Saturday, May 8, 2010

Webber Leads Running of the Red Bulls in Spanish Grand Prix Qualifying

Photo Credit: Lotus Racing

Setting fastest time through all stages of Saturday qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix Mark Webber outran his Red Bull Racing teammate Sebastian Vettel. Reversing the performance through Friday practice amongst the two Red Bull Racing cars, the final fastest time set by Webber was little more than 1/10th second faster than Vettel. Mark Webber's pole is his second for 2010 and adds to a now 4-race streak of front row starts for the Australian driver.

First practice pace setter Lewis Hamilton drove his McLaren-Mercedes to 3rd fastest as the French-made Renault engines seem to have an edge over the German Mercedes powerplant. The second McLaren for teammate Jenson Button starts 5th but both cars have proven to be more apt to racing conditions rather than qualifying hot laps. This means both cars should pose a present threat for the Red Bull Racing duo.

While Fernando Alonso secured 4th place in the final qualifying standings, the FIA was none too happy about the Ferrari driver's pit road maneuvering during the Q3 session. Cutting in front of Nico Rosberg's Mercedes within the pit lane, Alonso was assessed a $20,000 fine by the FIA afterwards. Racing in his home country, the Spaniard Alonso is already on the bad side of Formula 1 stewards following a pit road entrance during the Chinese Grand Prix last race. Alonso's Ferrari wingman Felipe Massa qualified 9th in the qualifying competition. Despite a strong start of the season with a 2nd place in Bahrain, the Ferrari car of Massa has been struggling through the past 2 events.

Reflecting a bit of a drop off from the practice speeds Friday, the Mercedes GP team cars qualified 6th and 8th for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix. Proving himself consistently faster at the Catalunya circuit, 7-time Formula 1 driver's champion Michael Schumacher topped the younger Rosberg in qualifying. While many F1 observers will be satisfied to see Schumacher leading the Mercedes GP team, the feat could also be seen as an off-outing for Nico Rosberg who has been a firm top-5 driver through the first four grand prixs of 2010.

The biggest surprise in Spanish Grand Prix qualifying is the appearance of Kamui Kobayashi driving his BMW Sauber into the Q3 session. Setting 8th fastest time in the previous Q2 session, Kobayashi broke through into the final qualifying match featuring the top-10 drivers. Falling to 10th when the final grid was set, the performance for Kamui Kobayashi and the BMW Sauber team was nonetheless impressive. Based on the deficit created by losing BMW engines and financial support over the Formula 1 off-season, the whole team effort has been promising.

The start of the fifth grand prix of the 2010 Formula 1 season is scheduled for 2 P.M. local time in Spain or 8 A.M. in the Eastern time zone.

2010 Formula 1
Spanish Grand Prix
Starting Grid

1. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
3. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari
5. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
6. Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP
7. Robert Kubica Renault F1
8. Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP
9. Felipe Massa Ferrari
10. Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari
11. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes
12. Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Ferrari
13. Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth
14. Vitaly Petrov Renault
15. Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari
16. Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari
17. Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes
18. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth
19. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth
20. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth
21. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth
22. Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth
23. Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth
24. Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth

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