Red Bull had a mixed qualifying session in Valencia today, with Sebastian Vettel claiming his third pole position at the Spanish street circuit, butMark Webber failing to get out of Q1.
Vettel had topped the timesheets in the final practice session this morning, but failed to do the same in Q1 or Q2, leading some to speculate that somebody else might get pole position.
In the end though, the double world champion set a lap that was 0.324 seconds faster than second-placed man Lewis Hamilton.
“I think it was a great recovery from Q1 and Q2 today, as I didn't feel entirely happy in those,” recalled Vettel. “It had been a good weekend leading up to qualifying, but conditions changed before Q1. However in the end we pulled it altogether.
“Everyone has worked very hard with preparing new parts for the car, which seem to be a step forward. Bringing new parts is not always straightforward, as we've seen. Often people try things on Friday, but then go back to their previous set up for the weekend. However this weekend we seem to have made a step forward, although we will give them a proper try tomorrow.
“We have been good here in previous years, so hopefully we can keep it up for tomorrow. The guys deserve that, they have worked hard all weekend.”
After a problem during the morning practice session,Mark Webber was more than a little unprepared when he went out for qualifying in Q1. However, he nearly made it through to Q2, and would almost certainly have done so had it not been for the fact that he was without DRS. As the Australian explained, the lack of DRS has a big impacct on lap times around this circuit.
“I had no DRS, which costs about 1.3 second per lap and made it difficult,” he said. “The car's put up a big fight today, we only managed to do four laps and three of those were in qualifying. In the first qualifying session we did one lap on the harder tyre and then went out on the soft tyre to try and get through as it was so tight.
“The lap time actually wasn't too bad considering we didn't have DRS, but it doesn't do anything to help the situation. We have a lot to do tomorrow. We were hoping to fix the DRS for Q2 but we didn't make the cut; we should be able to fix it for tomorrow.”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner praised Vettel for his impressive Q3 lap, and say that he has faith in Webber making the best of his bad grid position on race day.
“After such a tight qualifying, where at stages the top seven cars were covered by less than a tenth of a second, for Sebastian to deliver a final lap that put him four tenths clear was a remarkable effort,” he said. “It has earned him his 33rd pole, meaning he matches Jim Clark and Alain Prost, which are two extremely illustrious names.
“It was contrasting fortune for Mark who, after a difficult morning, had a hydraulic issue with the DRS which prevented him from using it. Nonetheless, he came very close to making the jump into Q2 without it. I'm sure he will have an attacking race from there tomorrow – he's proved before that he can come through the field and we've got no doubt he'll do that tomorrow.”