Red Bull Racing continue their unrivalled domination of qualifying this season as they lock out the front row for the third time in five grands prix.
Webber edges Vettel to take pole in Spain
CATALUNYA // Red Bull Racing continue their unrivalled domination of qualifying this season as they locked out the front row for the third time in five grands prix. When it comes to the single-lap showdown on Saturdays, the Milton Keynes-based marque are currently in a league of their own, with Mark Webber edging out Sebastian Vettel on this occasion at the Spanish Grand Prix. Webber's third pole lap of his career was timed at 1min 19.995secs, a brutal performance from the Australian because, even though Vettel was in close attendance, he was almost a second ahead of McLaren's Lewis Hamilton in third. History is now on Webber's side as the last nine winners of this race at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya, and 12 of the last 13, have started from pole.
In front of his adoring fans, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso will start fourth, splitting the McLaren duo as reigning champion and current title leader Jenson Button was fifth. Alonso, though, caused Mercedes' Nico Rosberg an anxious moment as he cut the German up in the pit lane. The 28-year-old from Oviedo shot out of his garage for his opening run in Q3, forcing Rosberg to brake sharply and prompt an immediate retort over the team radio as he snapped: "Alonso should get a penalty for that." Behind Button, and for the first time this season, a much happier Michael Schumacher finally managed to out-qualify teammate Rosberg. The seven-time champion, today fined £7,200 for two separate incidents of speeding in the pit line during practice, starts sixth compared to Rosberg's eighth, with Renault's Robert Kubica separating the duo.
Ferrari's Felipe Massa was ninth, with Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi breaking into the top 10 for the second time this season, and on merit as the previous occasion was in the rain-hit chaos in Malaysia. Rosberg, apparently struggling to find the correct set-up with his car, had only just scraped into Q3, edging out Adrian Sutil by a tenth of a second, leaving the Force India driver to start 11th. Pedro de la Rosa equalled his best qualifying performance with 12th for Sauber, with the Spaniard ahead of Williams' Nico Hulkenberg and Vitaly Petrov for Renault. However, in a rapidly-rebuilt car following an accident in final practice earlier today, Petrov will drop five grid places to 19th due to requiring a gearbox change.
The Toro Rossos of Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari qualified 15th and 16th and the second Force India of Vitantonio Liuzzi 17th, but they will all move up a place tomorrow courtesy of Petrov. For the first time this season Rubens Barrichello failed to make it out of Q1, a major surprise as he had been targeting a place in the top 10, as achieved on two previous occasions this season. Below the 37-year-old Brazilian were the much-improved Lotus duo of Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen, followed by the Virgin Racing pair of Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi. At the rear, and on home soil, came Murcia-based Hispania Racing, with Karun Chandhok comfortably ahead of teammate Bruno Senna.
However, due to a technical infringement, Glock and di Grassi will start at the back of the grid ? probably even the pit lane if they so decide ? after incurring five-place penalties. * PA