Christian Horner, the Red Bull team principal, had praise for both his drivers and the entire team as they locked-out the front row of the grid for tomorrow’s British Grand Prix, with Sebastian Vettel beating Mark Webber to pole position.
However, Horner was required to field some questions of favouritism after the session when it emerged that Vettel had an upgraded front wing for qualifying, while Webber had to use the new model. Vettel’s front wing came loose from his car during the morning practice session, but there teams’ only spare was on his RB6 as he collected his fifth pole of the season.
After this morning's incident we only had one new spec front wing available for qualifying, which Adrian (Newey) was very keen to run; not necessarily because it was better, but because it offered a new direction to look at,” explained Horner. “Therefore it came to me to make a difficult decision as to which car it went on.
“A situation like that is not ideal and it doesn't happen very often,” he added. “It went to Sebastian based on Championship position, his performance in P3 and the drivers' feedback on the different front wings from yesterday.
“In the end it was a great team performance to be first and second for tomorrow's race in front of so many members of our factory which is based 20 minutes away. The drivers were very, very closely matched through all three sectors of the qualifying and were quick at different parts of the circuit.
“I'm really pleased for the team to be starting its local race at the front of the grid.”
Mark Webber appeared very unhappy with the situation after the qualifying, reportedly refusing to do any television interviews. However, the Aussie did have praise for his team after the session, and conceded that the new-spec front wing may not have given Vettel too much of an advantage.
“That was pretty good; we did the best we could,” Webber said. “It was a very tight fight with Sebastian again, unfortunately he got me, but we've got a long Grand Prix tomorrow.
“I have to thank the guys, they've absolutely buried themselves to get my car ready for this weekend and have done a great job. We're at the front and some of our main rivals have had a more difficult day, so it's interesting.
“Seb and I ran different spec front wings here for qualifying, but we're still evaluating which is the best to have, I don't think there's a huge amount in them.
“The effort that goes into any GP is unique, but the English support is massive. There's a big industry here, Formula One has been here for decades and that's reflected in people's passion and desire to be here.”
Vettel was not overly bothered about the allocation of front wings after securing pole position. Instead, the German was very excited about the circuit, and the fact his car works so well here.
“Silverstone is unbelievable,” he said. “The corner combinations, I can only say it again and again, they're so much fun – especially in qualifying. Our car obviously works very well in these sorts of corners, it's so great, the speeds we reach here – I think we're all a bit crazy, but it's so much fun. The new section is also good, especially Turns 11 and 12 where you come into the new section with a big bump. I really like this track and fortunately our car always works very well here.
“It was a tight session today. In Q2 I wasn't perfectly happy – I think I was pushing too hard and tried a bit too much, so for Q3, I went a bit more conservative. I still had to push and I had two strong laps; in the end we got the pole, which is the key for tomorrow.”