Saturday, 31 July 2010

Vettel dominates as rookies shine

Red Bull were in their own battle for pole position today and Sebastian Vettel was supreme. He took pole position with ease with Mark Webber 4 tenths down in 2nd. The Australian was still three quarters of a second clear of Fernando Alonso. I think a good way of expressing the dominance Red Bull had is the reaction of BBC commentator during Q2 when he realised that Webber was upshifting through the challenging turn 11 whereas everybody else was downshifting. Felipe Massa was 4th and championship leader Lewis Hamilton was 5th. It was not so great for his team mate Jenson Button who went out in Q2 and will start 11th. He complained that he couldn't find a good balance in his car.

Pedro de la Rosa had a brilliant session, coming 8th on a twisty track with the longest wheelbase on the grid was a great effort from the Spaniard who had a personal best result of 2nd here in 2006. It was not such a good day for Kamui Kobayashi. He has showed glimpses of brilliance this season but a third Q1 exit of the season was not one of them. He was held up by Bruuno Senna on his last lap. Two other rookies though put in very impressive performances. Vitaly Petrov outqualified Robert Kubica as the two Eastern European drivers filled the 4th row. What the Russian nears to do is translate this excellent Saturday into good points tomorrow. Failure to do so puts his seat for 2011 in more jeopardy. Nico Hulkenberg pulled out a late flyer to make Q3 and qualify 10th, two places ahead of Rubens Barrichello.

McLaren and Mercedes asked for a clarification on the flexible front wings on the Red Bull and Ferrari cars after qualifying and the FIA have been examining them. They could deem them illegal but this is unlikely. What may happen is the tests applied to the wings are altered so that any loopholes being exposed are closed off. More information may emerge in the morning. The key really for the Red Bull drivers is the start. Vettel will want a smooth getaway after poor starts at Silverstone and Hockenheim. Webber will be concerned that on the dirty side of the grid he could be under threat from Alonso. If they can maintain a 1-2 then it should be comfortable for them. Their race pace isn't at the same level as their qualifying pace but they'll have more than enough to win. The Hungaroring can bite though, 70 laps int he heat could yet yield some unexpected drama. Just ask Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa from 2008. Race start is at 1pm BST

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