Webber beats Vettel to pole as Red Bull dominate Spanish GP qualifying

Mark Webber won the battle of the Red Bulls at Barcelona

Mark Webber won the battle of the Red Bulls at Barcelona

Mark Webber claimed pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix, beating team mate Sebastian Vettel by one tenth of a second at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Red Bull enjoyed a huge margin of superiority over their rivals with Lewis Hamilton three-quarters of a second behind the RB6 drivers.


The session began on a dry track with temperatures around 20 degrees – slightly warmer than final practice, but still quite cool for the Circuit de Catalunya at this time of year.

While the front-runners made their way through to Q2 with little difficulty, the midfield scrap to avoid the dreaded 18th was as fierce as ever.

Pedro de la Rosa jumped up from 18th to sixth with a fine late effort but that left Rubens Barrichello stuck in the bottom seven. He failed to improve with his last lap and on the radio after he complained about getting messages from the team during his best effort.

The six new cars occupied the bottom places as usual with the revised Lotuses comfortably clear of the Timo Glock’s revised Virgin and his team mate. But both VR-01s will lose five places due to a grid penalty.


Red Bull demonstrated their superiority by saving a set of soft tyres in the second session. They went out on the hard tyres for their first run – and their rivals using soft tyres couldn’t beat them.

When the RB6s put soft tyres on for their final runs the scale of their performance advantage was revealed – Webber’s Q2 time was half a second faster than Button’s McLaren, who took third behind Vettel.

A great lap by Kamui Kobayashi late in the session put him eighth, ahead of Felipe Massa and Nico Rosberg. Force India, who’ve become accustomed to getting cars into Q3, saw both their drivers eliminated in Q2.

The Toro Rosso duo failed in their efforts to reach Q3. Sebastien Buemi beat his team mate to 15th place by just one hundredth of a second.


The battle for pole position was always going to be a Red Bull-only affair. But for once it was Webber, not Vettel, ho came out on top.

Vettel took the top spot with his final lap but Webber had one final lap in hand and he broke the 80-second barrier to claim pole position from his team mate.

The McLaren had consistently placed third and fourth but Fernando Alonso split the pair of them to take four on the grid for his home race.

But the stewards may take a dim view of an incident in the pit lane where he pulled into the fast lane in front of Nico Rosberg, who was forced to take avoiding action.

Michael Schumacher claimed sixth place and beat Rosberg in qualifying for the first time this year in the updated W01.

However it looks unlikely anyone is going to be able to catch the Red Bulls in tomorrow’s race.

Full qualifying times

Pos. # Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 6 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’21.412 1’20.655 1’19.995
2 5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’21.680 1’20.772 1’20.101
3 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’21.723 1’21.415 1’20.829
4 8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’21.957 1’21.549 1’20.937
5 1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’21.915 1’21.168 1’20.991
6 3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’22.528 1’21.557 1’21.294
7 11 Robert Kubica Renault 1’22.488 1’21.599 1’21.353
8 4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’22.419 1’21.867 1’21.408
9 7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’22.564 1’21.841 1’21.585
10 23 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’22.577 1’21.725 1’21.984
11 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’22.628 1’21.985
12 22 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1’22.211 1’22.026
13 10 Nico H???lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’22.857 1’22.131
14 12 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’22.976 1’22.139
15 16 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’22.699 1’22.191
16 17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’22.593 1’22.207
17 15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’23.084 1’22.854
18 9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’23.125
19 18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’24.674
20 19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1’24.748
21 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’25.475
22 25 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1’25.556
23 20 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1’26.750
24 21 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’27.122

2010 Spanish Grand Prix

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185 comments on Webber beats Vettel to pole as Red Bull dominate Spanish GP qualifying

  1. bad_whippet said on 8th May 2010, 15:51

    Awesome lap by Webber and I’m not trying to take anything away from it, but did anyone notice him coming wide out of turn 7 so that turn 8 he took with all four wheels off the track… he was on the inside of the kerb.

    You can see it in the replay on the Beeb at around 42s – http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8669726.stm

    Surprised no-one else mentioned it, else I’ve got too much time on my hands and am being pedantic ;)

    • Lachie said on 8th May 2010, 16:01

      Legard mentioned it every bloody time “OH LOOKS LIKE THEY’VE GONE OFF” without bothering to notice every driver was doing it and not losing time at all rather they were clearly doing it cos its the best line :)

      Brundle talked about it at one point saying that it is TECHNICALLY against the rules to take all four wheels outside the white line but that in some places everyone does it so in that case it’s ok.

    • A.K. said on 8th May 2010, 16:02

      They were all off the road through that section.

      • bad_whippet said on 8th May 2010, 16:05

        That’s cool, fair enough. I’d only seen that particular piece of footage, didn’t actually get to see quali.

  2. So i guess vettel will win this Gp then since he didn’t get pole?

  3. haha said on 8th May 2010, 16:25

    How can these cars get much faster than they were on first day when they were light on fuel?

  4. Sirko said on 8th May 2010, 16:29

    Glad for Michael. Finally.

  5. NetSticks said on 8th May 2010, 17:03

    The first victory for Lewis Hamilton! ;) Wanna bet !?…

  6. silencer said on 8th May 2010, 17:12

    rubens helmet after quali session


  7. schooner said on 8th May 2010, 17:58

    Nice to see Schumacher showing some decent pace. Maybe he’s not quite past it after all! Of course, now Rosberg is complaining about the car. Oh well.

  8. Patrickl said on 8th May 2010, 18:31

    I ran some stats on the 846 predictions.

    Turns out that everybody pretty much expected Vettel to take pole:
    Pole Perc
    VET 82%
    HAM 8%
    WEB 4%

    Odd to see how few votes Webber gets.

    The median pole time most people predicted was 1:19.2. In the end they were slower than in practice so most predictions were a bit higher than the actual pole time.

    Predictions were pretty close though, with 50% of the predictions within seven tenths of a second.

    The closest prediction was made by bunboyfantastic who predicted 1:19.999 (4 thousandths of a second off)

    Next closest where MAKrifayee, Ronan, Saipthegod, SimonF1, SethBahl, Chubbfw31, Mufin and BrawnGPStefan who all predicted a pole time of 1:20.

    I calculated F1 scores for each prediction (25 for prediction on P1 etc) and added all these socres up to get the following F1Fanatic top 10 prediction:

    Driver Score
    VET 16167
    HAM 12423
    ALO 11319
    WEB 8193
    SCH 7330
    BUT 6332
    ROS 2924
    MAS 1818
    KUB 1058
    SUT 54

    This compares pretty well to the qualification result. Notable differences are Webber who is predicted to finish a lot lower and Kubica a bit lower.

    • BasCB said on 8th May 2010, 20:30

      Nice work PatrickL! I must admit i underestimated Webber as well, or maybe misjudged how focussed he is right now. For once i would not mind the polesitter winning this year.

      • A.K. said on 9th May 2010, 1:17

        I think the problem was that that too many people overestimated McLaren’s pace and thought they were up there with RB6.

  9. PeterG said on 8th May 2010, 18:34

    Interesting things come from this qualification. First the way Schumachers explanations to the team have gotten him a better car. Second the explanation Barrichello gave to Williams did not work. He even blamed his crew to talk to him whil e doing a fast lap that cost him Q2.
    Hulkenberg did great however.
    The race could be very interesting because the RBs are quick in lap but they are never the fastest in raw speed. So on the straights Hamilton and Alonso should be able to actually try to overtake. We will see.

  10. mithil said on 8th May 2010, 19:00

    personally i would like the ferraris to win tomoro… but RBR are good enough …they just need their strategies to be in place.

  11. Icthyes said on 8th May 2010, 20:07

    Well done to Webber – I’ve doubted his ability to match Vettel but so far this year it’s been 2 to 3 in qualifying and Webber would have won a race had he not made an error at turn 1 in Malaysia, so it looks like he’s holding his own with the more talented German.

    If he wasn’t in the Red Bull, I’d wonder if Mark could get poles, but being that he is and beating Vettel almost half the time, I wonder if he could mount just as good a championship battle as his team-mate? Just as many (like myself) gave Button less chance of challenging, perhaps writing off Webber would be just as premature? And given that they owe their exact positions and number of points to circumstance and decisions (in one case favourable, the other unfavourable), maybe the two aren’t so far apart at all.

    • Patrickl said on 8th May 2010, 21:10

      Also, don’t forget that Webber was close behind (ie held up by) Vettel in Australia. Red Bull messed up their strategy big time waiting for rain that never came when everyone else had already pitted.

      They just about managed to keep Vettel in front, but Webber lost out hugely and dropped back to P6.

      From where his desperate and ultimately failed attempts started to claw his way back to the front.

  12. Matt said on 8th May 2010, 21:57

    Perhaps, as a wild guess, Red Bull have produced such a good one lap pace which seems untouchable because they really do have an ‘original’ and ‘innotive’ design. For example, a pull rod suspension system, a tight ‘coke bottle zone’ and low exhaust system combine to give the high downforce and incredible quali pace. The other teams would struggle to meet that pace with a fundamentaly different back end. Perhaps we could be seeing more pull rod designs next year, and perhaps this is why Red Bulls are unstoppable!

    Nevertheless, remember Catalunya is a high downforce track, so the RBs would also have a good advantage here. Perhaps at slick tracks, like Monza, we’ll see a different grid.

  13. Juan Pablo Heidfeld said on 8th May 2010, 22:14

    I really hope that Red Bull don’t repeat their dominance from qualifying into the race. Also I really hope that Schumacher hasn’t started to form Mercedes around him. I really dislike him.

  14. wasiF1 said on 9th May 2010, 2:45

    Red Bull is making P1 a habit, I wonder what would have happen if they gave the pole one points.

    Good job by Schumacher but for some reason Nico is complaining that Mercedes have taken a step backward don’t know why he is telling that.Another thing I am surprise is the difference between the Ferraris Massa needs to up his game.Good result by Kamui Kobayashi, hope that the car is reliable enough so that he car have a point finish.Again Kubica is consistent.

  15. wasiF1 said on 9th May 2010, 2:55

    Ferrari have been fined US$20,000 (£13,500) over Fernando Alonso’s near-miss with Nico Rosberg during qualifying.


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