Red Bull Racing pilot Sebastian Vettel has comfortably taken pole position for tomorrow’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone. The German was fastest of all in the second session as well as the crucial third run, which saw him take the top spot from Brawn’s Rubens Barrichello by 0.347s. Vettel’s team mate Mark Webber completed the top three and Jarno Trulli joined the party by qualifying his Toyota in fourth.
The surprise of the session, aside from Red Bull’s improvement, was Jenson Button, who only just squeezed into the final shootout and from there could only manage P6. Button stated that his car isn’t handling as well as it has done previously, and the temperature of the track is hampering the tyres on the BGP 001.
Another surprise of qualifying were the Williams, with Nico Rosberg finishing his afternoon in P7, two places behind his lesser experienced team mate Kazuki Nakajima. The Japanese pilot has been competitive all weekend and set the fastest time in the first session, albeit perhaps due to an early stoppage caused by Adrian Sutil impacting the tyre barrier at Abbey. Nakajima finally ended his afternoon in P5 and the pair look handy for the race.
Mark Webber has also been setting some great laps this weekend and looked good for pole position just prior to the start of the final stint. Webber’s first proper run was well down the pace of those around him and although he improved on his second quick lap, the Australian looked less comfortable in the final 10 minute session. On his final run Webber came across a cruising Kimi Raikkonen as most drivers had set their final lap moments previously. Although Raikkonen didn’t block the Red Bull pilot, Webber said it was a distraction as Raikkonen remained on the racing line.
Kimi was, I don’t know, drinking some vodka or dreaming or something, I don’t know what hell he was doing but he should have been on the right and he was on the racing line, dreaming. That wrecked my rhythm really into Stowe, I was very tight into there.
Kimi couldn’t have done a better job of distracting me. He was right on the racing line, on the most important lap of qualifying and it ruined my rhythm. Mark Webber.
The Force India duo had also been impressing so far this weekend, and the improvements that have been made to the VJM02 are certainly taking the car in the right direction. Unfortunately, a brake problem with Sutil’s car resulted in the German skating over the gravel and grass and slamming into the tyre barrier with some force. Sutil was perfectly okay, but it did ruin his and many other driver’s laps.
Once again the BMWs appear to be struggling, with Robert Kubica managing P12 and Nick Heidfeld finding little solace in P15. The Renaults are split, with Fernando Alonso setting his final lap of the day in Q3, although the Spaniard will start the race in P10. Nelson Piquet Jr will leave grid slot number 14 tomorrow afternoon.
With all the political wranglings that are consuming the sport at the sport at the moment, it is a pleasure to watch the drivers on the track, battling it out for Saturday supremacy on one of the calendar’s more challenging circuits. Undoubtedly there is more news to digest and report before tomorrow’s British Grand Prix, principally the fact that Silverstone may return next year. But for now, we need to look forward to an exciting battle on Sunday.
Will Button be able to improve his position and fulfill his dream of winning at home, or will the Red Bull drivers scupper his plans and edge ever-so-slightly closer in the title races? Or will Rubens Barrichello save the day for Brawn and win on a track he so clearly loves?
- The qualifying results can be viewed here: Silverstone 2009: Qualifying Result.
- The grid can be viewed here: Silverstone 2009: The Grid
- The report on Adrian Sutil’s accident can be viewed here: Silverstone 2009: Sutil Stops Qualifying After Heavy Shunt
- The car weights and fuel levels can be viewed here: Silverstone 2009: Post-Qualifying Car Weights.