Webber on pole from Vettel as Ferrari chase
9 July, 2011
Jul.9 (Reuters with PVM reports) Red Bull’s Australian Mark Webber roared back to form and denied world champion team mate Sebastian Vettel a third successive British Grand Prix pole position at a damp Silverstone on Saturday.
It was the team’s ninth pole from nine races this season and Webber’s second in a year that has yet to see him beat Vettel on a Sunday.
The German, 77 points clear of McLaren’s Jenson Button and Webber with 10 races remaining after Silverstone, extended his run of successive front row starts to 14 with second place on the grid.
Webber was keen to put sport back into the limelight after a morning dominated by team meetings and arcane argument about engine regulations, and whether Red Bull had been disadvantaged by a fresh directive before final practice.
“Seb and I just concentrate on the driving,” said the Australian, who won last year’s race after Vettel took pole, of all the technical polemic.
“Every year we have a new thing to talk about, this last few weeks has been about this (the engine and exhaust regulations), so let’s hope everyone can find their common ground.
“It’s incredibly boring also for the fans. I think they cannot understand 0.1 percent of what is going on. Even for us it is sometimes difficult. Let’s get on with the racing and keep the rules as simple as possible.
“From my perspective for tomorrow, I’m in great shape and have prepared well.”
Ferrari filled the second row, with double world champion Fernando Alonso qualifying third and Felipe Massa fourth.
Alonso said afterwards, “I’m very, very happy. I think it’s the best qualifying of the year in terms of gap. We’ve been more or less seven tenths to a second off the Red Bulls in the last few races. Silverstone is normally a circuit that’s not good for us so to be one tenth off pole is good news. Obviously, new parts were brought and are working well. I’m pleased with qualifying but the real job will be done tomorrow. Hopefully we can be close to these guys [Red Bull] at the end and be on the podium at the end.”
McLaren’s Jenson Button, hoping for his first home podium finish in F1 will start from fifth, while team mate Lewis Hamilton, dominant winner of his home race in 2008, qualified only 10th on an afternoon of changing conditions and with the risk of sudden showers complicating strategy decisions.
“I don’t think the position is too bad but the pace is,” said Button. “It wasn’t a perfect lap, we lacked balance. I don’t know where our pace has gone; I can have a guess but we haven’t built a car that’s 1.3 seconds slower than the Ferrari.”
Hamilton was equally disappointed. “There’s not too much to say. The fans here are fantastic. The support we’ve had has been magnificent. Hopefully tomorrow we can do something special for them, get some points at least. I’ve probably got a couple of people in front who I might be quicker than. Overtaking here is difficult but we could still have an exciting race. It hasn’t been a great weekend but I’m happy at the support we have here,” he told the BBC.
“I’ve probably got a couple of people in front who I might be quicker than. Overtaking here is difficult but we could still have an exciting race.”
One Briton who was delighted with his afternoon was Force India’s Paul di Resta, qualifying an impressive sixth for his first British GP.
Di Resta said: “This weekend has been tough with the unpredictable weather. Coming here [to Silverstone] having never done a race on the grand prix track was always going to be difficult. But I’ve grown in confidence and that’s where you see the progress. Every time we’ve been on track, we’ve been competitive.”
Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado amde it a good day for the rookies by doing a good job for Williams with seventh place on the grid, ahead of Japan’s Kamui Kobayashi in a Sauber and Germany’s Nico Rosberg for Mercedes.
Michael Schumacher failed to make it into Q3 as Mercedes struggles continue, although he was again almost half a second down on his younger team mate.
Also disappointing was Rubens Barrichello who was well and trully out qualified by his team mate Maldonado. The Brazilian will start from 15th and in Q2 was over half a second down on the rookie.
Unlike their Renault powered counterparts who topped the timing sheets 1-2, the Renault team were way down on their expected pace. Nick Heidfeld again disappointing in qualifying down in 16th with Vitaly Petrov, 14th best, again out shining the vastly experienced German.
Heikki Kovalainen did well to make it into Q2 and will start the race from 17th. The Finn commented: “It us better than we were expecting. We’ve had a straightforward weekend apart from the weather and the car is functioning well. When conditions were favouring us, we took the opportunity – that’s what we’ve got to do every time.”
Neither Toro Rosso drivers progressed beyond Q1 and Jaime Alguersuari will start from 18th and Jaime Alguersuari from 19th.
Daniel Ricciardo will start from last spot on the grid for his first Grand Prix, neverthless the young Red Bull backed Aussie was well within the 107% time.
Ricciardo summed up his qualy: “It was interesting. The weather has made it difficult for us and it would have been nice to get another run with the option tyre. It was OK, but I can’t expect too much at this stage.”
Saturday, 9 July – Qualifying Results
|1||Mark Webber||Red Bull||1:32.670||1:31.673||1:30.399||19|
|2||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:32.977||1:32.379||1:30.431||19|
|6||Paul di Resta||Force India||1:34.472||1:32.569||1:31.929||14|
|9||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP||1:34.186||1:32.295||1:32.209||18|
|11||Adrian Sutil||Force India||1:34.454||1:32.617||14|
|13||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP||1:34.160||1:32.656||15|
|18||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso||1:35.245||7|
|19||Sebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso||1:35.749||7|
|20||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing||1:36.203||7|
|22||Jerome d’Ambrosio||Virgin Racing||1:37.154||6|
|Q1 107% Time||1:39.156|