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Vettel puts daylight between himself and Webber in Hungary
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Vettel puts daylight between himself and Webber in Hungary
Posted By: James Allen  |  31 Jul 2010   |  2:48 pm GMT  |  132 comments

Sebastian Vettel took pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix by four tenths of a second over team mate Mark Webber, one of the larger margins we have seen between them this season.

It was Vettel’s sixth pole of the season, the 12th of his career.

Red Bull Team principal Christian Horner hailed the team’s 11th pole in 12 races as “our most dominant qualifying of the year” and it’s easy to see why; the margin back to Fernando Alonso in third place was 1.2 seconds, with 7/10ths of that coming in the middle sector alone. This is all about downforce and balance and the Red Bull is more or less perfect, something you cannot often say about a racing car.

Vettel needs a good start tomorrow, after some difficult getaways recently. Budapest has the third longest run down to Turn 1 of all the circuits on the calendar, so there will be some concerns for him and it represents probably the only chance for his competitors.

Alonso, who outqualified Felipe Massa by 4/10ths of a second, said that “the start, the first corner, the first lap will be 60% of the race” given how difficult it is to overtake. But he promised to try to “make life more difficult for the Red Bulls” than he has been able to do so far this weekend.

Russia’s Vitaly Petrov did an outstanding job in the Renault to outqualify Robert Kubica for the first time this season. But Lewis Hamilton defied predictions that he would be behind the Renaults, hoisting his car to fifth place.

“Red Bull is impossible to beat,” said Hamilton. “I pulled every inch out of the car and I’m happy with the job I did. ”

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh has been making references this weekend to his car being “the fastest of the fixed wing cars”, but Horner has invited him to formally protest the Red Bull if he felt he wanted to make his point

In the first part of qualifying Kamui Kobayashi was eliminated along with the new teams, after losing time behind one of the Hispania cars. He aborted the lap and on his way into the pits missed a compulsory weight check. He was punished with a five place grid drop.

But it was noticeable that Virgin was able to carry through on its promise from practice, where the team was ahead of Lotus.

In qualifying Timo Glock was 1/10th ahead of of Heikki Kovalainen. Virgin brought a significant upgrade in Silverstone and two smaller ones since then, including a rear wing update this weekend.

In Q2 there were some big names eliminated and some outstanding performances from others. Rosberg did a fantastic job to get the Mercedes up to 5th, while team mate Michael Schumacher was down in 14th place. It was a very graphic illustration of the problems he is having on his comeback. But Rosberg’s performance argues against the car being the problem.

Renault’s Vitaly Petrov was fourth in Q2, ahead of Robert Kubica, while Nico Hulkenberg made the top ten, outqualifying his team mate Rubens Barrichello. Jenson Button missed the cut in 11th place, unable to find the grip. Sauber’s Pedro de la Rosa again pulled out a strong lap to get into the top ten.

” I couldn’t find a balance on the car,” said Button. “I was happy with the car this morning, but this afternoon I couldn’t find the grip. Not a great session, but I’m on the clean side and I have a new set of tyres, so hopefully I can fight from there.”

Q3 was a relatively straight forward affair; as in Germany, Vettel had the edge and Webber couldn’t get it together to challenge him, In the first runs in Q3, Vettel was four tenths ahead of Webber, with Alonso 1.2 seconds adrift.

Webber’s second lap was 3/10ths slower than his first lap and although Vettel didn’t improve either, both of his Q3 laps were easily good enough to take pole position.

“It was a very good day for us, ” said Vettel. “Mark and myself were pushing hard to finish 1st and 2nd. I said to the mechanics ‘This is your moment, you built this wonderful car,’ because it really is a pleasure to drive. Traditionally this is a difficult circuit the cars are nervous, but the track suits our car.”

Renault’s drivers did only one run in Q3, Kubica made a mistake on his first lap and didn’t recover, allowing Petrov through to outqualify him.

Although Vettel cannot take the championship lead tomorrow, he can take a big bite out of Hamilton’s lead. If Vettel wins and Hamilton finishes best of the rest behind the Red Bulls and Ferraris, then the lead will be down to single figures, with Red Bull clearly well ahead on performance of McLaren as the summer shut down starts.

With eight races to go, what it will take now is for one of the Red Bull drivers to put a run together if they are to win the championship. After coming through the dramas of Istanbul and Silverstone, Vettel now looks the most likely to do this and a win tomorrow could prove to be the start of a championship charge. But if Webber gets him off the start line again, as he did in Silverstone….


1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:20.417 1:19.573 1:18.773
2. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:21.132 1:19.531 1:19.184
3. Alonso Ferrari 1:21.278 1:20.237 1:19.987
4. Massa Ferrari 1:21.299 1:20.857 1:20.331
5. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:21.455 1:20.877 1:20.499
6. Rosberg Mercedes 1:21.212 1:20.811 1:21.082
7. Petrov Renault 1:21.558 1:20.797 1:21.229
8. Kubica Renault 1:21.159 1:20.867 1:21.328
9. de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1:21.891 1:21.273 1:21.411
10. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:21.598 1:21.275 1:21.710
11. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:21.422 1:21.292
12. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:21.478 1:21.331
13. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:22.080 1:21.517
14. Schumacher Mercedes 1:21.840 1:21.630
15. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:21.982 1:21.897
16. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:21.789 1:21.927
17. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:21.978 1:21.998
18. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:22.222
19. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:24.050
20. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:24.120
21. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:24.199
22. di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:25.118
23. Senna HRT-Cosworth 1:26.391
24. Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1:26.453

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Looking forward to seeing ‘driver of the day’ after Kobayashi’s brilliant drive, Petrov’s solid performance – Webbers sensational recovery drive and Alonso’s solid defense! (Which wasn’t quite as controversial as Schumi’s!)


Great performance by Red Bull yet again, highlighting the greatness of Adrian Newey, the car is just unbelievably great. Barring any mishaps or tangles, they should secure an extremely easy 1-2 finish, possibly with most, if not all of the field lapped.

Looking ahead to the following races, this is how I think the races will pan out:

Belgium: I think it could be a bit like Turkey, with Red Bull and McLaren being the leaders, with little separating them, followed by Ferrari, and then the rest. It is going to be nip and tuck between Red Bull and McLaren.

Italy: This should suit McLaren and Ferrari, with the layout similar to Canada, but Italy even more better suited. This weekend will probably be damage limitation for Red Bull, but they will be ahead of the rest though.

Singapore: It is going to be a grand battle here at a circuit which in my opinion is a circuit where the best drivers rise closer to the top. Alonso and Hamilton have done well here before and Red Bull has the best car on the grid, so it is going to be close here.

Japan: This should be a tour de force for Red Bull with McLaren and Ferrari following behind them, with the rest behind these three teams.

Korea: Hard to judge since Formula 1 has not been here before. I get the feeling that it may suit Red Bull over McLaren and Ferrari, but it is a close call at this stage.

Brazil: This should be a grand battle royale here with cars that should be well-suited around here in what could be a high pressure weekend.

Abu Dhabi: The finale should a great one with cars that should be suited to this circuit. The perfect stage for the championship battle to finish. This should be a classic.

This is my opinion at this stage, but I am sure my mind will change at some of these remaining races.


Testing the legality of the front wing involves applying a load to determine the deflection. However the important thing is: where is the load to be applied, at the wing root, mid span, or at the tip?

Have these flexy wings been designed to be less stiff towards the end plate in a way that wouldn’t show an illegal deflection under a load applied mid-span?


There may be a rule clarification today on the front wings


The question is how flexing is implemented in such


It’s nice to see the 2 Redbull drivers looking relaxed together at the press conference.

They have benefited from the Ferrari issue of last week.


Let the designers design their cars as they want and remove all these stupid rules, let the engineers innovate and we’ll all this cheating by stealth which is what I believe Redbull and now Ferrari are doing.

If the rule states that the end plates HAVE to be a certain distance from the ground and it is proved they are not how can anyone (any body who was independent and not the FIA) deem it to be legal?

The restrictive rules in F1 in affect hold F1 back and as many F1 innovations work their way to the general automotive sector then it also hinders this, I say, I shout – let the designers design their cars as they see fit – Newey for one would love this as he’d still come up with the most amazing designs that others would probably follow.


Hi James.

Although yesterday’s qualifying could be termed as Red Bull fest, one cannot but admire Vettle, Alonso and perhaps Lewis for their blinding performances. I think it would not be out of place to say that at this moment these three are in a leauge of their own.

Vettle is an amazing talent, one only needs to look at Mark Webber’s qualifying record (he has always been amongst the fastest drivers on a single lap) to know, just how good a job Vettle is doing. I think only Alonso is in the same class the moment.

Case in point,Massa is no slouch but he’s being made to look quiet ordinary at the moment. And unless he can turn it around early next season(like he did with Kimi), i think he’s resigned to the no. 2 position for good.

As for Vettle, I think, if Vettle wants to be counted amongst the best of his generation, he needs to display his mental toughness too. Like i’d commented earlier, he has been found wanting in this departmentquiet a few times this season. If he can make a good get away, and not be caught out like in the last few races, he’ll be a step closer to being a complete racer. Would like to know your thoughts on this.



Thanks for that. I agree with quite a bit of what you say


Vettel puts daylight between himself and Webber in Hungary – unlike the lack of daylight between his front wing and the tarmac!


Surely vettel has some credit on putting daylight, but I’m sure RB management had some influence on how both cars performs.

Webber outburst after his last win with the lesser wing, may have provided him with Trulli car.

This way, RB will not need team orders. 😉


Webber is the heavier driver maybe the major updates since silverstone suit Vettel better, RBR have been at pains to point out the extra work they’ve made to make Webber’s car suit his heavier weight with such tight turn-a-rounds in season that’s not always possible.


I believe this race is the one where a driver needs to be up on the wheel,and the spectator needs to keep a sharp eye out.

Midrace there should be a traffic jam of some sort,and the lucky driver who has kept close contact with a leader can take a victory away,maybe even from a polesitter hoping for a wire to wire victory.

Insanity:Performing same action,hoping for a different result.

If the polesitter chops Webbull has he lost his mind?Well,no.Lowers my estimation again,though.It’s wrong to start that way,it’s better to concentrate on your own getaway.

Ferrari will make a good start and run a hard race.Ferrari loves Mogyorod.


The best thing that could happen tomorrow from a pure entertainment side, is if Alonso gets by both Red Bulls into turn 1, otherwise the Red Bulls should lap pretty much everyone tomorrow and be a boring race.


Found this on the official F1 website

(this is just the last paragraph)

” 3.15 Aerodynamic influence :

No part having an aerodynamic influence and no part of the bodywork, with the exception of the skid block in 3.13 above, may under any circumstances be located below the reference plane.”

How can that regulation be interpreted to mean you can have the front wing endplates touching the ground?


Half way through the season and once again Jenson making out the car ain’t right…same old excuses as this time last year. I find it amazing that the Renault’s have beat a Mclaren into the top ten.

Why is it that with a good or bad set up car Lewis can still thrash the arse off it and do a far better job. Jensen needs to get his act together

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

I think that’s a little harsh. I am not a huge admirer of Jenson Button, but there is no denying that he is doing a very good job for the team…and on points at least, he’s still in the running for the WDC.

There’s no denying Hamilton’s brilliance though. Great qualifying performance. I wonder how long he will stay at McLaren. He must surely be a candidate for Ferrari after they ditch Alonso some day (or he hangs up his helmet).

Alonso is way too scared to face Hamilton in the same car. Hamilton would make “carne molida” of him.


Completely off topic James, but do you think it’s possible for Thursday Press Conferences to ever be broadcasted/downloadable?

I always read about them and wish I was able to see the drivers speak. Body language, jokes between them etc.

Wasn’t able to find anything online regarding them.


Well there is an FOM camera filming it all. I think it’s additional content on the pay TV options like Sky Italia or Sky Germany, but this is the kind of thing BE should be offering on subscription behind a pay-wall on in my opinion.


I think you should get the rights and do that on I’d pay for it.


Hi James

Could you suggest it? I’m sure all the fans on here, myself included, would love to watch those.

Personally, I’d like to see more interviews with the lesser known drivers – Luc Di Grassi, Petrov, drivers who don’t get as much screen time as the championship contenders.


I am sick and tired of Whitmarsh’s passive aggressive remarks regarding the flexible front wings.

Last weekend he mentioned how he was intrigued/surprised but said that instead of complaining, he’d just make his own.

Good for him!

But what instead happened was McLaren failing to understand how it was done (see article on ITV website) and so here we are again and Whitmarsh is making more crude comments about the wings.

Dear Martin Whitmarsh,

Either file a formal complaint, or shut up and make your own flexible wing. Enough with the useless remarks.


Redbull had the fastest car all season. They have wasted their lead already in points standing. Why fixing this right now? Redbull are strongly on the way of losing the championship with the fastest car. That is quite a feat.


Also James,

Any news on the latest FIA investigation into the “flexi front wings”.

I saw on Autosport that Ross Brawn has now joined Martin Whitmarsh and asked for clarification.

Interestingly, their have been reports that the floor is now under suspicion as being the device that enables the front wing end plates to flex:-

“Attention is now shifting to a cleverly designed floor area that could help allow the wing to lower at high speed – rather than the key to the matter being simply flexible endplates.”

In parallel, Jonathan Legard has reported via twitter that:-

“Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren cars inspected by FIA re flexi front wing. No clarification yet. Paddock reeling from Red Bull advantage..”

This has been followed by tweets on his page stating:-

“# FIA verdict should be announced officially some time this weekend

# FIA doing comparison between wings on different cars”

It sounds like they may be comparing the RB and Ferarri with the unquestionable legitimate McLaren.

Any further news?

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

You follow Legard? Mmmmm….I would rather go with a more weighty source light James.

Speaking of Legard, I have to say that I am so fed up with the BBC commentary and feel that Martin Brundle is losing his shine because of a very lacklustre co-commentator.

I am permanently fixed into Radio 5 live commentary from now on.


I still listen to the Brundle commentary but have learnt to screen out the Legard comments. Fortunately my wife and son talk over most of the race so it is quite easy. Also, what it is with his pronounciation of “yesterday”. That is annoying.


Clever devices in the floor is something Ferrari were always very strong on. Rules say the wing must be 85mm above the ground, which RBR clearly isn’t at speed so it’s one of those situations like the wide front Michelins, which were legal at the outset but were able to beat the rules when out on the track. Brabham skirts were like that in the early 1980s. Brabham chief mechanic in those days? Charlie Whiting.


Didn’t they ban the front tyres and the skirts because they weren’t legal on the track?

Personally I think the wing is a clever exploitation of the rules. It gives speed without burning more fuel and therefore they should stay.


What goes around comes around. Good luck making this decision Charlie !

Well done RB, now time for others to follow (copy).


Did anything come about the ferrari floor earlier in the season? JA posted the darren heath picture after Alonso crashed at Monaco and there some suggestions it may have movable parts.


Kubica has a broken differential, which he will probably have to race tomorrow ;(

The strategy wasn’t good really, the first lap was to prepare the tires and feel the grip, so he had only one flying lap on which he encountered some traffic. Worked in Silverstone, did not here. Why only one run, I don’t know.

But generally he said he had big problems with grip and balance, also some bottoming out.

Probably he could have made a bit better lap though.

Anyway it’s great to see Petrov being fast and more consistent. I hope Renault will score as much points as possible and that Vitaly will stay in F1 – if not in Renault than in some other team.

RBR is in their own league.



Do you know why the second half of the top 10 was much slower in Q3 than they were in Q2.

Drivers in position 6 – 10 all went slower in Q3 than Q2 and the Renault’s and Hulkenburg especially were about half a second slower.

I think they possibly did not have a fresh set of soft tyres left, but I did not realise that a slightly used set would give half a second deficit. Or maybe it is because McLaren, Ferarri and RB are using the Q3 blown diffuser ignition switch on their engine?


You are right about them running out of fresh tyres


the red bull is a great car, but lets not forget the ferrari’s…they will catch up and with alonso on board, its got to be a winner… i’d like to see the underfloor of the red bulls!!!!!


I think that was Vettel’s 7th pole James not his 6th


Perhaps it will be an interesting race in Hungary, perhaps not, maybe i will fall asleep. Red Bull seem a class act but do fail to deliver all that they promise. The formula one conundrum is that whilst i guess most people support a particular driver whichever team he may drive for, some may follow a team, however, i do not think the majority of enthusiasts really put any support for a team before their support for their favorite driver.Team orders still apply and for that reason i am still jaded by F1.


James, I think technically your statement that vettel cannot overtake lewis in the wdc this race is incorrect. If I remember correctly P1 gets 25 points. With Lewis being less than 25 pts ahead, if he fails to finish vettel could overtake him this race.


I wanted to see a Ferrari on pole as much as the next fan – however credit it where its due – that Red Bull is QUICK!!!!!!!


A sub 1:19 by Vettel was awesome, with the highlight of that lap: Countering the understeer comming out of the final corner. Simply Brilliant. Webber was rather direct in acceptance and gracious in defeat, atleast in Qualifying. Having said that Webber has a superior racecraft then Vettel. Vettel on the other hand has to harness this element in his weaponary, the sooner he harness this the sooner he will be a world champion. Lewis harnessed it immediately he came into F1 and his results reflects that. So, I suppose Vettel needs to work on this element with immediate effect for the car is beckoning to deliver a world champion.

Alonso on the other hand will be quick a podium is on the cards. I think Massa needs to be more vary of Alonso then the Redbulls when and if he finds himself besides any of them, for Alonso have not uttered a word in press, but I’m certain he has made his intentions very clear with the team behind close doors, he did so in the past to Ron Dennis, so we know he what he is all about. That is the only cause of concern about the Ferraris.

Ferraris do have the raw race pace, but can any of them find a way around the Redbulls? and the best chance they have is into the first corner at start. If they don’t then they might as well settle for podium positions.

Its sad to see Mclarens lagging behind, for I feel the car is failing both their drivers.

As far as Alonso-Massa controversy?

Alonso 1:19.987

Massa 1:20.331

As far as Massa sayin he is not the number two?

Well Massa its rather evident who is number one through the payscale mechanism.

Enjoy The Race 🙂


I agree with your comments on Webber in the press conference. It looks to me like the right Mark Webber has turned up to Hungary, (unlike Valencia) MW today looks like a racer who will make the best of the position he is in.

James, I note your comments on Vettel’s starts over the last two races. Hockenheim’s start confirmed to me that Vettel’s problem isn’t Mark Webber. Vettel’s problem is that he beleives cutting off P2 is a good tactic from pole. He’s wrong. Its dangerous, and he’s been shown how wrong he is by two very hard men in grand prix, Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso in consecutive races.

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