Vettel takes pole as Webber struggles to fifth

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Abu Dhabi, 2010

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Abu Dhabi, 2010

Sebastian Vettel will start the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from his tenth pole position of the season.

But team mate Mark Webber suffered a serious setback, only able to qualify fifth behind all his championship rivals.

Q1

The drivers found the track surface improving rapidly at the start of qualifying, with Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel going fastest seemingly with every lap they did.

Alonso stayed out later than his rivals and set the fastest time. Nico Rosberg also did a late lap to go second.

Jenson Button, meanwhile, ran into trouble with a brake vibration, and had to do a second run to improve his time.

As usual the three new teams were eliminated, with Jarno Trulli once again the fastest of the six.

The two Toro Rosso drivers found themselves in a battle to get into Q2. Jaime Alguersuari scraped through with his final lap, as team mate Sebastien Buemi failed to beat him by one tenth of a second.

Driver eliminated in Q1

18 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’41.824
19 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’43.516
20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1’43.712
21 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’44.095
22 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1’44.510
23 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’45.085
24 Christian Klien HRT-Cosworth 1’45.296

Q2

It was an eventful Q2 for Lewis Hamilton who who had two off-track moments and a controversial encounter with Felipe Massa.

Hamilton took to the kerbs and demolished a corner marker as Massa went around the outside of him. Both drivers made it into the top ten – Hamilton making it in with just a minute to spare.

Sebastian Vettel was the only driver to lap the Yas Marina track in less than a minute and 40 seconds and none of the others could match that.

Button improved to second with his last effort but just a few hundredths covered Rosberg behind him in third and Mark Webber.

A late improvement by Vitaly Petrov surprisingly eliminated his team mate Robert Kubica.

He was knocked out in Q2 along with Kamui Kobayashi, Adrian Sutil, Nick Heidfeld, Nico H?‚??lkenberg, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Jaime Alguersuari.

Driver eliminated in Q2

11 Robert Kubica Renault 1’40.780
12 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’40.783
13 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’40.914
14 Nick Heidfeld Sauber-Ferrari 1’41.113
15 Nico H?‚??lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’41.418
16 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’41.642
17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’41.738

Q3

The Red Bulls held back at the start of Q3 while the McLarens and Ferraris went first. And their first times were set in that order – Hamilton doing a 1’39.582, leading Button, Alonso and Massa.

While those four did two separate runs Vettel and Webber did just a single run at the end of the session. While that worked like a dream for Vettel, who who improved his time progressively to a 1’39.394, Webber ended up over half a second off his team mate.

The other drivers were all getting in each others’ way as the final laps begin, Rosberg threading his way through the Ferraris to ensure he didn’t miss the cut-off. Massa started his final lap the instant the clock ticked to zero.

Hamilton improved his time but fell short of beating Vettel by a few hundredths. But Alonso was the big winner, pulling together a lap good enough to salvage third place, splitting the McLarens.

The grid tees up a fascinating battle for the championship tomorrow with Alonso surrounded by McLarens, and Webber facing a mountain to climb to keep the Ferrari driver from the title.

Top ten in Q3

1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’39.394
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’39.425
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’39.792
4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’39.823
5 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’39.925
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’40.202
7 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’40.203
8 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’40.516
9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’40.589
10 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’40.901

2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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132 comments on Vettel takes pole as Webber struggles to fifth

  1. For once im happy mclaren are doing well. Im hoping for them to get to the end like they start!! or even if hamilton wins thatd be sweet too. Will be interested tomorrow… IF and thats a BIG if massa jumps webber at the start webbers championship is all but over. This qualifying comes at a good time to remedy all that snow falling outside :)

  2. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 13th November 2010, 14:41

    I don’t know how much power Ferrari have to affect the outcome of any investigation, but they’d be mad not to try and keep Hamilton where he is.

    Yes, 2nd will give Alonso the championship. But he’d then be starting on the slippery side of the grid and vulnerable to Button and if there’s a squeeze moment, Webber could catapult ahead of him too. Then all Red Bull would need to do is get Webber ahead of Button and switch the drivers.

    With Alonso both higher than 5th and Webber, Ferrari would do well to keep as many cars between the two Red Bulls as possible.

  3. McLaren could help Fernando if they stay in front of the Red Bulls. They will help the Red Bulls if they stay behind them and in front of Alonso.

  4. Robert said on 13th November 2010, 14:49

    That was poor from Webber. It will be a disgrace to the sport if he is gifted the WDC by his team-mate tomorrow given his recent poor form.

  5. Bartholomew said on 13th November 2010, 14:51

    I think that Ferrari are going to hypnotise Massa so that he somehow overtales Webber at the start

    • sumedh said on 13th November 2010, 14:55

      Or get Massa to crash into Webber. Neither of the 2 drivers are good when it comes to wheel-to-wheel driving. The guy just behind them Rubens, is also not the cleanest first lap drivers, add Vitaly Petrov – who is not far back to this mess, and we are going to have a very messy start behind the first 2 rows.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 13th November 2010, 14:59

      Webber could just have his trademark starts (Valencia, Hungary, Spa, Monza). Massa would be through in no time.

  6. Great qualifying today, what a incredible race tomorrow. I can’t wait!

    I think Hamilton will win this race followed by Vettel (the McLarens are fast this weekend). Most likely Alonso will drive safely & tries to be ahead of Webber for the whole race. Like what he said, he needs a podium for the remaining races to win. Will see…

  7. DavidS (@davids) said on 13th November 2010, 14:55

    I don’t see how Hamilton can’t escape penalty.

    There is little doubt that it was a block. People have been punished for less.

    • Massa was able to advance into q3….His qualifying session was not affected in anyway by this.

    • To be fare he drove off the track to avoid a block he could do no more IMO. If I was Alonso I would want Hamilton there then he can save his tyres, engine and car lapping 0.5 off his ultimate pace and come in with an easy podium and the WDC

    • MacademiaNut said on 13th November 2010, 15:55

      Your double negative implies that HAM will escape penalty. You meant “I don’t see how Hamilton can escape penalty.”

  8. mclarens in the position to do what massa hasnt been able to do. makes me wonder who mclaren would rather have a wdc :)

  9. Just an Epic Qualifying session, the only bad thing is that its taken so long to have one that close for all 3 top teams!!

    Tomorrow could be the most titanic fight in F1′s history, all 4 drivers for the title, with 2 team mates riding shotgun on the grid is looking to make this one hellova 1st lap. Maybe im reading into this, but Massa & Button could be the key players here if they manage to get amoungst the 4 infront of them.

  10. alexf1man said on 13th November 2010, 15:01

    Imagine the reaction if Vettel stalls and Alonso runs into the back of him; this is the only way Alonso won’t win the championship, apart from that I see Alonso as champ by under 8 points :( :S FIAT = Ferrari’s International Assistance Team (conveniently the initials of Fiat, Ferrari’s parent company)

  11. Best Qualifying of the session for me.

  12. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH So annoying!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 If Vettel becomes champion tomorrow…………………. I won’t finish that sentence.

    • I think Vettel would be a deserving champion. IMO Red Bull have refused to fully back Webber because he hasn’t beaten Vettel since Spa.

  13. Younger Hamilton said on 13th November 2010, 15:07

    Looks like a Spa-Esq weekend for McLaren at Abu Dhabi missing out on pole and having the true potential to take advantage at the start and control the whole race if this is McLaren in Qualifying then i cant imagine them in the race as most of the time this season,their race pace has obviously been much better than it is in Quali so interesting to observe McLaren and Red Bull battling out on track.

  14. Dennoow said on 13th November 2010, 15:07

    I think it’s kind of funny how Alonso shouldn’t want to be 2nd √°nd Hamilton and Vettel fight it out for the race victory! Hamilton starts second, Alonso is a much better driver than Button therefore, Hamilton is very vulnerable to Alonso as well or so it seems to me?

    I think Alonso is just going to make sure he stays in 4th position and in front of Webber, then he’ll be a happy man! He does deserve it, the second half of the season was absolutely magnificent. Highlight is that breathtaking performance in Singapore this year, where he claimed a grand slam with Vettel 3 tenths of a second behind him all race long! That’s possibly the best performance I’ve ever seen, ranks right up there with Senna and Mansell at Monaco.

  15. ….but are the Mclaren still eating their tyres in the race, that is the big unknown… otherwise I can see it Being Ham, Vet, Alo (he won’t even try to get higher), But, Webber DNF in the wall or another driver.

    DOH! I’ve done it again, talk to myself… “stop speculating “

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