Webber beats Vettel to pole position in Spain

2011 Spanish Grand Prix qualifying

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Barcelona, 2011

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Barcelona, 2011

Mark Webber took pole position for the second year in a row in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel was hampered by a faulty Kinetic Energy Recovery System but was still able to take second ahead of the McLarens.

Lewis Hamilton starts third ahead of Fernando Alonso.


The huge gap in performance between the hard and soft tyres meant most teams had to consider using soft tyres even as early as Q1.

The major exceptions were Red Bull and McLaren, the latter pair falling to 14th and 15th as other drivers improved on soft tyres. However Mercedes and Ferrari both used soft tyres to ensure their drivers reached Q2.

Nick Heidfeld was unable to join in following his fire during practice. And a gearbox problem after his first run condemned Rubens Barrichello to elimination as well.

That handed a rare place in Q2 to Lotus’s Heikki Kovalainen.

The usual suspects filled the remaining places but all the drivers who set times were within the 107% time. Jerome d’Ambrosio, the slowest qualifier, was inside by just three tenths of a second.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1’26.521
19 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’26.910
20 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’27.315
21 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1’27.809
22 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’27.908
23 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1’28.556
24 Nick Heidfeld Renault No time


Sebastian Vettel was fastest in Q2 despite not being able to use his Kinetic Energy Recovery System.

Team mate Webber was second, two-tenths of a second slower than his team mate, ahead of the two McLarens.

Force India resigned themselves to not reaching Q3 and elected not to use a set of soft tyres. That allowed Heikki Kovalainen to beat them to 15th.

The Saubers and Toro Rossos also failed to reach Q3 as Pastor Maldonado reached the final ten for the first time.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’23.231
12 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’23.367
13 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’23.694
14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’23.702
15 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1’25.403
16 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’26.126
17 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’26.571


Jenson Button led the cars out as the final ten minutes of qualifying began.

The McLaren duo briefly sat at the top of the times, Hamilton just three tenths of a second faster than Button.

But they were quickly beaten by the two Red Bulls, led by Vettel.

Webber had even more speed in reserve, though, and his 1’20.981 was a full second faster than the McLarens could manage.

An impressive effort by Fernando Alonso split the McLarens, leaving him just three-thousandths of a second slower than Hamilton.

Vitaly Petrov was sixth in front of Nico Rosberg and Felipe Massa.

Pastor Maldonado was ninth ahead of Michael Schumacher, who left the pits on hards but did not set a time.

Top ten in Q3

1 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’20.981
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’21.181
3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’21.961
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’21.964
5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’21.996
6 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’22.471
7 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’22.599
8 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’22.888
9 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1’22.952
10 Michael Schumacher Mercedes No time

2011 Spanish Grand Prix

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119 comments on Webber beats Vettel to pole position in Spain

  1. Doance (@doance) said on 21st May 2011, 14:20

    hopefully webber gets a good start. pole means nothing if he gets swamped.

    • Dave Blanc said on 21st May 2011, 14:22

      Webber to have his usual terrible start and Vettel’s KERS inoperable, leaving Hamilton to cruise into P1 at turn 1. Well, here’s hoping anyway!

      • Doance (@doance) said on 21st May 2011, 14:25

        I predict he will have a bad start. Like at Belgium last year from pole. I really hope he wins.

      • Laranja Mecanica said on 21st May 2011, 14:28

        Starting with a flat tyre which leave it in the bin at the first turn

        • Macca (@macca) said on 21st May 2011, 16:58

          I finally predict with me head rather than me heart and Webber goes and sticks the thing on pole.

          • Palle (@palle) said on 21st May 2011, 20:43

            Vettels KERS didn’t work – You couldn’t know. I got caught also with my usual guess Vettel on Pole.

      • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 21st May 2011, 21:19

        There seems to be an increasing number of McLaren/Ferrari fans who can only hope that their chosen driver finds his 25 points through the misfortune of somebody else as opposed to beating them hands down.

  2. Mitch said on 21st May 2011, 14:21

    Fantastic Mark. Lets beat him were it matters too.

  3. Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 21st May 2011, 14:22

    Damn, Webber’s pole time was 14 thousandths faster than what I predicted him to do…

    Mega lap from Alonso and Petrov did a solid job too, and good stuff from Maldonado. Even if attration/stratgey played it’s part it’ll still be a confidence booster.

  4. robbiepblake (@driftin) said on 21st May 2011, 14:24

    I’m very impressed with Kovaleinen and Maldonado and quite disappointed with the two Saubers. The former two have improved MASSIVELY.

    As for the Red Bulls…. over a 1 second gap between them and McLaren and both drivers getting out of their cars before the session’s even over? Boring. Again. It’s 2004 all over again. That Q3 was the dullest qualifying I’ve seen in ages.Let’s hope the race gives us something else.

    Nice to see Webber on pole finally though – 5th, 4th, 3rd and 2nd and now possibly 1st tomorrow – and people rubbished my prediction of that two weeks ago.

    • xabregas said on 21st May 2011, 14:29

      It´s Red bull´s fault or the others that can´t match their pace, you just have to choose which angle you wont to look at

    • Ral said on 21st May 2011, 18:56

      Any word on if Kobayashi was held up, or made a mistake in S2 before he gave up on his 2nd run in Q2?

    • DMC said on 21st May 2011, 19:05

      When you have drivers wondering wether to go out or not to save tyres you have to look at the tyre rationing.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 21st May 2011, 21:42

      Really looks like Maldonado is getting to grips with F1 now. And Heikki looks to be really getting the maximum out of the car currently. He was helped a bit by FI going for hards only to save tyres for the race though.

  5. HxCas (@hxcas) said on 21st May 2011, 14:24

    Nice to see a different pole sitter for the first time this season even if it was aided by Vettels mechanical woes =)
    What stood out for me the most in Q3 was Petrov. Looking at his live timing he had an extremely slow second sector and lost around half a second to the card around him. I think he had a real shot at third place today – that Renault is a rocket. It’s such a shame about Nicks car, here’s hoping ‘The Webber’ works out for him tomorrow

  6. Icthyes said on 21st May 2011, 14:24

    Massa not even a tenth faster than Maldonado…

    • I’m trying so hard to think of an acceptable excuse but there isn’t one.

      • Dan Thorn said on 21st May 2011, 15:19

        The problem is there’s a good few tenths between Alonso and Massa anyway, so when Alonso does something special and Massa finds it a bit tough the gap becomes huge.

        Considering Massa has done quite well this year already I’ll let this one slide, as long as he doesn’t make a habit of being this underwhelming…

        • DMC said on 21st May 2011, 19:26

          Massa has struggled for consistency since his accident, which is a shame because when he is on it there are few that can touch him ask kimmi and lewis.

      • Solo (@solo) said on 21st May 2011, 15:20

        Almost a full second from your teammate is just too much.
        I never thought of him as a special talent but such difference just doesn’t make sense.
        To bad we will never know for certain if that spring on the head really is the cause of all this.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 21st May 2011, 21:44

          But Alonso felt he had done a perfect lap. Massa felt nothing like that, so that is worth a good few tenths.

          Let’s see what it looks like after the start. I would not even be suprised to see Alonso stuck behind Petrov again while Massa is right behind them in lap 2.

      • sunnymir (@sunnymir) said on 21st May 2011, 15:21

        He was saying that the new HARD Tyres introduced in this GP were the cause of his mistakes.Lets see wat happen’s 2 morrow.

      • Klaas said on 21st May 2011, 16:25

        Yeah, Massa is even lower than the second-fiddle standard. And people still condemn Ferrari for not treating their drivers equally – it would be the most unjust thing to put Alonso and Massa at the same level. The more time passes the more I’m convinced that Ferrari did the right thing at Hockenheim.

        • DMC said on 21st May 2011, 19:37

          Reubens may disagree. You cant underestimate the effect of a driver like alonso walking in and demanding number one status, and getting it. Maybe its time for massa to leave and prove his speed elsewhere ala reubens, Let someone else be alonso’s whipping boy.

          • Klaas said on 22nd May 2011, 6:05

            And you was there when Alonso walked in and demanded Nr 1 status? People thought that Raikkonen would be Nr 1 when he came to Ferrari but Massa managed to stay close to him in terms of performance and even beat him, that’s why they were treated equally.
            Who stopped Massa to prove his speed in Bahrain last year or in many other races where he finished miles behind Alonso?
            The thing is – Ferrari had 2 drivers last year: one who being 40 points behind in the standing claimed that he can fight for the WC (and he did) and another who complained all season that he couldn’t make the tires work. Now who would a rational manager support more? I think the answer is obvious.
            Massa has only himself to blame for falling to second fiddle. Oh, and Rubens (not Reubens) didn’t prove his speed anywhere – he was far behind Button in 2009 so I guess it wasn’t all his Nr 2 status at Ferrari that slowed him down.

  7. Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 21st May 2011, 14:24

    Nice one from Mark – Vettel’s face says it all.

    What’s the situation with Heidfeld? Will he be allowed to start?

  8. sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 21st May 2011, 14:24

    How has it come to pass that we have had one of the most exciting qualifying in recent memory [Malaysia] and now one of the least interesting and dull sessions that i’ve seen? [Spain].

    The Red Bull advantage is insane. KERS or not. The race for 3rd will be interesting, but there will be little point in gambling on anyone else but Vettel or Webber for the win. A shame.

    Schumacher will be very interesting to watch tomorrow as well. I wonder if we will see a very short [i.e. 1-5 lap] stint on the hards and then softs all the way to the finish line. He may well be strong if there is an early safety car too.

    • Burnout (@burnout) said on 21st May 2011, 14:31

      But Schumacher didn’t set a timed lap. Does the “start on the tyres you qualified on” rule still apply then?

      • sato113 (@sato113) said on 21st May 2011, 15:25

        you start on the tyres you set your fastest lap on in Q3. he did not even set a lap time, so he can choose what he wants. very clever from schumi!

      • BBQ2 said on 21st May 2011, 15:35

        He starts with the tyres he made his fastest lap and that was on the options (soft).

      • dim23 (@) said on 21st May 2011, 16:02

        “At the start of the race the cars that took part in Q3 must be fitted with the tyres the driver used to set his grid time. ” – Schumacher didnt’t set a grid time, meaning he has the right to choose which tyre he’ll run at the start, just like Petrov did in China.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 21st May 2011, 21:46

        Well, if he didn’t set a time, there is not really any set of tyres that would fit the bill then, giving him the option to choose for the start.

    • Solo (@solo) said on 21st May 2011, 15:26

      For the first time this season i put him in my top 5 prediction so i hope that he will compensate for all the boringness he gave me during the 2000-2004 years with doing something for me by getting his ass up there.

  9. box this lap said on 21st May 2011, 14:26

    Vettel was close to Senna’s “poles in a row” record wasn’t he?. Now that Webber has pole he can start again! such a pity.

  10. Rob said on 21st May 2011, 14:26

    Really great lap by Alonso. A second quicker than his team mate. Thats not something you see everyday from the drivers in the top teams.

    • nik (@nik) said on 21st May 2011, 15:26

      Easily driver of the day. Whatever they pay him, it is not enough, because he is the only thing working at Ferrari at the moment.

      Embarrassing for Massa, but then again Alonso is a champion and one of the greats

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 21st May 2011, 21:49

        Read its something like EUR 150 million in those 4 years.

        I guess Ferrari feels the same. And the spanish public will have been just as thrilled as all Ferrari fans at Alonso’s lap here.

        The prospect of an Alonso on this kind of form is really a boost for rest of the season.

  11. sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 21st May 2011, 14:26

    Also – does Schumacher have to start on the hard tyre as went out on them or does he still have the choice as no timed lap was set?

    • Icthyes said on 21st May 2011, 14:34

      No time = any tyres you want. Good to leave the option of starting on the option (deliberate pun, shoot me now)!

  12. HounslowBusGarage (@hounslowbusgarage) said on 21st May 2011, 14:27

    Eddie Jordan said he thought that SCH had done something clever by not wasting a set of tyres in Q3. Means he can start on whatever he likes. But he used a set of softs in Q1, so he’s still at a tyre disadvantage versus Red Bull and Maclaren, isn’t he?

  13. matt88 (@matt88) said on 21st May 2011, 14:27

    3 thousands of a second away from Hamilton… really impressive lap by Alonso!

    • sunnymir (@sunnymir) said on 21st May 2011, 14:30


    • Nigelstash (@nigelstash) said on 21st May 2011, 15:05

      Alonso is the man in form at the moment. The only driver on the grid who is doing better than his car deserves.

      • sunnymir (@sunnymir) said on 21st May 2011, 15:24

        Exactly.Now ferrari only have 2 improve the car a little more.I wonder wat would have happened if there rear wing was not banned.

      • DMC said on 21st May 2011, 19:19

        Yes and i think he will easily take hamilton due to his huge flat spot, and given the ferraris race pace he could push the bulls.

      • dragon said on 22nd May 2011, 11:48

        The RB6 may have insane pace, but Vettel and Webber push each other to the point where they drag the absolute limit out of that car.

  14. sunnymir (@sunnymir) said on 21st May 2011, 14:29


  15. Movement said on 21st May 2011, 14:31

    The McLaren duo briefly sat at the top of the times, Hamilton just three tenths of a second faster than Button.

    Shouldn’t that read hundreds rather than tenths?

  16. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 21st May 2011, 14:33

    Yeeeeeeeeeeeeees Mark :D!!!!

  17. Icthyes said on 21st May 2011, 14:37

    Force India resigned themselves to not reaching 32

    Because Sutil would glass them in anger? :D

  18. mitz1111 (@mitz1111) said on 21st May 2011, 14:44

    lol @glass of fury, and i am soooo relieved i didn’t have to see the finger again after quali. i was hoping it would be mark who did it :D

  19. sunnymir (@sunnymir) said on 21st May 2011, 14:44

    BREAKING NEWS:Monteral and Valencia will have double DRS zones!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!AWSOME

  20. kaddison (@kaddison) said on 21st May 2011, 14:53

    I am a big fan of the current qualifying format however the need to save tires for the race robs us of the manic last minute qualifying rush that we have seen in the past. I know the reason for this in Spain is the drastic difference between the primes and the options being aver 2secs per lap. Perhaps Perelli have made the gap too wide. Seems there could be more qualifying sessions like this if the differential is too big, and the necessity to be higher up the grid reduced through DRS and KERS making overtaking too easy.

    A little rant…but I think Qualifying was much less of a spectacle than it should be.

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