Mark Webber has led Red Bull to a predictable 1-2 in qualifying for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix, with the Milton Keynes squad’s drivers heading each of the three qualifying phases, and soundly thrashing rival teams in the all important top-ten shoot-out.
The Australian – seeking revenge after sub-standard outings in Bahrain, Australia and China, on top of losing from pole position in Malaysia – headed the timesheets in both knockout phases, and had to dig deep to overcome team-mate Sebastian Vettel, when the German leapt to the top of the timesheets in the final moments of Q3. Webber’s time of 1:19.995 was the quickest of the weekend overall, and he is the only driver to break into the 1m19s barrier.
Some distance behind the duo, Lewis Hamilton finished up third-quickest, ahead of crowd favourite Fernando Alonso, who managed to haul his ‘F-duct’ equipped Ferrari around the Circuit de Catalunya to take fourth on the grid. This was in spite of a near-collision with Nico Rosberg in the pit lane as the were exiting to go onto the circuit…
With Jenson Button in fifth, Michael Schumacher managed to out-qualify his team-mate, Nico Rosberg, for the first time this season – the seven-time World Champion has headed his team-mate in every session in a pleasant turnaround in form.
Felipe Massa would be disappointed to finish up in ninth place on the grid, while Kamui Kobayashi rounded out the top-ten in Sauber’s strongest weekend to-date, with Pedro de la Rosa starting from 12th.
Force India failed to make the top-ten for the first time this season, and will no doubt be disappointed with a lacklustre showing by their standards. Vitantonio Liuzzi, in particular, looked well off the pace, and was (I felt) the likeliest candidate to be bumped in Q1, but he scraped through by a few fractions.
The ignominious honour of being the sole ‘experienced team’ driver to fail to make it past Q1 went to Rubens Barrichello, with the Williams driver lapping slower than team-mate Nico Hülkenberg despite his car featuring the latest updates for the FW32.
Behind the Brazilian veteran, Jarno Trulli put in a last-gasp lap to head the ‘rookie team’ drivers, with he and team-mate Heikko Kovalainan comfortably out-pacing Virgin. The understeering Karun Chandhok lapped faster than the oversteering Bruno Senna in the HRTs, which brought up the rear of the 24-car field.
With Red Bull’s pace looking so serene at the front, if the race is dry and the Renault-powered RB6’s hold together, expect a dominant quinella and the other teams to be fighting for the scraps.
2010 Spanish GP Qualifying Times:
|1.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing||1:21.412||1:20.655||1:19.995|
|2.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing||1:21.680||1:20.722||1:20.101|
|6.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP||1:22.528||1:21.557||1:21.294|
|8.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP||1:22.419||1:21.867||1:21.408|
|11.||Adrian Sutil||Force India||1:22.628||1:21.985|
|12.||Pedro de la Rosa||Sauber||1:22.211||1:22.026|
|15.||Sébastien Buemi||Toro Rosso||1:22.699||1:22.191|
|16.||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso||1:22.593||1:22.207|
|17.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Force India||1:23.084||1:22.854|
|21.||Timo Glock*||Virgin Racing||1:25.475|
|22.||Lucas di Grassi*||Virgin Racing||1:25.556|
* Denotes 5-place grid penalty to be imposed
[Original image via GP Update]