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Qualifying - Webber maintains Red Bull stranglehold 09 Jul 2011

Qualifying parc ferme (L to R): Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing, second; Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing, pole position; Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari, third.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 9 July 2011 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 150 Italia.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 9 July 2011 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber C30.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 9 July 2011 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW33.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 9 July 2011 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Team Lotus T128.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 9 July 2011 Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT) HRT F111.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 9, British Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 9 July 2011

Red Bull might have had their wings clipped for the British round, but in a repeat of 2010’s grid Mark Webber leads Sebastian Vettel at the head of the field. The duo got their first runs in before rain spots ruined everyone’s second chances, the German running 1m 30.431s to take pole before Webber snatched it away with 1m 30.399s.

Fernando Alonso was the only man to run them close, lapping his Ferrari in 1m 30.516s. His team mate Felipe Massa backed him up in fourth with 1m 31.124s, then there was a big time gap before Jenson Button put his McLaren a disappointing fifth with 1m 31.898s.

On a disastrous day, Lewis Hamilton could only manage 1m 32.376s, possibly still troubled by the KERS problem that dogged him this morning, and will start 10th in the second McLaren.

Separating the two silver cars, Paul di Resta took his best-ever qualifying position with sixth place in the lead Force €ndia on 1m 31.929s - perilously close to Button - with Pastor Maldonado having a great run for Williams to take their best start position of the season in seventh with 1m 31.933s. Kamui Kobayashi more than made up for crashing his Sauber on Friday with 1m 32.128s, and Nico Rosberg was ninth in his Mercedes on 1m 32.209s.

When both Rosberg and Hamilton aborted their second runs as the rain came down again, nobody else ventured out.

The track was dry again in time for Q2 after a shower in Q1, and a rapid-fire series of improvements saw Massa eventually go fastest for Ferrari on 1m 31.640s from Webber on 1m 31.673s and Alonso on 1m 31.727s.

Button was one of the last to improve, jumping from 13th to fourth with 1m 32.273s, which bumped Adrian Sutil down to 11th for Force €ndia on 1m 32.617s. Sergio Perez was also out, with 1m 32.624s, while Michael Schumacher’s efforts to improve for Mercedes failed and left him 13th on 1m 32.656s. Vitaly Petrov and Nick Heidfeld also missed Q3 for Renault, 1m 32.734s and 1m 33.805s leaving them 14th and 16th either side of Williams' Rubens Barrichello in 1m 33.119s.

Heikki Kovalainen did a great job to get through to Q2 for Team Lotus, and his 1m 34.821s initially left him a startling fourth until improvements by others pushed him all the way back down to 17th.

The road stayed dry for the first 14 minutes of Q1, but soon the Silverstone surface was again awash.

Prior to that Webber had set the pace for Red Bull on hard Pirellis, despite the restriction on Renault engine exhaust gas flow, with 1m 32.670s, but the surprise was Maldonado in second after a soft-tyre run for Williams yielded 1m 32.702s. Massa was third on 1m 32.760s, Vettel fourth on 1m 32.977s, and Alonso fifth on 1m 32.986s despite a spin at Luffield.

Neither of the Toro Rossos got through as the rain came when they were out on their warm-up lap on softs; Jaime Alguersuari was thus 18th on 1m 35.245s from Sebastien Buemi on 1m 35.749s. Timo Glock was 20th on 1m 36.203s for Virgin, ahead of Jarno Trulli’s Lotus on 1m 36.456s. Then came Jerome D’Ambrosio’s Virgin on 1m 37.154s, Tonio Liuzzi’s HRT on 1m 37.484s and rookie Daniel Ricciardo’s similar car on 1m 38.059s. The Australian will thus start his first Grand Prix in 24th place.

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