After locking out the front row of the grid with an eight tenths of a second margin, did Red Bull hide their true superiority during the race in Spain?
If so, they blundered by not allowing Sebastian Vettel enough of a margin to keep Lewis Hamilton behind at the first round of pit stops.
After that, another dose of unreliability put paid to their hopes of a one-two finish.
|Sebastian Vettel||Mark Webber|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q3)||1’20.101 (+0.106)||1’19.995|
|Average race lap||1’27.810 (+0.778)||1’27.032|
Beaten to second place in qualifying by his team mate, Vettel fended off Hamilton at the start to hold position.
But despite getting his pit stop in earlier than the McLaren driver Vettel lost second place, partly due to having to wait in his pit box while two other cars went past.
Already struggling with a failed front wing flap adjuster, Vettel spent the last 15 laps of the race with his front left brake not working, yet still managed to bring the RB6 home in third.
While Vettel has suffered three car failures in five races, Webber has enjoyed better reliability. It’s clear the RB6, while fast, is also fragile.
Questions will inevitably be asked whether there’s something in Vettel’s driving style which is hurting the car. That would probably not account for his problem in Bahrain, but perhaps his wheel-related failures in Melbourne and Catalunya were precipitated by too enthusiastic use of the kerbs and run-off?
In recent races Webber has gone into qualifying having been quicker than Vettel, only to lose out when it came to Q3.
In Catalunya he stopped the rot. Despite Vettel producing the fastest lap of the weekend in practice, Webber beat him to pole position by one tenth of a second. This was vital for Webber to peg back Vettel’s advantage in qualifying – it’s now 3-2 in favour of the German driver.
Webber also learned from his mistake at Sepang and kept Vettel behind at the start – perhaps thanks to having wing mirrors he could actually see out of.
From that point on the race was Webber’s to lose and he duly delivered the goods, leading every lap.
2010 Spanish Grand Prix