The Red Bulls came into this race still favourites but just slightly ahead of the Ferraris’ ; but the pace that was shown by both drivers blew all rivals and spectators away. It was indeed a 2 horse battle in the final session of Qualifying between Webber and Vettel but once again it was the 23 year old German that managed to get ahead. He out-qualified his teammate by nearly half a second but that is nothing compared to the gap that was between Vettel, Webber to Alonso was a deficit of 1.2 seconds. Webber said before Qualifying session that this was “Spain all over again” And he was right, the Red Bulls flew around while all the others could do was to make the gap smaller and make it look decent.
McLaren’s race weekend took more blows as reigning world champion Jenson Button only qualified a lowly 11th while teammate Lewis Hamilton managed to get up to the 5th just infront of Mercedes’s Nico Rosberg who was within reach of Russia’s Vitaly Petrov. For the first time in the 2010 season, Petrov out qualified teammate Robert Kubica who set a decent time of 1:21:328. Perhaps the biggest suprise of the day came in the form of Sauber’s Kobayashi who failed to make Q2 after being held up by HRT’s Bruno Senna. Immediately after, the Japanese driver did not stop when instructed to for the FIA scrutineering. He was later given a 5-place penalty which now puts him in 23rd place just ahead of fellow countrymen Sakon Yamamoto.7-time- world champion Michael Schumacher’s bad luck is not halting as he continued not to make it into the final session. He starts tomorrow’s race in 14th place just behind Force India’s Adrian Sutil.
3rd placed man Fernando Alonso said this about his qualifying session and the pace of the Red Bulls : “I am pleased with my qualifying lap and with the performance of our car, as I don’t think I could have done better today. The Red Bulls proved to be very strong and the gap to them is certainly a surprise. Having said that, we have to remain focussed on our work and try to do the maximum, aiming at getting on the podium. We must bear in mind that the leaders in both championships are behind us on the grid and our aim is to make up ground on their points total. The start will be very important. Usually at this track, starting on the clean side brings a clear advantage, but this year we have seen good starts from the dirty side and bad ones from the clean: it will be vital to do everything as well as possible and then we will see where we are at the end of the first lap”
Sebastian Vettel paid full tribute to the team for building him a car that was “a pleasure to drive” : “It was a very good day for us. We have felt comfortable all weekend and I think we were able to improve overnight also. I said on the radio to the team on my in-lap, Mark and I were pushing hard to finish first and second, but this is your moment, enjoy it – you built this wonderful car’. It’s a pleasure to drive and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. It was quite a difficult session today. I didn’t have a good run in Q2 on the option tyre and didn’t feel 100 percent. There’s not really much you can do to the car between Q2 and Q3, just little trims, but it worked quite well and I had a lot of confidence in Q3. I was able to go quite a bit quicker, so it was a good step. I’m happy to be on pole; hopefully we have a good start tomorrow and a good race.”
Team-principal Christian Horner acknowledged both his drivers for putting on a stunning performance : “It was a fantastic team performance today. The team and both drivers did a fantastic job to secure a dominant front row lock out. Grid position is very important here, it’s also one of the longest runs to the first corner, so we’re starting the Grand Prix in the best possible positions. Hopefully we can have a successful race tomorrow.”
Red Bull’s Vettel may start on pole tomorrow but will his run of bad starts be halted? It will all be revealed tomorrow.