F1 Nurburgring Quali Results & Report: Webber Dominates to Pole for the German GP


What Happens When It’s Stil RB All the Way

9:17am EST — Mark Webber (1:30.079) put his stamp on winning pole position for the 2011 German Grand Prix, beating out Lewis Hamilton, teammate Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, and Felipe Massa in a nail-biting final minutes of qualifying on Saturday. Though Webber took an early lead, going a half second faster than the rest of the field, Hamilton ended the session with a stunning lap to come less than a tenth off the Australian’s pace. Alonso looked quick most of the weekend, but simply did not quite have the final tenths to catch the Red Bulls, even a surprisingly slower Vettel who will start third at home. Jenson Button, who will start seventh, was unhappy after qualifying, considering how he had “felt comfortable” during the morning’s practice.

Though the Red Bulls led two of the three practice sessions, Ferrari looked to be continuing its quick pace from Silverstone. Vettel (1:30.916 posted the quickest lap of the weekend in Saturday morning’s final practice, but it was Alonso (1:31.894) who set the first quick lap Friday morning and Webber (1:31.711) quickest Friday afternoon. Also interesting, Alonso did not bother to set the second faster lap on his soft tires in the final practice, leading many to suspect that the Spaniard might just have the pace to break the Red Bull pole streak, so long as the threatening rain does not fall during qualifying. Though McLaren looked to be well off the pace on Friday, both Hamilton and Button improved Saturday. Many drivers had minor off-track excursions through a gravel trap on Friday as the cool track rubbered in, but Saturday was relatively uneventful. Tonio Liuzzi will suffer a five place gird penalty after changing his gearbox on Friday.

Q1:
The first of three qualifying shootouts began under partially cloudy skies, with no rain forecast for the twenty minutes of Q1 on a cool circuit. Virgin Racing was the first team out, followed by Ricciardo for HRT as the lights went out. Massa was the first of the faster teams to leave, moments later, on the harder tire. He was soon followed by Webber and half the field. Just three minutes in, all but Petov, Kobayashi, Perez, and Buemi were out of the garage. With so many cars on track, the first times came furiously, with Schumacher (1:35.368) taking an early lead, five minutes into the session. He was followed by Heidfeld, Webber, Hamilton, and Sutil as the top five.

Soon, though, Webber was on top, followed by Algersuari, only to be displaced at the top by Hamilton, despite the Briton’s being balked in the final corner. Only Petrov, Kobayashi, and Perez had yet to leave pit lane with eleven minutes remaining, as Hamilton (1:32.934) led Vettel, Alonso, Button, Webber, Massa, Alguersuari, Buemi, Rosberg, and Schumacher the top ten. D’Ambrosio, Liuzzi, Chandhok, and Ricciardo joined those without times in the relegation zone.

Alonso, though, was the next on top, by barely less then two hundredths. With eight minutes to go, many drivers were heading into the garage for those regular final changes, though the drivers in the knockout zone were heading back out to in an effort to move forward. Perez jumped up to sixth on the softer tires on his first fast lap. Kobayashi also moved up to eighth, though he had a moment that slowed him during the lap. With five to go, Barrichello, Glock, D’Ambrosio, Liuzzi, Chandhok, Ricciardo and the timeless Petrov were in the knockout zone. All but Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel, Webber, and Button (the top five) were lapping at that time.

Petrov’s first time put him fifth, as Kovalainen moved up to eighteenth, but remained in the knockout zone. Maldonado next went fifth on the softer tires, then Heidfeld (1:32.505) posted the fastest lap, with Schumacher going just a tenth slower for second fastest. Barrichello moved up, but slid backwards to thirteenth as Massa (1:31.826) again had to use soft tires, going fastest. With a minute to go, Rosberg, Kovalainen, Clock, D’Ambrosio, Chandhok, Liuzzi, and Ricciardo were the men about to be knocked out. Rosberg was the next to move up, going sixth fastest and dropping Kobayashi (in the garage) into the relegation zone. The session ended with Massa (1:31.826) fastest, followed by Sutil, Heidfeld, Schumacher, di Resta, Rosberg, Alonso, Hamilton, and Vettel the fastest ten, with the top six all having used soft tires to get there.

Knocked Out in Q1:
18. Kobayashi
19. Kovalainen
20. Glock
21. Chandhok
22. D’Ambrosio
23. Liuzzi*
24. Ricciardo
*Liuzzi will start 24th after changing gearboxes on Friday, moving teammate up to start 23rd.

Q2:
Perez was the first out for the fifteen minutes of Q2, followed by Massa, then Alonso with no rain forecast, but still looking threatening. Three minutes in, all but Heidfeld, Maldonado, Buemi, and Alguersuari were on the track. Typically, Toro Rosso waits until the halfway point of Q2 to run out for a single set of fast laps. Massa took an early lead with a lap time of 1:31.792, only to have Alonso beat his time by six tenths. Webber soon split them, only to have Hamilton (1:30.998) jump to fastest on his first lap. Vettel was next around, going second fastest in the patchy German sunshine.

At about the halfway point, Hamilton led Vettel, Alonso, Button, Webber, Massa, Rosberg, Petrov, Schumacher, and Sutil as the fastest ten, with Perez, Barrichello, and di Resta in the knockout zone. Heidfeld, Alguersuari, Maldonado, and Buemi had yet to set a time. Heidfeld’s first put him ninth fastest while Webber displaced Button in fourth. Sutil, Perez, Barrichello, di Resta, and Alguersuari were in the knockout zone with five minutes remaining. The top eleven were in the garage with four to go as Maldonado was the last man to set a time.

Rosberg moved up to seventh as Schumacher returned to the track in tenth fastest. Hamilton still led Vettel, Alonso, Webber, and Button as the fastest five while Maldonado’s fast lap moved him to ninth, and Petrov to tenth, dropping Schumacher to the drop zone. Buemi and Alguersuari pitted from fifteenth and seventeenth with two minutes left. di Resta moved himself up to ninth, dropping maldonado into the knockout zone with Schumacher, Sutil, Barrichello, Perez, and the Toro Rossos. Schumacher then went eighth with a half minute to go, as Sutil dropped teammate di Resta out by moving up to seventh fastest. The session ended with Hamilton (1:30.998) leading Vettel, Alonso, Webber, Rosberg, Button, Massa, Sutil, Petrov, and Schumacher moving on to Q3.

Knocked Out in Q2:
11. Heidfeld
12. di Resta
13. Maldonado
14. Barrichello
15. Perez
16. Buemi
17. Alguersuari

Q3:
There was no rush to get onto the track, with Alonso, Petrov, and Hamilton the first out within the first minute of the ten given to Q3. Quickly, all but the Germans were lapping. Three minutes into the session, no times had yet been set and the Mercedes and Sutil had yet to leave the garage. Alonso’s first lap was a 1:30.866, the fastest of the weekend. Hamilton beat him by just over a tenth on his own first lap to take provisional pole. Button went third, while Webber’s lap (1:30.251) was a blistering tutorial on the speed of Red Bull, taking a half second off Hamilton’s time. Vettel went second, a tenth off his teammate’s pace as the session was half over.

Webber led Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, Massa, Button, and Petrov at that time, as the seconds ticked away from Q3. Schumacher and Rosberg came out with four minutes remaining as the other drivers pitted. Sutil was the last out, as Alonso returned to fight over a shot at pole. Webber also left the garage with two minutes to go, while Vettel and Massa remained. Seconds later, all ten drivers were on track, with Alonso having possibly the clearest track in front of him. Webber continued his run with a fastest of all first sector, a tenth faster than Alonso, only to have Hamilton beat the two of them. Alonso posted another fast second secoter, only to have Webber beat it by three tenths. Alonso moved up to third, only to have Hamilton slide into second, leaving only Vettel able to attempt to chase his teammate. However, the German was unable to do better than a personal best third sector, and could not post a time better than third fastest, dropping Alonso to fourth. Webber ended the session as he began it, with a dominant lap time to take pole for the second time this season.

Final Qualifying Times for the 2011 German Grand Prix:

Driver Team

Time

Laps
1. Mark Webber Red Bull 1:30.079 18
2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:30.134 15
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:30.216 16
4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:30.442 16
5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:30.910 19
6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:31.263 22
7. Jenson Button McLaren 1:31.288 14
8. Adrian Sutil Force India 1:32.010 18
9. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:32.187 16
10. Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:32.482 18
11. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1:32.215 16
12. Paul di Resta Force India 1:32.560 15
13. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:32.635 13
14. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1:33.043 18
15. Sergio Perez Sauber 1:33.176 14
16. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1:33.546 11
17. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1:33.698 11
18. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:33.786 5
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1:35.599 9
20. Timo Glock Virgin Racing 1:36.400 12
21. Karun Chandhok Lotus 1:36.422 11
22. Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin Racing 1:36.641 12
23. Tonio Liuzzi* HRT 1:37.011 11
24. Daniel Ricciardo HRT 1:37.036 11

*Liuzzi will drop to twenty-fourth, moving Ricciardo up to twenty-third after changing gearboxes on Friday.

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