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?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

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. Oh man today we see what button is worth of again. Yes he qualified fouth, which is not that bad, but read his comments. He couldn’t even get his own set up right and had to follow hamiltons so that he can qualify fourth! Well. Surprised. Surprised. Suprised.

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 13th November 2010, 15:48

      Brundle said: ‘That’s the most oversteer I’ve seen on Button’s car in 3 seasons!’

      I guess that explains it!

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 13th November 2010, 21:46

      He couldn’t even get his own set up right and had to follow hamiltons so that he can qualify fourth!

      There’s nothing unusual at all about one driver adopting another’s set-up. With two cars and just four hours of practice time, drivers often evaluate different set-ups and run different parts in practice.

  2. MP4-25 said on 13th November 2010, 15:18

    The tussles that will occur tommorrow will make the AbuDhabi race the best race all season.
    1. Front row, Hamilton on Vettel. Coz of the F duct, Lewis has a damn good chance of out dragging Vettel to the first corner. Lewis just has to be careful the rookis doesnt take him out at turn 1.
    The ‘clean side’ of the grid is actually the dangerous side. Vettel from Alonso from Webber. All in a row? Definately gonna be some contact there. 1 driver will try go past on the outside and that will definately result in some carnage.
    Moral of the story, lewis has a good chance at the title tomorrow.!

  3. DeadManWoking said on 13th November 2010, 15:28

    The Stewards, having received a report from the Race Director concerning the incident between Car 9, Rubens
    Barrichello and car 7, Felipe Massa, at Turn 6 & 7 and having heard explanations from both drivers and team
    representative, decide to take no further action.

  4. Does anybody knows where that f1fanatic last race points calculator is? (that one where you could shuffle racers and check possibilities)

  5. verstappen said on 13th November 2010, 16:16

    The first lap, the pit stops and then the suspense of F1 always being a mechanical sport…
    That’s probably where the race will be about. Hopefully I’m wrong and we will see some great on track battles.

    Then again, if you have this 4way championship hanging above every lap, who needs on track battles?

  6. Younger Hamilton said on 13th November 2010, 16:22

    Schumi at his Best once again out Qualified Nico well impressed with that

  7. great alonso! great lap, this third position is worth the title against faster cars…

  8. Vettel’s title hopes aren’t over yet – if Button and Webber can get ahead of Alonso, which certainly isn’t inconceivable, he just has to win to be champion!

  9. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 13th November 2010, 16:55

    No Penalty for Hamilton

    It wasn’t even investigated!

  10. Am surprised Hamilton wasn’t penalized, even the commentators were almost sure of a grid place drop penalty.
    Am not entirely sure about Webber’s lack of pace, we haven’t seen him this slow to his teammate in any of the races this season .. does anyone sense something fishy here
    The start will be really important as will the pit stops especially since the option would grain quickly

    • Snoopy said on 13th November 2010, 17:34

      No damage of significance was done to Massa. They both made it to Q3 and the stewards took that into account. Massa himself has said on Autosport that he is not surprised at the decision so get over it.

      Oh and the commentators are wrong so often it’s unbelievable.

  11. Snoopy said on 13th November 2010, 17:31

    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.

  12. Snoopy said on 13th November 2010, 17:50

    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 :)

  13. Stefanauss said on 13th November 2010, 18:34

    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.

  14. The Limit said on 13th November 2010, 19:09

    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.

  15. Electrolite said on 13th November 2010, 20:20

    I am absolutely gutted =(

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