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Qualifying analysis - are Red Bull back in the game? 26 Jun 2010

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing celebrates his pole position in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Valencia Spain, Saturday, 26 June 2010 Action from the first corner grandstand.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Valencia Spain, Saturday, 26 June 2010 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Williams FW32.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Valencia Spain, Saturday, 26 June 2010 Fans.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Valencia Spain, Saturday, 26 June 2010 Timo Glock (GER) Virgin Racing VR-01 leads Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Lotus T127.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Valencia Spain, Saturday, 26 June 2010

After being beaten by McLaren and Ferrari in Canada, Red Bull were in fighting form on Saturday with Sebastian Vettel taking pole position in Valencia from team mate Mark Webber. With McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton in third, and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa making up the top five, we’re set for a thrilling European Grand Prix. We take a team-by-team look at how all the runners performed…

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 37.587s, P1
Mark Webber, 1m 37.662s, P2

Vettel admitted to a mistake in the first sector on his first lap in Q3, having just dominated Q2, but he got it just right on his final run to annex pole. Overnight changes to the RB6’s F-duct had made a big difference, helping to offset external opinions that the Valencia track wouldn’t suit the car, and he was delighted. Team mate Webber said he was fine with second, that he just hadn’t been quite fast enough.

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 37.969s, P3
Jenson Button, 1m 38.210s, P7

Hamilton said they went into qualifying thinking a major effort, and then a little bit more, might push him from seventh to sixth if he was lucky, but then banged in an excellent lap right at the start of Q3. When he made a mistake locking the rear brakes on his final run he expected to drop down from third place, so was delighted when he retained it. Button said a late mistake on his last run cost him the crucial couple of tenths that made the difference between fourth and his eventual seventh place on the grid.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, 1m 38.075s, P4
Felipe Massa, 1m 38.127s, P5

Alonso said he was very happy with his fourth place, as he thought that without the updates they would have struggled to make Q3. Massa was right behind him, and thought that the potential had been there to do better than fifth. He blamed traffic on his inability to prepare his tyres properly for his last run.

Renault
Robert Kubica, 1m 38.137s, P6
Vitaly Petrov, 1m 38.523s, P10

Kubica was flying all morning and in Q1, when he was quickest, but the performance went away a little thereafter and he admitted that P6 in Q3 was closer to the Renault R30’s true form even though the new blown diffuser has been a good step forwards to the point where Hamilton observed that he believed Renault and Ferrari now to have similar levels of downforce. Petrov was delighted to get into Q3, the more so because the times were so close.

Williams
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 38.428s, P8
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 38.428s, P9

Williams came to Valencia feeling optimistic about their new blown rear wing, and eighth and ninth on the grid fully justified it. Hulkenberg pulled out a great Q3 lap to outqualify Barrichello, who complained about glazed brakes in the Q3 warm-up

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Buemi, 1m 38.586s, P11
Jaime Alguersuari 1m 39.458s, P17

Buemi followed up on his great Canadian performance with his best qualifying run of the year to 11th, but thought that Barrichello had cost him valuable time on his last run. Alguersuari had been close to him all weekend until qualifying, which left the young Spaniard scratching his head.

Force India
Adrian Sutil 1m 38.851s, P12
Vitantonio Liuzzi 1m 38.884s, P13

Sutil said his car was excellent in the morning, and Liuzzi was pretty happy then, too. But in Q2 the German complained of lack of grip, and the Italian found the same thing as the temperature increased. Disappointment was tangible in the camp after qualifying.

Mercedes GP
Nico Rosberg, 1m 38.627s, P12
Michael Schumacher, 1m 39.234s, P15

A frustrated Rosberg reported that his best lap was fine, but that there was just no more performance to be squeezed from the MGP W01. An even unhappier Schumacher said that the tyre issues that afflicted the car in Canada had yet to be resolved. He also complained of a problem with the brakes.

BMW Sauber
Pedro de la Rosa, 1m 39.264s, P16
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 39.343s, P18

De la Rosa agreed that while P16 didn’t look great, he was pretty pleased with it, as BMW Sauber had improved their C29 after practice and he got the best from it. Kobayashi, by contrast, was very disappointed not to get out of Q1 as the grip level did not go up even when he changed to the option tyres. Then he locked the front wheels, which flat-spotted the softer tyres.

Lotus
Jarno Trulli, 1m 40.658s, P19
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 40.882s, P20

Trulli said he had a brake problem, but was otherwise happy and said his new T127 chassis marked a new start for him. Kovalainen said he had to fight his car more than he had to on Friday, and was thus a little disappointed, but once again Lotus was the best new team.

Virgin
Lucas di Grassi, 1m 42.086s, P21
Timo Glock, 1m 42.140s, P22

Di Grassi had a relatively trouble-free run to 21st place, but Glock said the VR-01 was a handful on the Bridgestone option tyre and instead ran the primes for qualifying. A mistake at the end of his best lap kept him behind his team mate.

HRT
Karun Chandhok, 1m 42.600s, P23
Bruno Senna, 1m 42.851s, P24

Chandhok was happier with his F110 after the team played around a lot with the electronics today. Senna said that he didn’t really get his lap together.

David Tremayne