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Qualifying analysis - relentless Red Bull unbeatable in Budapest? 31 Jul 2010

(L to R): Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing celebrates his pole position in parc ferme with second placed team mate Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, 31 July 2010 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F10.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, 31 July 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/25 leads Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 VJM03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, 31 July 2010 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W01 passes Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) BMW Sauber C29.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, 31 July 2010 Sakon Yamamoto (JPN) Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT) HRTF1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, 31 July 2010

Nobody could hold a candle to Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel on Saturday in Hungary - not even team mate Mark Webber, who took a distant second to the German’s dominant pole time. Together the duo look pretty invincible for Sunday’s race, but there’s no doubt Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa in third and fourth, and fifth-placed McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton will do all they can to stop Red Bull having it all their own way in Budapest. We take a team-by-team look at the pre-race form…

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 18.773s, P1
Mark Webber, 1m 19.184s, P2

Red Bull simply annihilated their opposition in qualifying, and Vettel was in a class of his own with two laps that would have put him on the pole. The high-downforce RB6 was brilliantly suited to the track, and the German got all of the other factors right, warming his tyres perfectly and putting in very clean laps when they mattered. Webber was faster in Q2, but admitted that his preparation for his final run was compromised by Robert Kubica finishing his best lap, and that he had simply not got the same clean run that his team mate managed. That said he was still eight tenths faster than the team’s closest challenger, Fernando Alonso. Vettel was a whopping 1.2s ahead of the Spaniard.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, 1m 19.987s, P3
Felipe Massa, 1m 20.331s, P4

Alonso said his car felt really good and performed flawlessly. But it just wasn’t quick enough. Red Bull’s pace came as a major surprise to the Scuderia, especially after their own performance in Hockenheim last week. Massa admitted that he just hadn’t put a very good lap together and said that with the softer Bridgestone tyre you had to be very precise.

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 20.499s, P5
Jenson Button, 1m 21.292s, P11

Hamilton was absolutely delighted to get his MP4-25 into fifth place on the grid, as everyone at McLaren had agreed the previous day that that would be a very significant achievement. The car lacked grip in general, and that was why Button struggled to 11th, the first faller in Q2. After the session team principal Martin Whitmarsh jokingly described the MP4-25 as the “fastest of the fixed-wing cars”, amid continuing speculation as to whether Red Bull and/or Ferrari have found a clever way around the regulations outlawing flexible front wings. Both McLaren and Mercedes are understood to be seeking clarification from the FIA on the matter.

Mercedes GP
Nico Rosberg, 1m 21.082s, P6
Michael Schumacher, 1m 21.630s, P14

Given the MGP W01’s general lack of performance this weekend, Rosberg said he was delighted to finish sixth on the grid as that was considerably more than he’d expected. Schumacher said he had gone for a set-up that should be much better suited to the race than it was to qualifying.

Renault
Vitaly Petrov, 1m 21.229s, P7
Robert Kubica, 1m 21.328s, P8

Petrov was delighted to outqualify Kubica for the first time, after a very strong performance throughout qualifying. Once again the R30’s inherent mechanical grip was a strong factor in its competitive speed. Kubica said he had expected to be higher but that his car lacked grip and bottomed continually. He was also puzzled that his Q3 lap was significantly worse than his best in Q2.

BMW Sauber
Pedro de la Rosa, 1m 21.411s, P9
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 22.222s, P18, will start P23

De la Rosa was the happiest Spaniard in the paddock after qualifying ninth. He reported that his C29 was very good, especially in the slow corners. Kobayashi was very disappointed not to get a competitive car through Q1, and admitted that despite myriad changes to the set-up he just couldn’t find one that suited him. He said that his car felt strange, and lacked grip, and that the decision to send him out for his final run on the harder Bridgestone instead of the soft compound cost him his chance of making Q2. To make his day worse, he was given a five grid place penalty after qualifying for failing to stop at a weight check.

Williams
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 21.710s, P10
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 21.331s, P12

Hulkenberg was happy to get through to Q3, but ultimately hoped for better than 10th once he’d got there. Barrichello said his FW32 was perfect in Q1, when he needed only one run to get through to Q2. But then he complained of traffic on his out lap which ruined his efforts in the final run of the second session, as he was unable to get the tyres to their optimal temperature.

Force India
Adrian Sutil, 1m 21.517s, P13
Vitantonio Liuzzi, 1m 21.927s, P16

Sutil reverted to a standard diffuser for the day, and said he was generally satisfied with the car’s performance in qualifying. Liuzzi lost valuable time this morning after a driveshaft showed signs of failure, and though he reported that the VJM03 was pretty strong in Q1, it lacked the aero and mechanical grip to get through to Q3.

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Buemi, 1m 21.897s, P15
Jaime Alguersuari 1m 21.998s, P17

Buemi reported decent balance and an STR05 that worked well but generally lacked downforce and therefore pace. Alguersuari was little slower and said he felt they’d reached the limit of the car’s performance.

Virgin
Timo Glock, 1m 24.050s, P19, will start P18
Lucas di Grassi, 1m 25.118s, P22, will start P21

Glock said he was quite happy with his two days of work chez Virgin, as they outqualified Lotus even though he was struggling over the numerous bumps. Di Grassi was disappointed after running wide and damaging his VR01’s floor on his first run, which subsequently lost him crucial downforce.

Lotus
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 24.120s, P20, will start P19
Jarno Trulli, 1m 24.199s, P21, will start P20

Kovalainen thought that he’d got the best out of his T127 that it had to offer, especially after losing so much time on Friday. Trulli complained about traffic on his first run, claiming that he lost four tenths of a second as a result, and said his tyres weren’t at their best on his second.

HRT
Bruno Senna, 1m 26.391s, P23, will start P22
Sakon Yamamoto, 1m 26.453s, P24

Senna complained that continually chasing the track conditions, and therefore altering the set-up, made the F110 hard to drive in qualifying, but Yamamoto said he was quite happy with his Q1 run even though a poor third sector prevented him from running Senna closer on his final run.

David Tremayne