Red Bull claim front row and leave their rivals gasping (Hungarian GP qualifying)

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Hungaroring, 2010

Sebastian Vettel will start from his fourth consecutive pole position of the year at the Hungaroring after Red Bull dominated today’s qualifying session.

He and Webber locked out the front row of the grid ahead of the two Ferraris – who were over a second slower than the RB6s.


The first 20-minute session showed how much some of the front-runners were struggling as McLaren and Mercedes had to do extra runs at the end of the session to ensure they progressed to Q2.

Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button made important improvements with their final efforts to spare them from the embarrassment of being knocked out in Q1.

Eventually Kamui Kobayashi fell into the critical 18th place, forcing him out of qualifying at the first hurdle along with the new teams. He was held up by Bruno Senna on his final lap.

The six new cars were headed by the Virgin of Timo Glock, who beat the two Lotuses by a tenth of a second.


Button was clearly concerned about whether he’d reach the top ten from the moment Q2 began. He went out on super-soft tyres while his team mate stuck with the medium compound.

Mercedes also doubted their ability to get through into Q3 and sent both their drivers out on the green-striped tyres.

When it came down to the final laps, Button struggled to improve on his second run on the super-soft tyres. At first it looked as though he’d been let off, as Rubens Barrichello failed to take advantage of his lack of pace.

But Nico H???lkenberg was able to beat Button’s time and relegated him to 11th place.

Only one of the Mercedes made it through and one again it wasn’t Michael Schumacher, who could only manage 14th, 0.8 seconds slower than Nico Rosberg.

Webber was the fastest of the two Red Bulls in the second part of qualifying, beating Vettel by four hundredths of a second having been the last of the pair to set his time.

It looked as though what time the Red Bulls took to the track in Q3 might decide pole position. But it didn’t work out that way.


There was never much chance that anything other than a Red Bull was going to be on the front row of the grid. Fernando Alonso’s 1’19.987 lap was probably the bet his F10 could manage and he was best of the rest – but over a second slower than the pole sitter.

The battle between the Red Bulls was a brief affair. Vettel beat Webber with a lap four tenths of a second quicker than his team mate.

Webber couldn’t improve with his last effort and that left Vettel on pole position for the seventh time this year.

Several drivers couldn’t find more time than their second runs, including Lewis Hamilton, who nonetheless lined up fifth behind Felipe Massa.

Robert Kubica failed to capitalise on Renault’s performance and not only failed to beat Hamilton but was out-qualified by team mate Vitaly Petrov for the first time this year.

Red Bull have lost races from pole position already this year. But they’ve never had a performance advantage as great as this. Can anyone catch them tomorrow?

Full qualifying times

Pos. # Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’20.417 1’19.573 1’18.773
2 6 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’21.132 1’19.531 1’19.184
3 8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’21.278 1’20.237 1’19.987
4 7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’21.299 1’20.857 1’20.331
5 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’21.455 1’20.877 1’20.499
6 4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’21.212 1’20.811 1’21.082
7 12 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’21.558 1’20.797 1’21.229
8 11 Robert Kubica Renault 1’21.159 1’20.867 1’21.328
9 22 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1’21.891 1’21.273 1’21.411
10 10 Nico H???lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’21.598 1’21.275 1’21.710
11 1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’21.422 1’21.292
12 9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’21.478 1’21.331
13 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’22.080 1’21.517
14 3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’21.840 1’21.630
15 16 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’21.982 1’21.897
16 15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’21.789 1’21.927
17 17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’21.978 1’21.998
18 23 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’22.222
19 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’24.050
20 19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1’24.120
21 18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’24.199
22 25 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1’25.118
23 21 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’26.391
24 20 Sakon Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1’26.453

2010 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Image (C) Red Bull/Getty images

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90 comments on Red Bull claim front row and leave their rivals gasping (Hungarian GP qualifying)

  1. Crispin said on 31st July 2010, 16:15

    Vettels pole lap is simply astonishing!
    If Red Bull continue like this into next year, half of the grid won’t be able to start the Grand Prix because of the 107% rule!

  2. Rahim RG said on 31st July 2010, 16:18

    If dry…Vettel for the win…
    If Wet…Petrov for the Win for Sure…

  3. Rosberg 0.8 seconds ahead of Schumi… that’s a huge difference. And Niko is very consistent these days, while Schumi is going through ups and downs.

    • bosyber said on 31st July 2010, 16:33

      Yes, I agree. Still: says Schumacher actually used a set up geared towards race pace, or something. They gambled that the weather would be dreary, but lost when temperatures rose during the morning.

      Not sure what sort of setup that is, but while it reduces the lack of pace of Schumacher it again shows that he and Brawn are not anymore on top of strategy as they used to be. Maybe lack of testing gives them insufficient knowledge about the car and tires? I guess they are now counting on making good at the start.

  4. Slim said on 31st July 2010, 16:47

    Watch Vettel because we all know he’s going to make a poor start and foul everyone up into the first turn meaning more people having to avoid him off the track as he goes wide…like what happened in Germany

  5. Racer (@racer) said on 31st July 2010, 16:49

    Three things worth mentioning:
    – Four of the last five Hungarian GPs have not been won from pole.
    – Red Bull have never managed to convert a 1-2 on the grid into a 1-2 in the race.
    – Not since 2005 has the driver starting 2nd in Hungary managed to retain his position at the start…

    • nelly said on 31st July 2010, 17:23

      – Sebastian will definately not win.
      – Red Bull will definately not get a 1-2.
      – Webber doesn’t have much of a chance against a certain someone in P3.

      Of course that’s only if things go by recent races and the history books!

  6. Allie500 said on 31st July 2010, 16:52

    So are they going to clarify the rules regarding these flexi wings? The replays of the cars during quali were crystal clear. Red Bull and Ferrari wings are blatantly “skipping” just off the tarmac, while the Renault and McLaren wings are a lot higher and more rigid.

    I’m sure the other teams are working on their versions of flexi wings but the FIA should clear this up.

    • steph said on 31st July 2010, 17:03

      I’m not sure it’s the rules that need clarifying but perhaps how they actually test the wings.

      • Allie500 said on 31st July 2010, 17:28

        I see where you’re coming from. It seems to me that the teams that want to be “cute” when it comes to interpreting the rules, purposely design whatever it is that is illegal (flex-wings, etc) to conform to scrutineering while the car is stopped but when the car is on track the element, wing, etc. then does whatever it is that the teams want it to do that is outside of the scope of the rules.

        I forget which team it was a couple of years ago that designed their rear wing elements to squeeze together at top speeds, so that it would eliminate the gap between the two elements and therefore reduce the rear wings efficiency while going down the straights. If I remember correctly, the wing elements would stay rigid when the stewards hung the test weight off the back wing, but when the wing was under greater stresses, it would squeeze together to get the desired effect.

        • David BR said on 31st July 2010, 17:50

          ‘Simple solution': a team found to have deliberately engineered a solution that breaches a regulation but circumvents FIA’s test parameters should have all points gained with the implemented technology subsequently removed. There’s an important difference, I think, between using a technology ‘probably’ not allowed by the regulations – and hoping it’ll escape notice (a while) or maybe even be allowed (checking it with FIA for example), and designing ways for known regulation breaches to avoid official detection.

          That just isn’t how F1 works, though, is it?

          • Maciek said on 31st July 2010, 21:49

            I see your idea, but how do you calculate how many of their points a team has gained because of one or another component? Unless you take away all their points…?

        • Patrickl said on 31st July 2010, 18:09

          In 2007 they revised the tests for flexible floors (because of Ferrari’s floor) and rear wing (because of Red Bulls flexing rear wing).

          For instance:

          I don’t see why they wouldn’t change those tests after being confronted with clear evidence that there is so much flex in some front wings.

          Although Red Bull and Ferrari are trying to convince us (lie to us) that the wings are not flexing at all. That it’s just a figment of our imagination or the angle at which a picture was taken.

          • Brian Baum said on 31st July 2010, 18:21

            So were you this worked up over Brawn’s diffuser or McLaren’s F-duct?? – Both of which did not meet the spirit of the rules?

  7. US Williams Fan said on 31st July 2010, 16:58

    impressed with de la rosa………….

  8. BBT said on 31st July 2010, 17:36

    Alonso to take Webber and Hamilton to take Massa at the start. Button also on the clean side should gain a place or two. No chance for Webber, he’ll do very well to keep Alonso behind and needs a prefect start. Only if Vettel messes the start up big time will he lose the lead (just don’t try and drive people into the wall, again, and all will be fine)

    Its easy to get disillusioned and say the rest of the season will be boring but Ferrari and Mclaren will be closer on the faster circuits, even so it doesn’t look that great teams other than red bull apart from 1-2 races unless something miraculous happens in the development race.

  9. PT (@pt) said on 31st July 2010, 17:42

    Did Ferrari not run the f-duct? I know it won’t make much difference on a track like this, but could the lack of the f-duct be affecting Ferrari?

    I know Red Bull were thought to be more suited to a track like this (where handling is more important than top speed), but still an advantage of more than a second can’t be explained this way. Just last week Ferrari was only two-thousandth of a second behind Red Bull in qualifying and were superior in the race, and now they are more than a second behind? It’s just weird! Either it’s Newey’s genius or there is perhaps something undetected in the Red Bull that’s giving them such performance(just a presumption).

    I hope Alonso gets a better start, but Massa could again spring a surprise. But I have a doubt – is the track dirty on the odd numbers side (1st, 3rd…)or on the even numbers’ side (2nd, 4th, etc.)?

    • nelly said on 31st July 2010, 17:55

      As far as I know, Ferrari tested the cars in the practices with and without the F-Duct and they found the car performed better without it so aren’t running it for the weekend.
      Odd numbers are clean and even are the dirty side. I doubt Massa can spring a surprise since he’s on the dirty side of the grid, but who knows? I think it’ll depend how good a start Alonso and Webber have if he’s to have a chance and I’d say he’s more likely to get nabbed by Lewis at the start if anything.

      • PT (@pt) said on 31st July 2010, 19:20

        But still, how things change! A week ago two-thousands of a second behind and now more than a second behind?

        In an ideal grid where all the teams are close in terms of pace, that would translate to nearly ten cars behind! Surely Red Bull has some gimmick which the FIA isn’t able to detect (not just the flexing front wing). OK it’s handling is better, but that still doesn’t account for this massive difference in just a week’s time. It’s almost as if Red Bull is in a different league – Formula Super-1!

        Red Bull pioneered the exhaust blown diffuser and the controversial active ride height, if I’m not mistaken. There must be something else too that is benefiting them, inspite of having a relatively underpowered engine.

        Or it could be Adrian Newey’s brain that’s making the difference.

  10. Now i cant figure out whats going on with the Mercedes Gp team. Is Rosberg just a better driver this year and shows what the car can really do, or is that schumi can’t match what he does in the car and just makes the car look worse then it is?

    Because I feel Rosberg is one of the few drivers this season who is making their car go faster then it’s meant to, and really grabbing that thing by the scruff of the neck with both his own hands.

    Maybe Mercedes should concentrate on helping Nico having a better car rather then suiting to all “Michael’s needs”. Nico is nearly 60 points infront of Schumi and looking to extend it again after tommorow.

    If they put the effort in, at the end of the season he could still catch up to Alonso and Co. All Rosberg needs is 1st two/three times and he would be back in the hunt.

  11. Yellow G 1 said on 31st July 2010, 18:20

    Yes a round of applause of Yamamoto for this answer to his critics. Watching him drift that unruly thing around the final corner like a World of Outlaws car you have feel for those last few guys on the chart. It must be like driving in a rain storm with slicks at all times for them.

  12. Yellow G 1 said on 31st July 2010, 18:34

    Is there any reason to believe Vettel won’t have a terrible start tomorrow? He has some kind of issue with the RB6 starting system. If he starts like he did in Germany, with this long run to turn one, he’ll be P6 by lap 2. Webber is doomed, I’m afraid and will likely end up behind Alonso and Hamilton before turn 3. The dirty side here is horrendous.

    Hamilton is now trying to put out a house fire with a garden hose as far as the WDC. He has to consider getting Webber behind him, and delaying at least one of the circling sharks, an epic victory tomorrow. Button’s second lost-the-balance-in-FP3 sob story and failing to get out of Q2 in three races is not good enough. The team is in straits and they need both drivers to be supernatural now and he is just not transcending the car, ever.

    Whitmarsh’s long face talking to Buxton about the diffuser-wings was too grim. The shot on Speed of an RBR mechanic getting on the ground to inspect the underside of the front wing endplate tells you all you need to know. How is a wing, that is by rule supposed to be several inches off the ground, that needs to be checked for wear on the bottom between qualifying sessions, within the rules? Whitmarsh must rightly feel crossed because with regard to the F-Duct, instead of playing dumb he told everyone, explained the concept, and had the FIA come check it first. That good deed was punished brutally.

    • Allie500 said on 31st July 2010, 20:49

      Good comment. I agree all the way around.

      The start is going to be crazy tomorrow.

      As for the wings, I couldn’t agree more. McLaren was straightforward with the FIA about the F-duct and Red Bull have been and still are lying about their wings flexing.

      I have to tip my hat to Ferrari though for copying the flexi wings. They saw the advantage of them, they figured out how they worked, added the wings to their package… and most importantly, they know that even if the FIA some how decides that they are indeed illegal, that both Red Bull and Ferrari will receive ZERO punishment for breaking the rules and lying about it. They will simply have to take off the wings and enjoy all the points they scored with them.

      Just like last year with the double diffuser. If the FIA had decided that they were illegal, they couldn’t have punished Brawn for it. It was way too late for that. And Brawn, toyota, et al. would have had to remove the double diffuser. Brawn might not have won the championship if it had played out like that, but the FIA surely wouldn’t have taken all their points from those first 4-5 GPs.

      So basically, Red Bull and Ferrari are in a win win situation here. If the FIA clears the wings, then they are both ahead of their rivals in terms of flexi wing development. If the FIA bans them, oh well, they benefited for a couple of races with them and get to keep the points b/c the FIA isn’t going to take a bunch of points off of both and let McLaren coast to the championships. Fans would be ****** off.

      • Tom said on 31st July 2010, 22:36

        Someone’s oblivious to the realities of F1.

        McLaren did not come out and say about the F-Duct until the suspicions were strong enough that the majority of interested people knew how the system worked. No F1 team will release information that will help rival teams for nothing, the only little giveaways are stuff that the rival engineers have already worked out.

        The F-duct is, IMO, a far ‘worse’ technology and should have been banned, it’s an ‘active system’ not defined in and clearly against the spirit of the rules, but that’s history now.

        Whitmarsh is just playing PR mind-games, and in your case they seemed to have worked.

        • Allie500 said on 31st July 2010, 23:54

          Uhh…McLaren consulted with the FIA when they first developed the F-duct. FIA cleared it.

          When the other teams became suspicious and said it was illegal, McLaren told ‘em to take it to the FIA.

          Now if you are suggesting that McLaren lied to the FIA during F-duct development, and when the other teams asked for clarification and the FIA wouldn’t/couldn’t deem it illegal for whatever reason…i’m down for some conspiracy theories.

          I like stories.

          • Oh, the same people that cleared RBR’s wing?

            So why are you complaining? Not McLaren enough for you?

  13. Electrolite said on 31st July 2010, 19:06

    Everyone scoffed at Petrov coming in 5th in practice – but it was obviously not a fluke. Good luck to him tomorrow!

    Who else is betting on Vettel making a hash of a start again? Me.

  14. Palle said on 31st July 2010, 19:58

    Horner explained that Vettels clutch had a little oil on it last race and that they have fixed the problem, so if that is true Vettel should have fine start tomorrow.
    His pole time was faster than the standing track record of Schumis from 2004: 1:19.071 – Impressive, but lets see what FIA verdicts re the front wings.

  15. something should be done about the ineffient fia test done on flexible wings… if its 85mm then it should 85mm at all times no matter what the load???

    • Palle said on 31st July 2010, 22:22

      The load test must be representative of the conditions during a race or qualifying, not more. It is difficult for the FIA to blame the teams from developing to pass the tests, regardless of the intention behind the tests. From an engineering point it is smart to try to bring forward a wing which is very stiff within the loads applied during tests, but much more flexible at higher/other loads.

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