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Yet Another Flat 2010 Qualifying Session at Silverstone

Patrick AllenAnalyst IJuly 10, 2010

NORTHAMPTON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 10:  Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Red Bull Racing drives during the final practice session prior to qualifying for the British Formula One Grand Prix at Silverstone on June 10, 2010, in Northampton, England.  (Photo by Malcolm Griffiths/Getty Images)
Malcolm Griffiths/Getty Images

Whilst it is great for the British fans to have their Grand Prix secured for another 17 years, and whilst it is also great to see the grandstands full, I think you would be hard pressed not to be disappointed by Silverstone’s 2010 qualifying session.

The first session was pointless as ever, the second session was better, but the final "shootout" was a forgone conclusion. Sorry people for another negative qualifying review; but unlike the journalists on the TV, I refuse to lie and pretend that everything is fine and that "it just keeps getting better and better" (smile to camera).


Qualifying One

Need I explain?

For those of you not familiar with F1, three new teams joined the grid for the 2010 season but were, from the very beginning, not even close to the rest of the pack. As a consequence, these three teams' six drivers have consistently locked out the bottom places leaving only one chance of a shock drop out, not particularly gripping.

Anyway, the green light shone to an empty pit lane?

It took a full two minutes for any drivers to emerge, which left me thinking that the teams had decided not to waste any tyres and had simply drawn short straws amongst the midfield drivers as to who would go out in Q1!

The first time was eventually set by Glock with a 1:35:951 (nearly five minutes into the session).

Glock’s time was thankfully joined by the rest of the pack. However, as predicted, the usual suspects soon slipped down the pecking order and at the half way stage the knock out zone was occupied by Glock, Kovalainen, Trulli, di Grassi, Yamamoto (replacing Senna, if you can tell me why…I’d love to know!), Chandhok, and Sutil.

Sutil was having some troubles immediately before the session but he soon found some speed and pulled himself up to P14.

Early on it was clear that Red Bull were immense, and Ferrari were the only team even close to threatening the charging Bulls.

The McLarens were struggling out on track, due to the fact that their major upgrades had not worked, which had put them on the back foot from the very beginning. Hamilton was handling the troubles better than his team mate but the prospect of a Red Bull, McLaren showdown was dead.

With a few minutes left, the positions were as follows:

Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Sutil, Hamilton, Barrichello, Rosberg, Massa, Kubica, Petrov, Buemi, Schumacher, de la Rossa, Hulkenberg, Button, Kobayashi, Alguersurai, Liuzzi, Glock, Kovalainen, Trulli, di Grassi, Chandhok, Yamamoto.

There was a small chance that a fight to stay in qualifying might develop, but an error from the Torro Rosso team saw Alguersuari pit earlier than he should have, and effectively ended a pointless session.

Q1 results

Top Three

Vettel
Webber
Alonso

Out

Alguersuari, Kovalainen, Glock, Trulli, di Grassi, Chandhok, Yamamoto


Qualifying Two

This session was much better and has so far this year (with the exception of that godly race in Canada), proved to be the best part of a Saturday.

The final session is almost as predictable as the first, but in Q2 we can really be shocked by drop outs from big teams and drivers. Thankfully, Silverstone’s Q2 threw up some shocks.

The Ferraris were out first in this one, and of the two, Alonso looked best with an early 1:31:019.

With five minutes gone the positions were as follows:

Webber, Alonso, Massa, Hamilton, Sutil, Kubica, Schumacher, Vettel, Hulkenberg, Buemi, Rosberg, Button, Barrichello, Petrov, Liuzzi, de la Rossa, Kobayashi.

So, Webber was in his own little world and Vettel was about to join him. However, at the back, Button was struggling with grip and the Renaults (who had looked awesome in Practice), were really struggling.

Whilst it was interesting to see this, I’m afraid there was little tension as the slower cars were simply slower. Button tried to get higher, but simply didn’t have the speed; the same went for Sutil. Kubica did well to get into the final session, so too did de la Rossa, but this session was still ultimately disappointing.

Q2 Results:

Top Three:

Webber
Vettel
Alonso

Out

Sutil, Kobayashi, Hulkenberg, Button, Liuzzi, Petrov, Buemi


Qualifying Three

Massa set the first time for this session with a 1:31:785, but Webber’s 1:29:758 was simply amazing. What was even more impressive was the way in which Vettel went faster still!

At the half-way stage the positions were as follows:

Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Hamilton, Rosberg, Barrichello, Massa (Schumacher, Kubica, and de la Rossa were only going to do one run to save their tyres).

I’m afraid that is almost exactly as it finished. Alonso, the only man who could even dream of beating a Red Bull, was slowed by Barrichello on a crucial lap, and we didn’t even get an exciting showdown between the two Red Bulls as Webber simply couldn’t answer Vettel’s super time.

The British fans are certainly committed, but I fear they will not get the race they deserve for their loyalty tomorrow. My prediction? Red Bull miles ahead by lap two, providing they "play nice," Red Bull one, two on the podium.

So the race will be for P3, and that one could be great. Watch Alonso and Hamilton fight it out and I can see Kubica and perhaps Massa joining in too. If not, well, there’s something big happening in Africa tomorrow right?

1 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:29.615

2 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:29.758

3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:30.426

4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:30.556

5 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:30.625

6 Robert Kubica Renault 1:31.040

7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:31.172

8 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:31.175

9 Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1:31.274

10 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 11:31.430

11 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:31.399

12 Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1:31.421

13 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:31.635

14 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:31.699

15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:31.708

16 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:31.796

17 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:32.012

18 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 1:32.430

19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:34.405

20 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:34.775

21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:34.864

22 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:35.212

23 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1:36.576

24 Sakon Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1:36.968

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