Vettalicious day for Redbull fans as Sebastian Vettel seized his 33rd career pole, joining the likes of Alain Prost and Jim Clark at third in the all time polesitters list. His third consecutive pole on the Valencia streets came from a blistering lap and with everything to play for on race Sunday, Vettel has his car on the best possible position at the clear side of the track.
The commendable pole was being helped by the upgrades tested on RB8 to claim his third pole in seven races. Uncharacteristic that Redbull showed their pace as early as practice one when Vettel topped the timing screens but he worked on the set-up in FP3 to get the right balance for Qualifying and race.
It was apparent that the lap times were getting closer in qualifying as seen on practice. Rather worrying Button edged out both Lotus cars to lead the final practice and ended that way with Force India showing great speeds.
Timo Glock’s stomach bug ruled him out of qualifying before it even had started; while his team-mate could only lap the slowest time of the day to start on P23. HRT were not embarrassed in front of home supporters as they line-up with Narain Karthikeyan 22nd and De la Rosa 21rd on the grid.
The major element of surprise awaited even on Q1, Mark Webber fell short of making it into Q2 as his hydraulics problem jammed the DRS system. The Australian starts from a disappointing P19 on the grid to the dismay of scoring more championship points. Brake system failure in FP3 made him to sit out and only managed a single run in Q1 before losing his DRS.
Heikki Kovaleinen yet again lifted Caterham into Q2 taking advantage of Webber’s rues to finish ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo. He ran with a newly updated front wing; his fellow driver Vitaly Petrov starts ahead of the HRTs.
Williams’ Bruno Senna was again down on his team-mate Pastor Maldonado. P14 was the place to be for the Brazilian who looked promising in FP2 but was nearly a second adrift from Maldonado at last. Sergio Perez didn’t feel his car quite right with the balance; despite finishing on podium in Canada his chances are diminishing for a points finish in the tight street track. He was alongside the Caterham of Kovaleinen.
Midfield teams tried their hands on medium tyres to progress through to Q3 and the early setbacks didn’t runoff as both Ferraris were eliminated from the closely packed Q2 session but they were well known for good race performance. Michael Schumacher had had his own drawbacks to sandwich himself between the red pair.
When the top teams failed to make the cut, Force India took the advantage to put both the cars into Q3. Maldonado recovered from running wide to post a great lap on his last run. After finding himself in troubles in the early races, P3 would be Pastor’s answer to his critics.
Di Resta and Hulkenberg enjoyed the strongest weekend for Force India after finishing the day at P10 and P8 respectively, between them Jenson’s Mclaren, which suffered from front lock-up just like it did in practice. Resta gutted with making the same mistake he did at turn 17 last year and felt he could have been further up within top five.
Lotus looked to upping their race pace, will start from P4 and P5 for Grosjean and Raikkonen apiece. The temperature forecast for Sunday was higher than the existed level which would help Lotus as they were very good in long stints on race trim.
Chinese GP winner Nico Rosberg starts on third row at sixth for race Sunday as he lamented that Hamilton slowed down while he was approaching the last turn. Nevertheless, Hamilton was even perplexed by his first row start while he was nudged out three tenths back by Vettel’s astounding lap to secure pole. The Briton had a guess on set-up while moving to qualifying which worked out pretty well.
The winding street venue saw fierce battle for pole with only nine tenths separating top ten. Alonso, Massa and Schumacher could have made the cut if they had got just two tenths right but it was the nature of Formula One this year.
In Valencia, pole to victory was a tradition – Vettel looking to make it three wins out of three poles – Hamilton despite not winning from pole in 2009 could well be on his way to victory.
Winner?? It’s a hard guess but it’s still down to the strategies as considered by many teams but here unlike any other circuit overtaking was a far cry. Watch this space for more action!!!