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Vettel on British GP pole as “underdog” Webber fumes over wing change
Scuderia Ferrari
Vettel on British GP pole as “underdog” Webber fumes over wing change
Posted By: James Allen  |  10 Jul 2010   |  3:39 pm GMT  |  110 comments

Sebastian Vettel took his fifth pole position of the season ahead of team mate Mark Webber as Red Bull opened up a yawning gap over its competitors, but afterwards it emerged that the two cars were not in the same specification.


Red Bull had two of its new specification front wings at Silverstone. Vettel’s was damaged in an incident during free practice this morning, where the mounting broke as he turned into the new Abbey corner.

Team principal Christian Horner said that he had to take the difficult decision to give the other one to Vettel for qualifying, based on championship position and performance in free practice and regretted that the team was not able to run two cars in equal specification. “Sometimes I have to make difficult decisions,” he said.

Webber’s body language in the TV unilaterals and afterwards in the paddock spoke volumes. He said that the team is still evaluating front wings at the moment and refused to say that the wing was the reason for his loss to Vettel, but did suggest that it might have been worth a tenth of a second. When pressed he described himself as “the underdog” in the team situation.

Vettel meanwhile tried to play down the significance of the situation, “From the outside, it is often quite difficult to judge what is going on. We know what we are doing, I think. I don’t think it is black and white answer on the wing but I was very happy I could continue with the same kind of wing.”

Inevitably this episode will re-ignite accusations that the team favours Vettel, who was delighted with his second consecutive pole at Silverstone.

The conditions were a bit cooler on Saturday than they had been in practice on Friday.

The Red Bulls were ahead from the start, with Vettel quickest in Q1 from Webber, although the form book from practice was carried over as far as Ferrari were concerned. Alonso was just a tenth slower than the Red Bulls, as the upgrades to their package started to bear fruit. The team had experimented with the drag reducing F Duct wing on Friday and decided to run it on both cars for the rest of the weekend.

But as the session went on the Red Bulls stretched their legs over Ferrari and Vettel’s eventual margin over Alonso was 8/10ths of a second, which is as big as we have seen all season in normal conditions. The Red Bull is a rocket ship around this circuit.

“It’s just quick everywhere,” said Vettel. “We were very competitive in Valencia and also here. Our car likes corners where you need downforce so that will always help us. Compared to last year we have made a step forward all around.

McLaren in contrast, had real problems with their upgrade package this weekend and were on a damage limitation exercise on Saturday having used up Friday running to test the blown diffuser, which seemed to not only make the car unstable, but also overheated components and bodywork at the rear of the car.

Jenson Button, whose Silverstone jinx continued. He qualified only 14th fastest, half a second slower than team mate Lewis Hamilton and was eliminated in the second session. Button had complained all afternoon about low grip at the rear end of the car. The team had taken the exhaust blown diffuser off the car and it looked like a case of Hamilton being able to drive around a handling problem better than Button. The car was obviously unstable as the team patched up a new plan in light of the difficulties with the update package.

“Some of the new package didn’t work so we had to go back to what we had before, ” said Button. “The car was okay this morning, but it was a different animal this afternoon and there was no pace in the car at all. Hopefully we will find there is a problem, I’m very disappointed.”

Hamilton managed to drive around the balance issues and qualified an impressive fourth. “Fourth is … I’m so happy with it, you can’t believe it,” he said. “I’m so proud of my team because we pushed so hard all year, but in the last couple of days they pushed longer and harder than ever to get this update package, which is an improvement, but we just were unable to work it. Unfortunately we had to take it off last night. We knew we were a long way off.”

Both Pedro de la Rosa and Rubens Barrichello were on form in qualifying, making it into Q3. Barrichello ended up in 8th place on the grid. Williams have a big package of upgrades this weekend, including a blown diffuser.

BRITISH GRAND PRIX, Qualifying
1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:30.841 1:30.480 1:29.615
2. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:30.858 1:30.114 1:29.758
3. Alonso Ferrari 1:30.997 1:30.700 1:30.426
4. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:31.297 1:31.118 1:30.556
5. Rosberg Mercedes 1:31.626 1:31.085 1:30.625
6. Kubica Renault 1:31.680 1:31.344 1:31.040
7. Massa Ferrari 1:31.313 1:31.010 1:31.172
8. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:31.424 1:31.126 1:31.175
9. de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1:31.533 1:31.327 1:31.274
10. Schumacher Mercedes 1:32.058 1:31.022 1:31.430
11. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:31.109 1:31.399
12. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:31.851 1:31.421
13. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:32.144 1:31.635
14. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:31.435 1:31.699
15. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:32.226 1:31.708
16. Petrov Renault 1:31.638 1:31.796
17. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:31.901 1:32.012
18. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:32.430
19. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:34.405
20. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:34.775
21. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:34.864
22. di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:35.212
23. Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1:36.576
24. Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1:36.968

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1

Someone has pointed out to me that on the BBC qualifying http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00t2…rix_Qualifying/ at 1:55.32 when posing for the cameras, Fernando Alonso is waving and saying to the British fans: “bye bye, go home, go home” under his breath, but you can actually hear him say it on this video.

I’m not sure of the context of his comments, if they are menat with malace or simply misunderstood, but it seems to be a very unpleasant, unprofessional thing to do. Does Fernando dislike the british fans that much?

2

James,

I heard that Webber had evaluated the new front wind negatively on Friday, while Vettel liked it. Do you know anything about this? It’s a story on Bild, but they’re not the most unbiased publication.

3

I was told that Mark wasn’t as convinced about it as Vettel in back to back testing. I didn’t hear that he was negative about it

4

Was it also a coincidence that Webber barely missed out on his last qualifying lap – thus designated to P2? Sure it was, and pigs will fly too if equipped with wings – of whatever spec!

Thankfully Webber endured and recorded a fine win, while Vettel failed to start well and threw yet another temper tantrum, that – but for the safety car – would have seen him finish out of the points.

It’s Mateschitz’s money, so he has bought the right to lose both Titles – with little thought for those who created his winning car.

Europeans claim a certain class, but – apart from that continually displayed by their wild colonial boy – Red Bull has to be a qualified exception.

5

I have an octopus in my aquarium.

The octopus tells me Vettel is going to crash out,

and that Alonso will win, with Webber second.

6

its as simple as this, vettel is being favoured and poor webber has to deal with it, i use to rank RBR very highly, but after all the excuses and crap, im starting to wonder if this is a team or the total opposite. its only mid season, and the leader has changed every week almost, so how can horner use that excuse ‘because his winning the championship’. Its vettels reliabiliy problem so why does webber need to suffer. By the way Markos comment earlier on is ridiculous, its quite clear whos side his on… once a RBR fan but its slowly going down the drain!!

7
Jeff Doununder

On a slightly different note, has anyone had a look at what the championship would look like under Bernie’s medals idea? I did quickly, and came up with this:

POS Driver G S B

= But 2 2 1

2 Ham 2 2 1

= Web 2 1 1

4 Vet 2 1 1

5 Alo 1 1 1

= Mas 0 1 1

7 Kub 0 1 1

8 Ros 0 0 2

Here if any of the top 4 win today they will be leading the championship, no messing about with minor placings. Sounds pretty decisive, no?

Fan of it or not (and I’m still undecided) it confirms how close the c’ship race is at the moment, and questions whether it is too early for RBR to be throwing everything at Vettel (and consequently undermining Webber).

8

I joked yesterday in a previous post that if Mark started winning in the chassis that Vettel rejected, would Vettel might want it back?

Sadly this doesn’t seem too far from where we are at within the team at the moment.

Come on Mark. Let your driving do the talking.

9

Not only did they take away his newly designed wing, but they messed up his timing on the track. Had they released him at the right time, he should have had another run for pole. Instead, he was 3 seconds short of making the flag before the end of the session.

I like Seb, but Mark is getting shafted for doing too great a job.

10
N. Machiavelli

I have nothing but respect for Webber, and nothing

but derision for Vettel, who is nothing but a

punk who has “favored boy” status. The coming years

will prove Vettel is not a true champion – wait and see.

There was another German “golden boy” not too many years ago. His name was Stefan Bellof. Some of you

may recall what happened to him, as a result of

his impetuous driving behavior.

11

I guess RB will feel justified if Vettel takes the WDC at the end of the year, but they’re burning a heck of a lot of good will in the meantime.

At the start of the season I would happily have applauded Vettel winning the championship. Until this season he’d always come across as both likeable and quick, and it appeared that he had a small but consistent edge over Webber in pace.

What we’ve seen from Vettel this season, though, is a driver who can lose confidence and control very quickly when beaten, and seems to need to feel a superiority over the rest of the grid to give his best. When he feels he is faster than everyone else (and especially his teammate) he drives better and makes fewer mistakes.

That’s my bet for why RB feel the need to give Vettel these little boosts – it helps him drive better. The downside is that it disadvantages Webber, it makes the team look devious, and it makes Vettel look like an immature prima-donna who needs everything handed to him on a plate.

My take is that F1 is about a heck of a lot more than ultimate speed over one lap. More than most forms of racing it’s about controlling a huge number of variables over not just a lap, not just a race weekend, but a whole season. More than anything it’s about mental toughness and resilience. RB are trying to ease the pressure of all that on Vettel, but IMO that’s a mistake, at least the way they’re doing it. It just happens that the pressure this season (so far) is from the other side of the RB garage. But if Vettel can’t deal with that on his own, how will he cope when it’s from a McLaren or a Ferrari? Horner can’t take the fast bits off Hamilton and give them to Vettel.

As I say, at the start of the season I would happily have applauded a Vettel World Championship. Now, though, I’m done with Red Bull. Just another corporate structure trying to distort the stuff on the track to fit the numbers in their spreadsheets. In the process, they’re stuffing up two really good drivers, and creating yet another F1 prima donna.

12

They (RBR) can’t trust SV anywhere but on pole. His history of mucking up races started before Turkey. But that does not mean that MW should suffer for his lack of race craft skills.

This sucks and Tim B hit it on the head.

13

Mark should be really thankful – At least he was given an old wing which fitted on old discarded chassis.

14

So with Vettel ‘feeling down’ and behind in the Championship, RBR put him into a new chassis to rebuild his confidence and get him back on track.

Webber ‘feeling down’ and behind in the Championship get Vettel’s old chassis and front wing to rebuild his confidence and get him back on track.

I want to see Webber win a few more races this year, even if he finishes behind Vettel and doesn’t win the WDC, in my mind he will WDC.

15

Great job yet again by Red Bull Racing, but today we have seen the difference between Hamilton and Button. It has to do with Button’s adaptability or lack of. Button can’t drag out pace compared to Hamilton. Button can’t deal well enough with a car that lacks rear downforce or is struggling at the rear of the car. Hamilton in qualifying was sensational. If only he had a car like Red Bull’s combined with the bullet-proof reliability at McLaren.

16

Current standings in the championship influenced his decision! He had already manipulated things so Vettel would be ahead in the standings!

Australian’s love their sportspeople, no doubt, but if my experience with aussie friends is anything to go by they value fairness even more.

Seems Red Bull only gives you wings if you’re Vettel.

17

I was at club corner today and you could see that Hamilton was giving it 100% and then some – absolutely wringing every last ounce out of that car. Shame that Button seems unable to produce a good performance unless the balance is perfect, whereas Hamilton can seemingly drive around problems.

18

James,

I read on Autosport that Jenson suspects problems with the car. Have you any more details about this? If there is damage somewhere, then that could help explain why he couldn’t pull out the half second he needed.

Of course I suspect people will read that Button making excuses, but I hope their memory serves them well enough to recall Vettel and Luizzi’s problems with their chassis. Once their issues wers resolved they got back on the pace, and damage could very well be a possibility.

19

To be fair to Horner, I think he is following someone else’s demands. The ‘difficult decision’ amounted to whether or not to follow his boss’s instructions.

I feel sure that it was a very difficult task to design that new wing and obtain that extra tenth but it was an impossible one for Horner to explain away giving the thing to Vettel.

Wasn’t there a suggestion of ‘balance’ a short time ago? Vettel gets first pick, then it is Webber’s turn. It probably amounts to Webber having first choice of the sadwiches after qually.

I can see sales of Red Bull dipping somewhat in Oz.

On the bright side, the race is set up for a blinder tomorrow. Webber v Vettel – now that will be a cracker. Hamilton v Alonso – now what’s an ajective like cracker but slightly less violent?. And Button v all those cars between him and, probably, 7th place. That should be thrilling.

I’m looking forward to it. I’m off to my daughter’s birthday party tomorrow, probably meeting the new boyfriend. Do I let him speak to me during the GP? If I do then I’ll be short and grumpy with him. If I don’t then my daughter won’t speak with me for a couple of weeks. And Horner reckoned he had difficult decisions to make.

That said, like Horner, my decision is already made. My boss, the wife, says I must.

20

If Red Bull are going to lie about Seb being favoured then they need to get their story straight. Horner said Seb got new wing as he is ahead in championship. Vettel said he got it as he preferred it to old one whereas Mark wasn’t bothered.

Allowing media access to drivers before they can escape back to teams to confer after quali and races is good as it exposes things like this.

I am a Vettel fan and would love to see him win this championship of his own merit without any success being marred by RBR’s actions. But at the moment, they might as well call the team Seb Bull as their favourtitism is so embarrasingly transparent.

21

“Vettel’s was damaged in an incident during free practice this morning, where the mounting broke as he turned into the new Abbey corner.”

I wonder if mark is better off with a wing that hasn’t shown a 50% chance of breaking in just a few hours running. Surely both wings have come off the same tooling, so the mounting could break on the other one during the race…

22

I’m no Hamilton fan, but that lap of his was stunning. I feel sorry for Button, though.

As for Red Bull, oh dearie me. It would have been a far better gesture to tell the drivers that neither of them could have the new wing. Given that they were 8/10ths faster than Alonso, doing without it would have made no difference to today’s result at all.

23

No one in the Red Bull team management seems to realise what damage these continued accusations of favoritism are doing to their team name and reputation. I thought they were a breath of fresh air in 2009, but they now smack of stale old bias. Although I put a few quid on Vettel to win the Championship this year, I would now be happier to see Lewis, Fernando or Mark win, if Seb really needs this Helmut Marko-backed ‘Team Vettel’ of yes men to help him. And am really starting to get fed up with the ‘wacca wacca baby’ and ‘back on track’ drivel Seb now seems to be spouting whenever he performs well on track.

24

Why’s everyone beating up on Vettel? Not his fault he’s the golden boy.Excellent racer with loads of potential. Every team favours one driver, dont care what they admit to. Just reminds me of Mcclaren favouring there golden boy Lewis against Alonso, which turned out to be the right way to go in the end, and Webber seems to be able to sulk just as well as Alonso.

25

Fernando Alonso:”On my final run, I had traffic in sector three – I think it might have been Michael – but even with a clear track ahead of me, I definitely would not have improved my grid position”

I dont think gap between ferrari and red bull is 0.8 sec, on the final run of alonso gap was 0.250 sec until the end of sector 2.

sector 3 dont need downforce as 1 and 2 need.

26

“I think the most important thing for any driver is to know that he’s getting equality of equipment and priority.” – Christian Horner, concluding his answer to Ya’acov Zalel’s question during the FIA Friday press conference.

It is reaching boiling point, you could see it all over Webber’s face during the interviews today, blinking back the rage.

I enjoyed Vettel’s talent when he was humbler. Instead of seeing that the wing was possibly a deciding factor today, he gloated. It is disappointing to see, but the personality of a grand prix driver is almost always eager to assert dominance.

27

I am pretty sure that if Webber had the new wing no one would say he is favoured.

28

That could have something to do with the fact that it was his wing in the first place

29

They both got it, but Vettel broke his in practice, so they actually physically took Mark’s new front wing off his car & gave it to Vettel to use in qualifying.

I’m 100% sure you wouldn’t have seen the same happen if the situation was reversed so you would never have seen the situation you are referring to actually occur anyway.

30

I’m pretty sure that if Webber’s new wing broke to be replaced by the only other new wing which had to be taken off of Vettels car to be fitted to Webber’s it would be considered favouritism just the same.

How can it not?

31

They both had the new wing, and Vettel’s broke in practice.

So it’s the transfer of the wing from Webber to Vettel that’s unfair.

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