Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Abu Dhabi, 2010

Vettel takes pole as Webber struggles to fifth

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifyingPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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.


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


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?â??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?â??lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’41.418
16 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’41.642
17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’41.738


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

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132 comments on “Vettel takes pole as Webber struggles to fifth”

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  1. If the race finishes in the same order, VET will be within 7 points of ALO and will thus guarantee us a tainted WDC. I guess the masses tend to forget and this is what Ferrari will be counting on. ALO will obviously do his best to appear a credible WDC. Whether he sleeps well in his old age is another matter.

    1. I guess the masses tend to forget and this is what Ferrari will be counting on.

      I don’t think it’s been overlooked here in the slightest.

    2. Whoever has the most points at the end of the year is going to be the worthy champion, the 7 point brigade’s argument is tedious and irrelevent. Even Hamilton has come out and said it won’t be a tainted championship if Alonso wins by less than 7 points.

      1. They’re not tedious or irrelevant. They’re commonplace and incorrect ;)

    3. He won’t lose any sleep over it, don’t you worry.

  2. Just wanted to say that I didn’t agree with RB racing for favoring VET on the wing issue but I agreed with them last week when they didn’t favor Webber. If they had done that, they would have essentially eliminated VET from contention. All ALO would have to do this week is finish ahead of WEB.

    However, there are many more permutations in play now. He not only has to finish ahead of WEB but he also needs to finish no lower than fifth. Don’t underestimate the impact of these additional considerations on his psyche.

    Oh and ALO was awesome in predicting a few races back that 5 podiums will win the WDC. I wonder if he is starting to think now that the odds are against this happening :)

  3. I truly admire the consistency of Alonso this second half of the season that got it back in the hunt even with a slower car, but damn, i can’t believe he is now set to win yet another WDC because of other’s mechanical failure when those others were in the lead… And worst of all, this time there’s that team order too.

  4. The man in the boxed seats is Fernando Alonso. The basic maths is that he only has to finish one place higher than his qualifying position and he’s champion. Taking on Hamilton would be risky as the Englishman is going to fight him tooth and nail, so I can see Ferrari wanting to pass him at the end of the first stint.
    For me, this is where Fernando will win or lose the title. If Ferrari make this strategy work, then Fernando will just hold position and let however is leading win the race.
    Lewis Hamilton has to attack. If he fails to pass Vettel then he’ll have to gap Alonso by a big enough margin to come in, change tyres, and get back out ahead. That won’t be easy at all.
    If I were Red Bull I would want Vettel to back the pack up, allowing Webber to make up positions and put Alonso and Hamilton under pressure. With the field set as it is I think that is Red Bull’s only hope for Webber to be champion.
    My gut reaction is that Alonso will see it through.

  5. I am absolutely gutted =(

  6. Imagine if RBR had favoured Webber last week and given the win to him, they would’ve been pooping themselves right now.

  7. A surprising quali by Webber.Usually he is off the pace by less than a tenth of a second.I suspect he has given up caring due to Red Bull’s lack of support for him.
    I look forward to his retirement speech after the race.
    Daniel Ricciardo has a major test driving Webbers car on Monday.

  8. Absolutely fascinating grid for tomorrow.

    But at the risk of beating a dead horse, Legard’s commentary damn near ruined the experience for me in Q3.

    “Rubens Barrichello FASTEST, 1’41.092!!”

    It’s the first time of the session, and quite slow…

    “Here comes Vettel then, final two corners. Knows the time to beat. Can he do it then?? Sebastian Vettel, nine poles so far, AND HE’S DONE IT!! LOOK AT THAT!! HE’S SUDDENLY FOUND A TENTH!!! SEBASTIAN VETTEL! Championship contender and PROVISIONAL POLE SITTER!”

    A Red Bull finding time in the third sector? I was surprised too. Next lap:

    Vettel improves by 0.054s…
    Legard: “What about this man, Sebastian Vettel, fastest so far, has he improved? Here he comes! OH HE HAS!!! HE’S DONE IT AGAIN!!! THIS HAS TO BE, SURELY, A TENTH POLE POSITION, another wonderful, wonderful last gasp performance!”
    Brundle: “Well the others are out on fresh tires.”

    Oh bother. This is when I really lost it and proceeded, frothing at the mouth, to shout profanity aimed at the voice of Jonathan Legard. The ineptitude on display in his commentary, given the amount of time left in the session, was mind boggling. Good riddance that he’s gone for 2011.

  9. Great session, session like this that makes Saturday too interesting for Sunday can’t wait for the race.Really dissapointed for Kubica & Webber.That run down to turn 1 is not that long so the driver in front will brake earlier & he runs in a danger of been hit by someone from behind.

    I am happy that Hamilton didn’t get any punishment for that incident though it was scary for any camera man! It was his fault or the team’s as they should have told him about the track situation.Vettel did what he can do but to get pole, I think Alonso will settle with third but the battle between him & Hamilton will be interesting to watch at the start of the race.If anyone who is under pressure is Webber as he is already on the back footeven before the race started.

  10. Looks like Webber now deserved what he deserves for causing several race incidents with his championship competitors

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