Formula 1: Red Bull Conquer Qualifying Yet Again

Patrick AllenAnalyst IMay 15, 2010

MONTE CARLO, MONACO - MAY 15:  Mark Webber of Australia and Red Bull Racing drives in the final practice session prior to qualifying for the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at the Monte Carlo Circuit on May 15, 2010 in Monte Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

I’m afraid the qualifying session that promised much, delivered little, in yet another predictable Formula One event. Strong performances from Kubica, Hamilton, and Massa were simply not enough to stop Red Bull’s sixth consecutive pole position.

 

Qualifying One

The Monaco GP was the most likely place to see an upset in Qualifying one, but as usual the first session remains the most pointless event in global motorsport!

Bad news for Ferrari and me as an Alonso fan, when it became clear that a shunt the Spaniard had suffered in final practice had done too much damage to his chassis. Alonso would not take part in qualifying and Q1 was effectively decided there and then.

Chandhok was out first and set an early time of 1:23:478, but he was quickly toppled by Kubica and Glock. Then the madness ensued as practically every car took to the track to get times down in fear of a big upset.

The session was OK I guess; we got to see a lot of cars on track and at least the likes of Massa and Rosberg putting in fast times made a welcome change. However, with five minutes left, all of the slow, new cars were in the knockout zone.

Lotus threatened, a bit, but as expected, no new teams made it into Q2.

Q1 Top Three:

Massa, Webber, Vettel

Out:

Kovalainen, Trulli, Glock, di Grassi, Senna, Chandhok, Alonso

 

Qualifying Two

A massive queue of cars was headed by Buemi as most of the drivers still feared an upset on the twisty street corners.

The first time was eventually set by Petrov with a 1:15:576, but he was quickly knocked down by his super impressive team mate.

Five minutes in and the times were as follows:

Kubica, Petrov, Massa, Liuzzi, Schumacher, Buemi, Rosberg, Sutil, Button, Alguersuari, Hamilton, Webber, Kobayashi, de la Rosa, Vettel, Hulkenberg, Barrichello

Those strange positions from Hamilton and Webber were because they had been released at the same time and had not found enough road space to keep from slowing each other down.

Kubica was setting some great times and looking really promising, whilst Vettel was strangely down in P16.

With 8 minutes left, Vettel shot up to P3, at the expense of Button, who found himself in P10 and on the bubble!

With three minutes left, we got a bit of action from a Petrov mistake. The Russian was just pushing a little bit too hard and crashed into the barrier at turn one.

The marshals did a great job to clear the road quickly and the yellow flags that had been waving were soon put away again.

In the end, Button managed to claw his way through eventually and the positions morphed into a predictable result in which the usual suspects found themselves out of Q2.

Having said that, special mention should go out to Liuzzi, who has unfortunately found himself in a very difficult position with his race seat heavily threatened. The Italian did a great job to get into the final session; something his team mate failed to do.

I’d also like to praise the professionalism of de la Rosa and Schumacher; both experienced drivers did great jobs moving out of the way of faster drivers.

Q2 Top Three:

Rosberg, Massa, Webber

Out:

Hulkenberg, Sutil, Buemi, Petrov, de la Rosa, Kobayashi, Alguersuari

 

Qualifying Three

This was definitely the best session of the day. It was pretty exciting right up to the finish, but it unfortunately gave as a very predictable finale.

Kubica set the first time of 1:14:712, which was quick from the off! The Pole then flew around the track in a world of his own whilst other drivers struggled to find pace.

After all the drivers had set their first times, the positions were as follows:

Kubica, Hamilton, Barrichello, Liuzzi, Button, Webber, Massa, Schumacher, Rosberg, Vettel

There was some chopping and changing, Vettel certainly found some speed, but nobody could beat Kubica.

However, with two minutes left, out of nowhere, Webber popped up in pole! There followed a pretty exciting race between The Australian in the Red Bull and the Pole in the Renault.

I really like both drivers, and in many ways I wanted both of them to win. I desperately wanted anyone other than a Red Bull to get pole, and if anyone deserved it today it was Kubica.

Having said that, Webber is one of the nicest guys on the grid and to have him get his first back-to-back pole position, and beat Vettel would have been fantastic.

When it actually came down to it though, Webber was simply faster, and rather annoyingly, Vettel got himself up to P3 which doesn’t look good for a non-Red Bull winner tomorrow.

All in all, I was massively disappointed with qualifying today. Saturday has really turned into a dull, predictable event.

As we are at Monaco, the race could go two ways. We could get a rip roaring fight to the finish with shunts at every bend, or we got get a painfully boring procession, made worse by the fact that we aren’t even those rich s***s on the boats!

Of course, I’m hoping for the former race and who knows, Kubica and Alonso may give us very interesting races from opposite ends of the track. Fingers firmly crossed!

1 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:13.826

2 Robert Kubica Renault 1:14.120

3 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:14.227

4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:14.283

5 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:14.432

6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:14.544

7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:14.590

8 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:14.637

9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:14.901

10 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:15.170

11 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:15.317

12 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:15.318

13 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:15.413

14 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:15.576

15 Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1:15.692

16 Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1:15.992

17 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 1:16.176

18 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:17.094

19 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:17.134

20 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:17.377

21 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:17.864

22 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1:18.509

23 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1:19.559

24 Fernando Alonso Ferrari No time