Sebastian Vettel Earns Yet Another Red Bull Pole in German Qualifying

Patrick AllenAnalyst IJuly 24, 2010

HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY - JULY 24:  Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Red Bull Racing drives during the final practice session prior to qualifying for the German Grand Prix at Hockenheimring on July 24, 2010 in Hockenheim, Germany.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

The qualifying for this weekend's German Grand Prix certainly wasn’t the worst we’ve seen, but it didn’t exactly set my heart racing either (which seems to be a worrying development in 2010 F1 qualification).

Yet again, the first session was a forgone conclusion, the second session wasn’t much better, but there was at least a bit of excitement for the final shoot out.


Qualifying One

Di Grassi tentatively made his way around the track for his one and only run to start this session. The Brazilian had been having gear trouble all weekend and simply returned to the pits before even finishing his lap.

So the honour of being "first man to set a time" fell to Petrov with a 1:18:210. Interestingly, for this session, and come to think of it the next two as well, all of the top teams opted for an early time (probably through fear of rain).

The session was killed five minutes in when an unfortunate Liuzzi caught a little bit of wet ground exiting the final turn. His Force India was sent spinning into the pit wall and the session was red flagged (Liuzzi was completely fine. As for his career...).

Now, if you ask me, the session should have ended there and then as we now knew who the seven dropouts would be.

Unfortunately, the session restarted and predictably the three new teams all quickly found themselves in the dropout zone.

It was clear from the start that the fast teams were going to be Ferrari and Red Bull which at least set the scene for future excitement, but, as ever, Q1 was a disaster.

Q1 Top Three

Alonso
Vettel
Massa

Out

Trulli, Kovalainen, Glock (who will in fact start last due to a gear box change), Senna, Liuzzi, Yamamoto (the super slow Japanese driver this time unfairly replaces talented Chandhok), di Grassi (who never set a time)


Qualifying Two

Three big drivers opened this session. They were Webber, Vettel, and Alonso. The first time was set by Webber and was a 1:15:323.

Early on, session two was encouraging as fast times from the likes of Barrichello meant that the group was pretty tight in the mid field.

Five minutes in and here were the places:

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

It was clear a few minutes later that Ferrari were very happy with the German track as Massa pulled his way up to P1, only to be overtaken by Alonso.

The McLarens were decent, but were certainly not setting the world on fire. The big story was the positions of Mercedes GP.

Both drivers were out with minutes left. With just 47 seconds on the clock, Schumacher limped up into P9. However, he was quickly nudged back by his teammate.

With 24 seconds to go, Mercedes GP occupied P9 and P10 and looked anything but secure.

All attention turned to a young German in a Williams lapping pretty well. I’m not sure where German loyalty lay at this point, did they want the old guard to make it through? Or a new talent?

When it came to it, youth triumphed over experience as Hulkenburg shot up into P8 and relegated Schumacher (who now spends more time in the mid field than ever before!).

Q2 Top Three

Alonso
Vettel
Webber

Out

Schumacher, Kobayashi, Petrov, Sutil, de la Rossa, Alguersuari, Buemi


Qualifying Three

The race for pole seemed to be between Alonso and Vettel, with Massa able to challenge if he could find that crucial big lap.

Webber set the first time of 1:14:347, but was blitzed by Alonso’s 1:13:927 four minutes in.

After all drivers but Hulkenber (who was only going for one run) had set a time, the positions were as follows:

Alonso, Vettel, Webber, Hamilton, Massa, Button, Kubica, Rosberg, Barrichello, Hulkenberg.

I’m afraid any real chance of excitement was spoilt by mistakes from both Webber and Massa. This turned the fight into a two-man race and although Alonso had been super all weekend, he simply couldn’t respond to Vettel’s awesome last gasp pace.

So yet another pole for Red Bull, but to be honest I’m not sure how popular this fact will be outside of Germany. Vettel is losing fans quicker than Webber is gaining them and I think this is fully justified.

I think this was a reasonable session, with a predictable result, but I am not despairing about tomorrow.

I think those Ferraris look awesome and as long as Alonso keeps on the right side of the stewards, he should be a force to reckon with. Similarly, for the first time in ages, Massa looks really good and I think if Vettel does win, he will need to fight hard for it.

Never discount those McLarens and watch out for a resurgent Barrichello. As I say, not a great Saturday, but a good start to Sunday.


Provisional Grid

1 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 11:13.791

2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:13.793

3 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:14.290

4 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:14.347

5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:14.427

6 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:14.566

7 Robert Kubica Renault 1:15.079

8 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:15.109

9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:15.179

10 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:15.339

11 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:15.026

12 Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1:15.084

13 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:15.307

14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:15.467

15 Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1:15.550

16 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 1:15.588

17 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:15.974

18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:17.583

19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:18.300

20 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:18.343

21 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1:18.592

22 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:18.952

23 Sakon Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1:19.844

24 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth No time