Daily Archives: April 3, 2010

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:


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


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


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

Hamilton leads Friday Practice 2

Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets again in Friday Practice 2, as yet more reliability problems struck the Red Bulls.

Hamilton’s fastest lap was a 1.34.175, set during a short-fuel run. Sebastian Vettel struggled with power steering problems, but still managed the second fastest time. He was 0.266 seconds behind Lewis. Nico Rosberg topped off the top three, only two thousands of a second behind Vettel.

However, the awful reliability of the Red Bulls hit Mark Webber harder than Vettel. Webber stopped at the Turn 9 gravel trap, though it is not yet clear what caused the stoppage. He only set 13 laps, and therefore only got 20th place, 4.6 seconds behind Hamilton.

In fourth was Jenson Button, two tenths off his team-mate’s time. He initially complained about setup difficulties at the start, but soon got into his stride. Behind him was Michael Schumacher, who got many more laps in after his hydraulic problems in the morning. He was half a second behind the frontrunners. Robert Kubica was sixth, a full seconds behind Hamilton, despite setting 34 laps.

The Ferraris continued to work on heavy-fuel runs, with Fernando Alonso seventh and Felipe Massa fifteenth. However, the mood from some of the team may indicate that not all of their pace is down to the fuel loads, and they may be in for a tough weekend. Fernando was 1.4 seconds back, with Felipe another second behind.

Sebastien Buemi continued his good form, finishing eighth. Vitaly Petrov and Adrian Sutil topped off the top ten. Both Saubers improved again, with Kobayashi and De la Rosa getting eleventh and thirteenth respectively. Vitantonio Liuzzi took the car back off Paul di Resta in the afternoon, and ended up twelfth. This was certainly a good day for the Force, with good results, and getting to test a new young driver.

Jaime Alguersuari was fourteenth, followed by Massa and the two Williams drivers of Barrichello and Hulkenberg.

Jarno Trulli again led the charge of the new teams, followed by team-mate Heikki Kovalainen. Both drivers are getting closer and closer to the midfield, being only 4 seconds behind the fastest time. Mark Webber split the Lotus and Virgin drivers, with Timo Glock leading Lucas di Grassi. The HRTs filled the back row, this time with Karun Chandhok beating Bruno Senna. He pulled out a great lap near the end of the session, and finished nearly half a second ahead of Senna.

Times from FP2:

Driver Team Fastest lap Difference
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1.34.175
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1.34.441 0.266
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1.34.443 0.268
4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1.34.538 0.363
5 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1.34.674 0.499
6 Robert Kubica Renault 1.35.148 0.973
7 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1.35.581 1.406
8 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.35.660 1.4485
9 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1.35.872 1.697
10 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1.35.957 1.782
11 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1.36.018 1.843
12 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1.36.221 2.046
13 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1.36.325 2.15
14 Jamie Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.36.325 2.15
15 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1.36.602 2.427
16 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1.36.813 2.638
17 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1.37.415 3.24
18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1.38.454 4.279
19 Heikk Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1.38.530 4.355
20 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1.38.786 4.611
21 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1.39.061 4.886
22 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1.39.158 4.983
23 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1.41.084 6.909
24 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1.41.481 7.306

Hamilton leads Friday Practice 1

Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets in Friday Practice 1 in Malaysia, as engine woes struck Red Bull yet again.

While Hamilton’s fastest lap of 1.34.921 was enough to put him on top, Sebastian Vettel complained of a lack of power under acceleration for the entire session. He was therefore unable to set a proper time, with a best lap of 1.36.043.

Behind Hamilton was Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes. He finished 0.185 seconds back, one tenth ahead of Jenson Button in third. Michael Schumacher was happy with fourth, Robert Kubica impressed with fifth, and Mark Webber was able to get sixth.

Force India are still on the pace, with Adrian Sutil leading the charge in seventh, albeit one second off Hamilton’s time. Paul di Resta took Vitantonio Liuzzi’s seat, and did well to get fifteenth. Ferrari focused on long-fuel runs rather than short sprints, with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa getting eighth and eleventh respectively. Vettel was just behind Alonso, while Sebastien Buemi topped off the top ten.

Kamui Kobayashi showed slightly better pace than in Bahrain and Australia, with twelfth. His team-mate, Pedro de la Rosa, could only get sixteenth. Still, there were no front wing failures in FP1, which was a nice change of form.

Jaime Alguersuari finished thirteenth while Vitaly Petrov was fourteenth. Behind Di Resta and De la Rosa, the Williams duo of Nico Hulkenberg and Rubens Barrichello finished seventeenth and eighteenth respectively.

Behind them was the usual scene of the new three teams. This time Jarno Trulli took the honours of being the best of the new boys, with a best time of 1.39.460, which was 4.5 seconds off the pace, but only 1 second behind Barrichello. Fairuz Fauzy did well, finishing 1.3 seconds behind Trulli in 22nd. He went off track twice, once spinning at Turn 12, the other bouncing the car across the kerbs.

The Virgins of Glock and Di Grassi got 20th and 21st respectively, with Glock 0.3 behind Trulli. The HRTs finished off the back row, with Senna leading Chandhok by one tenth. Both drivers were seven seconds behind Lewis Hamilton.

Apart from Fauzy, there were several incidents. Michael Schumacher missed the first hour of track time, as his Mercedes crew fixed a hydraulic problem on his car. Jaime Alguersuari’s run ended early, as his car slowed while on track. Both Pedro de la Rosa and Felipe Massa ran wide and into the gravel at Turn 11.

Times from FP1:

Driver Team Fastest lap Difference # of laps
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1.34.921 19
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1.35.106 0.185 19
3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1.35.207 0.286 25
4 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1.35.225 0.304 14
5 Robert Kubica Renault 1.35.402 0.481 22
6 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1.35.479 0.558 22
7 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1.35.955 1.034 20
8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1.35.969 1.048 20
9 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1.36.043 1.122 19
10 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.36.100 1.179 20
11 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1.36.451 1.53 22
12 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1.36.503 1.582 28
13 Jamie Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.36.645 1.724 18
14 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1.36.712 1.791 9
15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1.36.891 1.97 25
16 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1.36.899 1.978 24
17 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1.37.802 2.881 27
18 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1.38.278 3.357 18
19 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1.39.460 4.539 21
20 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1.39.755 4.834 17
21 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1.40.159 5.238 25
22 Fairuz Fauzy Lotus-Cosworth 1.40.721 5.8 19
23 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1.41.832 6.911 27
24 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1.41.966 7.045 24