Vettel takes pole position in Valencia

Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton after qualifying

Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton after qualifying

Sebastian Vettel took pole position ahead of the European Grand Prix in Valencia tomorrow. He set the fastest lap of the weekend ahead of team-mate Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton. Here is the full report:

Q1

Jarno Trulli and the two Virgin cars went out first, lapping in the 1.43 zone.  After this, Nico Hulkenberg and Rubens Barrichello showed that Willams have made improvements, by going fastest. After this, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton began to trade fastest laps, in the effort to get on top. Soon enough, Sebastian Vettel went out and knocked them both back by taking the fastest lap.

With 8 minutes to go, the only driver who hadn’t gone out yet was Robert Kubica. He eventually went out, and instantly set the fastest lap, a 1.38.2. On his next lap, he went another tenth faster. At the back of the grid, the Virgin drivers switched to the harder tyre, but only got 21st and 22nd.

By this stage, most drivers were happy with their times, and were waiting in the pits for Q2. But, Michael Schumacher was languishing in 15th, and went out for another lap time. However, within a minute, 3 drivers behind him improved their times, and suddenly Schumacher was in the knockout zone. His final lap put him up to 12th, leaving Kamui Kobayashi to be knocked out alongside the 3 new teams. Lotus were an entire 1.5 seconds ahead of Virgin, who were 0.5 faster than HRT.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Kamui Kobayashi

19) Jarno Trulli

20) Heikki Kovalainen

21) Lucas di Grassi

22) Timo Glock

23) Karun Chandhok

24) Bruno Senna

Q2

Nearly half of the field were straight out for the beginning of Q2. Felipe Massa got the ball rolling with a 1.38.591. Fernando Alonso swiftly beat this by another tenth of a second. Lewis Hamilton, and then Mark Webber, beat those times again. Fernando went 2nd, then Hamilton 3rd, and Sebastian Vettel then went fastest with a 1.38.

Robert Kubica then went 3rd fastest. In the dropout zone, while Nico Rosberg improved on his time, he was only 12th. His team-mate Schumacher only got 15th fastest with 7 minutes to go. Felipe Massa was about to go fastest, but pitted.

Amazingly, the top 14 were covered by only 0.8 seconds in the final few minutes. While Nico Rosberg, Michael Schumacher and Adrian Sutil all improved their times, they did not move position, meaning they were all knocked out, alongside, Sebastien Buemi, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Pedro de la Rosa and Jaime Alguersuari.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Sebastien Buemi

12) Nico Rosberg

13) Adrian Sutil

14) Vitantonio Liuzzi

15) Michael Schumacher

16) Pedro de la Rosa

17) Jaime Alguersuari

Q3

All 5 teams went out immediately for Q3. Jenson Button was the first out with a flying lap, but Fernando Alonso quickly beat that with a 1.38.3. Lewis Hamilton was the first man who got below the 1.38 mark, setting a 1.37.9, but Mark Webber then went a tenth quicker to take top spot.

Williams employed a clever strategy, for their cars to go out in between the two sets of flying laps that the top teams do. With this, they had clear air and no traffic, and so Nico Hulkenberg went 5th, although Barrichello only got 10th.

Fernando Alonso was the first out for the final attempt, but only went 4th. Sebastian Vettel was up next, and set a 1.37.5, the fastest lap of the weekend so far. Lewis Hamilton messed up his final lap, and Mark Webber got 2nd. Robert Kubica went 6th, and Jenson Button 7th.

This left Vettel to take pole position for the race tomorrow, with Webber behind him, and Hamilton 3rd. It was surprising that Kubica couldn’t mount a challenge, but 6th is respectable enough.

Full times from qualifying:

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One response to “Vettel takes pole position in Valencia

  1. Pingback: The Ultimate Webber guide.

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