softer tires, soon followed by the McLarens and Ferraris. Vettel’s first lap was 1:21.540, with Webber a couple tenths slower. Both were faster than their individual fastest times from the morning session. Alguersuari was third, only to lose position to Massa, then a host of other drivers.

Halfway through Q2, only seven drivers had set a time. Vettel led Webber, Button, Hamilton, Alonso, Massa, and Alguersuari. Both Red Bulls returned to the garage after their quick laps. Soon, the top six were in the garage while Buemi slotted into seventh, with Kobayashi, Alguersuari, and Perez the top ten. Rosberg, Petrov, Schumacher, Maldonado, Sutil, di Resta, and Kovalainen all had yet to set times with five minutes left.

Soon only those in the knockout zone were out (but for Maldonado and Kovalainen). Rosberg went fifth fastest on his first fast lap, with Petrov seventh, knocking Perez then Alguersuari out. Sutil, without a time, was interestingly running on the harder tire. Schumacher knocked Alonso to seventh by going sixth fastest with two minutes to go. Sutil stayed fifteenth with only Maldonado and Kovalainen were without times. Kobayashi, Alguersuari, Perez, di Resta, and Sutil were also in the relegation zone. Maldonado moved up to eighth, dropping Massa to tenth and forcing Buemi out. His teammate Alguersuari could not move up, but had time for one more lap. Kovalainen did not move on to Q3, but did manage a very good fifteenth. Vettel ended the session fastest, followed by Webber, Button, Hamilton, Rosberg, Schumacher, Alonso, Maldonado, Petrov, and Massa as those who moved on to fight for pole.

Knocked Out in Q2:
11. Buemi
12. Perez
13. Alguersuari
14. Kobayashi
15. Kovalainen
16. di Resta
17. Sutil

Q3:
Again, there was no rush to get on the track as the ten minutes of Q3 began. Button was the first to go out, followed by Hamilton, then Vettel and Webber. Button’s first time was 1:21.996, only to be bettered by Hamilton, then Vettel. The German’s quick 1:21.181 was bested only by teammate Webber (1:20.981), the first to post a lap time in the 1:20s. No other drivers had set times with four minutes to go. Hamilton did have an tiny issue on his lap, smoking the left front. Rosberg and Maldonado were the next cars out, along with Schumacher, then Alonso, with just over two minutes to go.

Red Bull again kept both their drivers in the garage, with McLaren following suit. Rosberg was out on the softer tires, but Schumacher was on the harder compound. Meanwhile, Maldonado slotted into fifth, only to lose it to Rosberg. Alonso, though, took fourth from Button while Schumacher aborted his lap and did not post a time in Q3. In the end, no one could best the Red Bulls, with Webber winning the pole while sitting outside his car.

Final Qualifying Times for the 2011 Spanish Grand Prix:

Driver Team Time Laps
1. Mark Webber Red Bull 1:20.981 12
2. Sebastien Vettel Red Bull 1:21.181 13
3. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:21.961 12
4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:21.964 15
5. Jenson Button McLaren 1:21.996 12
6. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:22.471 14
7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:22.599 14
8. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:22.888 15
9. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:22.952 14
10. Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP N/T (in Q3) 12
11. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1:23.231 6
12. Sergio Perez Sauber 1:23.367 9
13. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1:23.694 9
14. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:23.702 8
15. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1:25.403 6
16. Paul di Resta Force India 1:26.126 13
17. Adrian Sutil Force India 1:26.571 13
18. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1:26.521 4
19. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1:26.910 5
20. Timo Glock Virgin Racing 1:27.315 8
21. Tonio Liuzzi HRT 1:27.809 9
22. Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1:27.908 9
23. Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin Racing 1:28.556 5
24. Nick Heidfeld Renault N/T N/T
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