Mark Webber claimed pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix, beating team mate Sebastian Vettel by one tenth of a second at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Red Bull enjoyed a huge margin of superiority over their rivals with Lewis Hamilton three-quarters of a second behind the RB6 drivers.
The session began on a dry track with temperatures around 20 degrees – slightly warmer than final practice, but still quite cool for the Circuit de Catalunya at this time of year.
While the front-runners made their way through to Q2 with little difficulty, the midfield scrap to avoid the dreaded 18th was as fierce as ever.
Pedro de la Rosa jumped up from 18th to sixth with a fine late effort but that left Rubens Barrichello stuck in the bottom seven. He failed to improve with his last lap and on the radio after he complained about getting messages from the team during his best effort.
The six new cars occupied the bottom places as usual with the revised Lotuses comfortably clear of the Timo Glock’s revised Virgin and his team mate. But both VR-01s will lose five places due to a grid penalty.
Red Bull demonstrated their superiority by saving a set of soft tyres in the second session. They went out on the hard tyres for their first run – and their rivals using soft tyres couldn’t beat them.
When the RB6s put soft tyres on for their final runs the scale of their performance advantage was revealed – Webber’s Q2 time was half a second faster than Button’s McLaren, who took third behind Vettel.
A great lap by Kamui Kobayashi late in the session put him eighth, ahead of Felipe Massa and Nico Rosberg. Force India, who’ve become accustomed to getting cars into Q3, saw both their drivers eliminated in Q2.
The Toro Rosso duo failed in their efforts to reach Q3. Sebastien Buemi beat his team mate to 15th place by just one hundredth of a second.
The battle for pole position was always going to be a Red Bull-only affair. But for once it was Webber, not Vettel, ho came out on top.
Vettel took the top spot with his final lap but Webber had one final lap in hand and he broke the 80-second barrier to claim pole position from his team mate.
The McLaren had consistently placed third and fourth but Fernando Alonso split the pair of them to take four on the grid for his home race.
But the stewards may take a dim view of an incident in the pit lane where he pulled into the fast lane in front of Nico Rosberg, who was forced to take avoiding action.
Michael Schumacher claimed sixth place and beat Rosberg in qualifying for the first time this year in the updated W01.
However it looks unlikely anyone is going to be able to catch the Red Bulls in tomorrow’s race.
Full qualifying times
|1||6||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||1’21.412||1’20.655||1’19.995|
|2||5||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1’21.680||1’20.772||1’20.101|
|11||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1’22.628||1’21.985|
|12||22||Pedro de la Rosa||Sauber-Ferrari||1’22.211||1’22.026|
|15||16||Sebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1’22.699||1’22.191|
|16||17||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1’22.593||1’22.207|
|17||15||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Force India-Mercedes||1’23.084||1’22.854|
|22||25||Lucas di Grassi||Virgin-Cosworth||1’25.556|
2010 Spanish Grand Prix