Webber gambles for pole as Ferrari and McLaren falter

2010 Malaysian Grand Prix qualifyingPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Webber and Rosberg share the front row of the grid
Webber and Rosberg share the front row of the grid

A brilliant gamble by Mark Webber put him on pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix after a wet qualifying session in Seapang.

But several other big names called the conditions completely wrong – both Ferraris and Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren will start the race from the back three rows of the grid.


Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Sepang, 2010

The teams had expected rain to coincide with qualifying and, sure enough, the clouds opened minutes before the start of Q1.

Fifteen cars headed out of the pit lane at once as Q1 begun, including Sebastian Vettel, though most of the top teams’ drivers stayed dry in the garages.

But this proved their undoing when a second, unexpected belt of rain dropped more water on the track. The circuit had only been half-wet at best but now required full wet tyres.

This caught out several drivers. Lewis Hamilton spun at the last corner on his first lap on intermediate tyres and by the time he came around again the track was so wet he needed full wet tyres.

Jenson Button made it into Q2 with his first lap but the deeper water caught him out at turn six the next time around and he spun into the gravel trap. Vitaly Petrov followed him off, but while the Renault driver kept going Button was stuck.

Nor did either of the Ferrari drivers make it out soon enough. Fernando Alonso and Hamilton traded times at the end of the session, Alonso spinning at turn eight on one lap. They lapped within six thousandths of a second of each other on the quickly-drying track – but neither were able to make the cut for the top 17, and nor could Felipe Massa.

If the big teams had no excuse for missing the best opportunity to set a fast lap at the beginning of the session, at least Lucas di Grassi did – he’d been stuck in the pits with over-running repairs from first practice.

Also out were Bruno Senna, who spun during the early running, team mate Karun Chandhok and Lotus’s Jarno Trulli.

But the new teams had seized their opportunity – Timo Glock’s Virgin and the Lotus of Heikki Kovalainen made it into Q2.


Vitaly Petrov, Renault, Sepang, 2010

After Q1 the teams weren’t getting caught out again – Robert Kubica led all 15 runners (minus Button’s McLaren) onto the track.

Most of the cars began the session on intermediates but a notable exception were Red Bull, who sent their drivers out on full wets to begin with, before switching over to intermediates.

That was an important change, because the rain picked up again towards the end of the session. With few drivers improving their times at the end of the session there were no surprises among the eliminations.

But Michael Schumacher almost fell victim to Pedro de la Rosa’s Sauber and only made it into the top ten by three-tenths of a second.

Heikki Kovalainen won the battle of the new teams, edging Timo Glock who spun early on in the session, but both were eliminated.


Mark Webber, Red Bull, Sepang, 2010

The rain return with a vengeance at the beginning of Q3. Not wanting to get held up by the other cars, Robert Kubica cheekily drove past the queue at the exit of the pit lane and led them out onto the track.

But with conditions similar to those which brought last year’s race to a halt, the session was red-flagged as the cars were halfway around their first lap.

After a 20-minute delay the session resumed with the Force Indias, wise to Kubica’s tactics, side-by-side at the pit lane exit.

That guaranteed them a clear view of the track ahead but the truly smart gamble came from Mark Webber, who started the session on intermediate tyres. It was a risky decision and when he came round after the first lap in ninth place it looked like it hadn’t paid off.

But with little further rain falling the track came to Webber. His second lap was quickest of all and his final effort put him 1.3 seconds faster than every other car.

Nico Rosberg grabbed second place on the grid, pushing Sebastian Vettel off the front row for the first time this year.

Adrian Sutil joins Vettel on the second row ahead of Nico H???lkenberg’s Williams.

Read more: 2010 Malaysian Grand Prix grid

Pos. # Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 6 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’51.886 1’48.210 1’49.327
2 4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’52.560 1’47.417 1’50.673
3 5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’47.632 1’46.828 1’50.789
4 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’49.479 1’47.085 1’50.914
5 10 Nico H???lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’49.664 1’47.346 1’51.001
6 11 Robert Kubica Renault 1’46.283 1’46.951 1’51.051
7 9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’50.301 1’48.371 1’51.511
8 3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’52.239 1’48.400 1’51.717
9 23 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’48.467 1’47.792 1’51.767
10 15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’49.922 1’48.238 1’52.254
11 12 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’47.952 1’48.760
12 22 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1’47.153 1’48.771
13 16 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’48.945 1’49.207
14 17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’48.655 1’49.464
15 19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1’52.875 1’52.270
16 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’52.398 1’52.520
17 1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’52.211
18 18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’52.884
19 8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’53.044
20 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’53.050
21 7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’53.283
22 20 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1’56.299
23 21 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’57.269
24 25 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1’59.977

2010 Malaysian Grand Prix

169 comments on “Webber gambles for pole as Ferrari and McLaren falter”

  1. what a qualifying. Webber made fantastic job. Schumi could better. India was great today. Ferrari…. yea, this was something kinda nightmare. when last time P1 to P2 was 1,3 secs?

    1. agreed- any stat masters able to find out the last time the gap to P2 was as big as 1.3 seconds?

      1. Im gonna search it later. As well as when last time all TOP4 from drivers championship failed to get at least P16 on the grid.
        BTW http://www.formula1.com/results/season/2010/826/6716/best_sector_times.html look at Schumi’s 2nd sector and later to first and third

        1. Also – have we ever had 4 Germans in the top 5 before?

          1. When we have had 4 good germans? Never since Frentzen, Schumi brothers, Heidfeld. Heidfeld was noob in 2000, but Frentzen was noob since, so I bet somewhere from 2003-2009

  2. Yeh Go Webber. Rosberg’s first front row start and both Mclarens and Ferrari’s at the back.

  3. Indranil Dudhane
    3rd April 2010, 10:35

    Was Webber the only guy on inters in Q3?

      1. Rosberg had inters also i think keith.

        1. No he was on full wets. Ross Brawn confirmed that Nico had pushed for inters, but that both Merc cars had in fact gone out on full wets.

          1. oh really? heard ross brawn talking about inters in the interview, must of misheard him.

        2. Rosberg was definitely on full wets in Q3.

          1. How will this affect Webber if the race starts out with heavy rain? Everyone else is on wets…

          2. He can change tyres Dan.

  4. I think so, but Webber made the smartest move so it payed off. :)

    1. very interestin Quali but how many times of gettin it wrong like this will it take ferarri to learn, they ahould be v embarrested.
      Mclaren were a bit silly too but Hams spin at the final corer was what resulted in his poor spot in my opinion.

      1. Ferrari messed up qualifying here as well last year, and of course McLaren just had their strategy mistake in Melbourne.

        1. On the BBC earlier they said that Bridgestone had told McLaren that Lewis’ tyres wouldn’t have made it to the end of the race so maybe it wasn’t a complete mistake.

          This weather prediction was though. Awful stuff. As Eddie Jordan said even if they’re right they should always get a time down for insurance’s sake.

          1. yes, there is an article on autosport.com
            Keith, don’t you find interesting, the fact that hamilton and alonso, both made the same mistake, it’s because they are covering themselves up. They see each other as the bigest threat for the championship, and even if they are at the back of the grid, at least none of them have a clear advantage over the other, what makes a little sense the last alonso’s comments.

        2. Ferrari didn’t just mess up in qualifying last year but the race when the stuck Kimi on full wets when the track was dry.

          1. Magnificent Geoffrey
            3rd April 2010, 13:09

            I know it didn’t work out for them, but I can definately understand the theory behind that call. It would’ve looked like a brilliant decision had the rain started a bit sooner than it did.

        3. No mistake. Bridgestone said that both Webber and Hamilton had to pit for fresh rubber.

        4. the point is if u make a wrong tyre choice fair enough we can all make errors but to sit in the garage beliving the weather radar which has been proven to not be v accurate and not gettin a banker in is totally inexcusable, if i was a sponser of ferrai i would be giving them an ear full. (never happened under brawn when he was there they still haven’t been able to replace him, is the alack of cleaver mined out there!)

          1. Agree Geoff and by that point Ferrari needed a gamble to gtet anywhere but right now they’re not in that situation, they’re there to get points and not throw them away

  5. Wow, I never thought I’d agree with Eddie Jordan but the big teams (except Red Bull) really screwed the pooch on this one. McLaren especially.

  6. Was an interesting qualifying. Hopefully Webber can make the most of pole in tomorrows race. Obviously Red Bull would be wanting a win after three solid qualifying results.

    The problem is you don’t always get what you want.

    Will be interesting to see how the teams with egg on their face can come back tomorrow. McLaren and Ferrari fans would not be impressed with their guys after that effort.

  7. Wow! Even IF it stays dry tomorrow, we’re going to have a great race with Lewis and the ferrari’s batteling to the front of the field again.

    1. and hulkenberg and sutil fighting for points and kobayashi too.
      sorry for no capslock

  8. David Watkins
    3rd April 2010, 10:40

    Congrats Webber.

    Yet again McLaren make a complete mess of it. How can it be so hard to understand that the weather may worsen as well as improve and it is imperative, in wet conditions, to get a lap time in what might prove to be optimum conditions.

    Again, this is not the first time this has happened (Monza 2008) and, again, they have not learnt from it. At the moment Id be re-assured if they put the Chuckle Brothers in charge of strategy

    1. Bring back Ron Dennis – all is forgiven. McLaren strategists/Whitmarsh = useless.

      1. Agree. The golden rule for decades has been if it’s wet at the start of qualifying get a banker lap in, because there is very little to loose and it stops what happened to McLaren and Ferrari. I don’t think Ron would have forgotten that if he had been on the pit wall.

    2. Yeah. Amazingly Ferrari got it just as wrong. Monza 2008 they got Raikkonen in the mess, last year here they messed up for Massa and now both drivers.

      Red Bull might have gotten it right this time (at least with Webber), but Melbourne was a huge blunder of course when they lost Webber P2 early in the race. That cost them the win.

      The big teams rely too much on their cars being fastest and their computer doing the thinking for them. All their mission control nonsense does is calculate everything, but it misses the gut feeling of a true strategist.

      1. ” All their mission control nonsense does is calculate everything, but it misses the gut feeling of a true strategist.”
        Agree completely. I also wonder if a tiny part of the reason is sometimes they just get lost up thinking that they are the top and so can afford a gamble.

        1. I think the problem is they focus so much on gaining a slight edge on Ferrari (and vice-versa) that they miss the big picture. This was the worst decision I can remember. A small advantage over Ferrari, Merc or red Bull is irrelevant in Q1 or Q2! With 15 cars out, sticking in any kind of time even in traffic would surely have been enough to get both McLarens and Ferraris through. What else was needed? As soon as they saw so many out, they should have gone. Particularly with Vettel there too! And what’s the point in spending mega bucks on strategy to gain a grid position or two if your decision is so grossly wrong you lose 20???

          Still, it’s going to be insane scrap tomorrow – question is can Lewis and Fred blast there way up the field before the race is cancelled half-way through again? :0)

  9. A brilliant gamble by Mark Webber put him on pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix after a wet qualifying session in Seapang.


    1. Typo, fixed!

  10. Not just the gamble … but the drive deserves applause for what it was. Webber is every bit the equal of any of the other rainmeisters.

    1. Indeed, if he’d thrown it off the track he’d have been looking very silly.

    2. Webber was good only cause of inter tyres

      1. Any of the other drivers in Q3 could have picked intermediates – they didn’t. Webber had the guts to take the gamble and it paid off.

      2. Mark Hitchcock
        3rd April 2010, 16:47

        But it was very touch and go with the tyres.
        It would have been very difficult to keep the car on the track with inters for the first lap or so.
        He did a great job not to go off track like Keith says.

  11. David Watkins
    3rd April 2010, 10:45

    If the race is red flagged again tomorrow, surely even someone as stubborn and egotistical as Bernie Ecclestone will accept that he has got it wrong with the scheduling

    1. If it runs true to form we’ll get rain in the last quarter of the race. I’ll be reading up the regulations on restarting races tonight!

    2. Nonsense! Scheduling an afternoon race in monsoonal weather conditions is the only sensible option. After all, what could be more riveting than half distance, confusing and chaotic racing in poor visibility?

      Those numptys clamouring for clean, fast, unrestricted racing just want to ruin the show!

      I grew up in Darwin, Australia, and I can tell you now that nobody who lives anywhere like Malaysia is surprised at the result of the current scheduling. It’s a nonsense that the ‘Formula One _World_ Championship’ is beholden to European television interests to this extent.

  12. Gutsy move from Webber. A well deserved pole.

  13. Red Bull are right jammy so and sos in qualifying. Shocking to see McLaren and Ferrari make such a silly mistake about the weather. Anyway, that top 10 is one of the most interesting I’ve seen in ages and hopefully the race tomorrow will be even more exciting than Australia.

    1. If your rivals make mistakes and you don’t, that doesn’t make you lucky, that makes you better than your rivals.

      1. I know, I’m just being a little emotional about it. I hope they don’t start doing a Brawn because that’ll be very boring.

        1. They cant really do a brawn as they won the early races then fade, redbull havent won the early races and I dont think they will fade anytime soon.

    2. David Watkins
      3rd April 2010, 10:52


      If there is a call to be made, no matter how easy, just do the opposite of McLaren and 9 times out of 10 you will prosper.

      1. Well so far this year that’s proving to be very true. Let’s see if the race is any difference.

        1. SennaRainho
          3rd April 2010, 17:32


          I doubt that they can make a Brawn as we have see McLaren and Ferrari having excellent race pace. Red Bull still has a qualifying advantage but even though overtaking is not optimum I think the pressure from Alonso and Hamilton will give us a fairly close season after all.

          Personally I enjoyed to Kobayashi and Kubica show their true talents in the wet, when driver skill overrules superior car performance.

  14. I predict very low scoring in our prediction game! Yeah!

    Great qualifying consistency from Kubica. I fancy Robert on the podium again. I hope Schumacher will show us some of his rain-magic tomorrow.

    Assuming that Cosworth is not the best engine out there, Williams seem to have quite a fast car.

    1. Yeah congratulations to anyone who picked Webber!

      1. Andrew White
        3rd April 2010, 10:54

        I picked Vettel. I was hopeful until Webber blitzed it in Q3. Damn.

        1. You and a few hundred others I suspect!

      2. There were 16 such people :)

        1. I was close-ish with the lap time. A little high at a 1:53. How are the pole time guesses converted to points Keith?

          1. No points, it’s just a tie-breaker, in case two people have the same number of points. Then it’s probably about who is closest to the actual time.

        2. I’m one of them! Yay! :D But I didn’t put him on the top 5 :(

          1. I don’t think it matters that I forgot to enter this week! Afterall 80% of my top 5 failled to do a run in Q2. :-/

      3. im not sure but i think i picked him hehe.

  15. Schumi_the_greatest
    3rd April 2010, 10:49

    was that a typo keith or just sarcasm? ha

  16. Jhonnie Siggie
    3rd April 2010, 10:49

    Well at least it should make for an exciting race tomorrow with the Mclarens and Ferraris storming through the field.

  17. @ David Watkins: Agreed!!!!

  18. Ferrari and Mclaren messed up. It was pretty clear straight away that they should have been out with the others.
    Massa has had some storming drivers; Aus 06, Silverstone 07 and in the wet China 09. Ham and Alo are the best on the field, probably Alo just ahead, so they should be good. As Keith pointed out on the live blogs, Lewis needs to be more careful when slipstreaming as he keeps clipping the cars. JB is a good overtaker so he’ll be on the move.
    Webber should be expected to rampage away but I seriously doubt it will be as straight forward as that.
    Petrov was impressive for a while. Hulk did a great job but Webber was the star of the day for that gamble. I think Seb is maybe the quickest -or one of the quickest-on the grid and has a delicate feel in the wet and looks like he knows right where the grip is but isn’t the outright fastest for that in the soaking conditions which I think Monza showed. If he had been brave enough to gamble with the tyres maybe he would have pole but full credit to Webber for the decision.

    1. China 09 we will never know. Massa dropped out before he made his pitstop. Pretty useless to call it a good race if we don’t even know where he had ended up.

      1. True I suppose but he did show he could get right where he needed to be. If he had stayed 13th or worse then he’d be slagged off despite the retirement so I’m giving him the due praise for the part he participated in. A pdoium was never guaranteed and nor will I say it but for the racing he was in it was a good show.

    2. James Brickles
      3rd April 2010, 15:11

      Aus 06 was where Massa got punted off at the first corner by Scott Speed and Cristian Klien.

      You may be thinking of Aus 07 ;)

      1. I did mean 07 as that was race Kimi marched off into the sun set. Really bad typo on my part. Sorry!

    3. Catalina ;)
      3rd April 2010, 19:18

      Petrov had a fuel pump rpoblem in quali, so I think he did a very good effort

  19. Looking at the predictions, the closest time anyone predicted for the pole was 1:47. Every other time was faster than that. We all forgot about the rain!

    1. I remembered! but Webber made my guess look a bit slow at 1:53

  20. i thought side pod mirrors were now banned but the teams still had them :S

    1. Andrew White
      3rd April 2010, 10:55

      They have to be changed by Spain.

    2. That rule change is for after China I think, certainly not this weekend.

    3. staying until Spain i think….

  21. I don’t understand why Mclaren and Ferrari thought the conditions were going to improve when it rains everyday there at 16h00!

    1. Not least, it was raining already and there’s always a chance of rain getting harder. Plus they know it’s unpredictable in that part of the world.

      I know it’s easy to get it right with hindsight but the fact is practically every other teams got it right without hindsight.

  22. Wow, that was a good quali, and somehow – because the Mclarens weren’t there – I eneded up shouting on the Renault in Q3 :/

  23. What’s gonna happen regarding the new Q3 race-tyre qualifying rule and wet quali/dry race. Will all the top 10 bar Webber have to start on full wets, or does the rule get ignored due to the weather?

    1. It gets ignored.

    2. They can choose whatever tyres they want for the race.

  24. Oxley_K’s pole time prediction was the closest to Webber’s time.

    1. what he predicted?
      mine was 1:38. Im loser :D

      1. He predicted 01:48.798

        1. Yeah, missing half second :D What an unpredictable Q

  25. It’s worth remembering that if Lewis hadn’t done himself on the final corner he’d have made Q2. An if Jenson hadn’t spun off he would’ve made it too. Regardless they didn’t, but it’s worth mentioning that McLaren nearly got away with what does seem a mistake worthy of Eddie Jordan’s many adjectives.

    Still, if it’s dry tommorow, this race will show if F1 has a genuine problem or not, if the McLarens an Ferrari’s can carve there way through the field, well it difficult but still F1. If they can’t we are genuinley stuck.

    Congrats to Mark, g’luck to im, pleasingly poetic if he grabs Redbulls first win, an hopefully the gremlins stay away. Also, though I’m not a fan I hope Vettel gets to see the flag, an hopefully he does some overtaking today, be nice if he could prove he’s not an intensly boring lights to flag racer, I mean great fun on camera, stingly dull in car, with occasional oppourtunism, love to see how he races if he gets in to a hectic set of situations.

    Anyway, hope Lewis has a good race, an McLaren get good points, shennanigans to the rest of them baring Sutil an Kubica. Whom I hope to see on the podium.

    1. It’s worth remembering that if Lewis hadn’t done himself on the final corner he’d have made Q2. An if Jenson hadn’t spun off he would’ve made it too.

      That’s a good point. They did get chances to make it in. But still they allowed themselves to become vulnerable.

      1. Certainly they put themselves in the situation to become vunerable. It’s funny how the big names almost always fall in these types of qualifiying sessions. They’ve been making the same mistake since I started watching the sport. Can make for great races though.

        1. Whitmarsh has offered the usual excuse that ‘putting your hand out of the window only tells you if it’s raining now, not what it’ll do in the next five minutes. We have only radar to tell us that ! ‘

          An old racing pal of mine laughed at that simplistic notion. ‘ So far as I know radar doesn’t have any local knowledge about weather in tropical countries, or have the ability to stand outside and look which way the wind is bringing the weather in. Simple stuff, but likely to be more accurate than any high-tech gismo.’


  26. STRFerrari4Ever
    3rd April 2010, 11:04

    Brilliant qualifying session the two biggest teams on the grid mess up yet again by relying on computers instead of using their common sense.
    Red Bull brilliant result for them Webber’s gamble was inspired and he stuck it on pole, Rosberg did well qualifying in 2nd place and beating Schumi & Vettel did a good job putting his Red Bull in 3rd position. On a personal note I’m gutted that STR didn’t manage to get a car through to Q3 whether the driver’s made mistakes or they just missed the window in Q2 i’m a bit upset, as Q3 was a possibility especially if you see how Williams & Force India got 2 cars into Q3!

    The race is shaping up to be an interesting one, 4 top cars at the back fighting their way through the field in changeable conditions, it’s going to be rather fascinating.If the race starts in wet conditions then Webber would be the only driver in the top 10 starting on the inters what if that on race day proves to be a mistake or a master-stroke? only time will tell I honestly can’t wait!

    1. If the race starts in wet conditions then Webber would be the only driver in the top 10 starting on the inters

      No he wouldn’t, the top ten tyre rule doesn’t apply here.

  27. There is a typo in Alguersuari’s Q1 time.It is 1′44.655 and it should be 1′48.655. 1′44.655 would be fastest Q1 time, while Kubica with his 1′46.283 was fastest.

    1. So there is – corrected.

      1. And 17 runners in Q2 minus Button = 16 (not 15)

  28. 18 points for Rosberg tomorrow with McLaren and Ferrari not scoring would mean he’d be leading the championship..

    But obviously anything could happen tomorrow.

    1. Of course to finish 2nd, first u must finish :D

  29. Nice lap from Hülkenberg, half a second up on his team mate.

    But Schumacher 1.1 seconds behind Nico Rosberg on a wet track? Now that is a surprise. He only beat Kamui Kobayashi by five hundredths of a second.

    1. I was surprised at that too. Think Schumi just needs more time personally.
      Ross Brawn said that Rosberg wanted to switch to inters too. Would have been nice to see someone else take the gamble.

    2. 1 second is a big surprise, but Rubens used to beat him in a wet track in Ferrari days.

      It was embarrassing…

  30. I still think a pole for a red Bull is cursed that’s why vettel didn’t go for inter’s as well to get pole lol.

    1. edit: also my betting man Rosberg looking good to take alot of points to catch up in the standings and maybe overtake Alonso for the WDC, 25/1 baby.

  31. Rosberg did a great job especially, I’m surprised nobody is mentioning him after he beat his teammate by a full second, only being beaten by a red bull on better tyres. I hope he makes it to a podium… and considering Red Bull consistent inreliability he might even battle for the win. I really think he might be one of the very best current drivers, he just needs to be more agressive in the first few laps where he seems to be most vulnerable. I’ll be crossing my fingers for him tomorrow, would be nice to see a first in a first since ’55. :)

    I also like the fact Webber is trailed by four germans in a row, all in different cars.

    Can’t wait for the race, whatever the conditions it seems to be shaping up to be a good one. :)

  32. at least we already know that the race will be fun to watch, unless at the end of 1º corner the ferraris and mclarens end up there all crashed.

  33. David Watkins
    3rd April 2010, 11:21

    Just had a look at the regulations regarding Kubica pushing in to the queue at the end of the pit lane and can’t see that he did anything wrong

    1. I was wondering about this – is it legal to double up just at the front or can everyone try to outsmart everyone else and we end up with two queues, or more?

  34. I wonder what “The Horse Whisperer” has to say about both Ferrari’s being outqualified by 2 cars from the ‘pretender’ teams.

    1. I was waiting for someone to mention this :-)

      1. Forget about the “pretenders” they were out-qualified by 3 of the newbies :-)lol

  35. Great decision from Webber. Vettel drove well and glad he didn’t get pole. Hope he can win tomorrow and close the gap on the title.

    Driver of the day for me though is Nico Hulkenburg. Great performance and beating his very experienced team mate and in the wet, which Rubens is pro at.

    1. You’re right about the Hulk but you’re glad Vettel didn’t get pole? You’re the biggest Vettel fan on here! :P

  36. OK, I feel like I need to chime in and as everyone else, state the bleeding obvious.

    McLaren and Ferrari messed up on qualifying decisions. It turned out to be wetter than expected.

    Webber is on pole benefiting from a element of luck (in timing his run) as well as a risky decision to run on inters.

    I’d put money on Webber not making anything of it. Fast but limited as ever…

    1. David Watkins
      3rd April 2010, 11:42

      they missed up by thinking there was a decision to make in the first place

    2. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that happen to Webber, but the races he won he won from pole and absolutely dominated, especially the german Grand Prix.

      1. Of course he wasn’t on pole in Brazil at all, but he still won convincingly as expected… my bad. :)

    3. As they’ve said they held back because they thought the session was going to dry. So I can only guess they didn’t go out immediately because they didn’t want to end up using a second set of intermediate tyres and wearing them out, as they’d need them for the race tomorrow.

      The upside for Ferrari and McLaren is, having not made it into the later stages of qualifying, they haven’t needed to use as many sets of intermediates as their rivals have.

      That could prove useful tomorrow. But it’s not worth starting from the back rows for – I’m sure they’d rather have progressed to Q2 and beyond…

  37. I hope RB6 can last a full race distance regardless whatever wheather that might be in sepang.

    1. could lead to a Rosberg win…!

  38. Another quali session that’s longer and wetter than one of James Allen’s Hamilton superlatives.

    Do you think Bernie will start getting pushback from the broadcasters for this?

    1. wetter than one of James Allen’s Hamilton superlatives.

      Nice metaphor work :-)

  39. I think 3p.m malaysian time is suitable to start the race; a dry at the start and wet towards the end of the race; that would be interesting; rather than to see the race halted or red flag due to heavy downfall around 5p.m usually

  40. Schumi_the_greatest
    3rd April 2010, 11:54

    slightly off topic, but has anyone else who watches the bbc coverage notuced how after bahrain all the talk was of Button in for a hard year alongside hamilton after lets be honest a pretty poor performance, now after australia its like hamilton is the 1 under pressure and button is talking about his championship rivals…amazing what 1 race does to change everyones perceptions and well, sanity!


    looking forward to the race though expect to see hamilton, alonso and button carving through the field and would love to see schumacher put on a good show, he was never that good in wet qualifying sessions, racing in the wet to qualifying is a very different thing!

    1. David Watkins
      3rd April 2010, 11:58

      The media has time to fill and they do that by inventing things that arent there.

      Lewis will be fine if conditions stay such that his team don’t have the chance to cock it up for him on strategy

      1. And here we go again with the 2nd stop in Australia.

        Hate to break it to you, but Bridgestone claims Hamilton would never make it to the end on his 1st set of slicks. According to this statement, the decision of bringing him in again was hardly a mistake.

        1. SennaRainho
          3rd April 2010, 18:03

          Sandman, I really don’t think it should be taken that “black and white”. When they stated “not making it” it meant that the tires would have been just as worn as what we saw both Ferraris fighting. Especially Massa was all over the place and Hamilton would have had a harder time as well. I am pretty sure though, that he would have made it to the flag. Probably not higher than 3rd or 4th though. You can take this as pretty neutral as I am not a Hamilton fan but denying his talent would be crazy!

  41. This should be a fantastic race tomorrow! Let´s see if Alonso can battle to the front like last week!

  42. Great gamble from Webber, pity Schumacher was a shadow of himself in the past, when his wet weather performances were superb. It will be very interesting to see Ferraris and Mclarens fighting from the back of the grid, if they avoid collisions with others(very likely). Renault looks very good in the wet, and I thought Kubica might take the pole, neverthless I think he can finish on the podium. And if it rains, everything is possible.

  43. I am disappointed at Michael Schumacher.

    This situation was tailor-made for him to do well and shrug off the early season bad form. But he was only near Rosberg not even close to being ahead of him.

    Something is seriously wrong with him I think. The rustiness 3 year break are all old reasons now.

    Pedro De La Rosa is also making a comeback after 3 years and he seems to be doing fine.

    He better get on the podium tomorrow otherwise this will perhaps be the worst comeback ever.

    1. I honestly never understood why so many people thought he’d be anywhere near the level of his championship winning years. Besides, they teamed him up with one of the best drivers on the grid, who also happens to be in a fitter phase of his life.

      It’s probably largely because I only started watching F1 after Schumacher had parted with the sport and didn’t experience the dominance firsthand, but he’s not interesting at all, just a slow old man starting to realize he should have kept the legend intact.

      I’m all for Rosberg scoring his first win. Nothing against Schumacher mind you, I just think it’s time for him to step up to the plate. :)

  44. i wonder whats wrong with Schumacher.
    this was his best chance to get to pole with both the ferraris n both the McLarens out.
    he was outpaced by nico hulkenberg which makes me so sad(i got nothin against him but he is a rookie).
    i hope he ll do smthin to get to the podium tmro, but i really dont c tht happening.
    he is nowhere near his best; my hopes r quickly dying down :(

    1. SennaRainho
      3rd April 2010, 18:23

      Sumedh and BS,

      I hate to break it to you but even though Schumacher started off his career as one of the biggest talents of that decade he certainly faded over the years. Please remember how little competition he had in some of his championship years: Had the late great Senna stayed in the mix I believe that the ten titles they share among them would have been more equally spread.

      Also keep in mind how unbelievably reliable the Ferrari was in those years. I remember counting 52 consecutive races without a single mechanical failure on his car. In the same period Raikkonen dropped out due to mechanical failure in 38% of all the races he drove for McLaren! If you look at the stats from some of his championships you will find that Kimi lead twice as many laps over the course of the season.

      Sorry, I don’t really mean to take anything away from anybody’s hero but be realistic: It’s a different game now and there are some spectacular drivers in the field who are a lot more hungry than Michael: Alonso is finally back in a competitive car, Hamilton was not even in the running last year, Vettel is the storming new super talent and Rosberg has fighting hard to prove he belongs in a top team.

      As far as being the “rainmaster” it is not just talent and second nature. It takes loads of practice to find the limits of the car because it reacts so irradic as opposed to the dry. The previous rainmaster; Senna’s sister told a story about his first karting race in the wet. He could not drive the kart at all and just kept spinning and spinning. After the race he was absolutely furious but every single time it even remotely looked like rain he was off to the track to practice, practice and practice again.

      There is no point denying neither Senna’s nor Schumacher’s talents but when it comes to the wet; talent just doesn’t do it alone. :-)

      1. SennaRainho
        3rd April 2010, 18:28

        Oops, I meant SD, not BS, sorry.

  45. Very good qualifying indeed..rain take a toll today but not that severe like before,but windy.Schumacher drove so relaxes..Good job webber and lotus team

  46. Expecting full steamy race tomorrow whether it dry or wet….

  47. In that case, you can’t need any skill to be the best, all you need is luck. I think the bad Schumacher’s performance is due to he isn’t in Ferrari anymore.

  48. I predict a big crash in the first corner, involving at least one ferrari and one mclaren. Something like in Spa last year.
    There are just to many fast cars behind a bunch of slow cars, they will all try and out-break each other to make up some positions at the start.

  49. Why wasn’t Button allowed to take part to Q2 ?
    I mean, his time was fine, and the car didn’t stall. Pushing the car to the grass or using the crane to bring it back on track was enough…

    1. Younger Hamilton
      3rd April 2010, 12:57

      Yes Jenson did made Q2 but couldnt take part due to him spinning off and getting stuck in the Gravels and plus cranes cannot put you back on the round anymore

    2. he wouldn’t be allowed outside help so his time was enough to get him through but he couldn’t do anything more. I think that’s the rules anyway

    3. OK I find it a bit harsh, considering they just had to shove the car a few meters…
      Too bad for him.

      1. A few metres through gravel…

    4. Ok, can someone clarify this further, please. What do the rules say? If a car is helped with a crane is automatically out?

      1. The crane thing isn’t the issue – once the engine’s off the driver can’t start it again so he was out.

        Drivers can’t have outside assistance unless the car’s in a dangerous place. That’s presumably why McLaren told him to leave the engine running at first to see if the marhsals would help get him going. They didn’t, so McLaren told him to turn the engine off. And then it was game over.

        1. Mark Hitchcock
          4th April 2010, 0:02

          Seemed like maybe they *couldn’t* help him. There was a shot of the marshals trying to push him out of the gravel but he was well and truly stuck.

    5. The official word was that he was allowed to participate in Q2, but his car wasn’t back to the pits until after the session had ended, so he missed the chance.

  50. Younger Hamilton
    3rd April 2010, 12:54

    Complete disaster for Ferrari and Mclaren.The Wet Weather mostly changed the whole grid the ones you wont expect to got through 2 Q3 they made it today.If this was the dry i think Lewis would have got on pole and Ferrari,Mercedes,Red bull and Jenson would have been very close as well

  51. The average starting position of world champions on tomorrow’s race is 16th place! I wonder what was the last time such thing happened.

    1. last year Hamilton and Raikkonen. Of course if Alonso qualified bad

    2. SennaRainho
      3rd April 2010, 19:34

      That’s interesting! So that makes Schumacher the best of the champions by far! Let’s see if it will stay that way….

  52. how many times this past two seasons have McClaren made a wrong call like this!! If McClaren do not get rid of Whitmarsh and train Hamilton to think before he acts & speaks like an adult the season is doomed already. Come back Ron pleeeese!!

  53. 3 drivers in top 5 and 5 drivers in top 10 have never won an f1 race.

    1. so new winner? Lets hope so.
      BTW Rosberg first time ver starts from first row! He can win

  54. David Smith
    3rd April 2010, 13:44

    I think the wettest part of the track in Q1 was eddie jordan in the pit lane – did anyone else see the state of his purple shirt – very heavy persperation! :)

  55. Go Webber!! Go the Aussies :)

  56. looks to me like drivers/constructors battles are unchanged, just happening in back (to start), which sounds like a more interesting race by some factor of 10 – always thought “reverse grid” was silly, but hmm…
    would love to hear more discussion/assessment/history of Vettel and overtaking from the very knowledgeable folks here –

    1. well, Vettel has always driven great in a rain, so my bet is that he will win, but if conditions are changing all the time, even Massa can win

  57. Not many people got the pole time prediction right. Including me. I hoped it might just stay dry.

    Oxley_K, Gusto and Richard Smillie were the only ones within a second away from Webber’s time.

    Most people went for a time around 1:33.9. Not sure why though since practice times were already at that level. I’d assumed they could have gone faster in qualifying.

  58. There is more to F1 than Lewis Hamilton.

  59. Kubica will win it if the rain will fall…

    He was realy fast in AUstralia rain and now he is starting from P6:) He was second from P9…

  60. Wow, not only is it crazy to wait for torrential rain to clear in 20 minutes but also stupid was to not expect red/yellow flags to interfere because of the retched conditions. It was just pure mad what I saw today on TV.

  61. Eastvillboy
    3rd April 2010, 20:05

    Kubica is an a-hole for cutting the line in Q2 and should be penalized.

    1. Really? What rule did he break? Hmmm, no answer? ’cause he didn’t break one.

      1. Can anyone tell me what exactly are the rules on pitlane exit queuing?

      2. Untitled258
        3rd April 2010, 21:27

        Maybe what he did wasn’t “within the spirit of the rules”

        Thats the popular thing to say now when someone/team does something, that noone likes, but isn’t actually illegal, isn’t it?

        I thought it was very cunning!

    2. In my opinion he actually proved everybody that he is one hell of a proper racing driver. He actually RACED Sutil for P1 out of the pitlane and they both had equal chances. Yes maybe Kubica had warmer tyres but I loved that move anyway.

  62. I think Rosberg is going to “allow” vettel and Webber to fight it out up front while he shadows them both hoping one of them makes a mistake while fighting with each other. It could pay off for him since his mercedes is not 100% finished yet, so don’t expect Rosberg to just go in guns blazing fighting toe to toe with the Red Bull’s.

    should be just a solid clean podium for Rosberg tommorow maybe 1st if he can keep up the pace and pressure on them.

  63. Inspired intermediates decision from Webber. Nice one…

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