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.

Q1

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.

Q2

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.

Q3

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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