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:
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