Vettel storms to pole in Silverstone

Sebastian Vettel took pole position for the British Grand Prix, ahead of Mark Webber, after a dominant performance from the Red Bull team. Fernando Alonso was 3rd, Lewis Hamilton 4th, but Jenson Button didn’t even make it through to Q3. Here is the full report:

Q1

As the session started, every single car remained in the pits, although it seemed unclear why. After 3 minutes, Schumacher and the Lotus cars finally went out, and the session was underway. The teams were quick to warn their drivers that the wind was picking up, and would cause troubles at the high-speed corners.

The tyre choices were nicely mixed for Q1. The first fast lap was set by the Lotus cars, but was swiftly beaten by Jenson Button’s 1.32.668, although he was clearly held up by Vitantonio Liuzzi. Fernando Alonso went fastest, and Schumacher went 2nd.  His team-mate, Nico Rosberg, then went fastest of all drivers so far. Lewis Hamilton’s first lap was abandoned after he ran wide at Club corner.

Mark Webber was the first driver to get under the 1.31 mark, getting a 1.31.9. Sebastian Vettel then went 2nd fastest, although he was half a second off Webber’s time. Webber and Alonso improved their times, but Vettel then got a 1.30.8 to get on top.

As Q1 neared its end, Button was lying in 15th place, and Jaime Alguersuari nearly took him down another spot, although he remained 17th. This left Vitantonio Liuzzi in the dropout zone, even though he was only 1.6 seconds slower than Vettel. He tried again, and got 16th place, knocking Alguersuari out, as a miscalculation in times meant he couldn’t go out for another run.

The last flying lap was by Sakon Yamamoto. He was completely miles off the pace, and would have been excluded from the race under the 107% rule. His neck seemed completely worn out, after only 8 laps today. The Lotus and Virgin cars improved their times, and impressively were only 2.1 seconds slower than Sebastian Vettel.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Jaime Alguersuari

19) Heikki Kovalainen

20) Timo Glock

21) Jarno Trulli

22) Lucas di Grassi

23) Karun Chandhok

24) Sakon Yamamoto

Q2

Unlike Q1, most cars were out quickly enough in Q2. Fernando Alonso was first out, although he abandoned his lap because of backmarkers, as did Felipe Massa. McLaren were incredibly nervous about failing to get through to Q3, so they sent out Button and Hamilton on soft tyres, and it was clear that both drivers were pushing hard. Hamilton managed a 1.31.2 on his first run.

However, both Alonso and Webber were easily able to beat that time, with Webber getting a 1.30.4 on the harder tyre. Jenson Button was quickly on the radio, complaining of a lack of rear grip. With 7 minutes left in the session, all the cars pitted before their final runs. Vitaly Petrov needed a little push though, as his car suffered a loss of power.

The final runs commenced with 4 minutes to go, and Vettel was first out, setting a 1.30.48, going 2nd behind Webber. Meanwhile, Nico Hulkenberg was held up by a dangerous manouvere by Liuzzi at Becketts, and the stewards would probably investigate soon.

As the session concluded, Button was in the knockout zone, and couldn’t improve his position, ad remained 14th. Pedro de la Rosa and Rubens Barrichello were 2 surprise entrants to Q3, but the main shock was Button’s exit. Also, Adrian Sutil failed to get through to Q3, meaning both Force Indias were out in Q2.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Adrian Sutil

12) Kamui Kobayashi

13) Nico Hulkenberg

14) Jenson Button

15) Vitantonio Liuzzi

16) Vitaly Petrov

17) Sebastien Buemi

Q3

Like Q2, the Ferraris were the first out, with Vettel not far behind. Webber and Hamilton were also out soon after. The other 5 drivers appeared to be going for 1 run rather than 2. Felipe’s time was the first, a 1.31.7. Soon though, Mark Webber blasted the timesheets with a 1.29.7, and this was promptly beaten by Sebastian Vettel, with a 1.29.6.

With 5 minutes to go, the other 5 drivers went out on their runs, and the previous 5 drivers soon joined them as the session neared its conclusion. Rubens Barrichello went 6th, which was matched by Felipe Massa. Oddly enough, the Ferraris and Renaults were struggling in this session, and Alonso was further infuriated when he was held up by Nico Hulkenberg.

Mark Webber’s lap time was not enough to take pole, so Sebastian Vettel, even though 1st was already sealed, he further improved his time to rub it in and take pole position. Lewis Hamilton took 4th, Nico Rosberg was 5th, Barrichello 8th, De la Rosa 9th, and Michael Schumacher 10th.

Full times from qualifying:

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One response to “Vettel storms to pole in Silverstone

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