Red Bull Racing maintain their dominance in qualifying this season with Mark Webber leading Sebastian Vettel to yet another front row at the Circuit de Catalunya.
The aerodynamic updates to the RB6 has made it ever quicker compared to the rivals and Webber’s pole lap at one minute, 19.995 seconds around the 2.875-mile track was impressive. The Australian hopes he can turn this result into race victory on Sunday unlike in Sepang.
McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton will start in third place but the 2008 world champion was 0.8 seconds adrift of Webber’s pole lap. Home crowd favourite Fernando Alonso, racing in the F-duct F60, lines up fourth for Ferrari while championship leader McLaren’s Jenson Button completed the top five.
And for the first-time ever, Michael Schumacher has outqualified his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg and will start the Spanish Grand Prix in sixth. The seven-time world champion feels more comfortable in the new longer wheelbase car, which also features a unique airbox intake. These updates has certainly improved his performance behind the wheel and to qualify in sixth with a margin of two-tenths of a second over Rosberg, it seems the old Michael Schumacher form is back in Formula One.
Renault’s Robert Kubica splits the Silver Arrows pair with seventh while Felipe Massa was only ninth for the Scuderia. Kamui Kobayashi completed the top ten as Sauber put in a stronger all-round performance when compared to the four flyway races earlier this season. Team-mate Pedro de la Rosa will be starting his home race in P12.
The Force India of Adrian Sutil lines up in P11, six places ahead of team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi.
As for Rubens Barrichello, who decided against running the Williams aero updates after trying it in free practice, was the high-profile casualty in Q1. The Brazilian complained about traffic and the lack of significant performance with the new upgrades to the FW32. He will start the race down in a frustrating P18.
Behind the Brazilian, Jarno Trulli led the battle of the new Formula One teams as the Lotus upgrades enabled the outfit to comfortably defeat Virgin Racing, while Karun Chandhok was the quicker of the HRT drivers on the back row of the grid.
Can anyone stop the flying Red Bulls on Sunday? The pace of the RB6 this season has been highly impressive with a lock-out on pole position after five races. Yes, the reliability is still a major issue plus the weather element playing its part to level out the field, but if the 66-laps plays out according without any incidents (including rain), then expect to see a straightforward victory for the Milton Keynes-based team on race day.
Qualifying times from the Circuit de Catalunya:
1. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:19.995
2. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:20.101
3. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:20.829
4. Alonso Ferrari 1:20.937
5. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:20.991
6. Schumacher Mercedes 1:21.294
7. Kubica Renault 1:21.353
8. Rosberg Mercedes 1:21.408
9. Massa Ferrari 1:21.585
10. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:21.984
11. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:21.985
12. de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1:22.026
13. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:22.131
14. Petrov Renault 1:22.139
15. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:22.191
16. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:22.207
17. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:22.854
18. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:23.125
19. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:24.674
20. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:24.748
21. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:25.475
22. di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:25.556
23. Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1:26.750
24. Senna HRT-Cosworth 1:27.122