Webber takes tyre risk to get pole in Malaysia

Mark Webber alongside Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg

Mark Webber alongside Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg

Mark Webber’s risky tyre strategy in a rain-soaked Malaysia paid off, as he took pole position for the race tomorrow.

However, while he and Sebastian Vettel take first and third on the grid respectively, many big names completely failed to make the cut. Here is the breakdown of qualifying:

Q1

The rain began to fall just as the qualifying session began, with the entire field running on intermidiate tyres. Fifteen cars headed out at once at the start of the session, which didn’t include most of the bigger teams, who were anticipating the track drying out.

But it didn’t. A completely unexpected rain shower poured down about 7 or 8 minutes into the session, and extreme wet tyres were nescessary. Those who had already set their times were mostly safe, while those who didn’t were in huge trouble. Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button all had to set their times in the worst of conditions.

Button is caught out and spears into the gravel trap

Button is caught out and spears into the gravel trap

Lewis went out on intermidiates just as the rain got heavy, and spun soon after, He then had to pit for better tyres again after, which meant he didn’t have much time to get a lap time in. He tried his best, but only got 20th on the grid. Alonso was trading times with him, and will join him on the tenth row of the grid. He was one of the drivers who spun at Turn 8. Massa tried his best, but just couldn’t get through to Q2 either. Button was the only of these four to set a time that would get him into Q2, but disaster struck. he spun into the gravel, and was stuck, meaning he wouldn’t be able to compete in the next session, even if he did get through.

Vitaly Petrov also spun off, but unlike Button, he kept going to get through to Q2. The lack of pace from many of the best drivers opened the door for the new teams to shine, and two of the drivers leaped at the opportunity. Both Heikki Kovalainen and Timo Glock got through, to the delight of their teams. Unfortunately, Lucas di Grassi was unable to set a time, because the crew were still working on his car from Saturday morning practice. Senna, Chandhok and Trulli were all unable to pounce, and will start from the back of the grid.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Jarno Trulli

19) Fernando Alonso

20) Lewis Hamilton

21) Felipe Massa

22) Karun Chandhok

23) Bruno Senna

24)Lucas di Grassi

Q2

With most of the top drivers already out, there was a knowledge that there would be a few surprises in Q2. After what had happened in Q1, nobody was going to be caught out like Ferrari and McLaren, and all 15 drivers (Button couldn’t compete) instantly went out as soon as the session started.

All of the field minus the Red Bulls were on intermidiates, and Vettel and Webber quickly realised their mistake, and changed tyres. Most of the fast laps were set in the early part of the session, as the rain got heavier as time went on.

Glock and Kovalainen had little chance of getting into Q3, but they still fought as hard as they could. The Lotus driver beat the Virgin by three tenths, to finish 15th and 16th.

Near the end, Michael Schumacher had a scare as he was nearly caught out by Pedro de la Rosa near the end of the session, but still just about made it through to Q3.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Vitaly Petrov

12) Pedro de la Rosa

13) Sebastien Buemi

14) Jaime Alguersuari

15) Heikki Kovalainen

16) Timo Glock

17) Jenson Button

Q3

All of the cars line up, waiting to go

All of the cars line up, waiting to go

Again, like Q2, nobody wanted to be caught out by the rain again, and they all lined up to go at the start. Robert Kubica made a very cheeky move around the outside of all of the cars in the pit lane, to lead them all on the first lap.

But, none of them got far. The red flag was brought out halfway through everyone’s first runs, as the rain had become completely torrential. The conditions were very similar to those that caused the rain stoppage last year.

The rain got much heavier than this, and the session was halted

The rain got much heavier than this, and the session was halted

After a delay of 20 minutes, the session resumed. The Force Indias, now wise to Kubica’s tactics, now lined up side-by-side on the pit lane exit as they waited for the session restarted.

Everyone but Mark Webber was on the extreme wet tyres. This looked like a bad gamble for Mark after his first run, when his best time only got him 9th. But, the track very quickly dried off, and Webber’s tyres were doing the job better than anybody else. His pole position time was 1.3 seconds faster than second place man Nico Rosberg.

Unlike his team-mate, Sebastian Vettel took on extreme wet tyres, and was completely unable to challege him at the top. He did however get third place, meaning he this will be the first race of the season without Vettel on pole. He will be joined on the second row by Adrian Sutil. Nico Hulkenberg got a well-deserved fifth place, while Robert Kubica ended up sixth. Michael Schumacher struggled, and was only eighth.

Here is Mark Webber’s full onboard pole lap, available in HD (aren’t I good?):

Full times from qualifying:

Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1.51.886 1.48.210 1.49.327
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1.52.560 1.47.417 1.50.673
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1.47.632 1.46.828 1.50.789
4 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1.49.479 1.47.085 1.50.914
5 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1.49.664 1.47.346 1.51.001
6 Robert Kubica Renault 1.46.283 1.46.951 1.51.051
7 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1.50.301 1.48.371 1.51.511
8 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1.52.239 1.48.400 1.51.717
9 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1.48.467 1.47.792 1.51.767
10 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1.49.922 1.48.238 1.52.254
11 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1.47.952 1.48.760
12 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1.47.153 1.48.771
13 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.48.945 1.49.207
14 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.48.665 1.49.464
15 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1.52.875 1.52.270
16 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1.52.398 1.52.520
17 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1.52.211
18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1.52.884
19 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1.53.044
20 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1.53.050
21 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1.53.283
22 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1.56.299
23 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1.57.269
24 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1.59.977
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2 responses to “Webber takes tyre risk to get pole in Malaysia

  1. Pingback: Sat: Virgin, Ferrari, McLaren, HRT | Insurance Salvage Cars

  2. Pingback: MLSP MLM Leads System Pro Challege – Week 6 Summary – Day 42 MLSP 90 Day Challenge | Traffic Generation

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