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Red Bull stun opposition in qualifying for Spanish Grand Prix
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Red Bull stun opposition in qualifying for Spanish Grand Prix
Posted By: James Allen  |  08 May 2010   |  4:02 pm GMT  |  41 comments

Mark Webber took a dramatic pole position in qualifying for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix ahead of team mate Sebastian Vettel, with the next fastest car almost a second behind.


Webber was fastest in the eliminator stages of qualifying, as he often is, but when it counted this time he held on to the advantage, beating Vettel by a tenth of a second.

“Both of us have done thousands of kilometres around here, so it´s hard to get an advantage over him, plus he´s got a great record for pulling a lap out. Today I had to do something special to get him,” said Webber.

The pair have had many close battles on Saturday afternoons and there is rarely much to choose between them. Most of Webber’s slender advantage came in the final sector of the lap.

Lewis Hamilton gave McLaren its best qualifying of the season in third place, but the gap to Webber was almost a second, showing that Red Bull has not just improved along with the rest, but has actually pulled further ahead. Updates to the front and rear wings and to the floor and diffuser have given the car so much downforce that it looks like it is going around the circuit on rails.

Fernando Alonso was fourth for Ferrari ahead of Jenson Button with Michael Schumacher a season best sixth, beating his team mate Nico Rosberg for the first time this year. Robert Kubica did another excellent job in the Renault to get ahead of one of the Mercedes and one of the Ferraris, as Felipe Massa again suffered a bit of a slump with ninth place, some 7/10ths of a second slower than Alonso.

Qualifying 1 was dominated by Red Bull, with Webber 0.27s ahead of Vettel, while Rubens Barrichello joined the new teams in being eliminated. He blamed a combination of traffic and his engineer talking while he was trying to concentrate on his hot lap. It was quite a change from last year when he battled Jenson Button for the win here, only losing because the team switched his strategy, he said. Williams have brought quite a few updates this weekend and they don’t seem to have done much for the car. Barrichello said that the problem was poor correlation between the data from the wind tunnel and the track.

Meanwhile Lotus underlined the progress they have made with the updates on the cars. Jarno Trulli was only 1.5 seconds slower than Barrichello and 8/10ths of a second clear of the Virgin car.

In Qualifying 2 Webber again outshone Vettel, but the pair of them dipped into the 1m 20s while the pursuing pack were stuck in the 1m 21s. Kamui Kobayashi put in a stunning lap in the Sauber to grab 7th place at the time, bumping out a surprised Adrian Sutil. Meanwhile Michael Schumacher was 3/10ths faster than team mate Rosberg.

There are conflicting stories about the weather forecast for tomorrow with rain forecast by some. It rained heavily overnight so there is rain in the air, but today the track was its hottest of the weekend on a pretty perfect sunny day.

SPANISH GRAND PRIX – QUALIFYING
1. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:21.412 1:20.655 1:19.995
2. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:21.680 1:20.772 1:20.101
3. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:21.723 1:21.415 1:20.829
4. Alonso Ferrari 1:21.957 1:21.549 1:20.937
5. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:21.915 1:21.168 1:20.991
6. Schumacher Mercedes 1:22.528 1:21.557 1:21.294
7. Kubica Renault 1:22.488 1:21.599 1:21.353
8. Rosberg Mercedes 1:22.419 1:21.867 1:21.408
9. Massa Ferrari 1:22.564 1:21.841 1:21.585
10. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:22.577 1:21.725 1:21.984
11. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:22.628 1:21.985
12. de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1:22.211 1:22.026
13. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:22.857 1:22.131
14. Petrov Renault 1:22.976 1:22.139
15. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:22.699 1:22.191
16. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:22.593 1:22.207
17. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:23.084 1:22.854
18. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:23.125
19. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:24.674
20. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:24.748
21. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:25.475
22. di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:25.556
23. Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1:26.750
24. Senna HRT-Cosworth 1:27.122

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41 Comments
  1. rehto says:

    Red Bull is from another planet right now. But still we didn’t see their speed at Sundays so far, so Hamilton and Alonso can deliver…

    But I’m Kubica fan so… great qualy for Kubica. It’s good to see them challenging Mercedes, and only 0,3-0,5 sec to Maclaren and Ferrari. Yes, yes, yes! Barcelona brought only small modifications for them, Turkey might be breaking point…
    James Allen wrote about Renault good developments as they move closer ad closer to the pace of the front runners. Still Red Bull OMG!

    Poor performance for Force India and Williams, Sauber and Toro Rosso catching up!

    Great job Lotus. No more then q1 for them but we can see great improvement.

    Traditionally I’m hoping for the wet race. Fingers crossed!

  2. David Jerromes says:

    Congratulations to Webber, hope he doesn’t allow Seb to jump him at the start!

    Hamilton vs. Alonso…, hmmm could be just a little bit interesting and Button could even take advantage of their scrapping into the first corner and Schumi waiting to pounce!

    This looks like an awesome job by Red Bull, the look on Button, Alonso, Hamilton and Schumi’s faces tell us just how significant the ‘wings’ team’s advantage was.

    Pleased to see Sauber get into Q3, brilliant, sure James Kay will be wearing a big smile!!

    And the possibility of rain once more on race day could see another mixed up result!

    Can’t wait!!!

    1. Omar Kamal says:

      I think one of Hamilton or Alonso will take the advantage from the other trying to overtake the Red Bulls…. But what I am sure of is that the Red Bulls won’t finish lap 1 as 1-2……….

      1. Ali Adams says:

        Omar, read heliwave.com :)

  3. Ahlapski says:

    James,
    Just a quick question. What were they (the red bulls) lapping this track during testing in the winter.
    They were pretty quick out there today, weren’t they ??

    Thx.

    1. James Allen says:

      They weren’t really on it in winter testing.

  4. David Jerromes says:

    sp. Key not Kay

    Sam Michael and the Williams team cannot be happy to be so close in pace to Lotus…..

    1. Ajay says:

      Well, he might be if this was 1978 :D

  5. John says:

    wow Alonso destroyed massa again. just goes to show how overrated massa and kimi were and how much those ferrari’s flattered them.

    1. Paul says:

      Obiviously you never watched F1 when Kimi was at maclaren in a newey rocket and he annihilated the opposition dats why you would say that.

      1. joe says:

        am i the only one that sees the correlation between newey and rockets?

    2. Carl says:

      Here come the dellusional Alonso fanboys.

      Comparing last years Ferrari with this years’ is pathetic. And Kimi still won a race with that Ferrari with times that stunned all engineers at the paddock, seeing it as impossible.

      Massa said this years car he can’t get a good set up every weekend and some say because Ferrari is only thinking of Alonsos driving style and the updates compliment his style only, not Massa’s.

      Can’t you Alonso fans worship your idol without bashing other drivers?

      1. John says:

        Last year massa qualified 4th in this race, this year. Massa is just making another F60 look better than it really is.

      2. John says:

        Sorry I mean Alonso is just making another F60 look better than it is. Massa qualified 4th last year at spain but only 9th this year.

      3. Carl says:

        “Massa said this years car he can’t get a good set up every weekend and some say because Ferrari is only thinking of Alonsos driving style and the updates compliment his style only, not Massa’s.”

        As mentioned already.

        Ferrari always drops the ball on the driver they know won’t be around much longer. They did it with Kimi, now it’s Massa’s turn. Of course the team mate will look much better in a car that is being developed only to his taste.

        Look at Mercedes. Now they start developing the car to Schumacher’s style, Rosberg is nowhere to be found. Did Rosberg lose his ability to drive fast in 3 weeks?
        No, it’s the car that suddenly doesn’t suit him after the updates that only benefitted Schumacher.

  6. ashley edwards says:

    don’t they use the same weather forcast?

  7. omar kamal says:

    Alonso was the fastest in sector 1 in Q2 and Q3, Ferrari losses alot time in sector 2 and 3 (0.4 sec in each)!!! What is the radical difference between sector 1 and the other 2 sectors?

    1. JD says:

      Maybe the fast corners..not sure though.

    2. Steve Mc says:

      Sector 1′s got a sodding great straight and not too many twisty bits in it, my friend.

    3. David Worsley says:

      He’s fastest in sector 1 which is basically the straight and 3 corners. He’s only fastest there because of the F-duct. The other 2 sectors are almost completely made up of corners and the Ferrari just isn’t there for it.

    4. EM says:

      Firstly the second two sectors have a couple of corners the Red Bulls excel in, secondly sector one includes the second two thirds of the straight which the Ferrari with it’s new duct is just simply the fastest on

  8. omar kamal says:

    you forgot to mention Kubica and Renualt…..outpacing a Ferrari and a Mercedes !!!

    1. Thomas, Canada says:

      I think you need to read the article again…

      Kubica did a superb job, yet again. It sure looks like Massa has lost his edge (from the accident, or just feeling the Alonso pressure).

      Kubica must be odds on for Massa’s seat next season.

      1. Omar Kamal says:

        oops, I missed that…

        Massa hasn’t any edge from the beginning, He has many good races but also alot of awful ones and whenever he do a mistake in the race, it is never his only one !!!!

      2. Ali Adams says:

        don’t you mean five exclimation marks?
        !!!!! for 5 spins in the British GP?
        :)

  9. Sven says:

    With regulations restricted in so many areas aerodynamics is what can make the difference.
    1 second advantage for Red Bull is the Adrian Newey factor. If the other teams want to catch up they need a clone.

    1. Frankie Allen says:

      Nothing they can do this season, but bow to the majesty that is Newey.

    2. Ahlapski says:

      Totally agreed. Although I am not a Red Bull Fan, but this speak for itself.

    3. The Mercedes isn’t there yet but Ross Brawn is a genius. And the development rate of the McLaren last year was immense.

      This isn’t going to be a one horse (or Bull) race all year but it’s going to be a long few races for those behind. Jenson will be a happy man to have something of a lead.

      1. Martin says:

        Ross Brawn is an excellent engineering manager, but he hasn’t been a principle designer since the 1980s. Brawn used a huge amount of Honda money to brilliant effect. Now he reportedly has a design team based on 2011 resource levels, so it is more likely that the larger Ferrari and McLaren design teams will develop their cars faster.

        Also, a thing to remember is that while Newey would have agreed to major design decisions, such as the pullrod rear suspension, he didn’t necessarily come up with all of these ideas. The cars are so aerodynamically complex with many interactions that these need to be tested to ensure the gut feel that experience brings (that both Brawn and Newey have) holds up.

        Personally I think Brawn’s ‘strategic genius’ is overrated. Blindly following strategy of the car in front is unlikely to get you in front, but if a car has a performance advantage in race conditions (not uncommon when two different tyre manufacturers were involved) then a less than optimal strategy can get you ahead and the risk may be minimal.

  10. MrExasperated says:

    Open question, what does everyone think that Red Bull has that gives them almost a second advantage in qualifying??

    They deny active suspension so what is it?

    1. Martin says:

      It is pure downforce. It is similar as to why the three new teams are slower. If you look at the speed trap, the Renaults are 5 km/h faster even with a slower corner exit. It is not just running bigger wings, but the entire design being more efficient.

      McLaren appear to have made a significant step forward in terms of downforce, and have probably overtaken Ferrari in this regard since the start of the season.

    2. Andy C says:

      I seem to recall hearing that the difference between redbull and mclaren was something like 60kg or more of downforce (at least that’s what mclaren said),

      it’s just a very well designed and executed car. Thank goodness they didn’t get the merc engine or they would be even quicker.

      Well done redbull, now let’s see how the reliability and race pace is.

  11. Henry says:

    If its dry tomorrow my money will be on a Red Bull one – two. They are so much faster they can probably cruise half the race – good for their engines on a circuit that is normally pretty demanding of them.

  12. Harriet and Blah Blah Nyborg says:

    Isn’t it amazing to see the head scratching at McLaren and Ferrari? You would think with their astonomical budgets, they would have the boffins on the payroll to come up with the quickest cars. From what’s reported, Red Bull have half the resources of these two teams, but of course they now have Adrian Newey. My question is: if he’s the most brilliant designer in F1 — which everyone seems to think — then is he also the highest paid designer in F1? Anyone have any idea what kind of money these designers, engineers, etc are being paid?

    1. Martin says:

      I can’t remember the source, but about 5 million somethings for Newey. Then again, I heard that Martin Brundle is on similar money…

    2. Mikey says:

      Newey’s said to be on $10M a year and probably worth every penny of it to Dietrich Mateschitz, if he can come up with a car that wins a World Championship for Red Bull. I think Newey and Patrick Head are the only “name” designers left in F1 – it’s become an anonymous business in the age of computers.

  13. Stuart Fenton says:

    if tomorrow is dry I expect DULL DULL DULL

  14. Irish conor says:

    I think lewis will almost certainly do vettel into first corner if it’s dry. He is on the cleaner side will have a slip stream and the f duct and alonso maybe too if he gets away cleanly. Here’s hoping or it will b as boring as f1 can be.

  15. Hi James,

    I’ve been reading the comments from Rosberg and Schumacher and it looks like there could be probablems down the road. Brawn’s taken a car which Rosberg has scored 50 points with and changed it so it’s worse for him and better for Schumacher.

    I can’t see Rosberg standing for the team backing Schumacher as its principal challenger. Do you think that’s what’s happening?

    1. Martin says:

      Rosberg said before the action started that weight distribution change should benefit him too, and that he too doesn’t like understeering cars. It is one race, and there may be other mechanical symptoms that may be unique to this race or track.

      The Mercedes weight distribution problem was picked early on by other engineers, so it is likely that the car is faster, even if it benefits Michael more. Red Bull and McLaren have notably stepped up their downforce levels and Ferrari has increased its top speed significantly, so the gains have been masked.

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