Webber leads Red Bull front row at Silverstone

Mark Webber will start the British Grand Prix in pole position following changeable conditions at Silverstone.

Even though the on-going exhaust row is still causing a big distraction off track, the sheer speed of the RB7 on track continues to impress with Webber and Vettel earning the team yet another front row grid position.

The margin between the Red Bull drivers was only 0.032 seconds with Webber’s lap time of one minute, 30.399 seconds around the legendary British circuit good enough to earn his eighth career pole position.

Ferrari emerged as Red Bull Racing’s biggest threat, while McLaren struggled with pace. Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa share row two – Alonso two tenths off pole position despite a trip through the gravel at one point – but the biggest disappointment was McLaren. Jenson Button was 1.5 seconds away from Webber’s time as he took fifth while team-mate Lewis Hamilton was way back in tenth place.

Paul di Resta will start his home race in a spectacular sixth place for Force India, while fellow rookie Pastor Maldonado continues to impress by qualifying in seventh for Williams, ahead of Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi.

For Michael Schumacher, the seven-time world champion was caught out in the mixed conditions and will start in a disappointing P13. The Renaults also had a difficult qualifying session with Vitaly Petrov and Nick Heidfeld in P14 and P16 respectively.

Toro Rosso was most disadvantaged when the rain came down in Q1, with Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi’s first runs only good enough for P18 and P19. That meant Lotus got a car into Q2 with Heikki Kovalainen, who took P17.

While at the back, Timo Glock managed to get his Virgin Racing ahead of Jarno Trulli’s Lotus in P20, with Daniel Ricciardo starting in P24 on his first grand prix appearance, having been 0.6 seconds slower than Hispania team-mate Tonio Liuzzi.

Qualifying times from Silverstone:

1.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m30.399s
2.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m30.431s
3.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m30.516s
4.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m31.124s
5.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m31.989s
6.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m31.929s
7.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth    1m31.933s
8.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari       1m32.128s
9.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m32.209s
10.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes     1m32.376s
11.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes 1m32.617s
12.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari       1m32.624s
13.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes             1m32.656s
14.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault              1m32.734s
15.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth    1m33.119s
16.  Nick Heidfeld         Renault              1m33.805s
17.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault        1m34.821s
18.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m35.245s
19.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m35.749s
20.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth      1m36.203s
21.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault        1m36.456s
22.  Jerome D’Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth      1m37.154s
23.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth         1m37.484s
24.  Daniel Ricciardo      HRT-Cosworth         1m38.059s

107 per cent time: 1m39.156s

11 thoughts to “Webber leads Red Bull front row at Silverstone”

  1. The latest on the exhaust rules row as taken from Autosport.com.

    An extraordinary meeting of Formula 1’s Technical Working Group is taking place at Silverstone in an effort to resolve the exhaust rules controversy that has swamped the British Grand Prix weekend.

    After yesterday’s public dispute between Red Bull team boss Christian Horner and McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh over the concessions their respective engine suppliers Renault and Mercedes were awarded for reliability reasons in the clampdown over off-throttle exhaust blowing, the FIA announced this morning that the Renault-powered teams would not get their 50 per cent throttle allowance after all.

    This prompted Horner and Red Bull technical chief Adrian Newey to make an urgent visit to FIA race director Charlie Whiting, who then called the TWG meeting.

    “In order to discuss the subject of engine mapping there will be an extraordinary meeting of the TWG at 11.30 today in the meeting room adjacent to the F1 stewards office,” said a note to teams issued by Whiting.

    “It is important that each team sends a senior technical representative and we suggest that each team principal should also attend.”

    In a note issued to teams earlier today, Whiting said that the information that led to the Renault allowance had been received too late.

    “Following further discussions with teams and engine manufacturers we are now in a position to offer the following view which we will enforce with immediate effect,” said the bulletin.

    “In line with the requirements to provide acceptable SECU configurations to the FIA before the start of the British GP, i.e. before the start of the event at 10.00 on Thursday, we consider any information provided after that time to be inadmissible for this event.

    “Therefore, for the reminder of this event the requirements of TD/022-11 and TD025-11 stand as written and, as an exception (of which every engine manufacturer was aware before the start oft his event) fired overrun in FC04 will be permitted.”

    AUTOSPORT understands that Whiting has discussed the controversy with Bernie Ecclestone.

  2. British Grand Prix pole-winner Mark Webber denied that there was any extra satisfaction from the result because of the controversy over rule adjustments this weekend.

    Red Bull team boss Christian Horner had argued that the champion squad would be at a “disadvantage” after the FIA ruled that the Renault-powered teams could not continue to run 50 per cent throttle opened under braking after all.

    But that did not stop Webber and team-mate Sebastian Vettel wrapping up yet another all-Red Bull front row at Silverstone.

    Asked if the result was Red Bull’s ‘reply’ to the rules situation, Webber replied: “No, it is not. We are not looking to reply to anything. What has to be reiterated is that our team has turned up very, very early and left very, very late. Every team works hard but this team works incredibly hard.

    “We concentrate on that, what is happening in the last few months is not what we have done in the last few months, it is years of work to put ourselves in this situation.

    “We have seen today that we are still going okay, but irrespective of lap times it is an interpretation of rules and principles. Whether we are on pole or 10th, the team will continue to have a stance on what is correct. It is not a comeback from what we had today.”

    He said having to cope with rule adjustment was nothing new for Red Bull.

    “I think the team has handled it pretty well, Seb and I concentrate on the driving,” said Webber. “It’s nothing new for our team – adjustable ride height control, front wing and nothing new, we always have a new thing to talk about.

    “Let’s hope everyone can find a common ground, even for the fans they cannot understand 0.1 per cent of what is going on.”

    Source: Autosport.com

  3. Championship leader Sebastian Vettel has said that Red Bull Racing remain the team to beat despite the row over the exhaust rules. Autosport.com has the details.

    Sebastian Vettel was happy with second place on the grid for the British Grand Prix, as the team showed it was still ahead in qualifying trim despite the diffuser row.

    “I am happy with the result, as I think it is important to qualify in the front,” said Vettel, who finished second, behind team-mate Mark Webber as Red Bull continued with its perfect record of pole positions this year.

    “It was not an easy session with the conditions changing. It was easy to go wide and go into travel like Fernando, so all in all it was very tight.

    “There’s not much between the cars and if you get a chance to try again you could find a sniff here or there. It was a good step today.”

    The world champion admitted he was happy to be able to leave all the talk about rules behind to simply drive the car.

    “We kept our heads cool,” he said. “We thought there might be a lot of talk, so we are happy when we jump into car, because we are allowed to focus on what is important. Tomorrow a is long race, the tyres will be very important. It is a bit of driving into unknown tomorrow from the start, but we will see.”

    Vettel denied Red Bull was under bigger pressure following the rule changes, and was glad to see his team was still the one to beat.

    “I wouldn’t say the most pressure, but I think it was a difficult session with the conditions changing. When it starts to rain on different parts of the circuit, it is quite difficult to see where it is wet or where it is fine.

    It’s a shame we could not get the second run, but it was a very good result for us today, especially with the amount of talk going into qualifying and race here.

    “It’s good to see that we are still on top of our game and still can produce reasonable quick laptimes. I am quite happy, this circuit is quite tough on tyres so we’ll see what we get tomorrow.”

  4. Jenson Button admitted it was not easy to accept what he labelled as a “massive” gap to the fastest cars in qualifying for the British Grand Prix.

    Button will start his home race from fifth position, a place he was not unhappy about, but the Briton conceded finishing over 1.5 seconds off pole position was just not good enough.

    “I don’t know what to make of that,” said Button. “My first lap was not great. I think the balance of the car wasn’t quite there.

    “Fifth you’d say it’s okay after what we’ve been through the last couple of days, but the gap is massive. One and a half seconds is just massive. That’s all I have to say, really.”

    He added: “It’s disappointing to be where we are. I mean, fifth is a reasonable position but 1.5 seconds off the pace… Even if I got the lap perfect it would have been a couple of tenths.

    “In two hours I will be all positive and hoping that we can do well, but at the moment I’m disappointed with where we are.”

    Team-mate Lewis Hamilton was equally disappointed with his team’s performance, the Briton hoping for a wet race to try to get a good result after finishing down in tenth today.

    “It’s disappointing that we are so far behind, and we didn’t really do a good job in qualifying. I hope it rains,” he said.

    Source: Autosport.com

  5. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso has commented that the team’s progress was real despite the row change affecting rival Red Bull Racing. Autosport.com has the details.

    Fernando Alonso thinks Ferrari’s gains in Silverstone qualifying were due to genuine progress with the team’s development efforts, rather than other squads having been pegged back by the FIA’s exhaust rules clampdown.

    Amid weekend-long controversy at Silverstone over the implementation of the regulation adjustments, Ferrari was tipped by some rivals as a team likely to benefit from the new situation.

    But Alonso said the 0.117-second gap to pole position was just because the Italian squad was catching Red Bull.

    “I am very happy, it is best qualifying in terms of the gap to pole position of the year,” he said. “We have been more or less averaging one second or seven tenths away and being here in Silverstone at a circuit that is not our preference, being one tenth from pole is good news for us.”

    Asked if he felt Ferrari had come out of the rules rows in better relative shape, Alonso replied: “Difficult question to answer. I am not a technician but I guess [the improvement] is just for the new parts on the car.

    “We have exhausts, diffuser and all these talks – we repeat 100 times… We all lose performance with the new rules and we all lose more or less the same performance, maybe from three tenths to five tenths – but one team cannot lost 1.5 seconds and one team lose one tenth. It is not possible.

    “We are third and fourth now, the whole team did a good job – and we are more competitive.”

    In a later interview with the BBC, Alonso added that he felt the whole rules situation was bad for the sport.

    “My thoughts are very simple: it’s quite boring,” he said. “I think for the fans first of all, also for us here in the paddock because we are just concentrating on the performance of the car and there is a lot of talk about this and meetings and things, but we cannot be distracted by it and we need to make sure we give our 100 per cent on the track. That is, I think, what the fans want as well: action, overtaking, qualifying, races.

    “For the rules here, as I said we just adapt to whatever rule is written, and for sure some stability is welcome to have the same rules for the whole season or whatever, to have less confusion for the fans. As I said, I think we need to think a little bit of the fans less talk about things that don’t happen on the circuit.”

  6. In his first appearance at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Paul di Resta qualified his Force India in an impressive sixth position. Autosport.com has the full story.

    Paul di Resta is confident that his sixth place on the grid for his maiden home grand prix is a legitimate reflection of Force India’s pace at Silverstone and owes little to the rain in qualifying.

    Having made it through to Q3 in Britain, di Resta went on to grab a third row spot alongside countryman Jenson Button’s McLaren.

    Although a rain shower at the very end of qualifying did prevent any changes on the final Q3 laps, di Resta doubts he would have lost many positions even if everyone had managed further quick times.

    “I’m really happy with the result today. To be here for my first British Grand Prix and to be starting in sixth place feels great,” he said.

    “The whole team did an excellent job and made sure we were out on track at the right times. The car has shown very strongly in every session and even in the wet yesterday we were very comfortable.

    “Maybe there was a little bit of luck at the end of Q3 when the rain started again, but I think that in the worst case scenario I would have ended up in eighth. Hopefully we can carry the performance into tomorrow and come away with a strong result in my home race.”

    Team boss Vijay Mallya hailed di Resta’s performance as a huge achievement.

    “I’m very proud of what Paul has achieved today,” said Mallya. “He has come here extremely confident and delivered an outstanding performance.”

  7. Williams driver Pastor Maldonado is quite upbeat following his performance in qualifying at Silverstone. Autosport.com has the details.

    Pastor Maldonado is confident of a strong result in the British Grand Prix after qualifying in the top ten on Saturday.

    It was the third time the rookie driver has made it into the top ten this year and the fifth he has outqualified team-mate Rubens Barrichello.

    Maldonado will start from seventh position, eight places ahead of the Brazilian.

    “Our car is working well and we gave a good performance today,” said Maldonado. “It is Williams’ home race so I’m happy for the team.

    “I’m quite confident and really looking forward to tomorrow as I always enjoy racing at Silverstone. The circuit with its quick corners suits our car so let’s see what happens.”

    Barrichello said traffic during the second qualifying segment had ruined both his runs, therefore making it impossible for him to improve.

    “I had traffic at the end of my first timed lap in Q2 which damaged my second timed lap as well,” he said. “When a track like this is drying out you can lose everything so it’s very unfortunate that happened.

    “We need to see what the weather is going to do tomorrow but I think the car is a lot better than our qualifying position shows and the team have done a good job.”

  8. The latest on the exhaust controversy, as taken from Autosport.com.

    Formula 1’s ruling body, the FIA, has decided to backtrack on its blown diffuser clampdown following days of controversy over the matter.

    The FIA said on Saturday afternoon that if all Formula 1 teams agree, the clampdown will be withdrawn from the next race in Germany.

    It said, however, that the rules would stay unchanged for this weekend’s British Grand Prix.

    “The measures which were communicated to the teams this morning by the FIA Technical Department stand for the rest of the weekend,” said the FIA in a statement.

    “During Saturday morning’s Extraordinary Technical Working Group meeting, the members discussed the viability of returning to the pre-Silverstone set-ups and strategies.

    “If the teams are in unanimous agreement, the FIA is prepared to adopt this arrangement until the end of the current season.”

    Formula 1’s Technical Working Group had held a meeting this morning, with Red Bull Racing accepting it would be at a disadvantage this weekend given the diffuser clampdown.

    “At the moment, in our opinion, we are running at a disadvantage to some of the other engine manufacturers,” said Christian Horner.

    “But we’re trying to find a solution which is clear moving forward to put this behind us.

    “The most simplistic thing would be to move back to exactly where we were two weeks ago.”

    There are still question marks over the chances of all teams agreeing to reverting to the pre-British Grand Prix situation, however, with Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn saying before the weekend that he was expecting protests if the FIA hadn’t acted.

    “Leaving things as they were, we were going to get protests and we certainly did not want that,” said Brawn.

    “Fundamentally I would rather leave things alone, but what I would not want to see is a lot of protest and F1 getting into a mess and into issues and the appeal court.”

    FIA technical delegate Charlie Whiting had said last month that the clampdown was simply a way to stop teams from breaking the rules.

    “We haven’t made any changes to the rules; all we are doing is stopping people breaking the rules,” he said.

  9. McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh admits his team has been hit hard by the regulation changes introduced for this weekend’s British Grand Prix.

    The Woking-based squad seemed to be one of the most affected by the changes to the blown diffuser rules, with Jenson Button qualifying in fifth over 1.5 seconds off pole position.

    Team-mate Lewis Hamilton finished down in tenth nearly two seconds off the pace.

    Whitmarsh conceded his team expected to be hit by the changes, and said McLaren has probably not responded well to them.

    “I think we can bore everyone silly about diffusers, exhaust gases, etc,” said Whitmarsh. “The fact is that the last 18 months everyone has been working hard to develop exhaust blown diffusers.

    “We’ve worked particularly hard in that area and we have had lots of twists and turns and changes, and the fact is that during the course of this weekend there have been some changes and we did not put on a competitive showing in qualifying and we know that.

    “Do we know precisely why? Not entirely. But I think it is reasonable to assume that in all those changes, we haven’t been able to respond to them or the impact on us was greater.

    “To go from what looked like a competitive car to what looked like a fairly uncompetitive one, there is no magic. That is what has happened. We understand that and we accept it.”

    Whitmarsh is adamant that McLaren will not give up on this year’s championship, although he admitted the focus must be on trying to regain its competitiveness as soon as possible.

    He added: “We suspected we were going to get hurt and based on the evidence so far we definitely have been but whatever the rules are, we will adapt and we will compete. W are not giving up, we are not going to give up tomorrow and we are not going to give up on this championship. We are going to try and win races.

    “Realistically that is what we are going to try and concentrate on. Do we concentrate on trying to win the championship? Well, frankly at the moment that is probably the wrong focus. It is trying to get back to being as competitive as quickly as possible, win races and see where it goes from there.”

    The team boss said he is staying realistic about his drivers’ chances for the race tomorrow, but he reckons a wet race could help them.

    “Tomorrow in terms of strategy maybe we want a bit of rain, maybe we want some confusion, but we are also realistic,” he said. “On evidence of today in qualifying our car is not quick enough – that is how it is.

    “On the other hand we are a strong team with two great team players. We are not going to be content until we recover. Can we recover quickly enough? From what I am told the rules are going to change again for two weeks’ time, maybe the pendulum swings back, maybe it doesn’t, but whatever is served to us we are going to be tough enough and resilient enough to power through and that is what we do as a team.”

    Source: Autosport.com

  10. The latest on the blown diffusers controversy as reported by Autosport.com.

    Formula 1 teams will meet on race morning at the British Grand Prix to try and reach agreement on a move to ditch the ban on the off-throttle use of blown diffusers, with outfits not yet unanimous in their support of the matter.

    After controversy over the Silverstone weekend about the FIA’s imposition of its ban on blown diffuser use under braking, the governing body offered on Saturday night to allow teams to keep the systems if there was unanimous support among them.

    Although leading outfits including Red Bull Racing, Ferrari, and McLaren are understood to be in favour of the move, other teams are not totally convinced.

    Williams, who was the original catalyst for the blown diffuser clampdown after querying potential future designs with the FIA, said it would wait until after it has discussed matters with engine partners Cosworth before deciding if it supports the move.

    When asked about his expectations for the Sunday morning meeting, Williams technical director Sam Michael said: “I don’t know yet. I think the main thing is that we had a meeting this morning and it became pretty clear that Williams, Ferrari and Sauber were not fully aware of what all the issues were with Mercedes and Renault.

    “And though those teams felt there had been a lot of dialogue about how they needed to re-tune their engines for different throttle and fuel – we didn’t know anything about it.

    “The first time I heard there was going to be a different throttle position was from a journo at lunchtime yesterday. So I think during that meeting, I came out of there with a lot better picture of what their actual problem was, because unless you sit and look at things in detail it’s a bit difficult.

    “But during that meeting I had Paddy Lowe explain Mercedes position and Adrian Newey explain Renault’s position, and then I had a further quite detailed conversation with Adrian about what Renault’s issues were. And now we have a much better view of what their actual issues are. How that is going to affect tomorrow I don’t know yet.”

    Michael added that he was undecided yet on which way he would vote in the meeting.

    “I’ve heard all the arguments and now I need to sit down with Cosworth and our guys to see what our position is,” he said. “Really, that’s just our view as well, it doesn’t mean that’s what the FIA will adopt.”

    McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said he feared that the rest of the season could be blighted by ‘paranoia’ if individual teams stood up and blocked the efforts to get rid of the ban.

    “Inevitably in F1 self interest sometimes prevails, but I think unless we go back to that, then this season is going to be fraught with paranoia, the feeling of being hard done to, being disadvantaged,” Whitmarsh explained. “We have got what we have got.

    “It may be worse for other teams. It has certainly hit this team, it has hit the performance of our car, and I think that is evident from the stop watch – and hopefully from our perspective we get to a situation.

    “It is not good to change the rules midway through the year. If you do that, the team that has worked hardest to perhaps refine that particular rule may well be disadvantaged.”

    Whitmarsh believes that going back to the regulations as they were in Valencia was undoubtedly the best solution for everybody.

    “This morning it seemed it was likely to happen,” he said when asked how confident he was that unanimity could be found. “Whether people like exhaust blowing or not, it is probably the most equitable situation.

    “We had a free market so to speak leading up to Valencia. People in good faith expect that is what we have got, that is what we will develop our engines for, that is what we will develop our exhaust for, that is what we will develop the fundamental aerodynamics of the car and the vehicle handling and set-up, so everything we have done is based upon that, and working in good faith.

    “No one was complaining about it 18 months or 12 months ago or 6 months ago, so I think it would be the fairest thing.”

    Mercedes GP team principal Ross Brawn was less optimistic, however, admitting that several teams were not too keen for the ban to be overturned.

    “Difficult,” he said. “We are meeting at 10:30 tomorrow. It was clear from the meeting that we had today that there were different opinions. It was held in a constructive fashion, but there were different opinions and some of the teams went away to consider their opinions.

    “In fairness, Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, ourselves were happy to try and find a solution that we felt was good for Formula 1. It was the first time that some of the teams had heard the proposal and they want to reflect on it and give an answer tomorrow. I hope that we find a solution because we want to tidy this thing away and get on with the racing. I really don’t know where we will be tomorrow, but I hope that we do find a solution.”

    Brawn hopes that those teams who felt they would be disadvantaged by the ban not taking place would be open to considering the ultimate benefits for F1.

    “If we go back to that [Valencia specification], we will still have some teams that are unhappy with that situation. It’s a question of whether they can recognise that it’s not easy to find a solution.

    “Whichever way we go, someone will feel aggrieved about the solutions that take place. Most people now recognise that it might have been best left to the end of the year and then move the exhausts to a new position next season where they will be more benign and we could have avoided these difficulties.”

    If agreement is not reached at the TWG meeting, Brawn reckons that the FIA would stick with the regulations as they were in place at Silverstone.

    “Where we were today is what the FIA have decreed and are comfortable with,” he said. “So I imagine we stay where we are.”

  11. The on-going exhaust row has yet to be resolved according to a report on Autosport.com. The full story is shown here:

    Formula 1 faces continued uncertainty over its exhaust regulations after this morning’s meeting of the sport’s team bosses and technical chiefs at Silverstone failed to reach an agreement.

    Following a weekend of controversy over the FIA’s clampdown on the practice of off-throttle exhaust blowing and the various allowances made to engine builders on reliability grounds, the governing body said it would call off the rule tweak and revert to the pre-Silverstone situation if the teams agreed unanimously that this was the best option.

    But this morning’s meeting saw no unanimous support for such a deal.

    AUTOSPORT’s sources have revealed that Ferrari and the Ferrari-powered Sauber team refused to sign the deal to return to the Valencia specification.

    There had been speculation that Cosworth engine user Williams would do likewise, but it is understood to have been in favour of this solution.

    McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh had said yesterday that revert to the pre-Silverstone situation was in his opinion the only sensible option.

    “Inevitably in F1 self interest sometimes prevails, but I think unless we go back to that, then this season is going to be fraught with paranoia, the feeling of being hard done to, being disadvantaged,” he said. “We have got what we have got.

    “It may be worse for other teams. It has certainly hit this team, it has hit the performance of our car, and I think that is evident from the stop watch – and hopefully from our perspective we get to a situation.

    “It is not good to change the rules midway through the year. If you do that, the team that has worked hardest to perhaps refine that particular rule may well be disadvantaged.”

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