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Mark Webber on pole at Silverstone as throttle map row rolls on
Red Bull Racing
Posted By: James Allen  |  09 Jul 2011   |  2:28 pm GMT  |  140 comments

Mark Webber took pole position for the British Grand Prix ahead of his team mate Sebastian Vettel, with Fernando Alonso in third just a tenth of second off pole position. The McLarens were over a second behind with Jenson Button, while Lewis Hamilton was disappointed to be down in 10th place for his home Grand Prix.

Webber said that the front row lock out didn’t prove anything after the row over the throttle mapping in the run up to qualifying. At an emergency meeting of the Technical Working group it was decided that the cars would all run with 10% throttle open when the driver lifts off, Red Bull’s least favoured option.

“The last three years our team has turned up early and left late. What has happened in last few months is years of preparation to put ourselves in this position. It’s all about interpretation of rules. We’re still here, I don’t think the fans are 1% interested in the technical thing. Let’s just keep the rules simple and get on with the racing.”

Alonso, who survived a scare in Q1 when he went off track into some mud but managed to get out again, said it was Ferrari’s best qualifying of the season, “We are closer than ever. Today we are quicker and tomorrow we can put some pressure on them.”

All the cars rushed out at the start of qualifying because showers were forecast and after a few minutes light race started falling. Fernando Alonso went off track but managed to escape by driving through a muddy section.

Most drivers were carrying a few laps worth of fuel and turned a series of laps in Q1, rather than go out for a single lap blast.

Daniel Ricciardo was making his debut for Hispania this weekend but he wasn’t able to do enough in the brief period when the track was dry at the start. He qualified half a second slower than team mate Tonio Liuzzi.

The rain fell heavily with five minutes of Q1 remaining and Lotus’ Heikki Kovalainen had by then done a great job to get ahead of both Toro Rossos, who were knocked out.

In Q2 there was a tough decision to be made on what tyre to run as there were some damp patches, especially around Copse corner, while the south side of the circuit was dry enough for slicks.

The rain stopped and the track began to ramp up very quickly and the lap times tumbled. It was all about timing, being on the soft tyre at the right time. Two men who used to excel in these conditions were eliminated, Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello.

Paul di Resta again beat his team mate, Adrian Sutil, the seventh time in nine races. He ended up in sixth place, his best grid slot of his F1 career to date. Pastor Maldonado got through into the top ten for the third time this season.

BRITISH GRAND PRIX, Silverstone, Qualifying
1. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m30.399s
2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m30.431s + 0.032
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m30.516s + 0.117
4. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m31.124s + 0.725
5. Jenson Button McLaren 1m31.989s + 1.590
6. Paul di Resta Force India 1m31.929s + 1.530
7. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m31.933s + 1.534
8. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m32.128s + 1.729
9. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m32.209s + 1.810
10. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m32.376s + 1.977

11. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m32.617s + 0.977
12. Sergio Perez Sauber 1m32.624s + 0.984
13. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m32.656s + 1.016
14. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m32.734s + 1.094
15. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1m33.119s + 1.479
16. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m33.805s + 2.165
17. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1m34.821s + 3.181

18. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1m35.245s + 2.575
19. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1m35.749s + 3.079
20. Timo Glock Virgin 1m36.203s + 3.533
21. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1m36.456s + 3.786
22. Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin 1m37.154s + 4.484
23. Tonio Liuzzi HRT 1m37.484s + 4.814
24. Daniel Ricciardo HRT 1m38.059s + 5.389

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Serious question. Why didn’t Jenson or Lewis point out the absurdity of going out on slicks in the rain?

If they did, why didn’t anyone listen?

If they did listen, why did they decide it was a good idea anyway?

Lewis I understand, he just tends to do as he is told when it comes to the strategy. But Jenson? I’m shocked he went along with it.

My guess is that it was just another McLaren self-outsmarting tactic. I suggest McLaren sack the manager. It’s happening too often.


Hi James!

There seems to be a bit of a contradiction in Mr Horner’s argument, or at the very least he’s not explaining properly. They say that limiting throttle opening to 10% will hurt their engine reliability but at the same time they complain that this limy will make the race at a disadvantage.

It seems to me that the connection between these two points is not clear. Is he implying that they will have to compromise the engine to ensure that it does not fail? Or is te reliability issue a cynical way of defending their performance?

Also, could you shed some light into Mr. Whitmarsh’s mention of te Mercedes engine being compromised?

Thanks, for all your posts!


It’s a shame to see McLaren struggling. Not for them, I say that thinking in F1 politics & media pressure from now. If Macca had done a good job today, the story would have been completely different from the BBC and other British media. This is not the case and we are expecting “fair” analysis and verdicts on F1 politics. The blindfold of justice has a hole that tells us that is more concerned about pleasing everyone that deliver true justice. The illegal advantages should not be negotiated or discussed, just apply the law. Problem here is a large list of FIA decissions about technical issues: mass damper, blown diffussers, flexible wings, etc. F1 is more than races, much more. Everyone has to do their job: just putting pressure on his side.


Well, from all the comments on this site, every fan bagging the other teams drivers, Formula 1 is truly alive.I love it! All I can say is Dan give it your best! You must be on cloud 9. It makes Indy Car look like little league.Lets keep this sport exciting and never return to the Schumacher boring era. Promote more young talent.


A friend said to me today:


There is too much going on for the FIA to understand how this change will affect any of the teams – the engineers are even acknowledge it’s guess-work!

But I’ll take a benefit to Ferrari and the 2011 season any way it comes.

It may be messy and a terrible PR exercise but watch the viewing figures if someone takes it to Vettel.


Adron Gardner

Cheers for Webbs. But this throttle business is COMPLETE nonsense.

The gap from the top to everybody else is still huge. Where are the days when a good driver could take a bathtub and put it on the podium? Now we argue about throttle positions?



Brilliant comment! Although I’m following F1 only for a decade I would have loved to live “the days when a good driver takes a bathtub and drives it on the podium!!!”


Hi James,

Time for Button is wrong his was a 131.898 you have him slower than Di Resta and Maldonado. How good a result was this for Di Resta was it luck with the weather in q3 or was he 6th place quick anyway, either way very impressive!!


Was the decision by McLaren to run Hamilton on an old set of tyres during the quickest part of Q3 more likely the reason for the performance than the rule change. Not sure if Button was on the old tyre too.


The McLaren never looked quick in Q1 or Q2, so I’m not expecting much from them.


Yes, it was the old tyres apparently.

And according to SKY News this morning, Hamilton has again gone public in criticising McL for ruining his quali.

If true, will he never learn? Behaves like a spoilt child then attacks the team publicly.
…[mod] If true, of course.


Congrats to Webber for his 2nd pole of the season – the only man to take the place from Vettel.

Whatever the intention behind the diffuser row was (hopefully to rein in the rampant Red Bull), it appears to have only made an impact to the only team to steal victory from Vettel this year – McLaren.

I can’t imagine Lewis will be happy being 2 seconds off the quali pace – perhaps it can be put down to a poor lab, but even Jens couldn’t do much better than 1.5 off the pace. Clearly, McLaren have been hard hit.

If the rules are to be scrapped and we go back to a “Valencia” spec rule book, Germany can’t come too soon. Although, I suspect that many fans will have turned off by then if Vettel romps to another commanding race victory with the rest squabbling over seconds.

Ah! Well, can’t fault the FIA for trying…

Personally, I’m hoping Alonso wins, if only to break up the Bull hegemony!


Dont mean to be pessimistic but,

Vettel will pass webber at the start, quickly build a 5 second lead, then look after the tyres for the rest of the race and win comfortably.

Hamilton will crash/get taken out, trying to make his way through the feild. The Mclaren will be slow throughout the race aswell.


1. Vettel

2. Alonso

3. Webber

In some ways glad im at work so i dont have to watch the bore fest


I am stunned how many are making excuses for Mark… He did great today. I don’t think he needs conspiracy theories. There is no way on earth RB was shutting down Mark’s blown D before today, no team tries to hurt one of their drivers it makes no sense. He and Seb have the same car, Mark has always gone very well at Silverstone and he did so again today. Would have loved to see everyone get one more run to see what Seb and Alonso could do…


“No team tries to hurt one of their own drivers”

unless one of the drivers is the delegated No 2. and they take parts off his car to put on the delegated No 1. driver.


That’s the way it worked at the time,JA. RB were not TRYING TO HURT Webber.

Which other parts than the new Newey front wing in 2010? I can’t remember.


No ludicrous thing the conspiracy theorists come up with stuns me anymore…


The fact is the Renault engine is the most compromised and Red Bull still lock out the front row. The McLaren obviously doesn’t have the downforce without the blown diffuser.

Ferrari haven’t gained, others have lost, all teams (bar one) were obviously negatively affected by the rule change.

And now we do the sensible thing and revert to Valencia, which means all of this was for nothing.

Patrick Byrne

If they’re going back to Valencia-spec after this race though will it be a return to Vettel/RB domination. It would be a pity for the championship!

Great job by Di Resta. In fairness, Sutil wasn’t far off in Q2 but 6th is remarkable. He reminds me a bit of DC in his Mclaren days or JYS – quite serious and corporate. I like him though – he seems v grounded and humble. In contrast to a certain other British driver!


Will the row be resolved because Hispania are less likely to protest the blown diffusers now that they have taken the Red Bull money to run Ricciardo?


So the changes have affected the Renault team significantly more than RBR?

That proves what a great car RBR is! It is not just the engine, not just the diffuser, the front wing or the DRS. It’s the hole package.


I don’t think anyone is disputing how good the RB is, it’s the half-arsed handling of this by the FIA


agree here 100 percent. there is never one reason why a car wins all the races. its always because it is the best overall package and always will be.


Didn’t the FIA act on exhaust blown diffusers because they were told by several teams that there would be protests otherwise? I guess the FIA felt that protests would bring the sport into disrepute. Whereas, this flip-flopping on the rules…

With hindsight, the only mistake the FIA made was not postponing the changes until the various complaints from the engine manufacturers had been sorted out.

If there has indeed been agreement among the teams to postpone any change until 2012 I assume they’ve also agreed not to protest in the meanwhile.


The protests wouldn’t have brought the sport into disrepute, they would probably have erased the Constructor’s points for any car found to be using an exhaust blown diffuser, which is everyone except for those running a Cosworth engine.


You saying we’d then have a wcc for a team with currently 4 points? That’d be a record.


Whiting, Brabham, South Africa, 1983… Chuckles knows how to bend the rules, from past experience…


These meetings should be open to the public. The FIA make FIFA look transparent.


Some things have to be kept behind closed doors otherwise it would compromise the sport by just telling everyone each teams’ secrets and car specifications. FIFA are far worse than the FIA as well.


Don’t you think we sometimes know or want to know too much? I for one would like the sport to keep some mystery. I don’t want to know everything. It’s already too democratic and too many people are pulling Charlie each way to have their say. 10% – suck it up and get on with it. Lobbyists are the worst think to happen to politics and now here it is in F1 again. FIA should get input then dictate in my view. You don’t like the rules? Tell me about it when I ask your input next time.


Please don’t compare the FIA to FIFA. FIFA is a joke. At least the FIA seems to care about the fans. These rule changes are due to a perceived loss in control of the development of an area the FIA sees as wasteful. Burning fuel for downforce goes along the same lines as the “fan” car and they were both banned.

And no sport has public meetings between team principals. This isn’t Jerry Springer…


Team manager and drivers are asked pointed questions. Why not Whiting et al? Why are they above the rest? I’d think he’d want to be public with discussing his decision-making process. Otherwise there will always be accusations of being for/against certain teams.

Red Bull is not my favorite team, but personally I don’t care for the rule-fiddling stuff during the season. They’ve earned their advantage by doing the better job.


What a farce. How on earth they thought this would end up well, I don’t know. If I was McLaren I would be marching straight into race control after the race tomorrow and dispute the result, no matter the result. I going to the race tomorrow and already I feel a bit robbed of a true race (my first in person). Without all this mucking about Ferrari and McLaren would still be pressing the Redbulls in race pace so what have we gained….Nothing at all apart from the 2 Brits being down the field….Farce!


Mercedes are the ones who wanted these rules, you should keep up wioth what went on.

Now it looks like it hit them the most, suddenly they want to change to old specs. LOL.

Conrad M. Sathirweth

James, Hamilton went out on his first run in Q3 on slightly used options, did Button do the same?


If that’s the case, as that’s the tires Hamilton set hiss only time on, he’ll be starting the race with VERY used tires!


I wonder why Webber has Sebatians pace all of a sudden. Where does that come from?

Makes you believe that Webber was always running without the blown diffusor in the past races…

Ayway, Ferrari are there and unfortunately Mclaren are not…

Tomorrow we will all whitness the first victory of Ferrari and Alonso this season.

Please let it be dry!


I hope for a RedBull win and hope Mercedes engine cars being further back, cause clearly 1 engine is being favoured at Silverstone. It’s funny how yesterday Martin Whitmarsh was going on to say that Renault will get unfair advantage but didn’t say a word about Mercedes engines allowed to use engine over-run. But still I respect Martin as a team boss.

What I find most surprising is that Ferrari has not said a word. The team that speaks even when theres no need to speak, has been more quiet these days like never before, clearly there must be something in there, in their silence.

About the qualy. Di Resta doing good job, I find Sutil being most over-rated driver on the grid and I would change him for Hülkenberg for sure. Williams seems to have found some speed, I remember Barrichello and Maldonado being on top of qualy for some time and Maldonado being 7th quickest surprises me big time.

And finally wanted to say the new Silverstone track confuses me. Usually it’s 1 or 2 laps and I remember it but I got lost many times watching qualy. I miss the old Silverstone.


It is almost shocking that Barrichello is so mediocre when compared to Maldonado. It seems that Rubens is not able to extract anything from the car while Pastor is better at it.

About the regulations and all the changes – this season is getting more and more disappointing. It is just so confusing. Nobody understands what is really going on and who is influenced more/less…

How can anybody know that the regulations will not be changed two, three, five more times? Where is the guarantee? Already this weekend there were several changes.

Of course, a lot of viewers don’t even follow this as they do not read a lot on the Internet but there are also a lot of people who follow this and they see what is happening.

There is nothing wrong if FIA decide to change the rules mid season, they have the right to do this, but there must be some perspective, it must be as equal as possible for everybody and everybody should be influenced the same way.

This weekend is totaly ruined by these regulation events and the most disappointing thing is that you can not be sure that there will be an immediate end to it.

Let’s hope for the best solution.


Ross Brawn has said the FIA had to do something as there were going to be protests made this weekend – who was it threatening the protest(s), James? Any ideas?

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