Just heading into the Qualifying, It was believed that close to three teams were in contention for the weekend with others close behind. Red Bull and Vettel have a history at Valencia whether it is about pole positions, race wins or crashes. After today’s qualifying it just gone more. Vettel destroyed the pack and nailed a perfect lap at perfect time and he was ahead of Hamilton by 0.4 seconds even in these closely packed era. We are almost speechless!
Right from Q1, There were plenty of surprises with some top contenders bowing out at regular intervals which added more suspense to the final session and we gotta say not many people put their bets on the reigning champion. The only reason for that being at the close to the end of Q1 there was huge pressure on Webber to get through Q2 with Vettel on with Vettel only managing to be ahead only by just. And at the end of Q1, Webber ran out of laps to get a proper lap to make a pass into Q2, He was affected by driver errors or traffic and that took a toll on the tyres and Webber was then left with no option then to return to return to the pits. And we can say for the first time this season, Caterham completely squezzed into Q2 although Vitaly Petrov missed out, Heikki ensured their team went into Q2 comfortably on merit and with more upgrades planned for the Caterham team in the next races, This will really please their bosses.
If Q1 was all about Webber’s and Caterham’s story, More surprises were in stock for Q2. At one point while Rosberg was leading the race, people on twitter and othes places talked about how this could be Schumacher’s race. And to much of the fans disappointment, Schumacher seemed to struggle to get into Q2. It was also not the day for either of the Ferrari’s with both Massa and surprisingly even Alonso fell well short of other’s lap times. With the Team’s top brasses in visit at their garage, This wouldn’t have gone well with them but to be realistically speaking, this was the situation of the team all season long and if it wasn’t for Alonso they wouldn’t have been on Q3 in many occasions. Such has been the qualifying in most cases this season. We meant it is so close.
With all the notable stalwarts out in Q2, Q3 was down to very few big names and like we stated earlier the least picked person to take the pole was Vettel. Nico Rosberg who is one of the early adopters of final session went ahead and set a benchmark for others to follow. While close 5 drivers went for two stints in the final session the rest of them chose just one stint in a bid to save the tyres. Kimi Raikkonen who had a bad first lap made up for it in the second but the big talking point was his teammate whom some of them tipped as a contender for this weekend posted a time of 1.38.505 which was comfortably ahead of others. Then came the traffic, The Force India’s have all of a sudden looked strong this weekend and many of them at the end of Q2 picked them to be the suprise package and with all eyes glued, Questions were asked if the Indian Team can repeat the Belgium 2009 performance. But unfortunately both Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta fell well short of Pole with the latter even seen hitting his steering wheel as he came towards the end of the lap
When the dust finally settled, It was left to few guys to take the top honors, Mclaren was at both the ends with Lewis finishing the session on P2 while Button finished the session on P9. Pastor Maldonado who was the talk of the town in FP1 was took the flag at third. But it was Vettel who ensured his team is on pole and also ensured he got a hat-trick in what is turning out to be his favorite hunting track. The time of 1.38.086 is well clear of second place Lewis Hamilton and plenty of the teams have so far been speechless on what this laptime is all about. And we took it with a pinch of salt as well cause the famous finger is back!
01. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m38.086s
02. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m38.410s + 0.324
03. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m38.475s + 0.389
04. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m38.505s + 0.419
05. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m38.513s + 0.427
06. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m38.623s + 0.537
07. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.741s + 0.655
08. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m38.752s + 0.666
09. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m38.801s + 0.715
10. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m38.992s + 0.906
11. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m38.707s + 0.218
12. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m38.770s + 0.281
13. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m38.780s + 0.291
14. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m39.207s + 0.718
15. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m39.358s + 0.869
16. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m40.295s + 1.806
17. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m40.358s + 1.869
18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m40.203s + 1.378
19. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m40.395s + 1.570
20. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m40.457s + 1.632
21. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m42.171s + 3.346
22. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m42.527s + 3.702
23. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m42.675s + 3.850