Vettel pulls out half second gap on Webber

Abu Dhabi GP qualifying analysis

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Mark Webber, Red Bull, Abu Dhabi, 2010

Having been the two most closely matched drivers in qualifying all year on average, a crucial gap opened up between the Red Bull pair in qualifying.

Qualifying times in full

Going into the final part of qualifying Nico Rosberg looked likely to get in among the championship contenders.

But the lap before his final effort in Q3 was disrupted by traffic and he ended up half a second slower than he had been in Q2.

Driver Car Q1

Q2 (vs Q1)

Q3 (vs Q2)
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’40.318 1’39.874 (-0.444) 1’39.394 (-0.480)
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’40.335 1’40.119 (-0.216) 1’39.425 (-0.694)
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’40.170 1’40.311 (+0.141) 1’39.792 (-0.519)
4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’40.877 1’40.014 (-0.863) 1’39.823 (-0.191)
5 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’40.690 1’40.074 (-0.616) 1’39.925 (-0.149)
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’40.942 1’40.323 (-0.619) 1’40.202 (-0.121)
7 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’40.904 1’40.476 (-0.428) 1’40.203 (-0.273)
8 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’41.222 1’40.452 (-0.770) 1’40.516 (+0.064)
9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’40.231 1’40.060 (-0.171) 1’40.589 (+0.529)
10 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’41.018 1’40.658 (-0.360) 1’40.901 (+0.243)
11 Robert Kubica Renault 1’41.336 1’40.780 (-0.556)
12 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’41.045 1’40.783 (-0.262)
13 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’41.473 1’40.914 (-0.559)
14 Nick Heidfeld Sauber-Ferrari 1’41.409 1’41.113 (-0.296)
15 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’41.015 1’41.418 (+0.403)
16 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’41.681 1’41.642 (-0.039)
17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’41.707 1’41.738 (+0.031)
18 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’41.824
19 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’43.516
20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1’43.712
21 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’44.095
22 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1’44.510
23 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’45.085
24 Christian Klien HRT-Cosworth 1’45.296

Team mates

The Red Bull drivers have been the most closely-matched drivers in qualifying this year.

Going into this session Vettel had been on average just 0.02s quicker than Webber in the same qualifying sessions in 2010.

For Webber, this was the worst possible time for that trend to change. He was half a second slower than his team mate in Q3, having been two tenths off in Q2.

Nico Hulkenberg came back down to earth after his Interlagos pole position – he was almost a second slower than team mate Rubens Barrichello.

Team Driver Lap time Gap Lap time Driver Round
McLaren Jenson Button 1’39.823 +0.398 1’39.425 Lewis Hamilton Q3
Mercedes Michael Schumacher 1’40.516 -0.073 1’40.589 Nico Rosberg Q3
Red Bull Sebastian Vettel 1’39.394 -0.531 1’39.925 Mark Webber Q3
Ferrari Felipe Massa 1’40.202 +0.410 1’39.792 Fernando Alonso Q3
Williams Rubens Barrichello 1’40.476 -0.942 1’41.418 Nico Hulkenberg Q2
Renault Robert Kubica 1’40.780 +0.122 1’40.658 Vitaly Petrov Q2
Force India Adrian Sutil 1’40.914 -0.728 1’41.642 Vitantonio Liuzzi Q2
Toro Rosso Sebastien Buemi 1’41.824 +0.117 1’41.707 Jaime Alguersuari Q1
Lotus Jarno Trulli 1’43.516 -0.196 1’43.712 Heikki Kovalainen Q1
HRT Christian Klien 1’45.296 +0.211 1’45.085 Bruno Senna Q1
Sauber Nick Heidfeld 1’41.113 +0.330 1’40.783 Kamui Kobayashi Q2
Virgin Timo Glock 1’44.095 -0.415 1’44.510 Lucas di Grassi Q1

Ultimate laps

Even if Robert Kubica had done his perfect lap in Q2, he wouldn’t have made it into Q3 ahead of his team mate.

Adrian Sutil once again delivered his three best sectors on his fastest lap, putting him 13th, his best qualifying position since Monza.

An ultimate lap is a driver’s best time in each of the three sectors that make up a lap combined.

Driver Car Ultimate lap Gap Deficit to best Actual position
1 5 Sebastian Vettel 0.156 1
2 2 Lewis Hamilton 0.157 0.030 2
3 8 Fernando Alonso 0.475 0.079 3
4 1 Jenson Button 0.541 0.044 4
5 6 Mark Webber 0.562 0.125 5
6 4 Nico Rosberg 0.788 0.563 9
7 7 Felipe Massa 0.856 0.108 6
8 9 Rubens Barrichello 0.965 0.000 7
9 3 Michael Schumacher 1.183 0.095 8
10 23 Kamui Kobayashi 1.315 0.230 12
11 12 Vitaly Petrov 1.379 0.284 10
12 11 Robert Kubica 1.517 0.025 11
13 14 Adrian Sutil 1.676 0.000 13
14 10 Nico Hulkenberg 1.709 0.471 15
15 22 Nick Heidfeld 1.863 0.012 14
16 15 Vitantonio Liuzzi 2.008 0.396 16
17 17 Jaime Alguersuari 2.294 0.206 17
18 16 Sebastien Buemi 2.586 0.000 18
19 18 Jarno Trulli 4.278 0.000 19
20 19 Heikki Kovalainen 4.467 0.007 20
21 24 Timo Glock 4.634 0.223 21
22 25 Lucas di Grassi 5.272 0.000 22
23 21 Bruno Senna 5.530 0.317 23
24 20 Christian Klien 6.051 0.007 24

2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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    Author information

    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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    24 comments on “Vettel pulls out half second gap on Webber”

    1. It’s the first time Klien was beaten by Senna, and the first Kubica didn’t make it in Q3. Only the Red Bull drivers have always been in Q3.

    2. What an awful end to the season for Renault… They’re back to their Bahrain position.

      1. Younger Hamilton
        13th November 2010, 15:36

        lol maybe Full Circle Everything comes to an end how it began but its a shame that Renault are about to have a bad end to the season they’re looking promising for the future thought.If Renault can provide Robert the R31 which is at a BMW Sauber 2008 level then he would be definetely one of the title contenders in 2011

      2. Not to be harsh on an talent, but I think the end of the year has shown up the idea of Kubica being the best driver of the year. He’s been quite poor in the last three races, not with respect to the front-runners who continued developing after Renault finished, but compared to Mercedes, who stopped development before Renault did.

        1. I think the Young Drivers’ test at Abu Dhabi would give us a better assessment of how quick the cars and – hence the drivers – are.

          People have been claiming that Petrov’s speed is the true potential of the Renault and Kubica is out-performing the car. Lets see how fast the Renault is in the hands of the young driver (I forgot, who is driving for them?).

          This test will also tell us how much slower the Mclaren is actually is, or isn’t? I hope Keith’s driver rankings come after this test and take into account the results of this test too.

          1. It’ll have absolutely no bearing at all as they’ll all be most likely running 2011 components.

            1. Why would 2011 components be run on old bridgestone tyres? Surely, no significant information can be gained from them.
              Plus, contracts with these younger drivers are signed and annulled at a much higher frequency than established drivers. Teams won’t risk letting the kids know any sensitive information.

              The 2011 components will come in the Pirelli tests I think, which won’t have the young drivers testing.

          2. they will be testing with Pirellis, not ‘old Bridgestones’

            1. not in the yong driver’s test i think. the Pirellis come 2 days later.

          3. And what if some young drivers are better than others? You can’t make any comparison without knowing that, which is nigh-on impossible.

          4. People have been claiming that Petrov’s speed is the true potential of the Renault and Kubica is out-performing the car.

            For the naive people who believe this, no driver will score 6 and a half times the number of points the car is capable of. Petrov has been rubbish.

        2. I agree. Whereas his first part of the season was exceptional, the second was much worse. Although to be fair, he had more bad luck: he was doing very good in the British GP, in Singapore he got a puncture and in Japan he lost a wheel whilst being on course for a strong podium finish. Nonetheless, he has been poor in Hungary, Italy and Brazil (although if your car hits the rev-limiter on the straight the car can hardly be considered to be set up properly). Korea was not exceptional either, but on the other hand that race highlighted his strengths, i.e. knowing the car’s limit and staying out of trouble. Abu Dhabi probably won’t be one of his better races either.

      3. So much for Renault flapping their jaws about overhauling Mercedes. MB doesn’t develop their car and Renault still can’t beat them! Heh.

        1. Neither does Renault. Their last update was, i believe, at Suzuka.

          1. And Mercedes’ last update was when, Hockenheim?

            1. They had their last update in Singapore.

            2. But it’s still pretty clear that Renault have been concentrating on 2010 more than Mercedes have.

    3. I dont buy this McLaren is the third fastest car argument..
      Seems quite slippery to me…

      1. It was the third fastest car, but this weekend they have made some improvements, not to mention the long straights suit the car.

    4. Mercedes looking strong on prime tyres.

      1. What tyres did they set their fastest times on? On the BBC they said they went back to the primes!

    5. Season it is third fastest
      Abu dhabi it is second fastest

    6. Impressive qualifying from Sutil, a shame FI have all but stopped developing about mid season after they lost their design team to Lotus.

      I also feel Petrov is doing quite well. Interesting, that Renault, Williams and Mercedes (and Webber?) all had trouble getting the super softs to work to their liking. Rubens did a last minute change working out for him, but to late for the Hulk to get it as wel.

      Still Mercedes stated, that they set their times Supersofts for race strategy reasons, showing how far away any ideas about going for a long first stint on hards are.
      And a good job from Bruno doing a good Qualli lap. He must have been helped with knowing the track from GP2 as well as doing a lot of laps as a promotion/test driver for the Jas Marina circuit.

    7. Rubens just showed them why they shouldn’t run with Hulk as lead driver.

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