Webber on pole again at the Nurburgring

2011 German GP qualifying

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Nurburgring, 2011

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Nurburgring, 2011

Mark Webber took pole position for the second race in a row at the Nurburgring.

He had to fight off a threat to Red Bull’s supremacy which came not from Ferrari as expected, but Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren.

They occupied the front row of the grid while Sebastian Vettel was knocked off the front row for the first time this year.

Q1

Sauber took an unusual approach to Q1, keeping both their drivers in the garage for the first half of the session.

It caught them out when they finally sent their drivers out on soft tyres at the end of the session. Kamui Kobayashi set a 1’33.786 which left him vulnerable and he was eliminated as Paul di Resta and Nico Rosberg improved their times.

The other six cars that were eliminated were, as usual, those of Lotus, Virgin and HRT – albeit in a slightly different order to usual.

Heikki Kovalainen easily out-qualified his new team mate Karun Chandhok. Timo Glock pinched 20th place off Chandhok with his last lap, though he sounded distinctly unhappy with his team as he returned to the pits, telling them he’s “made his life difficult” again.

The two HRTs qualified on the back row, with Vitantonio Liuzzi just 0.025s faster than Daniel Ricciardo. But Ricciardo will start ahead following Liuzzi’s five-place penalty for a gearbox change.

All the drivers in the top three teams – Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari – progressed to Q2 without using a set of soft tyres with one exception: Felipe Massa.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

18 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’33.786
19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1’35.599
20 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’36.400
21 Karun Chandhok Lotus-Renault 1’36.422
22 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1’36.641
23 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1’37.011
24 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1’37.036

Q2

Lewis Hamilton put McLaren at the top of the times for the first time this weekend in Q2.

He blitzed the first sector of the lap, two-tenths of a second faster than anyone else, to lead the times on 1’30.998. Behind him were Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.

But the focus of interest was the battle to reach the top ten. Paul di Resta briefly reached Q3 until his team make knocked him out.

The same happened at Renault, as Nick Heidfeld lost his place in the final ten to Vitaly Petrov.

Both Williams and Toro Rosso drivers were also eliminated, and Sergio Perez capped a poor session for Sauber by taking 15th.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Nick Heidfeld Renault 1’32.215
12 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’32.560
13 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1’32.635
14 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’33.043
15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’33.176
16 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’33.546
17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’33.698

Q3

Hamilton’s first run in qualifying was quick enough to beat Alonso – but not the flying Red Bulls.

Mark Webber was quickest on the first runs, setting a 1’30.251, edging his team mate by a tenth of a second.

The Mercedes drivers held back and did their first runs after the front runners had pitted, as did Adrian Sutil. Nico Rosberg claimed sixth, four places in front of Schumacher with Sutil in between.

Alonso improved his time with his second run but wasn’t able to move up from fourth place. Hamilton, meanwhile, split the Red Bulls to take second on the grid.

That demoted Vettel to third – off the front row of the grid for the first time in 15 races.

Webber lowered his time yet further, getting down to a 1’30.079. That gave him his second pole position in a row both this year and at the Nurburgring – where he scored his maiden F1 triumph two years ago.

Top ten in Q3

1 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’30.079
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’30.134
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’30.216
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’30.442
5 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’30.910
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’31.263
7 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’31.288
8 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’32.010
9 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’32.187
10 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’32.482

2011 German Grand Prix

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101 comments on Webber on pole again at the Nurburgring

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  1. Doance (@doance) said on 23rd July 2011, 14:15

    That was quite unexpected.

  2. Soumya said on 23rd July 2011, 14:16

    I am surprised by how McL pulled that much back from yesterday. Brilliant first sector by Lewis.

    • David BR said on 23rd July 2011, 15:06

      Well the Hamilton/McLaren combo. Lewis over-performing, Jenson under-performing or halfway? Either way, excellent if Hamilton and Webber can stay ahead off the start.

  3. Bigbadderboom (@bigbadderboom) said on 23rd July 2011, 14:17

    Sets it up perfectly for the race. Well done Lewis and Mark, but are the cracks showing with Seb, Martin Brundell said before quali that Seb didn’t look his happy self this weekend. Maybe the season isn’t over yet!!!

    • David BR said on 23rd July 2011, 16:45

      Even if Vettel comes in 3rd every race with Webber in first, it will take 8 races (out of 10) to haul his lead in! So realistically it would require a couple of Vettel DNFs or very low point scores too to make it even a realistic prospect. Or McLaren/Ham and Ferrari/Alonso to develop beyond Red Bull from now on in (though these two plus Webber trading points won’t work either). And that’s without adding that we could well see Vettel first after the first lap again… Still, here’s hoping.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 23rd July 2011, 17:40

      Lewis was in the zone.Web was fantastic too, I think Seb was surprised too.

  4. Franz said on 23rd July 2011, 14:17

    First real qualifying session all year! So happy for Mark & Lewis. They both wrung the necks of those cars & deserve to be on the front row.

  5. DavidS (@davids) said on 23rd July 2011, 14:19

    Vettel looked almost teary after he hopped out of the car in the parc ferme area.

    Did anyone else notice that Brundle was commenting on Petrov’s lap in Q2 while the visuals were clearly on Heidfeld. After Heidfeld crossed the line, there was a long silence from Brundle as the gears whirred in his head.

    • craig-o (@craig-o) said on 23rd July 2011, 14:22

      He did the same at the start of Q1 with Ricciardo/Liuzzi, hence why I switched over to 5 Live commentary.

    • Ral said on 23rd July 2011, 14:23

      Yeah, I only have a very general idea of what the drivers’ helmets look like, but I clearly recognized Heidfeld’s black one as soon as I saw the first shot of that Renault. Silly mistake by Brundle. Ah well. Most important bit is that Petrov beat Heidfeld :p

      • Ritesh (@rits) said on 23rd July 2011, 14:55

        They were running different exhausts. Petrov had the older front facing one while Heidfeld was running the new rear facing one. And he later said its not working well enough.
        That’s what I know, correct me if I’m wrong.

        • Ral said on 23rd July 2011, 15:03

          Wasn’t Heidfeld meant to switch back to the front-blowing exhaust as well, as Renault weren’t quite confident enough yet over the construction, as well as the weight penalty?

  6. Victor. said on 23rd July 2011, 14:20

    Ha, wicked! Finally a proper qualifying.

    Alonso was a bit disappointing, though. I thought he’d challenge for pole. I expect to see more of him in the race.

  7. TFLB said on 23rd July 2011, 14:21

    Great efforts by Webber, Hamilton, Sutil and Maldonado. It’s also very refreshing to see a proper fight for pole, and Vettel off the front row.

  8. streetfightingman said on 23rd July 2011, 14:21

    I guess off-throttle blablabla actually was Ferrari’s triumph card…

    • Mads (@mads) said on 23rd July 2011, 14:42

      Looks like it was, because they really didn’t look good when the others gave it the beans.

      • mole (@mole) said on 23rd July 2011, 15:12

        Doubt that, Alonso’s race pace in Friday practice was something spectacular. I’d say the colder conditions for qualy favoured those who could thrash heat into their tyres, Hamilton made the difference. Button and Massa are known for not being able to this, which further makes the point. Add to this that McL tended to get up to speed faster in a stint in the Silverstone race, which would favour them over Ferrari in cold qualifying sessions.
        At the moment im not getting my hopes up that McLaren havent made a miraculaous turn around, and I’m happy with the explanation Hamilton drove an extraordinary lap – I may be (hopefully) wrong

        • Vishy said on 23rd July 2011, 17:02

          Hamilton was fast on all 3Qs. I think his pace is genuine and it will only get better in race. I am not sure what’s with Button though.

          If what the commentrators are telling is right, the Pirelli’s are getting more durable and it will only make both Webber and Hamilton faster and neutralize Vettel’s and Ferrari’s advantage.

          I am however rooting for Alonso this year, hope he gets the title. Really deserves it.

  9. Mike said on 23rd July 2011, 14:22

    I know this is all going to be Hamilton and Webber here but, how impressive was Alonso? Great stuff.

    I can happily announce the end of Vettel’s dominance.

    • jake said on 23rd July 2011, 14:27

      not very for me

    • Eggry (@eggry) said on 23rd July 2011, 14:30

      Hmm…I think we have to wait until the race if we want to know whether his dominance is finally ended. actually I won’t say the dominance is over until I see at least 2 DNF :P

    • bananarama said on 23rd July 2011, 14:31

      Again about half a second ahead of his teammate, so a solid Alonso performance. An awesome lap would have seen him third but I guess that was pretty much everything that was in the car today.

      • alex said on 23rd July 2011, 15:39

        Disappointing Alonso. Hope he can do better in the race. Forza Ferrari!

        • Mwoerne said on 23rd July 2011, 21:56

          I wouldn’t say “disappointing Alonso”, but rather, “disappointing Ferrari”. The man clearly did everything he could.

    • Young One said on 23rd July 2011, 15:45

      He was built up all week to taking pole, and he ends up behind in 4th; very bad.

    • David BR said on 23rd July 2011, 17:37

      How impressive was Alonso?! Surreal.

  10. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 23rd July 2011, 14:24

    Go MARK! :D:D

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 23rd July 2011, 18:09

      Wishful thinking:

      P1. HAM
      P2. WEB
      P3. ALO

      DNF. VET

      :)

      • unocv12 said on 24th July 2011, 6:18

        Wishful

        1. Webber
        2. Hamilton
        3. Alonso
        4. Massa
        5. Button
        DNF. + 3 race ban for deliberatly crahsing into multiple cars and being unable to overtake Vettel.

        Then some Webber/Hamilton/Alonso podiums for 3 races and we should have an excellent title fight….

        But I would settle for

        Off the line, Webber goes into the distance, Hamilton follows like Silverstone 2010. Vettel has a KERS failuer and ends up P10 at the end of the lap, cue link to Malaysia 2011

  11. Ral said on 23rd July 2011, 14:24

    Awesome qualifying session.

    But I do share Brundle and Coulthard’s worries that Pirelli are starting to change their tune a bit and give in to the public pressure and make more durable tyres. That would be such a shame :(

    • Eggry (@eggry) said on 23rd July 2011, 14:28

      Yeah, like Bridgestone. again I prefer tyre war as Michelin said.

      • UnitedKingdomRacing (@unitedkingdomracing) said on 23rd July 2011, 15:37

        That might be decrease the number of pitstops but it seems as if all the drivers except Vettel (and pretty much Webber) can handle these new Bridgestone-like tires better. Therefore even if the kill a bit of the in-race excitement if the bring the championship battle alive I wouldn’t be too sorry.

  12. Eggry (@eggry) said on 23rd July 2011, 14:24

    Good to see Webber takes pole(because I choose him on the Prediction!) but Alonso is disappointing…Now I have to hope Webber, Alonso, Hamilton would get rid of Vettel on the podium :D

  13. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd July 2011, 14:30

    I really hope Martin Brundle’s comments about Pirelli changing the tyre compounds have nothing to do with Pirelli bowing to pressure simply because another tyre manufacturer has been taking swipes at them. I’m hoping they’re just changing the tyres to keep everyone on their toes.

    • Same although I’d rather they didn’t change them at all.

      • sumedh said on 23rd July 2011, 14:39

        No, they will HAVE to keep changing tyres all the time. It HAS to be a moving target.

        I am pretty sure that for 2012, teams are looking to build cars that are softer on their tyres (instead of looking to build cars that are outright fast). If Pirelli don’t change their tyres, then we will end up with a 2010 Bridgestone situation.

    • Lachie (@lachie) said on 23rd July 2011, 14:43

      Yeah if that were the case I don’t see why they wouldn’t turn the comments on their head and mention that it’s not that they can’t make a tyre that lasts, it’s that they’re so good at what they do that they made the exact tyre F1 asked for.

  14. Well at least I got my pole prediction right. Copngrats to Mark. Lewis put in a brilliant lap and Seb despite not being on the front row was still pretty good. Sutil as well put in a great effort.

    I was left underwhelmed by Button and Kobayashi. I loved Glock’s radio moment as I like a bit of drama but it wasn’t exactly professional or a morale boost for the team I imagine.

    • Stefanauss (@stefanauss) said on 23rd July 2011, 14:45

      What exactly did he say? Streaming was terrible, couldn’t hear that clearly.

      • Stefanauss Glock said something like “you’ve made my life difficult these last two races” and then something about the car not being good enough.

        Becken a few weekends ago, Canada iirc, after a fairly poor showing from Mclaren in qualifying Jenson was asked if he had set the car up more for the wet but he replied that no, there wasn’t much difference and he always go for the optimum or something similar. He did go on to win Canada however so maybe he was just holding his cards close to his chest.

        I agree that Lewis has always been quick around here but he doesn’t seem to have much luck perhaps he’s inherited Kimi’s curse at this track.

        • MVRWill (@mvrwill) said on 23rd July 2011, 17:10

          I heard the same as what Steph said, because the mvr-02 is very sensitive according to his post-qualifying quotes:

          “We had the same problem in Silverstone in similarly windy conditions and our car is just very sensitive to that.”

    • Becken said on 23rd July 2011, 15:16

      I know Lewis is mighty in Nurburgring. He won two races there when was in GP2. He received a penalty in one of those races, but still won it. But 1 second faster than Jenson is too much.

      Maybe Jenson is just expecting rain and set up his car to wet conditions.

      Or we will hear him complaining about the car balance again…

  15. Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 23rd July 2011, 14:32

    That was a brilliant lap from Lewis. It’ll be interesting to see what his pace is like tomorrow but with Webber’s habit tardy starts I’d put good money on Lewis leading into Turn 1. If it rains he could well win it, but if not I reckon he’ll get passed reasonably quickly, what with the DRS zone at the end of sector two – where Hamilton has been slow.

    Alonso could well split the Red Bull’s by T1, and if the temperatures warm up a bit he’s a good bet for the win. If things stay cold he may struggle, and if it rains, well, anything could happen. Either one of the top 4 guys can realistically win this race – we’re in for a cracker!

    • Accidental Mick said on 23rd July 2011, 15:20

      With the lightning starts Alonso has had in the last 3 races you could be right. Then we will see if Vettel can overtake.

      • Martin said on 23rd July 2011, 15:51

        Vettel seems erratic when defending, and I fear he’d be threatened enough by either Alonso or Hamilton beside him, at any time, that something bad may happen to Alonso’s race by or in T1, as I speculate that everyone fears Hamilton and Alonso’s starts -

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 23rd July 2011, 16:06

          Vettel didn’t seem all that erratic at the start of any of the races this year apart from China. Or threatened when defending from Alonso at Monaco. Or Hamilton in Spain.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 23rd July 2011, 16:07

            So we’ll have to wait and see before making judgements about how intimidating Alonso and Hamilton supposedly are to him.

        • Mads (@mads) said on 23rd July 2011, 16:13

          When is he erratic when defending? I don’t remember having seen that.

          • Lee said on 23rd July 2011, 16:28

            Last season he constantly aimed his car at the one next to him and tried to force them off the road or into a barrier (I was quite surprised he never got a telling off from the stewards to be honest). This year though I have not seen him do this.

          • Vishy said on 23rd July 2011, 17:08

            Both Vettel and Hamilton are very agressive when defending, actually they should be peanlized continuously until they get it into their heads.

            Watch all the races again if you can and you will agree that Vettel is too agressive when defending.

          • Lee said on 23rd July 2011, 21:38

            @Vishy,

            I would not say either driver is too aggressive when defending this season. What do you call too aggressive and what particular incidents are you referring too?

            Racing drivers certainly should not be continuously punished for defending unless they are breaking the rules. Would you rather a procession where no one tries to overtake or drivers pull over to allow rivals to pass unimpeded?

            Vettel was a little too aggressive at the starts last season but this season he seems to have learned to be a bit less unsportsmanlike as I have not seen anything like the same behaviour.

          • Franz said on 23rd July 2011, 23:03

            IMO, Vettel is definitely the most aggressive defender at the start of the race. He always lines up with his car aimed directly across the line of the car next to him on the grid (it’s always very obvious, because everyone else lines up straight ahead).

          • Vishy said on 23rd July 2011, 23:17

            Lee

            I agree it is about racing, and they should absolutely go wheel to wheel.

            However look at last race when Hamilton passed Alonso, Alonso gave a fair fight, not weaving around. But watch when Alonso was faster and Hamilton was weaving around. At starts I have seen Vettel adopt a similar strategy cutting right across.

            Massa also defends very agressively, and it is a very good wheel to wheel defense we see with him. However he does not weave all over the place. He might be slow but Vettel and Hamilton need to learn something from Massa.

            It is not that Vettel and Hamilton are so just aggressive, it is that they act as sore losers and start playing unfair.

            Alonso used to be like that, i remember he braked tested coultard many years ago when he was in benetton i think. Now he is different but still very great defensive driver.

            Schumi in the past 3-4 races has been a revelation in defensive driving. Absolutely love watching him defend. Fair and very agressive.

      • suka (@suka) said on 23rd July 2011, 16:06

        Massa is a better starter than Alonso. Last race, Alonso almost lost it to Massa at the start lights. Vettel on the other hand has been stable on starts.

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