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Qualifying analysis - can Kubica take bull by the horns? 15 May 2010

Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB6 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Qualifying Day, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 15 May 2010 Robert Kubica (POL) Renault R30.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Qualifying Day, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 15 May 2010 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Qualifying Day, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 15 May 2010 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W01. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Qualifying Day, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 15 May 2010 Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6, Qualifying Day, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 15 May 2010

An in-form Mark Webber combined with a near-perfect Red Bull made for an untouchable combination around Monte Carlo on Saturday. Almost as impressive, however, was Renault’s Robert Kubica, who has a chance to spring a surprise from P2 on the grid on Sunday. We take a team-by-team look at qualifying…

Red Bull
Mark Webber, 1m 13.826s, P1
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 14.227s, P3

Webber’s third lap was good enough to have taken pole - just - but his fourth was the killer, the only sub-1m 14s of the weekend and the one that put everyone else in the shade. It was another super-confident performance from the Australian that left Vettel a little open-mouthed on third place on the grid.

Renault
Robert Kubica, 1m 14.120s, P2
Vitaly Petrov, 1m 15.576s, P14

Kubica was simply brilliant as he squeezed everything out of the Renault that it had to give, without putting a mark on the car. He tried one more fast lap and it looked good, until the super soft Bridgestones went past their best in the second half of it. If he makes a great start… Petrov again looked good until his mistake at the beginning of Q2 put him into the wall at Ste Devote. He said he was struggling with the brake balance and experiencing wheel locking.

Ferrari
Felipe Massa, 1m 14.283s, P4
Fernando Alonso, No time, P24, will start from pit lane with new chassis

Massa was in strong form even before Alonso’s accident at Massenet in the morning, and the two were very close. The Brazilian was quick in qualifying but said he was too close to Rosberg all the time in Q3. Alonso simply apologised for that rarest thing, a driving error, and having missed qualifying altogether will start from the pit lane because he has to use the spare chassis.

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 14.432s, P5
Jenson Button, 1m 14.637s, P8

Hamilton said that he brushed every barrier as he squeezed everything out of his McLaren, while Button was annoyed that Massa ruined his best lap by slowing ahead of him in the final Noghes corner, and thus also compromised his subsequent effort too. He also suspected the harder Bridgestone may have been a quicker choice for Q3.

Mercedes
Nico Rosberg, 1m 14.544s, P6
Michael Schumacher, 1m 14.590s, P7

For the first time this season the Mercedes drivers looked very evenly matched, and by the end of Q3 they were separated by 0.046s. But Rosberg was disappointed with only sixth place after being very fast in Q2 and admitted to making a mistake and encountering traffic at a crucial time. Schumacher looked much more his old self, said he had a pretty clean run, and that he got the most out of his MGP W01.

Williams
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 14.901s, P9
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 15.317s, P11

Barrichello looked on top form with an excellent run to a Q3, top nine place, and naturally said he’d enjoyed himself as he extracted the most from his FW32. Hulkenberg looked good at times, too, but said his Q2 lap wasn’t perfect as he missed Q3 by a fraction.

Force India
Tonio Liuzzi 1m 15.170s, P10
Adrian Sutil 1m 15.318s, P12

Changes to his VJM03’s set-up, to promote understeer and thus prevent the rear-end’s lack of traction and snap oversteer from hurting the performance, worked well for Liuzzi, who also changed his driving style a little to compensate, and he looked his old self at last on his way to P10. Sutil brushed a wall in the morning, and said that Petrov’s shunt hurt his efforts to make it through to Q3.

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Buemi, 1m 15.413s, P13
Jaime Alguersuari 1m 16.176s, P17

Buemi drove his heart out and was thus disappointed to miss Q3, especially after his speed in morning practice. He blamed failure to adjust the car for the warmer temperature in the afternoon. Alguersuari was happy with his own performance, but not the traffic he kept encountering.

BMW Sauber
Pedro de la Rosa, 1m 15.692s, P15
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 15.992s, P16

De la Rosa said he was satisfied with what he achieved in a car that didn’t seem suited to the circuit’s low-speed corners but which responded reasonably to a lot of set-up changes. Kobayashi found the going tough.

Lotus
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 17.094s, P18
Jarno Trulli, 1m 17.134s, P19

Lotus had a trouble-free run, and were delighted when Kovalainen came so close to breaching the respectable territory of the 1m 16s, even though he admitted that his last banzai effort got a little messy and did not improve. Trulli said loss of time on Thursday hampered his ultimate choice of set-up.

Virgin
Timo Glock, 1m 17.377s, P20
Lucas di Grassi, 1m 17.864s, P21

Glock lost a lot of time in the morning with a leak in the steering rack, so went into qualifying blind. In the circumstances he was happy with what he achieved, while Di Grassi enjoyed a trouble-free run in the second car.

HRT
Bruno Senna, 1m 18.509s, P22
Karun Chandhok, 1m 18.559, P23

Senna was much happier with a new floor on his F110, and it showed in his performance, but Chandhok was left mystified by his relative pace after looking strong on Thursday. He and his engineers will be examining the differential this evening in an attempt to find answers.

David Tremayne