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Webber wins four way pole fight for German Grand Prix
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Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Jul 2011   |  2:14 pm GMT  |  128 comments

Qualifying for the German Grand Prix was a thrilling four way scrap between Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso.

In the end it was Webber who took it, his ninth career pole and the third this season. But Lewis Hamilton shocked his rivals by taking second fastest time, just 6/100ths off the pole. He described it as a “good lap”, but this was some understatement – he was over a second faster than team mate Jenson Button.

Vettel was pushed off the front row of the grid for the first time this season in third place, ahead of Fernando Alonso.

“My form has been getting better in the last few races, ” said Webber. “We got it all together in the end. I couldn’t have got much more out of it. It was my complete limit.”

Hamilton said, “We’ve had some upgrades this weekend and there’s. I underestimated how good the car would be on light fuel. It was one of the happiest laps I’ve ever had, it felt incredible.”

Hamilton and Webber were stronger than their rivals mainly in the first sector, clearly confident in their ability to get the braking right for Turn 1. Their sector one times were the platform for their success.

The gap between the soft and medium tyre was as much as 1.5 seconds in the cool conditions of today (22 degrees track temperature), which meant that many drivers had to be careful in tyre choice in the early stages of qualifying to be sure to get through.

In Q1, Renault had to use it, Mercedes too. And so did Felipe Massa, who struggled for pace in free practice relative to team mate Alonso, six tenths of a second being the norm between them.

Kobayashi was the driver to miss the cut in 18th place. He has scored points this season from the back of the grid already.

In terms of team mate match ups, Daniel Ricciardo did very well to qualify within 0.025s of Tonio Liuzzi in the HRT, while Karun Chandhok was 0.9s slower than Heikki Kovalainen. As he explained it, before this weekend he had not driven an F1 car this year on slick tyres and not used the DRS.

In Q2 the star performers were Adrian Sutil, who got his Force India into 8th place ahead of Schumacher’s Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton, who set a fastest time of 1m 30.998, with the first sector time three tenths faster than any of his rivals.

Pastor Maldonado outqualified team mate Rubens Barrichello for the fourth time in five races.

In Q3, the Red Bulls came alive, with Webber half a second faster than Hamilton and Alonso on the first runs and Vettel just a tenth behind him.

Hamilton was the surprise of the session, his and the McLaren’s braking ability into Turn 1 being one of the decisive factors in giving him an advantage in sector 1. He got his first front row since the Malaysian Grand Prix.

GERMAN GRAND PRIX, Nurburgring, Qualifying
1. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m30.079s
2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m30.134s + 0.055
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m30.216s + 0.137
4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m30.442s + 0.363
5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m30.910s + 0.831
6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m31.263s + 1.184
7. Jenson Button McLaren 1m31.288s + 1.209
8. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m32.010s + 1.931
9. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m32.187s + 2.108
10. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m32.482s + 2.403

11. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m32.2152 + 1.217
12. Paul di Resta Force India 1m32.5602 + 1.562
13. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m32.6352 + 1.637
14. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1m33.0432 + 2.045
15. Sergio Perez Sauber 1m33.1762 + 2.178
16. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1m33.5462 + 2.548
17. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1m33.6982 + 2.700

18. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m33.786s + 1.960
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1m35.599s + 3.773
20. Timo Glock Virgin 1m36.400s + 4.574
21. Karun Chandhok Lotus 1m36.422s + 4.596
22. Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin 1m36.641s + 4.815
23. Tonio Liuzzi HRT 1m37.011s + 5.185
24. Daniel Ricciardo HRT 1m37.036s + 5.210

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128 Comments
  1. Ian says:

    Great job mark! Fantastic lap! Also a great job by lewis aswel to get a great lap out of his McLaren!

    1. Wayne says:

      Lewis’ qualy lap of the season! The wdc may be done but perhaps we can see some real fights fir race wins…

      1. Wayne says:

        Or does Lewis have a dry setup, where Alonso, Vettel and Webber all have wet setups ready for the race?

      2. Umar Ali says:

        Atleast Vettel doesnt have a wet setup as after the Qualification he was saying that the race would be dry according to him and there will be no rain what so ever, but Alonso might be on wet setup. We will find it out tomorrow i guess….Cheerz

      3. D@X says:

        Hi Wayne,

        The wet or dry setup did come to mind after Q3, it all depends who is doing the rain dance come tonight and tomorrow afternoon for a green and greasy track. Button to do well if that’s the case and Lewis to drive around his dry setup. Regardless I prefer the mixed conditions. Let’s see what tomorrow’s race brings.

        Ciao!

      4. CH1UNDA says:

        Let’s see how the race goes … the points are earned on Sunday at the end of the race

    2. CH1UNDA says:

      Congragulations to Cadel Evans for winning the individual time trial at the Tour and hopefully the ride to Paris will be safe! Webber must be very happy indeed for his buddy.

  2. Sideways says:

    Mark needs to hold his race position to the first corner tomorrow.

    I was expecting Fernando on the first row, and while he didn’t disappoint with his pace, that was some driving from Lewis and Mark !

    Seb – P3 but “right” side of the track, and has jumped Mark before.

    This might still end up being another Vettel win…

    1. Umar Ali says:

      Mark has been generally been slower and quite shabby compared to Vettel on race day TBH so far this season. Three poles and all of them lost before the first corner even…lol

  3. SH says:

    Was that a collective groan from Red Bull management? Hope they don’t have to ask Webber to move over for Vettel during the race because it’ll be Turkey part II.

    1. Michael S says:

      funny though, if that was Alonso and Massa no one would bat an eye at Massa moving over for Alonso… In fact Ferrari would say “It is all about winning the title and Alonso gives us the best chance”… but with Red Bull everyone gets up tight and they have not even asked either of the drivers to move for the other…

      1. Umar Ali says:

        Because they were the one trying to ride the High Horse when the Ferrari team orders were played out last year. With their Boss going as far as saying we will never use it, and then they say to Mark ” Maintain the gap, meaning “dont you dare overtake Vettel as you are not to race him”, Media is just pointing out the hypocrisy of Red Bull nothing more nothing less.

      2. james says:

        Well said Umar, exactly. It is the total hypocrisy of Red Bull.

      3. unoc12 says:

        To add to it…

        Dietrich Mateschitz, the guy who OWNS red bull even made a public statement (rare for him) saying…

        - That having a number 1 driver was no in keeping with his “understanding of racing”

        - “You cannot just programme a champion”

        - He also said and I can’t find the quote currently, that he would prefer to have to wait till next year (now this year/2011) than to use team orders like Ferrari. He said it would be a close holywood finish and hethoght one of teh drivers would come out on top, but he would prefer to lose both WDC and WCC in favour of not using team orders.

        That was with Alonso leading 2 races to go. With a team order for a win being worth 7 points or 7 x (+7 and -7) for 14 difference

        While here Vettel was leading, Webber 2nd with 10 races to go. With 3 or 6 points the difference

      4. HansB says:

        Well… could this be because at RB certain persons had their mouth full of “we let our drivers race each other no matter what” ??
        That was until last race though…

      5. Jeff says:

        I’m not a fan of team orders even when a driver has no chance of the title, and the team are asking him to move over in order to keep the other driver’s championship hopes alive.

        When you try to prevent a battle between the leader of the championship and the person who is number two in the championship, you’re just cheating the fans, particularly when the number one could sit out two races and still lead.

        Add to that the hypocracy of a team which says, after the ‘Fernando is faster than you’ incident, ‘We would not do that – it’s just not how Red Bull operates’, plus the back story of parts being taken off Webber’s car in a previous race and put on Vettel’s, then anyone with a sense of fair play is going to get a little ticked off.

    2. "for sure" says:

      Joe Saward descibed Horner as speaking through gritted teeth when he “congratulated” Webber.

  4. Adelaide says:

    What a lap by Hamilton! Looking forward to a rain-soaked Nurburgring GP tomorrow. Everyone in top 4 has a chance of winning.

    1. Jimchik says:

      It’s always possible, of course, but for some reason I’m not expecting Vettel to take it. And as much as I’d love to see Webber win, I think Hamilton my be the victor, given the rainy race day. Alonso stands a good chance, too. IMHO.

  5. Damian J says:

    Well done Lewis!

    A perfect riposte to some of the regular Hamilton crictics on this website. You know who you are!

    1. Lol says:

      Let’s wait for the race, he will probably crash Webber out, hehe.

      1. nino says:

        He will bang one for sure…

      2. Peter C says:

        Wrong!

      3. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

        Oh really?

        So what did Webber do in Melbourne and Singapore 2010, let alone his famous attempt to take Hamilton out at Korea 2010?

      4. Bangfat says:

        “his famous attempt to take Hamilton out at Korea 2010″

        …erm.. what?.
        Of your examples, Melbourne is the only one Webber is responsible for. The Korea thing? A sad delusion.

      5. Damian J says:

        Webber was noted for colliding into the back of more than one car in 2010! :)

    2. mtb says:

      It was a splendid performance from Lewis, however I am not sure what a “crictic” is.

      1. Damian J says:

        I will quote a post by Gareth (immediately after this post),

        “There’s always a typo for those of us pedantic enough to find it”

      2. Bevan says:

        Has to be the obligatory literature nit picker in every blog eh lol..
        Great laps by MW & LH anyway,here’s hoping for a race that’s the equal of qualifyings excitement.
        ps,it was great to see the mighty Schu throwing his car around,”I loved it”!

  6. Quercus says:

    I wish I knew how you managed to write all that in the ten minutes since the race finished, James. Can’t even find a typo.

    At last the cat is amongst the pigeons. Looks like being a good race!

    1. Gareth says:

      There’s always a typo for those of us pedantic enough to find it, but you are right: the quality of journalism on this site is consistenly very high, and James’ insights make for excellent reading.

      1. Dave Aston says:

        Found it… ‘consistenly’.

      2. Harv says:

        missing a “T” in consistently Gareth ;)

      3. Gareth says:

        As I said, there’s always a typo!!!

  7. Richardd says:

    Absolutely brilliant from both Webber and Hamilton, pulling extra tenths from God know where. We’ll see how they run it during the race.

  8. F1_Badger says:

    What fantastic laps by Lewis and mark. Great to see some competition for Vettel. Vettel again showing his high standards by qualifying a dismal 3rd! His bad days are most peoples good!
    I strongly believe that this qualifying session highlighted Ferrari’s advantage at Silverstone fron the rule change. No doubt they are a formiddable team with a fantastic in season development pedigree but I think time will tell if the 1 off rule change exagaggerated a very good Alonso drive. I don’t mean to upset Ferrari fans but I don’t feel its s true win if your rivals were slowed down.
    Discuss…

    1. Quattro_T says:

      What an oversimplified assumption that one was!

      You are assuming that the teams competing with Ferrari have not brought any developments to Germany, that may have made them more competetive.

      Also, you are assuming that track conditions were the same (grip levels, temperatures etc that contribute to lap time). It is a well known “secret” by now that Ferrari suffer more than others when temperatures are low (14/22 at qualy compared to over 25 in Silverstone if remember correctly).

      Last but not least not to forget that, even though RB now are allowed to use their beloved and equally illegal BD and in spite of the very cold conditions, Fernando managed fourth (3rd in Silverstone).

      1. F1_Badger says:

        Not as over simplified as your over worded reply. all. teams have to set the car up for the track conditions they are met with! at every race.
        blown diffusers are not illeagal or those running them would incur a penalty, e.g expulsion. The only race where they are illeagal Ferrari win. Now they are not…well…
        I covered the points ref developments. Pointing at the differentials in f1 is like using stats…it can prove anything you like. however the results back up my point. red bull dominate, rule change…well point made.

      2. Martin says:

        Since you asked for comments…

        Your comment on teams setting their cars up for each circuit and each race [suggesting equal chances] is too simplistic.

        F1 is data driven and the teams develop various philosophies over a long period of time. Aerodynamically this means that you cannot run a Red Bull or McLaren front wing through a 3D copier and expect it work better on a Mercedes than the existing Merc wing.

        Running so close to the ground and with all the complex interactions around the car, the downforce curve on an F1 is not a simple parabolicly increasing curve that the first order theory would suggest. For the different teams the curve will vary as where it under and overperforms the parabolic curve. This will also change with pitch angle under braking and ride height.

        Suspension geometry is another factor. Increased camber and or toe-in will warm up the tyres more quickly and help retain temperture in wet conditions and the tyre distorts more as it rolls, but the negative of this is increased wear. If you look at the 2008 season, there is a strong correlation between low track temperatures and poor performance from the Ferraris. With the McLarens, they would match or be quicker than the Ferraris over one lap in qualifying, but if the race was hot, the Ferraris tended to be faster over the stint.

        Ferrari has been changing its rear suspension in particular, probably with some guidance from Pat Fry and his McLaren experience. However, it is not as simple as just using McLaren settings due to dominant factor of the aerodynamics.

        Putting this all together, we have the Ferrari being fast in practice and three tenths behind Lewis after Lewis said he had driven one of the best laps of his life. We can only speculate as to what the absolute real gap is. (We haven’t seen the true race pace either) Ferrari said it would still have preferred another 10 degrees in track temperature. James’ article notes the braking performance in sector one being a key advantage for Mark and Lewis. There is limited braking at Silverstone and where there is, the track has less camber than the Nurburgring. One or both of these factors appear to favour the McLaren, which has received a lot of upgraded parts (both McLaren and Ferrari have commented on this).

        Although commentators often talk about good mechanical grip, it is often just low speed downforce being better as it is the dominant factor. This could be a aerodynamic difference in philosophy between the leading cars. In the faster corners, which are more common in Silverstone, the Ferrari appears to be faster than the McLaren at the Nurburgring.

        Back to your original post, what you wrote was basically accurate – time will give clues but the constant changes to the cars means there is no certainty. If you consider how Ferrari won in Silverstone, the race was not very different from Turkey or Valencia, except that Sebastian had a slow pit stop and this gave Fernando track position. Having the crippled McLaren in the way allowed Fernando to open the gap. Therefore the trend you point to, is only strong in terms of the result, not the performance.

        To your very last comment, that win is not a win if the rivals are slowed down doesn’t stand up to sporting logic. Firstly there are handicap sports including motor racing series with success penalties. Next, why is a mid-season rule change any worse than one made for a new season? The playing field is still level. Are races with saftey cars not proper wins as the field gets compressed? Would Jenson have won in Canada without them, and therefore was his win less deserving? Was Lewis less deserving in China because Sebastian had a KERS problem?

        Cheers,

        Martin

      3. Quattro_T says:

        Well, according to media (the public as ever gets to know far from the whole story) RB threated to withdraw from the competition. FIA made a risk analysis and decided that giving green light for movable parts to increase downforce is the least harmful action for the sport. In that sense it is legal, but not when considering the current written rules for F1.

      4. F1_Badger says:

        Firstly of course it stands up to logic, its an accurate comment bourne our my the facts presented to us. And the result this weekend.

        Of course F1 is complicated, that’s why fans love it, as the great Murray walker always touches on in his commentary, anything can happen. If we only had a pound for the times words to that effect. were mentioned, we could finance HRT to a double championship. ##joke## no paragraph needed to refute this point.

        A penalty is a punishment delivered post race in response to a driver/team braking regulations. It is a world apart from changing a regulation mid-season that will affect some more than others. Cars are devoloped over an extended period of time with regulation plainly set our for all to observe and interpret. Bringing us full circle to penalties, in place a a system to deal with regulation breaches. Polar opposits and surprised at your logic in making that point.

        No doubt ferari are s great time and Alonso is an exceptional driver but my opinion is we saw more honest results pre and post Silverstone.

        I have to add that yesterdays result made me very excited about the rest of the season. It was great to see the top three teams battle it out at the front. I also agree with a point made above reference Ferrari and they’re tyres. This was clearly one of their issues yesterday. It will be very interesting to see how the pace of the too three cars is affected by a hotter track temperate. 3 great cars verses 3 to 5 extremely to to great drivers. In for some great racing. Simple but straight forward and accurate.

      5. Umar Ali says:

        Totally agree with you. Ferrari have a major problem getting their tyres warmed up in cold conditions, and they also said it yesterday that how cold conditions are hurting them. You must’ve seen time and again through out this season Ferrari have problem with tyre temperatures especially with Hard and medium compound.

  9. Roddy says:

    This looks a mighty 3way battle.
    A brilliant opportunity for Vettel to confirm he is just a touch more steely than Hamilton and Alonso.
    Prediction:
    I think Ham and Vet will pass Web before turn 2.
    I feel certain this will be a good race for Ham, possibly Alo will be frustrated when things don’t go so well…
    1: Vet 2: Ham 3: But
    (more than likely totally wrong)

    1. Umar Ali says:

      You are more than generous by saying Ham and Vet will pass Web before turn 2, seeing his amazing race craft(sarcasm) this season, they will overtake him within the first 100 meters….lol….:P….Though I want to see Web finally challenge the dominance of Vettel but he always disappoints on race day…I sure hope tomorrow he can finally keep Vettel behind him for once….

    2. PeteM says:

      I agree with you Roddy, in that Webber will be passed by atleast two before the first turn however for Marks sake I hope im wrong.
      Mark did make a good point though in the post qualy interview saying as long as he leads 1 lap which is at the end.
      Interestingly Vettel also said in the interview openly he thinks he can win.
      Correct me if im worong but I havent heard either of them say this all year.
      I think the game is on between these two and I also reckon contracts have stalled on Marks racing future with RBR hence the remarks by both drivers.
      Hopefully
      1.Webber 2.Alonso 3.Hamilton
      Likely
      1.Vettel 2.Alonso 3.Webber
      I dont think Hamilton can sustain that pace he drove beyond the cars capability. Brilliant!

  10. Werewolf says:

    One of the best Q3s this year. Tomorrow though, weather aside, Webber and Hamilton will need more pace in the middle sector in order not to fall prey to Vettel and perhaps Alonso in the DRS zone.

    Nice to return to the (new) Nurburgring, too. It’s produced some good races in the past.

    1. Martin says:

      Given that Webber has been the fastest in sector two in P2, P3 and Qualifying (and second in P1 to Alonso), he may not have much more up his sleeve.

  11. goferet says:

    Yabadadoooooooooooo, whoooooa what an exciting qualifying session, Lewis really pulled the rabbit out the hat.
    So it appears Mclaren (at least Lewis) were running with full tanks on Friday – Nice move fellas.

    Also good job by Riccardo, well what do you know, we may have a future star on the grid as for Chandkok, lets see how he goes tomorrow before the knives come out.

    Surely Vettel’s performance infront of his home crowd (which usually gives a driver an extra 3 tenths) just goes to show the lad can’t handle the pressure cooker too good besides, something about the Nurburgring for Lewis’ impressive run of podiums came to an end at this track in his rookie season.

    Okay, drivers that have no chance in hell of winning tomorrow

    Webber – He won the last race at Nurburgring in 2009 by taking out Hamilton at the first bend.

    Alonso – Won the German Grand Prix last year through devious means

    Vettel – Can’t handle pressure too well at his home race.

    So my predictions for the podium are;

    Hamilton
    Webber
    Massa

    See you on the tarmac

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      The home race gives 3 tenths. We saw that with Hamilton and Button in Silverstone.

      How did you come to the conclusion that Massa is going to beat Alonso ?

      1. Kristiane says:

        Having read his previous comments, he just doesn’t like Alonso and goferet to cheer for Hamilton.

      2. Quattro_T says:

        Try imagining how miserable he was the second part of last year, watching Fernando crushing the superior RB. At the same time as LH was crushing nothing but his own car…and still is. No offence.

      3. Umar Ali says:

        I can see Massa beating Alonso tomorrow as well though, only if Massa is on Super Soft tyres for the whole race and Alonso is on Hard Compound tyres for the whole race, but even with that Massa will just manage to cross the line in front of Alonso with a difference of 0.001 sec…Wow now that was close…..:P….Woohoo Massa….:P…hehehehe

      4. Peter C says:

        Posts like this are a complete waste of time.

        If you haven’t anything interesting to

        contribute, don’t bother.

      5. Damian J says:

        That’s quite a generalization. What about track temperature and the circuit layout which might favour another team such as the Redbulls if it contains fast corners?

  12. Stanislav Dinev says:

    Congratulations to Mark for the pole but I gotta say I felt such a relive that the mclarens are right up there again … well at least Lewis but I’m sure that Button will prove himself again tomorrow :)

  13. Glenn says:

    Mark, Mark, Mark….You couldn’t just leave it alone could you. So much for harmony within the team. Did you see the look on that poor boys face after qualifying off the front row for his home grand prix? Priceless :)
    We all know Mark will muff the start as usual and the others will get by but the temporary moral victory must taste real good at the moment.
    Good luck Mark!

    1. Umar Ali says:

      Hahahaha….Good one….he always does doesn’t he…:P

      1. james says:

        No he does not always. For starters, his Kers has been kaput all year where Vettels has hardly played up at all.

      2. Umar Ali says:

        See he did it again…..Don’t get me wrong though i want him to win and challenge Vettel but its frustrating to see him lose the pole time and again and now its the fourth time….With Webber on Pole its safe to assume that the P2 is the pole man this year….

  14. Jeremy (cape town) South Africa says:

    Absolutely brilliant lap by Lewis Hamilton!!!goodluck for tomorrow!

  15. Matthew Fung says:

    i think lewis was suprised just how close he got to the REd BUlls. It’ll be a cracker 2morrow!

  16. Jeremy (cape town) South Africa says:

    Well done Lewis !!! Goodluck for the race.

    1. Jeff says:

      Great qualifying session.

      After practice, and both McLaren driver comments thereafter, I was expecting a slow showing from Lewis in Quali.

      Great to see Lewis pull one out of the hat to get on the front row ahead of the Ferraris and Vettel. It remains to be seen who has compromised setup for a potential wet race. The weather could still mix it up a lot tomorrow.

      At least this is the last of the tape delayed races on Fox network TV over here, after which it will be back to watching it live on Speed TV. I hate waiting until the afternoon to watch the race, with even more ads than normal. Someone at Fox sports needs to be given a huge wedgie for that decision.

      1. ron says:

        I agree, F1 on Fox must be the worst broadcast of any sport that I have ever seen.

        Not only are there dozens of commercial breaks in a 2-hour program, but each one seems to be perfectly timed to coincide with a major event on track. “Oh, Fernando and Vettel coming into the pits? Let’s go to commercial break….[a few minutes later] while we were away, Webber pulled a brilliant overtaking move on Button, and Vettel lost the lead to Fernando in the pits”.

        Ahhh! And sadly, SPEED is only marginally better. When will we get quality F1 programming in the states? The BBC should just sell their programming online (pay-per-view style) or something!

      2. google proxy servers if you want bbc coverage

  17. Sergio says:

    Big problem for Vettel, Horner & Marko having same mapping as Webbo. The impossibility to change mapping after qualy is fresh air for the Championship.

  18. TheLegend says:

    Everything would have been as expected, with the two RB in front and Alonso just a little far behind… if Lewis had not done that amazingly-stunning-incredible-overwhelming lap.
    Oh my God, 1.1 seconds ahead of Jenson! I don’t think Lewis will be able to keep Fernando’s and RB race pace, so he will probably be the key tomorrow. If he overtakes Mark and Fernando does the same with Seb at the start this can be a very interesting race (more than average this year). Hope rain stays away tomorrow, for the first time in many years it would take off some interest to the race.

    1. Quercus says:

      McLaren’s race pace is always better than qualifying — so hold on to your hats!

  19. Luke A says:

    Absolutely amazing lap by Hamilton. Did you see the on-board lap James? It was literally a perfect lap if there ever was one.

    Also, watching Webber’s pole lap on-board, he was flat out with DRS open and used up 3/4 of his KERS through turns 10/11 “the fast chicane”, that was unbelievable confidence he had in his car and just shows RB’s rear downforce.

    1. Irish con says:

      I seen that myself and I hate to watch it 2 or 3 times to believe it. Would be great to see how Hamilton and alonso went through there onboard aswell.

  20. Alex_D says:

    VARIETY OF OPINIONS.
    As always people will consider different angles, different opinion to prove their point. Based on what I have seen over the last few years, I can tell that both Hamilton and Alonso are by far the best drivers of recent years.
    I know that Vettel lovers will ignore the superioty of his car and will compare him to Webber to show how gat he is. Vettel haters will only consider the car performance and will bring the consoiracy theory to explain his superioty over Webber. I do not know what to say…maybe the truth is very simple- Vettel is a very solid driver, very fast over single lap, who found gat unity with his team and his car and he is doing good on new tyres while Webber is less loved and less consistent. This might count for the difference.

    PHENOMENAL HAMILTON AND WEBBER.
    Both did great! People expected Red Bull to dominate and so they were faster, however not by far. Webber ahead of the Vettel. But Hamilton and McLaren…what a lap! Incredible!

    FERRARI got better, but it is clear now that they were a bit helped by diffuser row and hindered by cooler temperatus today. They are improving and it is giid ti see. But I have hoped for more.

    1. HansB says:

      About the last part I’m not so sure.
      The gap from FA to SV is more or less the same here as it was in Silverstone. Even the gap to pole (0.36) is not much more. Those small differences could come from the different circuit layout as well.
      It is McL that seems to have to most benefit from the diffusor row.

  21. Jewel says:

    correct me if I am wrong, but I remember Karun shunting the Lotus in the very first GP weekend in one of the practice sessions. Was it Karun, or Narain? The quote above that says it was his first time on slicks did not sound right. Or was he on wets or inters?

    1. ron says:

      Karun crashed car at first lap in Melbourne.
      at turkey it was wet session. At Valencia it was dry but had gearbox problem after installation lap.Again at silverstone it was wet. it wasn’t until this gp he had running on slick tyres.

  22. Ash says:

    Great performance by Mark, it seems he’s getting his mojo back, he’s starting to understand the tyres better and now the fruits of that hardwork is paying off in quali especially…but Mark needs a win, and a win from pole tommorrow will give him a big injection of confidence he needs moving forward into the 2nd half of the season.

    Wow – Lewis Hamilton once again demonstrating his supreme ability and confidence under pressure to provide us with the best quali performance we’ve seen all year imho – special!!!

    Over 1.1 second quicker than his team mate, it wasn’t long ago I was reading an article with Jenson quoting – ‘Hamilton keeps me on my toes’

    After watching the interview with Jenson after quali he looked more embarrassed than anything to be honest and so he should be.

    On a serious note though, it must be hard for Jenson especially after last year when you are dominated by your team mate in every department – race wins, fastest laps, podiums, quali performances, on track duels – basically every credible factual stat that compares two drivers over a course of a season.

    So far this season he’s holding his own – ish, I hope it stays that way, but we still have 10 races to go, not looking good though imo.

    As for Vettel not being on the front row, we’ll learn more about this guy tommorrow imo, stuck behind Webber and Lewis, facing a more serious challenge from 3rd, it will be interesting.

    1. Jeff says:

      No doubt Lewis is quicker than Jenson in qualifying. The difference is still there in the race, but much less. Jenson doesn’t seem to be able to warm up his tyres quickly enough for qualifying.

      Conversely, Jenson’s tyres appear to last longer in the race. Couple that with Lewis sometimes making moves that put him off the track and out of the race, and we have an interesting hare and tortoise scenario with Jenson being equal on points with Lewis coming into Germany, despite being de-wheeled at the last race after a pitstop cock-up.

      Jenson obviously didn’t even get close on the setup today, while Lewis found something special both in terms of setup and a truly demon lap to push the car ahead of Alonso and Vettel (a position that probably flatters the car quite a bit)

      If only Lewis would rein in his more impetuous nature and play the percentages better with overtaking, he’d be in a solid second place right now.

      Vettel has yet to prove that he can pass top-rated drivers without a massive car advantage. Tomorrow may start to change that opinion, but I somehow doubt it.

      1. Ash says:

        @Jeff

        The idea that Jenson ‘appears’ to be easier on his tryes I don’t except, Jenson’s tyre management skills are a ‘myth’, that’s the word Paddy Lowe used when describing Jenson’s tyre manangement skills, so please don’t take offence. Also we saw in Silverstone he was the first to pit from the inters, we’ve seen Jenson struggle on many occasions throughout 2010 and this season for tyre wear.

        In reference to Hamiltons overtaking skills, they are the best in the business imo, the amount of moves Lewis has made, and the manor of those moves made since entering F1 is just incredible to be honest.

        Martin Brundle or DC provided a stat before the Monaco or Canadian GP that 283 overtakes had been made so far upto that point, and Lewis had made 1 out of 10 of those moves.

        Lewis had a bad race in Monaco, the moves he tried were over ambitious, clearly a frustrated man, a man who puts a lot of pressure on his own shoulders and failed – simple. As for the race in Canada there was only one driver apologising to the media and it wasn’t Lewis after a particular collision, the move on Webber was unlucky imo, just caught a snap of oversteer
        ….but for everybody all of a sudden to start criticising his overtaking skills over a couple of bad days in the office – I dont get.
        He won a WDC driving the same way, seizing every possible opportunity and ultimately at times you will pay the price – that’s racing!!!

        Jenson being level on points at this point means nothing imo, they don’t give out prizes at this stage in the season after 9 races.

        He was 1.1 sec slower than his team mate, even Jenson Button can’t disguise that.

  23. drums says:

    Nice result for Hamilton and McL. Congrats.

  24. Matt Shea says:

    Great qualifying session.

    And great race track: I feel the new nurburgring has always copped it a bit, perhaps because it gets compared to the original track, but the races here are just about always entertaining, and watching the drivers attack those heavily cambered corners is very special. I thought it flowed a lot better back in the day without the slow first section, but still — top little race track.

  25. Jack A says:

    Ferraris lack of pace probably means a wet set up so they might have the advantage tomorrow, Red bull might struggle in the wet………if it rains …….

  26. frosty1 says:

    This has set up the race perfectly. Too hard to call for me, with the changeable weather in the mix.

    Where is the DRS zone on this circuit?

    1. Mislav says:

      At turn 11.

  27. Wally says:

    Jenson must have a wet setup as the forecast for the race is `light showers`.
    That can be the only explanation for the embarrassing gap to Hamilton.

    1. nope, there’s another possibility…

  28. Patrick Byrne says:

    Brundle and DC were commenting that Pirelli are getting more conservative with the tyres, making them last longer for marketing reasons. This is a shame but apparently Webber told Brundle it’s good news for him and I reckon it’s great news for Hamilton also – especially for the race.

    I think Ferrari still have an issue with tyre warm-up in low temps. Massa certainly hinted at this in interviews. They will be stronger in the race but Hamilton is the fly in the ointment…

    1. DanielS says:

      I think it may help Mercedes out as well, considering they were getting slaughtered in early races due to rear tyre wear.

      I expect to see Schumacher (and maybe Rosberg) finish higher than their grid slots.

  29. Lez Martin says:

    Red Bulls can be slow off the line, where Hamilton and Alonso have proved to be lightning, I can see it being Hamilton, Alonso, Vettel then Webber into the first corner, but hopefully Webber can pull it off, as pointed out, the way the tyres are working now, seems to be playing into Webbers hands, Vettel has apparently been walking round with a face like a wet weekend, so maybe he has taken it to heart that he beat Webber by default, at Silverstone.
    Hopefully we are in for an exciting race, and if the rain should come, then maybe it will help mix things up a bit, we want the championship pulled back a bit, so as to make the later stages of the season more exciting, and not a walk in the park for Seb, even though he is romping away with it now…

    1. Jeff says:

      Not a Vettel fan, but I think that’s a little harsh. Webber himself said he totally ignored his radio. If he’d been able to get past Seb, he would have gone for it, so you would have to say that Vettel passed the finish line ahead of his teammate on merit (assuming equal cars – that’s a separate debate).

      1. Lez Martin says:

        Im sorry, I dont think its harsh at all, in interviews, Webber let us believe he ignored the radio, up until the point that Christian Horner spoke to him, even from what Horner said, this was the case, all this apparently was with 3 laps to go, Vettel had ‘A KERS issue’, so having caught up to Seb, Mark could have over taken him, up until Horner had got on the radio, Mark was trying to concentrate, but intimated that all the chit chat in his ear was off putting, so I think we will have to agree to disagree on that one…

  30. Vinola says:

    Fantastic performance by Lewis. He clearly dialed the car in- better (perhaps) than Jenson was able to. Its remarkable how frequently Jenson complains about the balance of the car when Lewis rarely does- other than wanting more downforce. Also, through the course of a weekend, Lewis is almost always 1/2 a second faster than Jenson, then the gap closes in actual qualifying. I suppose my question, James, is Lewis’s technical know-how in terms of car set-up a significant reason for his superior performance? and is that an under-rated skill?…can you confirm if the 2 sides of the Mclaren garage shared set up info this weekend?? Thank you.

    1. Vinola says:

      Is this censored?

    2. James Allen says:

      No I don’t think it’s superior technical know how. Yes the drivers share info.

  31. Ago says:

    That was a brilliant lap from Lewis no doubt…
    However nobody questions the more-than-one-second gap to Jenson ? Can somebody reminds me when that happened last ? Anything to do with the setup of the cars ?

  32. docjkm says:

    Great Qualifying session. BUT, pole is wasted on Webber. Can/will someone explain his consistently poor starts?? And not just this season.

    Seb should slot up diagonally on the grid to prevent stuffing stuffing Marco’s rump at lights out.

    Why can’t Webber get his car moving? Would really appreciate insight, James.

    1. Troy Prideaux says:

      I know that ever since Mark has been with RBR (and maybe teams previous to them) his starts have consistently been poor. I wouldn’t be surprised if he stands alone in F1 history as having the worst starting performance for one team over such a period. I’d love to see the statistics of his positions gained vs lost after the 1st lap for his time at RBR. It’s frustrating for his fans because he’s definitely one of the most talented racers.

  33. rvd says:

    Excellent Q3, good on Mark, good job from Hamilton and Alonso, wonder what happened to Button.

  34. Lol says:

    Vettel gets pole throughout season in impressive ways, beating everying with a big margin….everyone is like, meh, boring, just the car (hello Webber?).

    Now suddenly Webber and Hamilton are the new Messiahs because they managed to get a good lap in, ok, lol.

    1. Hal says:

      That’s the point…if he’s beating everyone by a big margin it’s because of his car (webber seemed to absent for the first 5-6 races) because ultimately you can not say he is that much faster than Alonso or Lewis no matter how much of a fanboy you are (I personally rate the two above Vettel).
      Its not against Vettel – no one like someone to have such a dominant car.

      1. SH says:

        Webber didn’t have a working KERS for the first 5-6 races. How come everyone forgets to mention this?

  35. AW says:

    What happened to Michael?! His car looked horrible, sliding all over the place:( Im sure he’ll make up a lot of places tomorrow.

  36. Malcolm says:

    Great job done by Lewis today to qualify only .055s behind Webber. It looks as if maybe, just maybe Vettel along with Kinky Kiley’s reign of terror just might be over.

  37. Damian J says:

    Hamilton’s drive in qualy shows that Ferrari are not ahead of McLaren in terms of performance inspite of the unbalanced comments from a few coming from one section of the F1 fanbase favouring one particular Italian team.

    Perhaps it was their enthusiasm getting ahead of themselves after one successful race result given Ferrari’s poor standing this season to date but as I suggested last week, the off-throttle gases issue was a one-off that favoured Ferrari for this single race.

    1. Ago says:

      Damian, watch carefully the quali results and you will see that Fernando was able to split the McLaren -or even be in front of the two of them- in every race since Turkey (06 may.). Bare facts I’m afraid ;-)

      1. Damian J says:

        That is statistical nonsense. The comparison should be on the same basis. One would also
        need to include Ferrari’s slower second driver also for a fair comparison since you have chosen to include McLaren’s second car.

        In any event, splitting the McLaren cars as you point out does not prove that the Ferrari has a superior car, as was claimed by some posts after the Silverstone race.

    2. mawchi says:

      Alonso finished the last races in wich he was classified 2-2-1. that does not seem like a one off.

  38. Douglas says:

    What are Pirelli up to – are they doing a 180 and producing relatively indestructible tires from now on?? We had that with Bridgestone, and it was boring…

  39. John H. says:

    I look forward to Vettel’s win tomorrow!

  40. Nigel says:

    Prediction:
    Watch out for the late braking McLaren going into turn 1 at the start of the race. That’s Hamilton’s best chance of getting the race lead and then watch out for Red Bulls battling each other and Alonso’s very fast Ferrari.

  41. Wombat says:

    Isn’t it amazing.
    Once Red Bull give Mark Webber a car that works all weekend, the supposed difference in pace to Vettel evaporates………..
    I just hope Red Bull realize what a great driver they have in Mark Webber.
    Great to see the resurgence of McLaren and Ferrari – this year it is Vettel that has to hold his nerve like Button with the Brawn.

    1. Damian J says:

      Vettel has a large margin to play with and even with any misfortune that comes his way will probabaly not be too detrimental as his rivials will probably end up taking points from each other.

      1. Quercus says:

        Don’t forget the change in the points system that happened in 2010; this exaggerates the lead. Vettel has a very good cushion but a few poorer finishes and maybe a DNF (which, by the law of averages, will come), could see his advantage being dramatically reduced. Never say die!

        He does have a commanding lead though.

  42. John T says:

    Didn’t see quali today as I’m ‘abroad’. The HD recorder should have it, and the race, for when I get home. I for one would enjoy a Webber win tomorrow. Be interesting to see the difference in set ups for the race if it is wet.

  43. jonnyd says:

    i miss the days when the drivers all had 4 attempts to beat the other guys time, instead of this pointless knockout configuration.

    1. ron says:

      In my opinion, that is more effective when the grid is closer together, like today. When the grid is farther apart, a single qualifying session would be incredibly boring.

    2. Simple says:

      Same. 12 lap qualifying please.

  44. Drama Queen says:

    Hot lap by Lewis, but Marks was better.

  45. Seán Craddock says:

    Chandhok & Lotus kept saying it was his first time on these tyres and with DRS.

    What was he using in the Friday practice sessions he’s been doing this season? & even yesterday? I’m sure he’s more than familiar with DRS & the tyres in short runs.

    The tyre excuse can b used for the race obviously cause he’s never driven long distances.

    I don’t mean to take anything away from him, it was some achievement to be within a second of Heikki

  46. Sergio says:

    Since Valencia there is no magic button in Kinky Kylie. No 4-5 tenths for Vettel.

  47. F1a says:

    I’ve got a great idea!

    Why don’t we all make completely pointless race predictions!

    1 Ham 2 Web 3 Alo

    or

    1 Web 2 Ham 3 Vet

    It’s all a bit pointless predicting the top 4 to be somewhere around the top 4, this is racing :)

    For me, the most interesting thing is Vettel’s mood. Not happy.

    + Pirelli are making sturdier tires – helps Webber, and McLaren seem to have made a huge gain with their floor. MAYBE we can be lucky enough for the season not to be over.

    We (even neutrals) just need at least two Vettel DNFs, then there can be a true fight for the last 8 races or so.

  48. Mark in Australia says:

    Le Tour De France one day, the Nurburgring the next. Go Aussie go!!! (provided Mark Webber can get the thing off the line)

  49. Andrew says:

    Looks to be set up for a great race. Can’t wait. Great to see Mark dig deep for pole in Germany. Look out for a big form reversal and a clean hook-up off the line tomorrow too!

  50. Sam B says:

    Hi, James. I’ve heard on the BBC that Pirellis are getting more durable over the course of the season, and that when Mark Webber was asked about it, he’d replied, “And it’s playing right into my hands.”

    Anything you can give us on this?

    1. James Allen says:

      I’ve written quite a bit on this, with Pirelli trying to make the gap between the two tyres smaller to encourage different strategies and to alleviate some of the criticism of tyres that wear out too quickly. I think Vettel figured out the Pirellis faster than Webber. It’s helping Webber now because he is harder on his tyres. It hasn’t made a huge difference in quali as the soft tyre has been the same all season.

  51. Syed says:

    I can’t see why vettel is rated so highly for his raw pace. We’ve seen numerous times Webber beating him in qualifying or being very very close. So either Mark is also very very quick, something many people fail to mention most of the times or should i say mention rarely or vettel is quick but no wunderkid I’d imagine. clearly hamilton and alonso are quick but then a webber or rosberg kind of a driver as their teammate should really spice things up. I was quite amazed to hear schumacher saying he made that error because of the time rosberg put in, and he said he couldn’t have matched it at all. wow rosberg should really be at mclaren and then we’ll see how good is hamilton. webber should be at ferrari, that’ll give a good indication of how fast alonso is and how fast vettel is in reference.

  52. chris green says:

    Watching the in car footge of the Williams showed its a real pig to drive.

  53. Taimur says:

    Felipe Massa said after qualifying yesterday that Ferrari were running with as much downforce as possible. We saw at Silverstone that they suffered a lot on intermediates, so could they have compromised qualifying slightly for a better chance in a wet race?

  54. Tom says:

    I’ve heard from a very close source to Jenson, that Lewis has more upgrades on his car than Jenson.
    Still a brilliant lap from Lewis.. Also been told Button will look for a move after this.

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