Spanish GP - Saturday - Qualifying Session Report
Webber claims Spanish GP pole
Red Bull Racing underlined its practice form by locking out the front row of the grid for the Spanish Grand Prix with Mark Webber (1:19.995) going quickest in each session and winning his personal battle with team mate Sebastian Vettel (1:20.101).
The harsh reality for the chasing pack is that they appear to be nowhere remotely close to Adrian Newey's impressive RB6. So marked was the Red Bull superiority that the cars were quickest after the first Q2 runs despite running the harder Bridgestone tyre while everyone else was on the softer option rubber. It was only for the last run, in preparation for their own personal Q3 battle, that the Red Bull men went out on the softs.
A delighted Webber said: "Normally it's a good battle all the way through and Seb has had more solid Q3 runs, but this time I got two good Q3 laps and went into the last run ahead, which was nice. Both sides of the garage had about five hours sleep in the last two nights and the effort has translated into lap time. Christian Horner said before qualifying that you probably won't get to drive a car like this very often round here, so go out and enjoy it, and I did!
"Seb has a good qualifying record against me but if you look at the numbers it's always very tight and it just shows how well the team is working collectively."
The Spanish Grand Prix has been won from pole position for the last nine years and Vettel goes into tomorrow's race trying to bring a halt to that statistic.
"It would be nice," he smiled. "That was close. I had good laps but I was not quite good enough. Mark always seemed to beat me in the last sector so we have to have a look at the data and see if I can find some time. Our margin looks comfortable but we all know how quickly things can change, so we have to stay focused. Maybe there will be some rain, we don't know. Today is today, tomorrow is tomorrow."
After a difficult start to the season, Webber knows that he needs to kick-start his championship challenge in Barcelona.
"We know it's a long championship and we won't get complacent," he said. "We've got to capitalise in the next few races and get some strong results."
Lewis Hamilton looked slightly crestfallen as he contemplated third place and Red Bull's superiority.
"It's a lot to make up," he admitted. "I don't think anyone expected that, even if we knew they would be quick. In high speed corners where you need downforce and efficiency they seem to be ridiculously quick but we will push on and focus on the areas we are weakest. They are probably not as quick as us on the straight, so we will see how the start goes tomorrow."
Fernando Alonso (1:20.937) was pipped for third position at the death but managed to split the McLaren drivers with Jenson Button (1:20.991) fifth on the grid and 0.17s adrift of Hamilton.
Michael Schumacher (1:21.294) outqualified team mate Nico Rosberg (1:21.408) for the first time in 2010, the Petronas Mercedes cars split by Robert Kubica's Renault (1:21.353). Felipe Massa (1:21.585) was six tenths away from Alonso with the second Ferrari, while Kamui Kobayashi (1:21.984) signalled a step forward for Sauber by completing the top 10.
Peter Sauber's cars finally have some sponsorship identification on their white bodywork for the first time in 2010, having inked a deal with Burger King for the Spanish races at Barcelona and Valencia.