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Qualifying analysis - advantage Red Bull and Vettel 13 Mar 2010

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing celebrates his pole position in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Saturday, 13 March 2010 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Saturday, 13 March 2010 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Saturday, 13 March 2010 Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Renault R30.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Saturday, 13 March 2010 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Lotus.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Saturday, 13 March 2010

So now we finally know the ultimate speed order of the 2010 Formula One grid, over one lap at least. Red Bull and Ferrari have the edge, and the rest of them have a mountain of varying height to scale in the run-up to the first Grand Prix to be run since Adelaide 1993 without refuelling stops. The guys who pushed hardest on soft rubber in the unpopular Sector Two got the best times, but whether they can get away with that in the race without destroying their tyres remains to be seen...

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 54.101s, P1
Mark Webber, 1m 55.284s, P6

Vettel said that yesterday’s driveshaft troubles hurt Red Bull’s running time, but a few small but key changes gave him a great car on Saturday and he used it to its maximum to take pole. Webber was less happy, after spoiling his best laps with a couple of sizeable mistakes.

Ferrari
Felipe Massa, 1m 54.242s, P2
Fernando Alonso, 54.608s, P3

Massa and Alonso were very happy with the performance of their Ferraris in qualifying, the more so since they know them to be strong over race distances. The only real question about the F10s on Sunday is whether they have to turn the engines down a little in deference to fuel consumption.

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 55.217s, P4
Jenson Button, 1m 55.672s, P8

McLaren were surprised to be 1.1s off Red Bull’s qualifying pace, but both Hamilton and Button said they lacked downforce in Sector Two. Button was also troubled through Q1 and Q2 by locking front brakes. Both men think they will be in better shape in the race.

Mercedes GP
Nico Rosberg, 1m 55.241s, P5
Michael Schumacher, 1m 55.524s, P7

Rosberg said he was slightly disappointed not to have the ultimate pace to challenge at the front, and that overheating the tyres and inducing debilitating oversteer was far too easy. Schumacher said he was satisfied with seventh after being away from F1 for so long, and drew comparisons with a similar grid position for his first race, but few were convinced.

Renault
Robert Kubica, 1m 55.885s, P9
Vitaly Petrov, 1m 56.619s, P17

Kubica achieved the target of making Q3, but said he was disappointed with ninth place after doing good laps in Q1 and Q2. He encountered snap oversteer on his Q3 lap, however, and reckoned he lost four tenths. Petrov discovered that qualifying is a bun fight, and that his target had been Q2, so he at least achieved that.

Force India
Adrian Sutil, 1m 56.309s, P10
Vitantonio Liuzzi, 1m 55.653s, P12

Sutil said he was very happy, and that 10th place after a Q3 run was a great achievement, especially as he was the only runner to use the harder tyre. Liuzzi, however, was disappointed when his car suddenly developed poor traction out of the hairpin even though no changes had been made to the set-up, but his biggest problem was Barrichello running slowly on the racing line in Sector Two on his out lap.

Williams
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 55.330s, P11
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 55.857s, P13

Barrichello thought the team did a good job in general today, given the need to catch up after their problems on Friday. Hulkenberg said he was disappointed as he’d hoped to achieve more in his first qualifying sessions.

BMW Sauber
Pedro de la Rosa, 1m 56.237s, P14
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 56.270s, P16

BMW Sauber had much higher hopes than 14th and 16th, until they found how unsuited to the new infield the C29 was. De la Rosa also admitted to mistakes on his best lap as he sought to compensate. Kobayashi just admitted to struggling with the car on the really bumpy parts of the track.

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Buemi, 1m 56.265s, P15
Jaime Alguersuari 1m 57.071s, P18

Buemi said he was not surprised where he ended up, and that he might have been able to squeeze out another couple of tenths but nothing more from his STR5. Alguersuari admitted to a mistake on his best lap on the softer tyre, when he entered a turn too fast.

Virgin
Timo Glock, 1m 59.728s, P19
Lucas di Grassi, 2m 00.587s, P22

After Glock lost the left front wheel this morning because of a problem with the wheel guns not torqueing the nuts fully, the team turned things round and the German made Virgin the fastest of the new teams with a smooth performance in the afternoon. Di Grassi had a variety of technical problems overnight which limited him to only three laps in the morning, and that lack of track time showed in the afternoon.

Lotus
Jarno Trulli, 1m 59.852s, P20
Heikki Kovalainen, 2m 00.313s, P21

The return of Lotus to Formula One racing netted 20th and 21st places, and visits from champions Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti and Nigel Mansell, all former Lotus drivers. Trulli and Kovalainen lost some track time in the morning, but said they were pretty satisfied with their positions and the way things had gone.

HRT
Bruno Senna, 2m 03.240s, P23
Karun Chandhok, 2m 04.904s, P24

Senna said it was a relief to add further mileage as the HRT is so young, while Chandhok was delighted to get on track for qualifying, and to do such a good job in the most trying circumstances. For the whole team just having two cars running was one of the stories of the weekend, given how late everything got finished. Chandhok, the history man, made some himself, as probably the only driver to go straight into qualifying without any kind of shakedown. What made it even more impressive was that he had plenty of fuel on board and the Cosworth engine was still running in safe mode with less horsepower than usual.