Well, despite Jonathan Legard doing his best to make the dying seconds of qualifying sound close, I think we all knew in the back of our minds who was going to finish in pole.
Kovalainen’s Lotus opened proceedings, but a spin from the Fin at turn six meant that the first time of the day was set by his team mate, Trulli (1:40:533).
The Italian was quickly toppled by Massa and Alonso though. McLaren had looked extremely strong all weekend despite suffering with gear troubles. Button radioed his team to complain of "forced neutral" but still managed to get to P2 on his first run. Meanwhile his team mate, (also suffering with the dreaded unwanted neutral gear), sped around the track to get P1.
Around the halfway point the positions were as follows:
Hamilton, Alonso, Button, Webber, Rosberg, Kubica, Massa, Sutil, Schumacher, Hulkenberg, Barrichello, Buemi, Kobayashi, Liuzi, Alguersurai, de la Rossa, Trulli, Kovalainen, Glock, di Grassi, Senna, Chandhok, Vettel, Petrov
Now you probably see the Vettel was in the drop out stage at this point. However, practically the second I finished copying down the positions, the German popped up into P6 after his first run.
With just a few minutes left, Petrov took to the track for the first time after his mechanics had tirelessly worked on the Renault due to a crash in Practice Three. The Russian clawed his way out of danger and into P11.
With all of the new teams now occupying the bottom slots the question now became, who would join them for the embarrassing P18 position?
Well, that "honor" fell to Liuzi, who later complained of traffic holding him up.
Q1 top three
Liuzi, Glock, Trulli, Kovalainen, di Grassi, Senna, Candhok
This time Petrov left the pits first and set the opening time of 1:36:311. However, his time on top was short as Hamilton yet again lit up the time sheets. The McLaren man sped around the track beautifully to pick up where he left off in Q1.
The early stages of the session brought no real shocks. No doubt Rosberg would have been pleased to see Schumacher in P7 as he crossed the line to take P2 though!
Eight minutes in, here were the positions:
Hamilton, Rosberg, Alonso, Massa, Webber, Button, Vettel, Kubica, Schumacher, Sutil, Barrachello, Alguersurai, Petrov, Buemi, Kobayashi, Hulkenberg, de la Rossa.
Yet, again Hamilton struggled with gear issues, but the Brit felt comfortable enough, not to have to go out again in the last five minutes of the session.
The positions didn’t really change much though. Perhaps the closest action was the scare that Schumacher was getting slipping down the rankings and eventually scrapping through in just P10.
Q2 top three
Barrichello, Alguersuari, Buemi, Petrov, Kobayashi, Hulkenberg, de la Rossa
Now by this stage you would arguably have put your money on Hamilton for pole. As I said earlier, the McLarens had been fast all weekend and throughout qualifying. However, really strangely, and not for the first time, cars one and two just seemed to fade away in the final session.
The first time came from Alonso who set a nice 1:35:065, but he was quickly toppled by Vettel.
After all the drivers had completed their first runs the positions were as follows:
Vettel, Alonso, Webber, Rosberg, Hamilton, Massa, Button, Schumacher, Kubica, Sutil.
I think Hamilton was a bit heavy for his first run because he only took on new tyres for his final attempt (as opposed to other drivers who needed to get back into the garage to re-fuel).
Nevertheless, the McLaren man didn’t find enough speed and despite getting up to P2, quickly dropped down the standings after fast times from Button, Webber, Alonso, and Rosberg.
As I said at the top of the article, the commentators tried their best to spice up the action but those Red Bulls were simply too fast. By the time Webber had sped into provisional pole, Vettel was "fastest of any man in the final sector." Sure enough the German made it four Red Bull poles out of four and ended a rather slow session with a predictable result.
Now I’m not moaning specifically because of the Red Bull one two, far from it. The whole session seemed a bit lacking to me. Of course these positions don’t settle the race and having Hamilton behind Button and Alonso behind the Bulls will hopefully give us a great start.
And hey! They predict rain for tomorrow! Hear's hoping we get a good one on Sunday!
1 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:36.317
2 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:35.978
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:35.987
4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:35.952
5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:36.122
6 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:35.641
7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:36.076
8 Robert Kubica Renault 1:36.348
9 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:36.484
10 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:36.671
11 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:36.664 1
12 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 1:36.618
13 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:36.793
14 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:37.031
15 Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1:37.044
16 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:37.049
17 Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1:37.050
18 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:37.161
19 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:39.278
20 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:39.399
21 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:39.520
22 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:39.783
23 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1:40.469
24 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1:40.578