Vettel takes pole position at Silverstone

Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel will start Sunday’s British Grand Prix in pole position after a commanding performance in qualifying at Silverstone.

This was Vettel’s second consecutive pole and his lap time around the former RAF airfield was an impressive one minute, 19. 509 seconds. Rubens Barrichello managed to split the two Red Bulls for Brawn GP, while Mark Webber was disappointed to slip down from provisional pole to third place. The Australian blamed Kimi Raikkonen for distracting him on the final qualifying run in a bid to improve his lap time.

Championship leader and home crowd favourite Jenson Button will start sixth on the grid, behind Jarno Trulli’s Toyota and Kazuki Nakajima’s Williams. Button complained later about the unusual call made by his team to abort his qualifying run that would have moved him up the grid order. In addition, Jenson moaned about a lack of rear-end grip in the BGP-001.

But at least Jenson is at the front end of the grid compare to last year’s winner Lewis Hamilton. The current world champion will start his home race down in a miserable P19!

Why so far back? Lewis was simply unlucky to be caught out on his final qualifying run by the red flags due to Adrian Sutil crashing heavily at the Abbey chicane.

The Force India driver was unhurt, but his incident at Abbey brought the first qualifying segment to an early end and there wasn’t enough time to go for another run.

Meaning Lewis Hamilton will start his home Grand Prix in 19th position – his worst qualifying result by far in Formula One. This is a major setback for the world champion and what a difference a year makes… from winning this event last time around to starting right at the back. This season’s MP4-24 just doesn’t provide confidence to the drivers and on the quick and demanding Maggotts/Becketts sequences, the McLaren looked awful.

Heikki Kovalainen fared a little better compare to his team-mate (the Finn will start in P13) but overall this year’s car is certainly a challenge to drive.

After setting the pace in the final practice session leading up to qualifying, Nico Rosberg will start the race for Williams in seventh position, ahead of Timo Glock’s Toyota.

As for Ferrari, this was another poor performance by the Scuderia with Kimi Raikkonen in ninth followed by team-mate Felipe Massa in eleventh. In between the red cars is Renault’s Fernando Alonso.

Even though the home crowd are at trackside supporting Jenson Button, a British home win for the series leader is looking unlikely due to the strong pace by the Red Bulls. The Renault-powered RB5 is going really well around the fast and flowing 3.194-mile circuit, thanks to the new aerodynamic upgrades including a re-profile front nose cone and engine cover.

Vettel is hoping to make amends from his first lap mistake at Turkey with race victory number two (for Red Bull Racing) while Webber is still searching for that elusive maiden win. As for Barrichello, the Brazilian has the chance to out-score his Brawn GP team-mate for the first time thanks to a higher grid position.

Qualifying times from the British Grand Prix, Silverstone:carrier to noise ratio

1.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault      1:19.509
2.  Barrichello  Brawn-Mercedes        1:19.856
3.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault     1:19.868
4.  Trulli       Toyota                1:20.091
5.  Nakajima     Williams-Toyota       1:20.216
6.  Button       Brawn-Mercedes        1:20.289
7.  Rosberg      Williams-Toyota       1:20.361
8.  Glock        Toyota                1:20.490
9.  Raikkonen    Ferrari               1:20.715
10.  Alonso       Renault               1:20.741
11.  Massa        Ferrari               1:18.927
12.  Kubica       BMW-Sauber            1:19.308
13.  Kovalainen   McLaren-Mercedes      1:19.353
14.  Piquet       Renault               1:19.392
15.  Heidfeld     BMW-Sauber            1:19.448
16.  Fisichella   Force India-Mercedes   1:19.802
17.  Bourdais     Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:19.898
18.  Sutil        Force India-Mercedes   1:19.909
19.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes        1:19.917
20.  Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:20.236

7 thoughts to “Vettel takes pole position at Silverstone”

  1. Lets hear what Sebastian Vettel had to say after qualifying in pole position for the 2009 British Grand Prix. Article taken from Autosport.com.

    Sebastian Vettel hailed Red Bull’s step forward at the British Grand Prix after he secured his third pole position of the season at Silverstone.

    The German, whose team introduced several significant updates to its car this weekend, said Red Bull’s car was stronger thanks to the new components.

    “It’s been a fantastic weekend from the beginning to the end we didn’t have a single problem,” said Vettel, seeking his second win of the season.

    “All the new parts we brought here worked very well. We made a step forward but when it comes to qualifying.

    “There is tension there, you try to do your best, and it was quite difficult today. At the beginning I was struggling a little bit with traffic.

    “The wind today was not such an issue but it’s always difficult when you have cars ahead, so in the first two sessions I was struggling a bit and in Q2 we put on a soft tyre and I was quite happy with the car.”

    Vettel claimed his final flying lap had been near perfect.

    “It was the lap of the weekend,” he said. “It was close to perfect. As a driver you always think there is a little bit here or there, but it went very well. I was surprised how quick I was at that stage, it was enough to get pole position.

    “I can only say a big compliments back to the guys in the garage, it is only half an hour away from Silverstone and they are working so hard to get this car ready, so it is down to them, we are proving the car is working very well.”

    The Red Bull driver, who is 31 points behind championship leader Jenson Button, welcomed the Briton’s problems in today’s session.

    Button will start from sixth place.

    Vettel, however, is aware that his Brawn rival will have a very fast car tomorrow.

    “There are 60 laps around here, this circuit is tough with both the car and drivers, it is a long way. If you ask for the championship ranking, he has the advantage, we ware here to fight and want to win races.

    “Today we did the best possible job, we have a fantastic car and a chance to win, you never know what happens. We will definitely fight.

    “It is good that Jenson is not here in this room, but the Brawn has very strong pace, they have shown on Sundays they are extremely competitive, so even if he starts sixth he can come back and score a lot of points.”

    As for the championship leader, Jenson Button blames unusual call from the pits that cost him a higher position on the grid.

    Jenson Button believes that ‘an unusual call’ during the final part of qualifying denied him the chance of a better grid position for the British Grand Prix.

    The world championship leader will start sixth on the grid for his home race after suffering from a lack of rear-end grip during the session, but, on his final flying lap of Q3, was on course to move up the order.

    That was until he received a message from his engineer Andrew Shovlin to abort the run and come into the pits instead, leaving him at the back of the third row – four places behind Brawn team-mate and nearest championship rival Rubens Barrichello.

    “My second lap was not a lot quicker, but a bit quicker,” Button said. “We could have made up one more place, but my engineer said ‘in this lap, in this lap’ and as soon as someone says that you react to it and I was off on my timing a little bit.

    “It would only have been one position better if I had kept going. I don’t know if the team wanted to save more fuel for the race or what, but it was an unusual call.”

    Button remains optimistic of moving up the order in Sunday’s race, even if his car is not to his liking.

    “I’m still hopeful we’ve got the right amount of fuel on board to be competitive with the guys in front and we can have a good race,” he added. “But I’ve really struggled with the car here and I don’t know why. It’s quite a different car here than the one I had in Turkey.”

    Team boss Ross Brawn admitted that Button’s car needs serious adjustments if it is to give its driver a chance of his seventh victory of the year.

    “Jenson was complaining that the balance on the first set of tyres wasn’t quite right,” Brawn told BBC TV. “We made some adjustments, but I’m not sure it worked.

    “I think that with a bit of thought overnight we might be able to make some improvements, because clearly Rubens did pretty well to end up on the front row.”

  2. Want to know what happened to Mark Webber’s final qualifying run in which he was on provisional pole, but ended up in third? Read the full story below for the full details – it includes Kimi Raikkonen’s viewpoint on qualifying. Taken from Autosport.com.

    Mark Webber felt that the distraction of having to drive around Kimi Raikkonen’s cruising Ferrari cost him crucial time on his final qualfying run at Silverstone.

    The Red Bull driver fell from provisional pole to third on the grid when he failed to sufficiently improve on his last flying lap, having had to go off line to pass Raikkonen into Stowe.

    “I would have liked a slightly cleaner run on my last Q3 lap,” said Webber.

    “Kimi was, I don’t know, drinking some vodka or dreaming or something, I don’t know what hell he was doing but he should have been on the right and he was on the racing line, dreaming. That wrecked my rhythm really into Stowe, I was very tight into there.

    “Kimi couldn’t have done a better job of distracting me. He was right on the racing line, on the most important lap of qualifying and it ruined my rhythm.”

    But Webber admitted that the situation could have been much worse and said he was still pleased with Red Bull’s performance, having seen his team-mate Sebastian Vettel secure pole.

    “No one is here to listen to a shopping list of excuses,” said the Australian.

    “I would have liked to have got more out of the car on the last lap, that wasn’t the case, we’re still third. Congratulations to Seb, he did a good job.

    “A lot of frustration but hey I’m not tenth on the grid.”

    Red Bull dominated Friday practice and has been the team to beat all weekend – an achievement Webber put down to the squad’s latest upgrade package.

    “We’ve made some changes this weekend and they have worked,” he said. “This is the fastest the car has ever been.

    “All the hard work is now being realised. We’re definitely in for a good result tomorrow if we can have a clean race.”

    Kimi Raikkonen says he did the best possible job in qualifying for the British Grand Prix, as his Ferrari team struggled to make an impression.

    The former world champion qualified in ninth place, while team-mate Felipe Massa finished down in 11th.

    Raikkonen believes he actually put on a good performance, but said his car was simple not fast enough.

    “I didn’t have much expectations, I didn’t know exactly where we are, so overall I think we did as good a job as we could in the qualifying,” said Raikkonen.

    “Unfortunately the car is more or less where we are now. We did nothing wrong, we couldn’t really go much faster.”

    The Finn reckons his team has continued to improve in the last few races, but he feels its rivals have taken bigger steps forward.

    “We try to do the best that we can in every race. For sure is more fun to fight for first place but that’s not happening right now. We are where we are and still pushing forward and trying to improve all the time.

    “Sometimes the races can be exciting when you are fighting in the middle of the field, but for sure we would prefer to be in front.

    “We have improved the time all the times, but the other teams have improved it even more. We are improving all the time but other people do not stop improving.”

    Raikkonen also claimed he did not believe he had distracted Red Bull Mark Webber, after the Australian was critical of the Finn for being in the racing line during his final flying lap.

    “I tried to lose to the side as much as I could, so I don’t think he lost any time,” Raikkonen said.

  3. As for what caused Adrian Sutil to crash heavily against the barriers at Abbey, there was a problem with the brakes. Read more below (Autosport.com article):

    Force India says it is investigating the root cause of the brake problem that sent Adrian Sutil into the barriers during British Grand Prix qualifying.

    The German’s high speed incident at the Abbey chicane caused Q1 to be stopped, and severely damaged his car. Sutil, who escaped injury, will have to use his spare chassis in tomorrow’s race.

    “Fortunately Adrian is okay, and we take any potential car problem that could cause an accident like that very seriously,” said chief race engineer Dominic Harlow. “We will fully understand what happened and ensure that it is addressed.”

    Sutil veered off the road in the first part of the chicane, then spun across the gravel and hit the barriers backwards.

    “I had a brake problem and then had no brakes going into the complex,” he explained. “I pushed on the pedal but there wasn’t anything. I tried to avoid a big accident but it was impossible so I crashed really hard.

    “I’m completely okay, I was just taken to the medical centre for some checks as it was a big crash.”

    The accident not only consigned Sutil – who had been third in Friday practice – to 18th on the grid, but prevented his team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella from completing his last Q3 lap and getting above 16th.

    “The cars were clearly fast enough for top 15 and unfortunately both traffic and Adrian’s shunt meant we were denied our deserved starting positions,” said Harlow. “We can however look forward to a competitive race were we will try to convert our improvement in pace to points.”

    Fisichella reckoned he would have been on the cusp of Q3 but for the incident and an earlier problem with traffic.

    “We made an improvement but unfortunately on the last set of tyres, [Sebastien] Buemi was in front of me and I slowed down on my first lap,” he said.

    “Then on the second lap there was the red flag due to Adrian’s accident and I couldn’t improve. I was looking at a top 12 start so it’s a shame, but it’s just too bad this time.”

  4. Championship leader Jenson Button says gap to Red Bull Racing is not that big despite qualifying down in sixth. Read the full story below taken from Autosport.com.

    Jenson Button is convinced that Red Bull’s advantage over his own Brawn team in this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone, is not as big as it looked in qualifying.

    The runaway world championship leader, who has won six out of the seven races so far this year, revealed that he has been struggling to get his tyres up to operating temperature and that this contributed to him netting his worst grid position of the season – sixth – on Saturday.

    “I think here they would have been quick without the upgrade, but I don’t think the gap is as big as it looks,” Button said, referring to the modified RB5 Red Bull brought to Silverstone. “The temperatures are low here and they are one of the teams that get the tyres working.

    “On the out lap in qualifying in Turkey, [Mark] Webber was just cruising around, and I was flat out to get my tyres working.

    “I think that their car is very good in these sort of temperatures so I think we would have had the pace on them anyway.

    “For sure their package has improved, but if there was 40 degree track temp, I don’t think they would have had such an advantage.”

    Despite this, Button warned the legions of British fans expected to turn up to Silverstone for what is potentially its last grand prix, that it would be difficult for him to win the race from sixth position.

    “I think the Red Bulls are going to be very quick, I think it is going to be very difficult for Rubens, who is on the front row, to beat them and especially for me,” he said. “My aim is to move up the grid as far as I can.

    “I mean it’s sixth, it’s not last, but I need a few more places than that. I just need to score some good points so I don’t lose too much to the Red Bulls, but it might come our way a little bit tomorrow, but it’s not going to be hot like Turkey. So we definitely won’t have an advantage.”

    Asked if he thought he could play on the psychological advantage that comes with having had such a dominant start to the season, Button replied: “I don’t know. Maybe that was the issue with [Sebastian] Vettel in Turkey, but we are the team that has won six out of seven races, and we have been very strong almost every race we have been in and we have not made mistakes in the race so I am sure the other teams must think there is a possibility we will have a good race.

    “Rubens is P2 and in a great position,” added the Briton. “I’m P6 so it is more difficult for me, but I think we can do something with it.

    “I’m sure they will be interested to see what we are up to, but they have got an advantage here that shouldn’t really hurt them in the way of strategy. It should be pretty simple to get a good strategy when you have the quickest car by the margin they have this weekend.

    “It’s been unbelievable – we haven’t had that margin this year. It will make them difficult to beat, but I am sure Rubens is going to do his best to beat them.”

  5. From the 2009 season, the FIA is making public the weights of the cars, with their fuel load included, following Saturday’s qualifying session.

    Below is the weight of each car following qualifying for the British Grand Prix, sorted by qualifying position.

    Pos Driver Weight (kg)
    1. Sebastian Vettel 666.5
    2. Rubens Barrichello 657.5
    3. Mark Webber 659.5
    4. Jarno Trulli 658.0
    5. Kazuki Nakajima 652.5
    6. Jenson Button 657.5
    7. Nico Rosberg 661.5
    8. Timo Glock 660.0
    9. Kimi Raikkonen 654.0
    10. Fernando Alonso 654.0
    11. Felipe Massa 675.0 *
    12. Robert Kubica 689.5 *
    13. Heikki Kovalainen 695.5 *
    14. Nelson Piquet 682.5 *
    15. Nick Heidfeld 665.5 *
    16. Giancarlo Fisichella 668.0 *
    17. Sebastien Bourdais 687.5 *
    18. Adrian Sutil 692.0 *
    19. Lewis Hamilton 666.0 *
    20. Sebastien Buemi 672.5 *

    * declared weight

  6. Button hasn’t seemed to be in it for the last few days, maybe it will all come together at the race itself. Those car weights make Vettel’s pole even more impressive.

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