Mark Webber has beaten team-mate Sebastian Vettel in qualifying for just the second time all season, mastering the wet/dry conditions to perfection to claim pole position in an event-filled qualifying session for tomorrow’s British Grand Prix.
Concerns from Red Bull team boss Christian Horner that his team would be most disadvantaged by the new blown exhaust clampdown could perhaps be written off after the Milton Keynes squad once again locked out the front row of the grid. Webber’s lap time of 1:30.399 in final qualifying was posted just moments before another rain shower lashed the circuit, which put an end to any changes in the qualifying order for tomorrow’s 52-lap race.
The mixed conditions that had hit the field in this morning’s final practice session reared their head once more, and it allowed Ferrari to shine, while main rivals McLaren faltered in qualifying. Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa occupy the second row of the grid, while Jenson Button was fifth-fastest but some way off the pace of the cars just ahead. His McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton struggled and qualified tenth-fastest.
An heavy shower at the end of Q1 caught out some drivers – both Toro Rossos failing to make it out of Q1 after mistiming their final runs on dry-weather tyres – and this was enough to allow Heikki Kovalainen another appearance in Q2 as he continues his impressive form in the Renault-powered Lotus.
Two other drivers to really impress in qualifying were Paul di Resta and Pastor Maldonado, who will start from sixth- and seventh-fastest respectively, with Maldonado one spot ahead of Kamui Kobayashi’s Sauber. The pair were giant-killers in qualifying, and comfortably accounted for regular top-ten qualifiers Michael Schumacher (13th), Vitaly Petrov (14th) and Nick Heidfeld (16th).
Unlucky to miss out on spots in the final stage of qualifying were Adrian Sutil and Sergio Pérez, who will start from the sixth row of the grid.
At the back of the grid, Timo Glock managed to outqualify an ever-disenchanted Jarno Trulli to claim 20th spot on the grid, while the two HRTs predictably brought up the rear, with Daniel Ricciardo slowest of all on his F1 debut, which marks the first time that two Australians have been on the grid since the 1977 Austrian Grand Prix.
2011 British Grand Prix – Qualifying Session Times:
|1.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault||1:32.670||1:31.673||1:30.399|
|2.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault||1:32.977||1:32.379||1:30.431|
|5.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes||1:34.230||1:32.273||1:31.898|
|6.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes||1:34.472||1:32.569||1:31.929|
|7.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Cosworth||1:32.702||1:32.588||1:31.933|
|8.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari||1:34.324||1:32.399||1:32.128|
|9.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP||1:34.186||1:32.295||1:32.209|
|10.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes||1:33.581||1:32.505||1:32.376|
|11.||Adrian Sutil||Force India Mercedes||1:34.454||1:32.617|
|12.||Sergio Pérez||Sauber Ferrari||1:34.145||1:32.624|
|13.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP||1:34.160||1:32.656|
|15.||Rubens Barrichello||Williams Cosworth||1:33.532||1:33.119|
|17.||Heikki Kovalainen||Team Lotus Renault||1:34.923||1:34.821|
|18.||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso Ferrari||1:35.245|
|19.||Sébastien Buemi||Toro Rosso Ferrari||1:35.749|
|20.||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing Cosworth||1:36.203|
|21.||Jarno Trulli||Team Lotus Renault||1:36.456|
|22.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Virgin Racing Cosworth||1:37.154|
|23.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||HRT F1 Cosworth||1:37.484|
|24.||Daniel Ricciardo||HRT F1 Cosworth||1:38.059|
|107% CUT-OFF TIME||1:39.156|