Pole for Vettel as Button struggles to sixth (British Grand Prix qualifying)

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Sebastian Vettel starts from pole position in Silverstone

Sebastian Vettel will start from pole position for a second race in a row as Red Bull’s excellent British Grand Prix performance continued.

The team looked likely to lock out the front row but Mark Webber was delayed on his final qualifying attempt, leaving him third.

Vettel and fellow front row starter Rubens Barrichello have a strong chance to take points off championship leader Jenson Button, who starts sixth.


Most of the front runners starts qualifying with lengthy stints on the hard tyre. Jarno Trulli pumped in a series of hot laps culminating in a 1’18.886 which put him fastest.

Mark Webber nabbed the top spot off Trulli after just two laps, setting a 1’18.763, and improving by almost tenth of a second on his final lap.

But the real story of Q1 was what happened to Lewis Hamilton. As he began his final lap in a bid to escape the bottom five, Adrian Sutil crashes heavily at Abbey bringing out the red flags.

There ended Hamilton’s hopes of making it into Q2 in his home race – a winner in 2008, he will start on the back row of the grid this year.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India-Mercedes – 1’19.802
17. Sebastian Bourdais, Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1’19.898
18. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes – 1’19.909
19. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes – 1’19.917
20. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1’20.236


After Hamilton’s problems in Q1 it was the turn of the other British driver – Jenson Button – to suffer a scare in Q2. His Brawn had struggled to match the speed of the Red Bulls in practice, and he found himself in the bottom five in the dying moments of Q2.

He managed to improve to eighth with his final run, knocking out Felipe Massa. The Ferrari driver missed the apex at Brooklands and Luffield on his final attempt, leaving him out of the shoot-out for the top ten.

Vettel was quickest after the first round of laps, but Webber improved on his second lap – his first stint on soft tyres – lapping in 1’20.040, which no-one could get within 0.3s to begin with. It took Vettel until the dying moments to do better, posting a 1’18.119, but unlike Webber he had to use the soft tyres to do it.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11. Felipe Massa, Ferrari – 1’18.927
12. Robert Kubica, BMW – 1’19.308
13. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes – 1’19.353
14. Nelson Piquet Jnr, Renault – 1’19.392
15. Nick Heidfeld, BMW – 1’19.448


Both Brawns, Red Bulls, Toyotas, Williams plus Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen started the final part of qualifying.

But the anticipated battle between the two Red Bull drivers failed to materialise – perhaps because of differences in their fuel loads, but it was also down to Webber getting delayed by Raikkonen at the beginning of his flying lap. That left Webber third behind Barrichello.

Jarno Trulli took fourth ahead of Kazuki Nakajima – the Williams driver putting his car an excellent fifth relegating Button to sixth.

That means the Silverstone crowd looks unlikely to get a home win tomorrow – and both of Button’s biggest rivals are perfectly placed to capitalise.

The starting fuel weights for the cars will be announced later.

Top ten drivers in Q3

1. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault – 1’19.509
2. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes – 1’19.856
3. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault – 1’19.868
4. Jarno Trulli, Toyota – 1’20.091
5. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota – 1’20.216
6. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes – 1’20.289
7. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota – 1’20.361
8. Timo Glock, Toyota – 1’20.490
9. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari – 1’20.715
10. Fernando Alonso, Renault – 1’20.741

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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16 comments on “Pole for Vettel as Button struggles to sixth (British Grand Prix qualifying)”

  1. Richard Evans
    20th June 2009, 14:36

    I think it’ll be much different tomorrow if it heats up.

    1. i hope that hamilton or alonso get something from this raace they really deserve it

  2. Let’s see how FOTA unity holds up when Red Bull decides to complain about Kimi blocking Webber.

    1. I think given the seriousness of FOTAs current stance, I dont see a blocking complaint suddenly tearing them apart. If any penalty was applied, then Ferrari’s hostility would surely be directed towards the FIA anyway if they deemed it unfair.

  3. I think Button is fueled heavy for strategy to win

    1. Mussolini's pet cat
      20th June 2009, 15:27

      maybe, but he just didnt have any grip. unless that is resolved, the fuel amount is irrelevant. It looks like it will be warmer tomorrow, so that may help.

    2. Bigbadderboom
      20th June 2009, 15:39

      Agreed, I think Ross would have made the decision to keep Jenson out 2-3 laps longer (maybe more) as it was obvious he wasn’t going to make front row, I wouldn’t be suprised if Webber is a bit heavier than Vettel as well.

  4. StrFerrari4Ever
    20th June 2009, 15:21

    Great qualifying session when Sutil crashed i was gutted because i felt Bourdais could sneak into Q2 but its not so bad with this ever unpredictable British weather anything can happen so they can choose a strategy that could reap something if some water decides to show up tommorow.
    Vettel was stunning in my mind i knew he’d get pole but i chose Webber in predictions because i feel like he has to get luck somehow but i knew Vettel would get pole tommorow i hope he doesn’t make mistakes and wins so the championship would look interesting.
    Button i think his struggling first signs of pressure maybe? i do hope he has DNF same with Rubens for the sake of competetiveness in the Championship & Keith am i write in saying Vettel’s Q2 Time of 1’18.111 is a new circuit record? so much for slowing the cars down :)

    1. Qualifying times contribute to circuit records? Or only race laps?

      1. StrFerrari4Ever
        20th June 2009, 21:03

        they contribute to the actual circuit record i believe the lap record would be in the race but on wikipedia it says lap record Sebastian Vettel so it might work differently.

  5. StrFerrari4Ever
    20th June 2009, 15:23

    sorry 1’18.119 :P

  6. Interesting session. Plenty of action and excitement.

    Webber may still make up a position if odd numbered cars are starting on the clean side. I’d really like to see him win. Second choice would be Barrichello for me.

    Third race in a row that Massa has underperformed relative to his teammate in qualifying – wonder what’s up with him.

    Also third race in a row that Kova has out-qualified Hamilton.

    I love the classic tracks, and the BBC did a commendable job going over the history of the track and bringing in Murray and Mansell on the show. Fantastic work – they really are a class act.

  7. Apparently, Vettel was heavier than Webber and both the Brawn GP. That’s interesting.

    1. That’s pretty impressive by Vettel, the heaviest runner in Q3 by 5 kg to the Williams of Rosberg. 7 kilos heavier than his teammate, and 9 more than Barrichello. I hope he gets a clean first lap this time… :)

  8. wow. very interesting. vettel is the heaviest of all the front runners. He must of nailed qualifying.

  9. wow! His lap is pretty amazing then considering his Q2 times without those fuel are not that much faster.

    Will he be out-dragged by the lighter fueled cars behind him tomorrow on the grid?

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