Red Bull claim the front row again in Valencia (European GP qualifying)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

The Red Bull duo locked out the front row of the grid for the European Grand Prix with Sebastian Vettel heading Mark Webber.

Lewis Hamilton looked able to get between the two RB6s but made a mistake on his final lap and had to settle for third.

The two Ferraris line up fourth and fifth for tomorrow’s race.


As the first part of qualifying began track temperatures had climbed to 43C – as hot as they had been during second practice on Friday.

Robert Kubica was the last man to set a time in Q1, taking advantage of the improvements to the Renault and an improving track surface to go quickest with a 1’38.132.

Seven drivers were quick enough on their first efforts to stay in the pits and not do a second run. Among those who had to go out again were Jenson Button, who improved to third with his second effort.

Another was Michael Schumacher, who briefly fell into 18th place while struggling with a power steering fault. He improved with his last try, dropping Kamui Kobayashi into the bottom seven and out of qualifying.


The biggest surprise of Q2 was the Mercedes drivers failing to reach the top ten.

Both drivers failed to improve on their final runs. Schumacher was down in 15th, six tenths of a second slower than his team mate.

In their place both Williams drivers progressed to Q3 for the first time since Malaysia.


Williams were the only team not to do two runs in the final part of qualifying, choosing instead to send their cars out when the track was quieter.

Remarkably, Nico H???lkenberg and Rubens Barrichello set identical times to within one thousandth of a second – H???lkenberg was classified ahead of his team mate because he set his time first.

After the first round of laps Mark Webber was fastest ahead of Hamilton. Their team mates provisionally lined up behind them.

But Sebastian Vettel edged his team mate by 0.075s with his final effort to take pole position:

It was a tight qualifying session in the end with not very much between us all. On my first run I had huge a moment in the first sector so I knew I had to put everything in the second sector and it worked.
Sebastian Vettel

Hamilton looked likely to threaten the Red Bulls with his last effort but made a mistake on his final run. Despite that he said he was happy to qualifying third:

I tell you what I’m really happy to be here, I feel so fortunate.

We knew everyone else would be bringing updates this weekend and we saw from practice we were quite long way behind. We didn’t realise we would be so far up.

My first lap was good. In the second I was up by a tenth and half then I lost it all into turn 12. I locked the rears, then locked rears again later in lap.

I though “I’m going to drop back quite far here” but I’m third so I’m really happy.
Lewis Hamilton

Fernando Alonso took fourth ahead of team mate Felipe Massa.

Full qualifying times

Pos. # Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’38.324 1’38.015 1’37.587
2 6 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’38.549 1’38.041 1’37.662
3 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’38.697 1’38.158 1’37.969
4 8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’38.472 1’38.179 1’38.075
5 7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’38.657 1’38.046 1’38.127
6 11 Robert Kubica Renault 1’38.132 1’38.062 1’38.137
7 1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’38.360 1’38.399 1’38.210
8 10 Nico H???lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’38.843 1’38.523 1’38.428
9 9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’38.449 1’38.326 1’38.428
10 12 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’39.004 1’38.552 1’38.523
11 16 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’39.096 1’38.586
12 4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’38.752 1’38.627
13 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’39.021 1’38.851
14 15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’38.969 1’38.884
15 3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’38.994 1’39.234
16 22 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1’39.003 1’39.264
17 17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’39.128 1’39.458
18 23 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’39.343
19 18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’40.658
20 19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1’40.882
21 25 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1’42.086
22 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’42.140
23 20 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1’42.600
24 21 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’42.851

2010 European Grand Prix

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64 comments on “Red Bull claim the front row again in Valencia (European GP qualifying)”

  1. I’m going to have to blame myself for this one. I forgot to make my prediction of a Red Bull one-two in the prediction competition and thus they actually are going to get a one-two now. So yeah, let’s not blame the utter hopelessness of Ferrari and McLaren at trying to match the downforce of Red Bull just yet.

    1. Hey don’t worry dude, I put my hopes on the Mercedes updates!

      1. Sush Meerkat
        26th June 2010, 16:58

        I thought Nico Rosberg would get pole, yeah I’m feeling stupid.

  2. You won’t believe how massively disappointed I am with Kubica’s Q3 performance… First, he messed up at his first attempt, then his mechanic was nervously doing something on his car, and finally Kubica ended up being slower on the soft than on the hard tyres on the last lap.

    I felt like he could make the front row today. I haven’t been this upset about a sports event in a long time…

    1. Let me guess: Last time was in Monaco?

      Yeah, he could maybe have done better. Then again, Button made a mistake that prevented his chance of 4th, unless Alonso would have done a cleaner lap and improved his time, and Massa also didn’t seem to get a perfect lap to 5th. Even Rubens was sure he could have gone to 6th.

      I’m sure if it weren’t for those tire issues, Rosberg would have been 4th, with Schumacher just behind him had his brakes not had lock-up problems :)

      So yeah.

      1. I’m having the same feeling Victor.
        That was the worst quali for Kubica this year.
        Second row was in reach.
        Shame but it happens sometimes.

    2. Jhonnie Siggie
      27th June 2010, 3:07

      @ Victor. Don’t pay too much attention to Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Lighten up a little bit.

  3. I was really surprised by that top 3. I wasn’t expecting Hamilton there so I was pleasantly surprised by that.

    I’m also very surprised that Kubica out qualified button and both Williams got through to Q3 but neither Mercedes did.

    Tomorrow I see Hamilton gaining at least one position, what with his better reliability and race pace.

  4. great result for ferrari and felipe massa .
    what a close qualifying ,but red bull are on a different planet with F-DUCT.

    1. I think Alonso will be disappointed with 4th, he will feel he could have done better, but I am glad to see Massa do well to stay close to him.

      1. Actually Alonso said he’s happy with the performance. That without their major update they would have struggeld to make it into Q3.

        I doubt he’s actually speaking his mind there though.

  5. That was pretty exiting. I’m not sure Mercedes not getting into Q3 was a bigger suprise than both Force Indias not making it and both Williams gettin in there!

    Looks like the hunt is on again. Red Bull show what Newey is up to, if anyone would be able to make a good and working copy of the F-duct quickly it was him. Ferrari works as does Renault, but their updates will show their real potential next race.

    Mercedes seems to be well off the pace. If their problem is in getting heat in the tyres, maybe they should try to get started on the mediums to try to get as close to the cars in front before those go to the pit and just try to build a gap to the back before their pitstops.

    It was really nice to see Barricello happy again after qualifying, let’s hope he will have something to enjoy after the race as well. Still it is a little bit worrying that the car without F-duct is as fast as the one with it.

    1. It is interesting that last year Brawn had problems getting the tires to the right temperature. Maybe they never really found a cure for that.

  6. I’m not ruling out reliabilty problems for Red Bull and Ferrari. Lewis could win yet!

    1. Red Bull never have reliability problems though. Oh wait…

      It’s certainly not over, Both cars had failures in the last race.

      RBR need to get the strategy right or Lewis is going to win.

      1. Both cars had failures in the last race? Vettel had a minor issue at the end of the race, but thats it.

        Red Bull are just annoyingly playing up every problem they have with their car.

        1. Webber had a gearbox change at the start and Vettel had a problem at the end of the race.

          Reliability issues then not failures.

          1. If Webber had changed gearboxes between GP’s, no one would’ve noticed. He simply ran it out until it died on him.

  7. Great result for Lewis. Wasn’t looking too good there in practice 3.

  8. Well I think the 3rd for lewis was good considering Mclaren were the only big team not to upgrade for this race. To stay quite competative with the new major aero add on coming next race looks primising.

    Another interesting thing was. Sebastian beating Mark to pole. It should give the german his confidence back, I can’t wait to see if mark decides to go really agressive from the lights tomorrow!

  9. STRFerrari4Ever
    26th June 2010, 14:39

    Great result for RBR again! Vettel back on pole, a much welcome return :)
    Kubica was slightly disappointing in Q3 but he admitted the R30 didn’t really work on the option tyre so I’m expecting much more during the race from Robert.
    Shout out to Buemi drove his heart out and was unlucky not to get into the top 10.

  10. Is my opinion spoiled for Vettel?

    I found it odd (immature) that he claimed the f-duct wasn’t enough to have made the difference with Hamilton.

    Especially as before this weekend Red Bull have claimed about 3-5tenth of a second from it, and Horner confirmed the view that this was the main factor helping them here the BBC team when asked about that after qualifying.

    1. But maybe it was just the looks of Webber and Hamilton seemingly thinking he was spouting nonsense (or was that projection on my part?).

      1. So keep looking out for a inner team crash between Webber who got 0,3-0,5 seconds from the F-duct and Vettel blocking him off on the straights as he gets only 0,1 from it!

        Boom, and Hamilton right behind to go for the win! Vettel did look gloating after getting pole again, maybe his gearbox will solve that if he does not do it himself.

  11. I’m not expecting anything during this race at this circuit, as far as I’m concerned this race is finished, they really shouldn’t put the traditional worst race of the year right after the traditional best race of the year. Bring on the World Cup come Sunday…

    1. Well… in my opinion the worst race really is Monaco, and i don’t give a shix about history… racing is racing, and not procedural driving

      1. At least with Monaco though you have the backdrop, the glamour and the appreciation of just what the driver’s are doing. Valencia is all of the negatives of Monaco without ANY redeeming features.

        1. I don’t think this race is finished at all, anyway for those who think it is, go watch some football.

  12. Interesting thing… RB (and STR) bottoming out on every bump on the road… no ride height control my ars…

    Unless i get a really really good explanation.

    1. Even more interesting, nobody has a comment on the subject…

      My toughts are, how can you bottom out in qualifing when you have to put another 150kg of fuel for the race

  13. Unexpectedly good result for Massa, methinks.

    He could get the jump on Alonso at the start!!

  14. Did any of you get the answer to DC’s (i think it was his) question about Webber and Vettel not looking like best mates just yet, so when will they be back to what it was before Turkey?

    “Not for another 15 years” looks like Horner understands Marks thinking on this!

    1. Yes, that was a nice moment.

    2. Webber did not look happy at all in the press conference.

      1. Yep i saw that. Also Vettel was looking across at lewis in a weird way. I’m not sure what was going through his head.

      2. None of them looked happy apart from perhaps Seb!

        New smaller conference table and silly cheek-located mikes for the drivers? Maybe everyone was just a bit cramped and they were annoyed at that! :-p

  15. Interesting that the last three of Q2 (Alg,dlR,MSc) have failed to improve their Q1 time, while the next three, FI and Rorberg, have only improved by about 1.5tenth. The others improved by 3-5tenth in Q2. Red Bull are the only team to have improved by 4tenth in Q3.

  16. I tallied up de predictions and gave the drivers F1 scores for each predicted position they got (25 for a predicted P1, 18 for a P2 etc) and added all that up. This gives the following prediction for the top 5

    Driver Score
    ALO 12903
    HAM 11160
    VET 9089
    WEB 8186
    BUT 5536

    The top 4 predictions for pole were for:
    Pole Perc
    ALO 40%
    VET 25%
    HAM 20%
    WEB 12%

    Guess we all expected way too much from the new blown diffuser on the Ferrari. As usual, Webber gets very underrated again.

    Median (most often predicted) pole time was around 1:37.9. 58% of the predictions were within a second of the actual pole time. So not too far off.

    Pradeek and AussieBob (both 1:37.583) and sam andrew (1:37,592) were closest.

    1. Shouldn’t that be Mode instead of Median?

      1. Indeed it’s the “mode”. Sorry.

        The Median would be slightly higher 1:38.111.

        1. At least I hit the median then perfectly!! :)

  17. The second I started putting Vettel on pole, he stopped getting pole. I kept at it thinking it was the safe bet. Finally this was the first time I gave up on that and put Webber for pole.

    …I swear to God, that German… >8C

    1. Haha I did the exact same thing…

    2. MacademiaNut
      27th June 2010, 5:43

      Put my name to the list as well. When I chose WEB for pole, I had a feeling that VET will take it! :(

  18. I read something that might prove to be very interesting just now ( ). It seems the GP2 race will be shortened by 2 laps because of fuel consumption worries.

    Might this bring us some exitement in F1 as well when drivers have to safe fuel in the closing stages of the race. I don’t expect there will be much opportunity for most to do it earlier as the top 6 will be pretty close fought and Ferrari, Renault and McLaren might all have better race pace than Red Bull.

    1. I remember a couple of years ago a lot of the GP2 cars ran out of fuel/had issues with fuel in the last couple of laps, although that was the first time they ran here. It surprises me that after no problems last year they feel the need to reduce the distance.

  19. Still a very frosty relationship between Webber and Vettel. In the weigh in area he was high fiveing a lot of drivers but Webber just walked straight passed him.

    1. No.Webber walked into weigh in and as he stood on scales Vettel walked past and ignored him to talk to LH, FM and FA.MW definitly not a happy camper at press conference. Somehow dont think Valencia this year will be as boring as in the past!

  20. I don’t think RBR are showing any kind of renewed dominance. This was about the same Q3 gap as in Turkey and they had no performance advantage there in the race. If Lewis had a clean final lap it would be closer still.

    I look for Hamilton and Alonso to hound RBR mercilessly—and in terms of reliability and general wherewithal RBR is not showing they can put up with the pressure.

    Further, when you see how Webber was seething in the interview, you know that he will be having a go into turn one, from any distance back, and then into 12 if need be. The barriers will beckon them both.

    After seeing Ferrari and Mercedes and Renaults efforts culminate, and if the performances hold up in the race, McLaren must be feeling pretty good about Silverstone. If they can make the blown diffuser work there, they may well graduate to bona fide dominance through the end of the season, because there no new concepts in the works among the teams that will yield .5s.

    BTW, what’s up with Button? Second race in a row he has been looking Schumacher-like in pace to his teammate. I noticed he had much higher speed traps than Hamilton, so maybe he just committed to a wrong set up.

    1. He did mention in-after quali. interview with BBC that he had a different set up from Hamilton. Probably less wing to get that higher top speed. I would expect him to have lost time in sector three then.

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