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

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?â??lkenberg and Rubens Barrichello set identical times to within one thousandth of a second – H?â??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?â??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. Patrickl said on 26th June 2010, 15:00

    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.

  2. Joey-Poey said on 26th June 2010, 15:03

    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

  3. BasCB (@bascb) said on 26th June 2010, 15:11

    I read something that might prove to be very interesting just now ( http://www.pitpass.com/fes_php/pitpass_news_item.php?fes_art_id=41214 ). 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.

    • Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 26th June 2010, 16:18

      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.

  4. Macca (@macca) said on 26th June 2010, 15:21

    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.

    • W154 said on 27th June 2010, 6:19

      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!

  5. DaveW said on 26th June 2010, 15:26

    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.

    • bosyber said on 26th June 2010, 16:18

      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.

  6. Now this is gonna be an intriguing race, given that mclaren is claiming that their race pace is not up to match to those super funny exhaust pipes team. Strangely, have they learned this from the red bulls? to sandbag when they are fast. hmmm.

    Also, it seems like mercedes GP is really falling off apart… even after the super exhausts they still fail to make through Q2.

    Another interesting pt to note is that if the exhaust are really worth up to 0.5s , then in sliverstone, we will be seeing a sliver bullet that no one except the bulls can catch .

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 26th June 2010, 15:47

      Why would Mclaren sandbag, not in practice, but in qualifying?

    • Nick F said on 26th June 2010, 19:14

      The team did brilliantly in 2009, although they did spend more time developing the car than the other teams, but in 2007 and 2008 the car was useless. Also of course in 2009 they didn’t perform as well in the 2nd half of the year.

      It’s a fairly mixed record really.

  7. Marcoferrari said on 26th June 2010, 15:56

    I think three drivers (Alonso, Alguersuari and Button) have just problems with super soft tyres in qualifying and that is the reason of their dissaponting positions… The super soft compound was brought by Bridgestone to 4 weekends so far… Bahrain, Monaco, Canada and Valencia… And it seems to me those 3 drivers didn t made maximum potential of that tyre compound on 1,2,3 laps with low fuel… Just look at positions and gaps of those three drivers compared to their teammates… in Bahrain, Monaco, Canada and Valencia… But I think it is just a problem of qualifying with low fuel, in race is the situation much better…

    • Patrickl said on 26th June 2010, 16:10

      Yeah and for more entertainment value, Birdgestone is going to bring these supersofts more often than they initially had said.

      Talk about changing the goalposts …

      • bosyber said on 26th June 2010, 16:20

        But at the same time, it is thought that that supersoft suits the Ferrari, maybe that is because Massa does like them, and gets them working better than Alonso, not the other way around.

  8. Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 26th June 2010, 16:24

    I don’t think Red Bull will win tomorrow. McLaren have had much better race pace than their qualifying would suggest and Lewis should be able to hound them and possibly pass at some point.

    A tad surprising Alonso didn’t do better, but he’s never really been the best qualifier and Ferrari also have generally had a very good race pace so I think it will be very close between the top five, and possibly Button too if he makes a good start. I’m not sure if Kubica will be able to stick with them but I could be wrong.

    Congrats to Williams, great to see them running strongly. Hope they can maintain it tomorrow.

  9. “He’s back………..”

  10. Lachie said on 26th June 2010, 17:35

    I’d warm to Vettel a whole lot more if he’d sign a 2 or 3 when he qualifies second or third. See otherwise I just don’t know where he’s qualified unless he’s on pole cos that’s the only time he informs us.

  11. fecklessmoron (@fecklessmoron) said on 26th June 2010, 18:07

    So what was the deal with Webber? I know the rivalry is heating up between he and Vettel, but he looked like he was about to lose his cool. I would love to know what was causing that…

  12. Malcom said on 26th June 2010, 19:57

    Red Bull’s domination over the field I believe is over, but they have now joined the membership in the club of frontrunners. I was suprised by the challenge offered by Hamilton to Mark and Sebastien, and Lewis maybe better off in 3rd place rather than 2nd, because at the start, he isn’t on the dirty side of a hardly used track.

  13. Electrolite said on 26th June 2010, 21:26

    Every time Vettel does the number one with his hand I want to crush/stamp on the nearest thing in sight. Hard.

  14. Electrolite said on 26th June 2010, 21:41

    Bit of a shame about Kubica. His Q2 time would have got him 4th!

  15. Lewis will challenge the Red Bulls in the race. Although Sebastian needs the victory, i think the sunday will be an England day!

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