Vettel leads Red Bull front row in Valencia
Sebastian Vettel is once more on pole position, now for the European GP to be held around the Valencian harbour tomorrow. His teammate Mark Webber joins him on the front row. Lewis Hamilton starts from the second row, along with Fernando Alonso.
As Q1 begins, Nick Heidfeld is the first to complete a flying lap on a track that is 44°C hot. Teams should have no problem heating up the tyres of their cars around here.
Many cars choose to go out early and hence it's extremely busy in the first half of the session. With nearly everybody out on the harder medium tyre, they all prefer to complete several consecutive laps on the same set of tyres.
Halfway through the 20 minutes, Vettel emerges on top with a 1:39.356. Button is second, ahead of Alonso and Massa. Differences at this time are rather big, but then again, the quickest time of FP3 was 1:37.258s.
Two minutes later Lewis Hamilton is on top, only to see Vettel improve another time to 1:39.116. The McLaren cars now suddenly look well on the pace after not being very impressive so far this weekend.
With 6 minutes to go on the clock, several drivers who could be in danger of getting through to Q2 are getting on track with the softer option tyres. As a result, Sebastian Buemi ends up in 4th, just ahead of Sergio Pérez who puts himself right in front of Alonso on the timesheet.
The jump of these drivers causes lots of cars to take the track again on the options. As the last minute of the session starts, 20 of the 24 cars are out on track.
On these options, Michael Schumacher jumps up to second, with Massa later going into P1 after getting in the drop-off zone. Crucially, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton didn't waste a set of options.
So at the end of Q1, Massa is fastest, ahead of Vettel, Schumacher, Hamilton, Rosberg, Sutil, Button, Pérez, Barrichello and Buemi. Alonso is 13th, Webber 16th and the last man through to Q2 is Kobayashi. Out are in 18th position Jaime Alguersuari, Kovalainen, Trulli, Glock, Liuzzi, D'Ambrosio and Karthikeyan.
At the very end of the session, Jarno Trulli spun off in the final corner of his flying lap. No damage was done to the car, and probably his grid position would have been the same, so no real problem for the Italian there.
Just as in Q1, many drivers take the track early into Q2, and again it's Vettel who is fastest. All cars are now fitted with option tyres. Lewis Hamilton is second fastest, ahead of Button and Alonso.
With 7:59 minutes to go, Pastor Maldonado finds himself stuck in the middle of the track. The car could not be pushed away by the marshalls, and after half a minute of yellow flags, the session is temporarily stopped.
For Alonso this is a bummer as he had just set a fastest first sector.
5 minutes later the session is green flagged again, but nobody is eager to take it to the track. It's only 2 minutes later that Barrichello and Kobayashi go on for another attempt to improve. A minute later several others are out as well, but the top 5 stay in the pitlane, satisfied and confident that they'll make it into Q3.
These laps didn't really change much, apart from Adrian Sutil who managed to get into 10th place, pushing Vitaly Petrov out of the top 10. Di Resta is 12th, followed by Barrichello, Kobayashi, Maldonado, Pérez, Buemi.
With Q3 on, Alonso is the first out on track and sets a 1:37.454. His time however is quickly improved, first by Lewis Hamilton and then by Sebastian Vettel. The latter posted a 1:36.975.
With 5 minutes of the final part of qualifying gone, there's still no sign of Schumacher, Heidfeld or Sutil.
All drivers are then finally out on track as time has come for a final attempt for pole position. Mark Webber is first to complete his lap. He improves and moves up to second place. Fernando Alonso dived right into the pitlane as he had a problem in S2. He did complete an excellent first sector, but it proved it would not be enough.
Sebastian Vettel therefore was certain of pole and also didn't complete his lap, securing yet another pole position.
|10||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:39.329||1:39.034||-||14|
|12||15||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:39.852||1:39.422||-||16|