Formula One 2010 Season Review

It has been an incredible Formula One season in 2010 with so many highs and lows. After the first race in Bahrain, in which Fernando Alonso scored his first win for Ferrari, there were many fans criticising that the new rules have made the racing boring and predictable. And yet, the following Grand Prix in Melbourne was exciting thanks to mixed conditions and a debut win for the reigning world champion Jenson Button at his new McLaren team.

The early races really showcase the speed of the Red Bull RB6 but the reliability was still a concern. If Sebastian Vettel didn’t have that spark plug problem in Bahrain or his spin in Australia due to a loose wheel nut, he would have scored 50 points.

His first victory of the 2010 season came at Malaysia (the third event), when the Renault-powered Red Bull finally holding together. In fact, the race in Sepang was a Red Bull Racing one-two with Mark Webber finishing in the runner-up spot.

Webber achieved back-to-back wins in Spain and Monaco, with the street race being the highlight for the Australian. It should have been a dominant win for Fernando Alonso in the Principality, as he was the fastest driver in practice, but he pushed too hard in the final practice session leading to qualifying and damaged the car…

As for Lewis Hamilton, he was shocked by the speed of the Red Bulls especially in qualifying. The only way he could win a Grand Prix was to have both cars crash into one another and that’s exactly what happened in Turkey!

That incident between Webber and Vettel was a real flashpoint for Red Bull Racing and perhaps the 2010 season. Both were determined to take the win and neither was going to give way. Watching that incident time and again on various different television angles, I still say it was Sebastian’s fault. But the team defended Vettel with that clumsy overtaking move and blame Webber for being too aggressive!

Hamilton took his second victory in an exciting Canadian Grand Prix. Why was it so entertaining? The different wear rates from the Bridgestone tyres made it tricky for grip and it was fascinating to see the drivers plus teams adapting different strategies between the prime and option tyres.

In Valencia, we saw another Sebastian Vettel win but it was his team-mate Mark Webber who was on a high! His car did a flip in the air after crashing into the back of Heikki Kovalainen’s Lotus. It was a scary moment but thanks to the modern safety in Formula One, both drivers escaped unharmed.

The following race at Silverstone, we witness another fallout between the Red Bull drivers and this time it was over a new front-wing…

During practice Sebastian’s new front-wing collapsed and the team decided to change it by taking Mark’s front wing without talking to the Australian. Webber was livid and in the race, he got his payback by winning the British Grand Prix and telling on the team radio, “he wasn’t bad for a number two driver!”

Speaking of number twos, the Ferrari team opted to use team orders between their number one and two drivers – Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa respectively – in the German Grand Prix.

By ordering Massa to let Alonso through because “he was much faster”, the team’s decision to do a position swap angered many fans. And yet, team orders have always been part of the sport since the 1950s. It was ironic that the so-called ‘ban’ on team orders came into play when the same team Ferrari did the position swap at the Austrian Grand Prix back in 2002 when Rubens Barrichello moved over for Michael Schumacher to take the maximum points…

The team defended the decision and Massa was saying he did the right thing. But the fans didn’t agree. The sport’s governing body issued a fine of $100,000 for mocking the race result in Germany.

The Red Bulls were in a different class in the following race in Hungary and many teams were criticising the new flexible front-wing fitted on the RB6. The FIA did some weight tests to see if the new wing was breaking the strict aero rules and yet it passed with flying colours.

Mark Webber rewarded Red Bull Racing with his fourth victory of the season in Budapest, but the race will be remembered over that aggressive moment between Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello.

Michael squeezed Rubens into the pitwall to prevent the Brazilian coming through. Rubens kept his foot down and made the pass but he was up against the pitwall so close that an inch further could have been nasty…

The next race was at the magnificent Spa-Francorchamps circuit and Lewis Hamilton scored his third victory for McLaren. He had a moment when he slid off the circuit due to the wet surface, but he managed to avoid hitting the tyre wall, recover and take the chequered flag.

His team-mate Jenson Button was taking out of the race by an out-of-control Sebastian Vettel! It was a silly crash by the Red Bull driver as Button defended his track position at the Bus Stop chicane, and yet Vettel was sensing the opportunity to pass but he lost control of his car under braking…

Fernando Alonso also crashed out in Spa but he made amends to this bad form with some excellent race wins in Monza (Ferrari’s home race) and at Singapore.

In those two races, Lewis Hamilton lost some important championship points no thanks to his determination to get pass his rivals. The McLaren driver was out on the first lap at Monza after damaging his right-front wheel against Felipe Massa’s Ferrari. In the night race at Singapore, he attempted to overtake Mark Webber on the outside but the Australian kept his driving line and bashed into the McLaren damaging it.

Webber made it to the finish despite the wheel nearly coming off the rim edge! As for Sebastian Vettel, he drove a solid race to second pressuring Fernando Alonso all the way to the chequered flag.

Vettel was back in the winner’s circle with a dominant drive in the Japanese Grand Prix. He should have won in Korea but his car let him down – a massive engine failure. Vettel shrugged off that disappointment by winning the final two races of the season in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, sealing the championship for Red Bull Racing and for himself.

That final race at Abu Dhabi should have been thrilling, with four drivers in with a shout of winning the title but the nature of the circuit made it difficult for the cars to overtake and so it was down to race strategy.

Ferrari screwed up on that by focusing too much on Webber and not race leader Vettel. This bad call in the pits affected Fernando Alonso’s race and the Spaniard was unable to win his third title despite heading into the weekend as the pre-title favourite…

As for Webber that crash in Korea – in which he spun off in the wet conditions trying to keep on tabs with Vettel – proved to be very costly in terms of the championship. He was unhappy with Red Bull favouring Sebastian for the title and he simply under performed in the season finale with P5 in qualifying and P8 in the race.

And what about Lewis Hamilton? He had nothing to lose and he raced hard against Vettel to win the final race of a long 2010 season. The win and championship went to the young German after a solid performance.

So does Sebastian Vettel deserve the championship? I would say yes. Okay, he had his fair share of bad luck and crashes, but his form in qualifying has been excellent. Ten pole positions. As for his five victories, it was a master class of driving in the best car.

Other highlights in this intense and dramatic season? Nulk Hülkenberg’s maiden pole position for Williams at Interlagos; Michael Schumacher struggling in his comeback with Mercedes GP but in the final few races, his race pace improved; The battle between the three new teams – Lotus, Virgin Racing and HRT; Kamui Kobayashi’s overtaking moves during the final laps in Suzuka; Korea’s new circuit that was completed just two weeks before the inaugural Korean Grand Prix.

Well done Sebastian Vettel and as for the BBC, I love the extensive coverage on the red button! All three practice sessions, race forum and alternative commentary. I really wish Radio 5 Live’s David Croft and Anthony Davidson are the main commentary feed, as the pair provides more energy, insight and enthusiasm compared to Jonathan Legard and Martin Brundle. I like Martin’s racing insight but his colleague is simply useless at explaining the action unfolding during qualifying and the race! Please change it BBC for the viewers sake.

The new season is just over one hundred days away and I am already looking forward it. Not only to witness Sebastian Vettel defending his title honour with car number one on his Red Bull, but the close competition, new drivers and tyre supplier Pirelli providing the action. Roll on March 2011!

Vettel takes win and championship

Sebastian Vettel became the youngest world champion in Formula One history with a fantastic drive in the season finale at Abu Dhabi.

The 23-year-old German led comfortably from the front, saving a few laps before Jenson Button made his late pitstop. But it was what happened behind Sebastian that changed the course of the world championship.

Pre-race favourite Fernando Alonso only needed to come home in the top four to secure the title, even if Vettel won, but his day – and title hopes – were ruined when the Spaniard spent most of the race looking at the back of Vitaly Petrov’s Renault in the lower reaches of the top ten, thanks to an early shuffling of the race order.

Instead, Nico Rosberg and the Renaults of Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov capitalised on running an alternative tyre strategies offered by an early-race safety car period to finish fourth, fifth and sixth, and relegate Alonso and Mark Webber down the order.

The vital chain of events was triggered by Webber’s early pitstop to discard the super-soft option tyre, on which the Australian was slipping backwards from Alonso.

Webber resumed on lap 13 in P16, behind Jaime Alguersuari’s Toro Rosso. Felipe Massa had been running closely behind Webber, so Ferrari responded by pitting him to see if he could get out ahead of the Red Bull.

When he emerged behind, and Webber lapped 0.8 seconds faster than Alonso next time round, Ferrari made the decision to bring the Spaniard in to ensure he stayed in front of his championship rival.

He did, but that strategy failed to take into account Nico Rosberg and Vitaly Petrov, who had pitted under the safety car period. That meant that although Alonso had Webber covered off, the Ferrari driver was nowhere near the fourth place he needed to deny Vettel the drivers’ title.

Not only that, but while Alonso was stacked behind Petrov – with Rosberg another two seconds up the road – Kubica stayed out on a long first stint and jumped up the order. His Renault had started on the harder prime tyre after failing to make it through to Q3, but that allowed a late pitstop.

That mistake from the Ferrari team cost Alonso the championship and it was frustrating for the Spaniard as he was stuck behind the Renault. It’s quite ironic that the team in which Fernando won the championship twice has preventing him on taking the title for the third time…

Anyway, Kubica found himself in the thick of the battle for the lead when Vettel and Hamilton rejoined after their pitstops. With Alonso so far down the race order, Hamilton became the biggest threat to Vettel’s championship. But the McLaren driver couldn’t find a way around the Renault, and by the time Kubica pitted on lap 45, Vettel was ten seconds ahead and in control.

But in that time, Kubica had extended the gap back to Alonso’s pack to 24 seconds – plenty for his own pitstop. He resumed ahead of team-mate Petrov, with Alonso seventh.

Button, who was running just five seconds ahead of Alonso in the early stages, remained in third – easily clear of the Rosberg group by the time Jenson resumed from his pitstop on lap 39.

The first-lap safety car period that later proved so pivotal to the championship was, coincidentally, partly caused by Rosberg – the driver to benefit most from it.

His Mercedes team-mate Michael Schumacher was delayed on the inside of the track by the defending Rubens Barrichello. Rosberg tried to drive around his team-mate into the chicane but they were squeezed together and Schumacher spun on the exit.

Just as he was trying to restart, Vitantonio Liuzzi arrived on the scene, in the middle of a pack with nowhere to go. His Force India hit and climbed up the front of the Mercedes and blocked the track. It was this that prompted Rosberg and Petrov to make their early pitstops.

So a fantastic win for Sebastian Vettel. Despite the bad luck and crashes this season, the achievements set by Vettel has been remarkable. Ten pole positions and five victories. The young German deserves the championship thanks to a great car, the Renault-powered RB6, and the team, Red Bull Racing. Double world champions!

Race results from Abu Dhabi, 55 laps:

1. Vettel        Red Bull-Renault            1h39m36.837s
2. Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes            +10.1s
3. Button        McLaren-Mercedes            +11.0s
4. Rosberg       Mercedes                    +30.7s
5. Kubica        Renault                     +39.0s
6. Petrov        Renault                     +43.5s
7. Alonso        Ferrari                     +43.7s
8. Webber        Red Bull-Renault            +44.2s
9. Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari          +50.2s
10. Massa         Ferrari                    +50.8s
11. Heidfeld      Sauber-Ferrari             +51.5s
12. Barrichello   Williams-Cosworth          +57.6s
13. Sutil         Force India-Mercedes       +58.3s
14. Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +59.5s
15. Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +1m03.1s
16. Hulkenberg    Williams-Cosworth          +1m04.7s
17. Kovalainen    Lotus-Cosworth             +1 lap
18. Di Grassi     Virgin-Cosworth            +2 laps
19. Senna         HRT-Cosworth               +2 laps
20. Klien         HRT-Cosworth               +2 laps
21. Trulli        Lotus-Cosworth             +4 laps

Fastest lap: Hamilton, 1m41.274s

Not classified/retirements:
Glock         Virgin-Cosworth              44 laps
Schumacher    Mercedes                     1 lap
Liuzzi        Force India-Mercedes         1 lap

World Championship standings, round 19:

1.  Vettel       256
2.  Alonso       252
3.  Webber       242
4.  Hamilton     240
5.  Button       214
6.  Massa        144
7.  Rosberg      142
8.  Kubica       136
9.  Schumacher    72
10. Barrichello   47
11. Sutil         47
12. Kobayashi     32
13. Petrov        27
14. Hulkenberg    22
15. Liuzzi        21
16. Buemi          8
17. De la Rosa     6
18. Heidfeld       6
19. Alguersuari    5

1.  Red Bull-Renault          498
2.  McLaren-Mercedes          454
3.  Ferrari                   396
4.  Mercedes                  214
5.  Renault                   163
6.  Williams-Cosworth          69
7.  Force India-Mercedes       68
8.  Sauber-Ferrari             44
9.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari         13

Vettel takes important pole in Abu Dhabi

Sebastian Vettel achieved his tenth pole position of the 2010 season for Red Bull Racing at Abu Dhabi, while team-mate Mark Webber will face a difficult job on Sunday with the fifth quickest time in qualifying.

The Red Bull Racing pair elected to do just a single run in Q3, with the McLarens having already set times in the mid one minute, 39 seconds a few moments earlier.

Vettel immediately took provisional pole followed by another impressive lap (one minute, 39.394 seconds) to take the honours. As for Webber, the Australian was struggling to keep pace compared to his team-mate and remained behind the times the McLarens set on their first runs.

When the McLarens and Ferraris came back out for one final run at the end of Q3, Lewis Hamilton claimed his place on the front row alongside Vettel, seconds before Fernando Alonso pipped Jenson Button to head row two.

Webber was left in fifth spot, and will start the season finale alongside Ferrari’s Felipe Massa.

As for Hamilton, the McLaren driver survived an earlier scare in Q2 when he had yet to set a decent time in the final minutes of the session.

Having already out-braked himself into Turn 8, which ruined his lap, Lewis was searching for a gap in the traffic to set his proper qualifying run. But in doing so, he appeared to delay Massa into the chicane and Hamilton had to demolish a corner bollard to avoid contact with the Ferrari. Both made it through into the top ten shootout but the race stewards will take a look into the incident.

Jenson Button complained of a “massive vibration” in his McLaren at the beginning of Q1, but after pitting for treatment to his brakes he found his pace and was able to record the second quickest time in Q2.

For the Silver Arrows, Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg opted to running the harder compound Bridgestone tyre. This tactic worked for the Mercedes pair with Rosberg in particular up in second position in Q1 and third in Q2. But when it matters in Q3, the Germans decided to do one run that resulted in Schumacher in eighth and Rosberg ninth.

Rubens Barrichello put Williams into seventh position ahead of the Silver Arrows, while Renault’s Vitaly Petrov completed the top ten.

His Renault team-mate, Robert Kubica ended his run of making it through to Q3 in every race this season. The Polish driver was unable to match Petrov’s split times and his scrappy last-gasp effort fell more than a tenth short.

Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi will start alongside Kubica in P11, with Adrian Sutil and Nick Heidfeld on row seven. Brazil pole-sitter Nico Hulkenberg was just P15 for Williams, with Vitantonio Liuzzi and Jaime Alguersuari concluding the Q2 runners.

At the back, Jarno Trulli outqualified Lotus team-mate Heikki Kovalainen, with Timo Glock beating Lucas di Grassi and Bruno Senna ahead of Christian Klien.

So the stage is set for an exciting end to this intense 2010 Formula One World Championship. The grid order points to a fascinating battle for the drivers’ title on Sunday with Alonso surrounded by McLarens, and Webber facing a mountain to climb to keep the Ferrari driver from the title. Let battle commence!

Qualifying times from Abu Dhabi:

1.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault     1m39.394s
2.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes     1m39.425s
3.  Alonso       Ferrari              1m39.792s
4.  Button       McLaren-Mercedes     1m39.823s
5.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault     1m39.925s
6.  Massa        Ferrari              1m40.202s
7.  Barrichello  Williams-Cosworth    1m40.203s
8.  Schumacher   Mercedes             1m40.516s
9.  Rosberg      Mercedes             1m40.589s
10. Petrov       Renault              1m40.901s
11. Kubica       Renault              1m40.780s
12. Kobayashi    Sauber-Ferrari       1m40.783s
13. Sutil        Force India-Ferrari  1m40.914s
14. Heidfeld     Sauber-Ferrari       1m41.113s
15. Hulkenberg   Williams-Cosworth    1m41.418s
16. Liuzzi       Force India-Ferrari  1m41.642s
17. Alguersuari  Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m41.738s
18. Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m41.824s
19. Trulli       Lotus-Cosworth       1m43.516s
20. Kovalainen   Lotus-Cosworth       1m43.712s
21. Glock        Virgin-Cosworth      1m44.095s
22. di Grassi    Virgin-Cosworth      1m44.510s
23. Senna        Hispania-Cosworth    1m45.085s
24. Klien        Hispania-Cosworth    1m45.296s

Vettel leads Red Bull Racing one-two in Brazil

Sebastian Vettel took his fourth victory of the season at Interlagos leading home team-mate Mark Webber to earn Red Bull Racing their first-ever constructors’ title.

By winning in Brazil, Vettel ensured that a three-way title fight will go to Abu Dhabi next Sunday after beating his Red Bull team-mate and Ferrari rival to race victory.

The German took the lead into the Senna S on the opening lap, easily passing the Williams of Nico Hülkenberg who started in pole position.

From that point onwards, Vettel drove a perfect race to take the chequered flag in style. The focus will now shift to the drivers’ championship as the Milton Keynes-based team celebrated their first constructors’ title thanks to a one-two finish.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso finished in third and he still leads the drivers’ championship with an eight-point advantage with one race remaining.

As for Lewis Hamilton, he is still within the title battle with a fourth place finish and yet the McLaren driver complained all race about a lack of grip which made it difficult for him to challenge.

Team-mate Jenson Button finished in fifth position but is now out of the running in this season’s championship battle.

The Silver Arrows came home in sixth and seventh with Nico Rosberg ahead of Michael Schumacher. The latter was the last driver to finish on the lead lap.

Qualifying hero Nico Hülkenberg took eighth for Williams after starting the Brazilian Grand Prix in pole position. The young German drove a solid race resisting heavy pressure from Lewis Hamilton and by scoring four points, The Hulk is helping out his Williams team in the constructors’ standings. Hopefully his performance in Brazil will earn the Formula One rookie a seat on the grid next season.

Renault’s Robert Kubica took ninth while Kamui Kobayashi claimed the final point for Sauber after a fraught race-long scrap for the position that involved Jaime Alguersuari, Adrian Sutil, Sebastien Buemi and Rubens Barrichello at various stages of the race.

Felipe Massa ended up P14, his already poor race ruined early on when he had to stop twice due a problem with a wheel-nut on the right front. As for Rubens Barrichello, his bad luck at Interlagos continued as he suffered a puncture while battling with Alguersuari. The Brazilian finished in P16.

In the battle of the new teams, Heikki Kovalainen claimed the honours for Lotus, leading team-mate Trulli to the flag well clear of Virgin Racing’s Timo Glock and HRT’s Bruno Senna.

So the drivers’ championship now goes down to the wire in Abu Dhabi, with Fernando Alonso leading the standings with eight points over Mark Webber and 15 points compared to race winner Sebastian Vettel. For Lewis Hamilton, he is 24 points behind and has admitted he needs a miracle to claim the title.

Race results from Interlagos, 71 laps:

1.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           1h33:11.803
2.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +4.243
3.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +6.807
4.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes           +14.634
5.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           +15.593
6.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +35.300
7.  Schumacher    Mercedes                   +43.400
8.  Hulkenberg    Williams-Cosworth          +1 lap
9.  Kubica        Renault                    +1 lap
10.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari            +1 lap
11.  Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari        +1 lap
12.  Sutil         Force India-Mercedes      +1 lap
13.  Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari        +1 lap
14.  Massa         Ferrari                   +1 lap
15.  Petrov        Renault                   +1 lap
16.  Barrichello   Williams-Cosworth         +1 lap
17.  Heidfeld      Sauber-Ferrari            +1 lap
18.  Kovalainen    Lotus-Cosworth            +2 laps
19.  Trulli        Lotus-Cosworth            +2 laps
20.  Glock         Virgin-Cosworth           +2 laps
21.  Senna         HRT-Cosworth              +2 laps
22.  Klien         HRT-Cosworth              +6 laps

Fastest lap: Hamilton, 1:13.851

Not classified/retirements:
Di Grassi     Virgin-Cosworth              63 laps
Liuzzi        Force India-Mercedes         50 laps

World Championship standings, round 18:

1.  Alonso       246
2.  Webber       238
3.  Vettel       231
4.  Hamilton     222
5.  Button       199
6.  Massa        143
7.  Rosberg      130
8.  Kubica       126
9.  Schumacher    72
10. Barrichello   47
11. Sutil         47
12. Kobayashi     32
13. Hulkenberg    22
14. Liuzzi        21
15. Petrov        19
16. Buemi          8
17. De la Rosa     6
18. Heidfeld       6
19. Alguersuari    3

1. Red Bull-Renault          469
2. McLaren-Mercedes          421
3. Ferrari                   389
4. Mercedes                  202
5. Renault                   145
6. Williams-Cosworth          69
7. Force India-Mercedes       68
8. Sauber-Ferrari             44
9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari         11

Next race: Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina. November 12-14.

Hülkenberg takes shocking pole at Interlagos

In a dramatic wet qualifying session at Interlagos where the track was drying out, Nico Hülkenberg took a sensational pole position for the Williams team as the championship contenders were caught out in the damp conditions.

The young German and the Williams team opted for the slicks tyre in the final top ten shootout and that gamble paid off. A whole second advantage over the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber!

Hülkenberg is the sixth youngest driver to ever score a pole position in the history of the Formula One world championship, behind Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Rubens Barrichello, Lewis Hamilton and Andrea de Cesaris. In addition, this is the team’s first pole since Nick Heidfeld took the honours at the European Grand Prix back in 2005.

All the frontrunners had changed to the slick Bridgestone tyres for their final runs at the end of Q3 and the Formula One rookie unleashed a string of fastest laps to beat the Red Bull Racing pair of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber to the top spot.

The Red Bulls looked in danger of starting at the wrong end of the top ten right up until the last few seconds, with Webber having an off-track moment with two minutes remaining. The Australian recovered and leapt up to second with his last effort, only to be demoted down to third position by his team-mate Vettel.

Lewis Hamilton initially held pole position during the final run but was eventually shuffled down to fourth. Still, at least the McLaren is competitive against the charging Red Bulls.

As for the championship leader Fernando Alonso, the Ferrari driver did set provisional pole but in the drying conditions, the others went faster and in the end, he lines up fifth on the grid. Joining him on the third row is home crowd favourite Rubens Barrichello in the Williams.

Robert Kubica was one of the first drivers to go out on slicks, although he spun at Turn 12 (Junçao) before rejoining the track and setting his personal best laps. The Renault driver will start the Brazilian Grand Prix in seventh, one position ahead of Michael Schumacher.

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa just made it into Q3 and will start ninth in front of the passionate Brazilian fans, while Vitaly Petrov completing the top ten.

For the reigning world champion Jenson Button, this was another difficult qualifying session. The McLaren driver again struggled with a lack of balance and will start the Brazilian Grand Prix in P11.

Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi lines up in P12, just ahead of Nico Rosberg who missed Q3 for the first time since Spa. Jaime Alguersuari will share row seven with Nick Heidfeld once Sebastien Buemi, who qualified P15, has taken his grid penalty for crashing into Timo Glock in Korea.

Adrian Sutil was the casualty of Q1, joining the six regulars in the elimination zone. He was swapped that spot during the session with Vitantonio Liuzzi, but ended frustrated after his Force India team-mate spun off at Mergulho and spoiled his lap when rejoining. To make matters worse for Sutil, he will take a five-place penalty for his collision with Kobayashi in Korea.

In the battle between the new Formula One teams, the honour went to Timo Glock for Virgin Racing, beating the Lotus pair of Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen to P19. Christian Klien out-qualified HRT Bruno Senna, who spun at the end of Q1 and will start his first home Grand Prix from the back.

So a fantastic qualifying session for Hülkenberg and Williams. Can The Hulk remain in front during Sunday’s race? Or will we see the championship contenders coming through as the fight for the championship intensified? Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix is going to be thrilling.

Qualifying times from Interlagos:

1.  Hülkenberg     Williams-Cosworth      1:14.470
2.  Vettel         Red Bull-Renault       1:15.519
3.  Webber         Red Bull-Renault       1:15.637
4.  Hamilton       McLaren-Mercedes       1:15.747
5.  Alonso         Ferrari                1:15.989
6.  Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1:16.203
7.  Kubica         Renault                1:16.552
8.  Schumacher     Mercedes               1:16.925
9.  Massa          Ferrari                1:17.101
10. Petrov         Renault                1:17.656
11. Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1:19.288
12. Kobayashi      Sauber-Ferrari         1:19.385
13. Rosberg        Mercedes               1:19.486
14. Alguersuari    Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:19.581
15. Heidfeld       Sauber-Ferrari         1:19.899
16. Liuzzi         Force India-Mercedes   1:20.357
17. Glock          Virgin-Cosworth        1:22.130
18. Trulli         Lotus-Cosworth         1:22.250
19. Kovalainen     Lotus-Cosworth         1:22.378
20. Buemi          Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:19.847*
21. di Grassi      Virgin-Cosworth        1:22.810
22. Klien          HRT-Cosworth           1:23.083
23. Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1:20.830*
24. Senna          HRT-Cosworth           1:23.796

*Five-place penalty for causing an avoidable accident in the Korean Grand Prix