Vettel takes European Grand Prix pole as field closes up
Scuderia Ferrari
Vettel takes European Grand Prix pole as field closes up
Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Jun 2010   |  2:28 pm GMT  |  111 comments

Sebastian Vettel took pole position for the European Grand Prix at Valencia, ahead of Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton.

It was a terrific qualifying session with the latest developments on several cars closing the performance gap to Red Bull and McLaren at the front. Throughout the three sessions the benchmark moved between Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren and Renault and it was close until Q3 when the Red Bulls stretched their legs.

It was Vettel’s first pole position since China and the fourth front row lock out for the Red Bull team this season. And this was at a track the team expected to struggle with. It is the first qualifying the team has used the drag reducing F Duct rear wing and it gave them a lot here.

Going into the final qualifying session it seemed there were six drivers capable of taking the pole. The top six in Q2 were covered by 0.15s, but Red Bull was faster when the cars all went onto the hard tyre in Q3. Vettel was only 8/100ths of a second ahead of Webber, the same margin as in Melbourne, but a comfortable four tenths faster than Hamilton in third place.

“It’s good, ” said Vettel. “The last couple of races we didn’t have a smooth run, This circuit shouldn’t be our strongest but we managed to put the car on pole. I had to do it all in the second run. It was a tough one, we reintroduced the F Duct and the mechanics had maybe one or two hours of sleep.”

Robert Kubica looked lively in the Renault en route to sixth place. Jenson Button made a mistake in the final corner and lost a few tenths of a second, which dropped him to 7th. The McLaren is losing time to the Red Bull in the higher speed final sector.

Despite their technical updates this weekend the Ferraris didn’t have the speed in the final reckoning; Alonso was 4th and Massa 5th.

Michael Schumacher toiled due to a problem with braking on his car, it felt like it was pulling to the right in Q1 and he needed his final lap at the end of the session to make it through to Q2. He fared little better, ending up 15th and team mate Rosberg missed the cut as well in 12th place, despite a major set of developments on the car. Both drivers were on the hard tyre to set their times.

“We had a general issue with the tyres not working as in Canada,” said Schumacher. “I was also locking up the brakes, I don’t understand that. We are fighters we know you have those moments when you don’t understand things. With fuel in the car we are strong, it doesn’t help if you qualify back there.

In the new teams battle, Jarno Trulli’s Lotus was the pacesetter, four tenths ahead of the Virgins. Trulli had a new chassis this weekend and is much happier about it. Mentally he has turned a corner and sees this as a new start after a series of car failures.

“We were actually 2.5 seconds off the quickest time in Q1, and percentage wise that’s our best performance of the year so far ” said Lotus technical director Mike Gascoyne. “We’ve moved further away from the competition behind us, so overall it was a very solid performance.”

Lucas di Grassi outqualified his Virgin Racing team mate Timo Glock for the first time this season, by 0.054 of a second.

In Q2 the top six cars were all within 0.16 sec of each other. The Williams cars were in better form than for a long time. Both made it into the top ten shoot out on the race which marked the 100th Grand Prix since their last win. Amazingly the two drivers set identical lap times in Q3. Barrichello felt he could have been in the top six but for a slight issue with his brakes. But it was a far more competitive showing from the team.

Most of the front runners worked on the hard tyres in the first two sessions, doing 2 lap runs with the time coming on the second lap. Hamilton tried the soft tyre at the end of Q2.

After the first runs in Q3, Webber was fastest from Hamilton, Vettel, Button, Massa and Alonso, who had an untidy first run.

In the final runs, Vettel went first and took provisional pole. Hamilton blew his final lap, Webber went ahead of the Briton into second place.

“I’m happy to be here, ” said Hamilton. “We knew that a few people had updates and we saw in practice that we were behind. We didn’t expect to be so far up. I was up on my final lap by a tenth and then I locked up the rears in Turn 12. I thought I would drop back but I was surprised when I came out third.”

EUROPEAN GRAND PRIX, Valencia, Qualifying

1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:38.324 1:38.015 1:37.587
2. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:38.549 1:38.041 1:37.662
3. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:38.697 1:38.158 1:37.969
4. Alonso Ferrari 1:38.472 1:38.179 1:38.075
5. Massa Ferrari 1:38.657 1:38.046 1:38.127
6. Kubica Renault 1:38.132 1:38.062 1:38.137
7. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:38.360 1:38.399 1:38.210
8. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:38.843 1:38.523 1:38.428
9. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:38.449 1:38.326 1:38.428
10. Petrov Renault 1:39.004 1:38.552 1:38.523
11. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:39.096 1:38.586
12. Rosberg Mercedes 1:38.752 1:38.627
13. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:39.021 1:38.851
14. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:38.969 1:38.884
15. Schumacher Mercedes 1:38.994 1:39.234
16. de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1:39.003 1:39.264
17. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:39.128 1:39.458
18. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:39.343
19. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:40.658
20. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:40.882
21. di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:42.086
22. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:42.140
23. Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1:42.600
24. Senna HRT-Cosworth 1:42.851

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I know it’s too early to comment as the race is later on and we get a clear picture, Ferrari in general would be not so happy with their updates. They were specifically meant to move them up the order in qualifying which hasn’t really happened. Their race pace still seems great but without closing the gap in qualifying, they will not be getting what they need to stay in fight.

P4/P5 cant be called as a bad position to start but with this routine, RBR boys will run away with the title by collecting big haul of points every race and McLaren will be taking points off Ferrari too as they are on par with them.

Ferrari needs to get a bit aggressive in their approach. Making a car that suits racing conditions more than qualifying hasn’t paid off really well. Qualifying is the king this season. Yes we had some exciting races recently but very few races where top order shook under normal circumstances. If Ferrari want to take points off RBR, they need to up their game on Saturdays so they can be in a strong position for Sunday.


Wonderful qualifying session,and Williams up there to,Ferrari appear to have edged closer yet not enough,certainly the soft tyre does not suit their car on low fuel,both drivers were struggling a little,i wonder whether the harder tyre would have been a better choice in Q3? Noticed to that Red Bull,s “F” duct is used in the same way as Ferrari,s,one hand off the wheel(or mostly).McLaren were very clever in designing this feature from the cars conception,its a shame next year this device is banned,to be replaced by KERS(again) and an ECU controlled rear wing.


does webber have a f-duct on his car? did he use it..


Does anyone else just want to twist Vettel’s index finger off at the first knuckle whenever he finishes first at something?


Yes – and I’ve thought of somewhere to put it after it snaps off in my hand 🙂


A wonderful qualIfy is by redbull achieve! The mistake by webber is made in the corner, otherwise perhaps his pole would be resulten.

The Hamilton is create goodness everafter!! Quickness of the mclaren question? For button is like turtle at times.

My frustrate? Mercedes! The upgrades must be follow by the quickness. for Schumacher is surely dimmed by his, vehicular integrity. A 7 time world champion becomes doomed . Unfortunate, !!!!


Prof Bolshaviks

Michael Schumacher back in 15 is not great, he said he can’t get his tyres working. I have noticed a few times this year, Nico tends to do an out lap and then a very slow flying lap and then goes for it, this worked especially well in Malaysia, michael tends to do an out lap and then go for it on his first flying lap.
If Nico is getting more joy out of the tyres, should Michael not swallow his pride and try copying his team mate? He would surely have more success if he thought of nico as team leader and spent the time trying to emulate his success like a rookie would be doing. At least until he got on properly level terms consistently.


It actually is GREAT…MS is finding many things like a number of better drivers then he is…..different when one team is NOT built around yourself and you must compete on an even field.


Buemi really is a quiet achiever isn’t he? I see good things in his future.

James – offtopic, but you really need to get down to Codemasters stuidos and check out their F12010 game for Xbox/PS3/PC. It looks amazing.

Chief game designer can be contacted at


Thanks. They have invited me down a few times, I will try to make it soon


Good for Red Bull – they showed they still have the pace to be favorites at any race.

If one is allowed one rant here one would mention how truly awful the Valencia circuit is. It appears that aesthetics have taken precedence over overtaking opportunities. Easily the worst gp on the calendar. Barcelona is a far, far better venue for the Spanish Grand Prix and I still can not fathom why we should endure two races in Spain, especially with the second one being so, so dull. With all due respect to our Spanish friends, Spain is not exactly the most important market in the world nor does Valencia (or Spain for that matter) have any great historical significance to motorsport. Back when we had two German races at least both circuits were excellent race tracks and the Nuburgring had genuine historical significance. In the unlikely event that Bernie cares about feedback …. anything but this! Bring Magny Cours back, or the Nuburgring, or Austria or even add a new country. *** Rant Over ***


Anyone else spot Webber sat in the garage with intermediate tyres on? What was that all about?!

2:36 remaining in Q1 if you want to see for youself.


I saw it but it’s not unusual, while the engineers are examining the tyres off the previous run and deciding what to use next time out (soft/hard, new/scuffed). I think Brundle explained it during a qualy session earlier this year. Notice there were no tyre warmers in use, so no intention of actually driving on intermediates.


Yes i spotted that as well… does anyone know the reason?

Prof Bolshaviks

They stick on any old thing to keep the car off the floor. Just avoiding any chance of puncture or dirt on the tyres they want to use whilst sitting in the pit garage

Chris Partridge

Out of interest, is Mercedes allowed to sort the brake problems on Schumi’s car in parc ferme conditions overnight?


Yes if there is something broken


Ferrari seem to be putting a brave face on. I think they genuinely thought their new package was going to push them to the fore, especially after such a promising pratice.

The Race may yet yield great results, but (between the lines) they seem to be a bit surprised about their relative position to Red Bull and McLaren.


Jenson Button better call it a number two role now. Pretty sure now, he won’t be bothering Hamilton at all, even though he never was.


You don’t think when Button was leading Hamilton in the points that ‘bothered’ Lewis?


He knew he was going through the gate when the “Big Dog” was preoccupied. Well now the Big dog is at the front of the yard and biting hard!


Uh, Jenson has 106 pts and Lewis 109. I’d say we’re a long way from Jenson playing number 2.

Vivek Krishna A

James, could you enlighten me on how much of an advantage does the ‘blown diffuser’ give at this particular track, considering this is a low down-force circuit.

I doubt either Ferrari are yet to streamline their version of Red-Bull exhausts or this track isn’t necessarily showing the advantages of having the RB exhausts.

I have a doubt over its effectiveness in this track since the Ferrari was already competitive in similar conditions in Canada.


Carl 21, Lewis surely didn’t overdrive in Canada when he passed Alonso, for the win. James that mistake Lewis had made on his last run during Q3…..Do you think that Hamilton without that mistake, had a real chance of taking pole position?


Great job Vettel!!!!! When Webber gets pole Vettel always praises him, but when Vettel gets pole Webber just seems cranky….. I would have thought Webber a nicer chap than that, but I guess not


I have some sympathy for your point, but I’ve also heard that in the past Vettel’s team would get some set-up tips from Webber’s car, and Vettel would then go out and pip Webber for pole, hence the thank you during the presso.

It might be my inexperience in F1 watching, but I’d prefer to see Webber say ‘Congrats’ to the pole sitter whoever it is.

Anyway, I’m seriously looking forward to this one –


What a ridiculous comment. Vettel might have praised Webber in the distant past, when being outqualified by him was rare (possibly the last time was Malaysia, if that). But since Webber started making a habit of it, there has been no praise whatsoever. And if he were inclined to give him praise, that would be out the window when he sees that ridiculously annoying overly arrogant “number 1” finger celebrations. Have a look at the red bull racing website, to see the number of people who are totally over his ridiculous celebrations.


The 107% rule is just another fia knee-jerk reaction to ferrari’s whining about ppl being in their way.

Its useless, silly, and so are they.


It worked before it will again!

…and more then just Ferrari are bitching.

David Turnedge

So far this season only 6 cars would have DNQ’d with Hispania leading with 4 DNQs – 2 in the first race of the season, 1 at least due to mechanical gremlins. The other 2 cars were Alonson at Monaco and di Grassi for Virgin.

Not exactly going to significantly change the season, is it Luca?


Alonso would have been allowed in under 107% in Monaco because of his practice pace



I have a curiosity question: If the two Williams had identical Q3 lap times, but Barrichello was faster in both Q1 and Q2, why doesn’t his time put him ahead of Hulkenberg on the grid?




They used to give it to the person who set the time first.


I think it’s down to whoever set the time first (as the track was less ‘rubbered in’/slower when they set it). It sure is unusual for that to happen though. I think the last time 2 drivers set identical times in qualy was Jerez 97 where 3 drivers did it!












97 at jerez, wasn’t that for pole as well? a mental situation


It was exactly that.


Anybody know how they decided which Williams goes first on the grid?


Hulkenburg was first to set the time so takes precedence on the grid.

Zobra Wambleska

The one to set time first.


I believe the Lotus’ times were a -second- and four tenths faster than those of Virgin cars. They are quite comfortably the fastest of the new teams.


Up until this qualifying I would have said that the Cosworth, for all the hype, was down on power given the performance of all the teams running it.

But this has been proved wrong with both Williams getting into Q3, on identical times, some 2/10ths behind a McLaren. And the same distance in front of the impressive Force Indias, not to mention more than two seconds clear of the next similarly powered car.

So have Williams pulled a blinder or have they just got their act together?

And I don’t want to knock the new 107% rule, or to cast doubts over Ferrari’s complaints, but the difference between fastest and slowest was less than 105% (subject to official confirmation): Kubica’s 1.38.132 and Senna’s 1.42.851.

Have the times ever been this close before? (Cue F1 nerds rushing to their databases. I’ve already checked mine but without result.)

Nice to see Hamilton being so honest about his 3rd place. I got emailed by a friend, an Alonso supporter, at the end of qually 3 which said: LH jammy. And then we got the man himself agreeing. His relief was quite endearing.

I was caught, as a McLaren supporter, between irritation that he failed to get the best out of the car and sympathising with him. Irritation won.

I guessed, like many, that the McLaren would out-perform the Mercedes this season. I did not reckon, and nor did the Merc decision-makers I bet, that they would struggle to get past the Force Indias.

A remarkable season.


Revilo, DC:

By way of explanation, I support a team rather than any particular driver. And that team is McLaren. I have a group of friends, somewhat denuded after the last couple of Mosley years unfortunately, who like nothing better than to gee-up one another. This is a weakness that I try to hold myself above.

Except, that is, against the chap who supports Alonso who likes nothing better than to share his biased, faintly libellous, and ill-informed opinions of the McL drivers and car with me.

I am not a Hamilton fan per se but I have to say I find his driving exciting. And I would follow his driving even if he wasn’t in the best designed and built car on the grid.

Not only was LH’s lap a blinder, so early on as well, but his attempt at going faster had a logic to it that I can only admire. He had a real go at getting the McLaren on the front row despite the 3/10ths gap. It was as if he thought he’d rather try on the limit than just go for a few hundredths in order to secure third. The fact he failed is, to me, but not my Alonso supporting friend, of no real account. He tried. And good on him. That’s the sort of driving that brings the fans back for more.

I’ve absolutely nothing against Button (or Alonso come to that, apart from what he did to McLaren). Although I misjudged his abilities, I was far from alone in that. He’s a couple of points behind LH in the WDC. One can’t argue against that.

But what I liked about Hamilton today was his complete lack of pretence. He obviously thought that he’d put his third place at risk and was relieved that no one else (Alonso) topped his time. The feeling he must have had at turn 12(?) is one that many of us have experienced more than once in our lives. And we all must have empathised with his reaction in the interview.

He seems to be really enjoying his driving this year.

My irritation was with the fact that if he had got on the front row of the grid it would have been me who sent the scathing email. But it would have been completely unbiased, honest and provable. As they always are about the chap who was nowhere, nearly a second slower than LH’s ‘banker’ lap and merely the best of the rest.

And in reality I’ve nothing against any driver. I just enjoy the sport and a gee-up.


Nothing “jammy” about it…the others were simply not quick enough…LHs first lap was good enough for third…it’s up to his fellow racers to better it and they didn’t.


Where you equally annoyed at Jenson for also not getting the most out of the car, or was it just Lewis.

David Turnedge

Very close Q3… but MW looked so peeved and didn’t make eye contact with SV once… I think the MW-SV relationship has cooled somewhat, no?


I went through the ticket lottery entries. I did not win it nor has any one who went for Glock as this time it was di Grassi who was faster by 0.054s.

I know the winners already but I will not tell so as not to spoil the fun. Congrats to you two!


Interesting qualifying session! Considering the race pace of the Red Bulls hasn’t quite been as strong as their qualifying pace, it could become a good race – although its tough to get my hopes up at this track.

By the way James, what’s the reasoning (if any) behind the new low table at the press conferences – it looks awful.


Contrary to your opinion, ED, I like the new interview setup! I can look at a bench, counter or table any time I want to, but I can’t see the winners of a F1 race very often. The new system seems to give a more personal contact with them, which I like.



I agree ..dumb without a table…..they need to run a poll and see how many members and viewers actually hate the table not being there


Why not get a couch like Jonathan Ross? It’s a bit jokey. Too oprah for my liking,


It shows the sponsor logos on the overalls better.


More evidence of the sponsors messing things up. Someone should go back in time and tell Collin Chapman to never have put sponsorship on a car. Think how beautiful the machines would be sponsor free and how much junk we could do away with.


Well done RBR. So much for a track not suited to their car… Was it just me or did Mark seem a little peeved in the manner he walked from his car to get weighed in, and then not having his driving suit not fully buttoned up during the press conference. P.S. Love your work James. Cheers.


At parc ferme and the weighing, other drivers were going up to Seb to shake hands and congratulate him, but Mark rather pointedly ignored him altogether!


“di Grassi outqualified his team mate Timo Glock for the first time this season, by 0.054 of a second.”

Wahey! I was damn close.. I guessed Di Grassi might finally pull his finger out, but I had the gap down at 0.005 secs.

Judging from people’s answers to the competition, I think most expected Glock to batter his team-mate.

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