Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sebastian Vettel Flies to Silverstone Pole for British GP

Photo Credit: Mercedes GP

Storming to his first grand prix victory in Valencia, Spain since the Malaysian Grand Prix early in the F1 season, Sebastian Vettel is determined to relaunch the optimism the German had entering the 2010 campaign. While Vettel has been showing strength, teammate Mark Webber has endured two races which could have ended better for the Australian. Having the overcome a grid position reduction at the Canadian Grand Prix due to a gearbox change and an eye-catching crash in the European Grand Prix after colliding with a Lotus, Webber's momentum following the Monaco Grand Prix win is dimishing.

Competing on Silverstone this weekend, the Red Bull Racing has been an established frontrunner but the team is struggling to find consistency in this year's racing. With each Red Bull Racing driver finding themselves at the top of a speed chart for the two practices on Friday, Saturday qualifying was again going to be another speed battle between the Red Bull-Renault. Taking the top position for Sunday's race is Sebastian Vettel who eclipses Webber by about 14/100ths of a second. The 2009 winner of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Vettel will enjoy repeating that performance as he stands 12 points behind Lewis Hamilton. Definitely a battle amongst themselves, the Red Bull-Renaults' time, led by Vettel's 1 minute, 29.615 second fast lap in Q3, would be the only F1 cars to outrun the 1 minute, 30 second barrier.

With Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber being equal drivers for the Red Bull Racing squad, a team rivalry is clearly in place. When the battle is between the two of them, you simply have to look at the face of following driver to see the most disappointed F1 pilot.

7/10th of a second off the pace of Mark Webber's Red Bull-Renault, Ferrari emerged as the best of the rest with Fernando Alonso slotting into 3rd place. After a disappointing 8th place result from Alonso's home grand prix, the Spaniard and his Italian F1 team are looking for their record-setting 15th victory at the circuit. Currently, Ferrari shares the record for most constructor wins at Silverstone with the McLaren F1 team which happens to have Lewis Hamilton starting alongside Alonso in the second row. However, while Hamilton's McLaren was up to full song, handling problems on the McLaren-Mercedes of Jenson Button meant he could do better than 14th place for qualifying.

Mercedes GP placed Nico Rosberg into 5th place but Rosberg's teammate and seven-time world driving champion Michael Schumacher was 5 grid spots behind in 10th. Starting alongside the BMW Sauber-Ferrari of Pedro de la Rosa, it's interesting to note the ties between the two race teams. When Mercedes returned to Formula 1 in 1993, Sauber moved into F1 backed by the German auto company. It was also Sauber who gave Michael Schumacher his first major motorsport job driving in prototype sports car racing.

Photo Credit: Lotus Racing

Back in Formula 1, Lotus Racing's 2010 efforts are not spectacular but the team is showing incredible commitment to regain the traditions that followed the original Lotus Racing team. Through the weekend, a special visitor to the paddock included the Duke of York Prince Andrew as the racing name returns to Silverstone. With Heikki Kovalainen starting 19th and Jarno Trulli positioned in 22rd, the Lotus Racing team is not a favourite to win in 2010 but victory in the British Grand Prix was difficult even in the glory days of the Colin Chapman-based British team. Lotus last won the British Grand Prix in 1972.

With weather expected to be dry, the British Grand Prix on the grounds of the former RAF runway will start 1 P.M. local time (converting to 8 A.M. Eastern time for the attention many North American racing fans).

British Grand Prix

2010 Formula 1

Starting Lineup

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

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