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Sebastian Vettel Pole: Another Processional Race Looms over Formula One

Patrick AllenAnalyst IJuly 31, 2010

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 31:  Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Red Bull Racing drives down the pitlane during the final practice session prior to qualifying for the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at the Hungaroring on July 31, 2010 in Budapest, Hungary.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

I do realise that nothing can ever be certain, and that therefore my title is probably far too gloomy. It’s also worth noting that the man on pole is not the best at starts, which could bode well for tomorrow. However (and this is a big however), the Red Bulls have simply been untouchable since they first took to the track on Friday.

The only man who has come close to challenging them, Alonso, tried but simply found it impossible to even split the charging Bulls. This made for a predictable and dull qualifying, and I fear this will affect tomorrow’s race.


Qualifying One

Petrov kicked us off this weekend with a 1:23:386. Ominously, the Red Bulls locked out the front row with their first times, but encouragingly it looked as if Alonso and Kubica were going to make them work for the pole.

Both Mclaren drivers looked uneasy in their cars, but Hamilton was managing his troubles more successfully than his teammate.

There was some rare Q1 excitement when, with just a couple of minutes left, Rosberg, Button, and Schumacher respectively occupied positions 16 to 18!

However, all three drivers found speed and in the end the three new teams were joined by an unlucky Kobayashi, who found himself in traffic when it really mattered.

I would like to make the point that it was so refreshing to see how nice Kobayashi was when asked whether or not he was going to go to the stewards to argue for a penalty for the driver in his way. The true racer simply smiled and said there was no point, that’s racing. How bloody refreshing!

Q1 Top Three

Vettel
Webber
Kubica

Out

Kobayashi, Glock, Kovalainen, Trulli, di Grassi, Senna, Yamamoto


Qualifying Two

Massa was first out this time and set the pace with a 1:21:417. Alonso was considerably faster, but neither man could do anything once the Red Bulls began setting times.

Five minutes in, the positions were as follows:

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

The Mercedes were at the back because they only decided to come out around the time I was copying down the times.

Kubica quickly found speed and was soon in P4, but Button was definitely struggling.

Once the Mercedes drivers had set their first times it was pretty clear that Schumacher was yet again heading for the exit, but that Rosberg was again doing a great job punching above his weight for P4!

As the likes of Rosberg and de la Rossa impressed, World Champions Button and Schumacher simply fell back into the shadows. Clearly, Schumacher made a mistake coming back, and Button really needs to work on his qualifying. I mean, he is one of my F1 heroes and clearly talented, but no matter how well he drives on a Sunday, if he continues to qualify so poorly he’s only going to look bad!

Q2 Top Three

Webber
Vettel
Alonso

Out

Button, Barrichello, Sutil, Schumacher, Buemi, Liuzzi, Alguersari


Qualifying Three

Alonso did well with his first time of 1:19:987, but when Webber set a time half a second faster, followed by Vettel’s 1:18:773, everyone else might as well have given up and saved tyres.

It really was pointless. Red Bull were immense, Ferrari were clearly second best, and the only thing worth reporting was the bulldog spirit of de la Rossa.

Five minutes in and the positions were as follows:

Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Massa, Hamilton, Rosberg, Hulkenberg.

The three remaining cars—de la Rossa, Kubica, and Petrov—lapped reasonably well but the Sauber couldn’t compete and both Renault drivers made small mistakes.

The final session was even more boring than the first and it wasn’t even interesting between the Red Bulls as Vettel was simply the best.

What does this mean for tomorrow then?

Well, best case scenario, Vettel gets in Webber’s way, the Ferraris move up and there is a fight between the two teams to the flag (of course, add Hamilton to the mix for excitement too).

Worst case scenario, a clean start with a Red Bull (probably Vettel), leading from the beginning to the end. Ferrari hold station, and Hamilton can’t even challenge for a podium.

I guess we can pray for rain?

1 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:18.773

2 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:19.184

3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:19.987

4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:20.331

5 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:20.499

6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:21.082

7 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:21.229

8 Robert Kubica Renault 1:21.328

9 Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1:21.411

10 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:21.710

11 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:21.292

12 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:21.331

13 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:21.517

14 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:21.630

15 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:21.897

16 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:21.927

17 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 1:21.998

18 Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1:22.222

19 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:24.050

20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:24.120

21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:24.199

22 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:25.118

23 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1:26.391

24 Sakon Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1:26.453

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