Qualifying analysis - Webber on fighting form for Red Bull 21 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
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 hed lost track time with an undisclosed minor problem in the morning and didnt 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.
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.
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 couldnt 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.
Vitaly Petrov, 1m 22.471s, P6
Nick Heidfeld, no time, P24
Renaults day started badly as Heidfelds 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.
Nico Rosberg, 1m 22.599s, P7
Michael Schumacher, no time, P10
Mercedes played a conservative game with both drivers in Q2 and Q3 and werent 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 didnt go out, Schuey can choose which compound to start on.
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.
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.
Sergio Perez, 1m 23.367s, P12
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 23.702s, P14
Perez said the updates to the C30 worked well but that he didnt 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 werent entirely representative performances.
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.
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.
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. DAmbrosio wasnt happy with his car all day, and had a hydraulic problem after his first run in Q1.
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.
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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