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Qualifying analysis - Webber on fighting form for Red Bull 21 May 2011

Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing is congratulated on his pole position by Steven Tee (GBR) Photographer. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 21 May 2011 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4/26.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 21 May 2011 Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Lotus Renault GP R31 leads Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB7 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari 150 Italia.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 21 May 2011 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 21 May 2011 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 150 Italia.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 21 May 2011 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Williams FW33.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 21 May 2011 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM04 leads Sebastien Buemi (SUI) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR6.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 21 May 2011 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Team Lotus T128. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 20 May 2011 Jerome d'Ambrosio (BEL) Virgin Racing MVR-02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 21 May 2011 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB7.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 21 May 2011 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari 150 Italia.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 21 May 2011 Worn Pirelli tyre.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 20 May 2011

Mark Webber arrived in Barcelona resolved to kick start his world championship campaign. And on Saturday he laid some pretty sturdy foundations to do just that, by knocking Red Bull team mate Sebastian Vettel off pole position for the first time this season. But with Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button making up the top five, and many expecting a lot of overtaking, Webber faces stiff competition on Sunday. We take a team-by-team look at how all the runners performed…

Red Bull
Mark Webber, 1m 20.981s, P1
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 21.181s, P2

Webber said everything went smoothly on his sole lap in Q3, which was enough to gain him his seventh pole and the first since Spa last year. Vettel said his team mate deserved it, but he’d lost track time with an undisclosed minor problem in the morning and didn’t have KERS in the afternoon. Neither driver needed to make a second run, so saved tyres for the race, and their margin of superiority left every rival stunned.

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 21.961s, P3
Jenson Button, 1m 21.996s, P5

Hamilton said there was no way he could run his DRS through the final corner, as the Red Bull drivers could, and flat-spotted the left front Pirelli in his sole run of Q3, but was otherwise pleased to grab third on the grid. Button had no problems to report and said his MP4-26 got better all through qualifying. Like his team mate, he has two sets of barely used soft tyres and one brand-new set to play with on Sunday.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, 1m 21.964s, P4
Felipe Massa, 1m 22.888s, P8

Ferrari struggled all morning in Practice Three, but bounced back in qualifying even though they were told they couldn’t use their new rear wing. Alonso felt he did the perfect lap to split the McLarens, and was delighted to be only three-thousandths off Hamilton. Massa continued to struggle with the balance of his 150th Italia and was anything but happy.

Renault
Vitaly Petrov, 1m 22.471s, P6
Nick Heidfeld, no time, P24

Renault’s day started badly as Heidfeld’s car caught fire in Practice Three because of a cracked exhaust and was sufficiently damaged to keep him out of qualifying. Petrov saved the day with sixth on the grid in a car that he described as much better than the previous day, but he said he should have been quicker but lost time in the second sector.

Mercedes
Nico Rosberg, 1m 22.599s, P7
Michael Schumacher, no time, P10

Mercedes played a conservative game with both drivers in Q2 and Q3 and weren’t too bothered about qualifying seventh and 10th, though Schumacher sat out Q3 after a KERS failure. Rosberg will start on soft tyres, but because he didn’t go out, Schuey can choose which compound to start on.

Williams
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 22.952s, P9
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 26.910s, P19

At last Williams had something to cheer as Maldonado did a great job to qualify ninth using the new rear wing. Barrichello was stranded in Q1 with a gearbox problem, but on the positive side has plenty of fresh tyres for the race and a car that suits the track.

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Buemi, 1m 23.231s, P11
Jaime Alguersuari, 1m 23.694s, P13

Buemi was really happy with 11th, especially as he was only two-tenths off making it into Q3 and ahead of the Saubers and Force Indias. He also managed to harvest a new set of soft tyres for the race. Alguersuari was less happy, finding his STR6 a problem in slower corners.

Sauber
Sergio Perez, 1m 23.367s, P12
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 23.702s, P14

Perez said the updates to the C30 worked well but that he didn’t get the best out of the car on his run on the soft Pirellis, while Kobayashi was unlucky to get stuck behind one of the Force Indias on his best lap in Q2. Thus 12th and 14th weren’t entirely representative performances.

Lotus
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 25.403s, P15
Jarno Trulli, 1m 26.521s, P18

Lotus were cock-a-hoop when Kovalainen made it through to Q2, having honed the high-speed balance in FP3, and even happier when the Finn qualified 15th ahead of the two Force Indias. Trulli had a very slow lap when an electrical problem jammed him in second gear, but a change of steering wheel cured that and he was able to do a flying lap at the end of Q1 which put him ahead of Barrichello.

Force India
Paul di Resta, 1m 26.126s, P16
Adrian Sutil, 1m 26.571s, P17

On paper Force India had a tough time in Q2. But they had reverted to the standard aero package since they understand it better, and adopted a deliberately conservative approach to qualifying in order to harvest tyres and give themselves maximum strategic flexibility for the race.

Virgin
Timo Glock, 1m 27.315s, P20
Jerome D'Ambrosio, 1m 28.556s, P23

Virgin delayed going out for as long as possible in a slippery Q1, to let the track conditions improve. Glock said his first set of Pirellis took a long time to come in, then got a good lap in despite a small mistake in Turn Seven. D’Ambrosio wasn’t happy with his car all day, and had a hydraulic problem after his first run in Q1.

HRT
Tonio Liuzzi, 1m 27.809s, P21
Narain Karthikeyan, 1m 27.908s, P22

No problems to report here, as Liuzzi and Karthikeyan made the most of others’ misfortunes to take 21st and 22nd grid positions.

Pirelli
With track temperatures peaking at 40 degrees centigrade, Pirelli admitted there had been increased stress on their PZero tyres on Saturday, with the front-left particularly challenged by the long Turn Three. The Italian manufacturer, however, were pleased to see the teams using their compounds to put in place creative race tactics.

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