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Webber takes pole in Spain

It was a Red Bull front row lock out in Spain on Saturday with Mark Webber taking the upper hand over team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

Qualifying started with the Renault team working hard to try and get Nick Heidfeld out in time for the first qualifying session.

Heidfeld's car went up in flames during the third practice session and the team desperately tried to get him out, but ultimately failed and he will have to start the race 24th either at the back of the grid or in the pit-lane.

With the new Pirelli hard tyre's being two seconds a lap slower than the softer tyre all the teams in the pit lane were nervous, could they get through even the first session on the hard tyre or would they need to use the soft to guarantee their progression to Q2?

Well they tried, but with Kamui Kobayashi for Sauber, Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari for Toro Rosso joining Mark Webber in the top four with just four minutes of the first session remaining, it wasn't a gamble worth taking for the likes of Mercedes duo Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher or the Ferrari pairing Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.

In the end Rubens Barrichello's Williams suffered a gear box problem and dropped out of qualifying alongside Nick Heidfeld, Jarno Trulli, Jerome D'Ambrosio, Narain Karthikeyan, Tonio Liuzzi and Timo Glock.

Lotus driver Heikki Kovalainen made it through to Q2, the first time one of the newbie teams has made it past Q1.

Red Bull were not messing about once the second stage of qualifying got under way, Sebastian Vettel was first out of the pits and straight onto the soft Pirelli compound, his one run was 1minute 21.540seconds and appeared to be set without the use of KERS. Mark Webber's time moments later was 0.233 seconds behind his team-mate, neither driver felt the need to come back out on track, with both comfortably through to Q3. But are Red Bull set for another weekend of struggle with their KERS device and will it even matter considering how quick they look compared to everyone else?

Heikki Kovalainen's joy didn't end with just getting through to Q2, with both Force India's opting to only go out on the hard tyre in Q2, Heikki qualified 15th, will Force India regret not going for grid position or will a set of new tyres give them the best option for the race?

Adrian Sutil, Paul di Resta, Kamui Kobayashi, Jaime Alguersuari, Sergio Perez, Sebastien Buemi joined Heikki in the pits with Pastor Maldonado getting through to the top 10 shoot-out with the usual big hitters.

Button set the first time with a 1minute 21.996second lap, quickly followed by Lewis Hamilton with a 1minute 21.961, however Hamilton flat spotted his front left tyre during the lap and will have to start the race with those tyres.

Vettel then went quickest with a 1minute 21.181, before Mark Webber beat his team-mate with a 1minute 20.981.

Neither Red Bull or McLaren ran again which left a rather anti-climatic end to qualifying.

With the chequered flag waving, Fernando Alonso put in a storming lap to beat Jenson Button for fourth, Vitaly Petrov qualified sixth, Nico Rosberg seventh, Felipe Massa eight, Pastor Maldonado ninth, while Michael Schumacher decided against running to save a set of tyres and will start 10th.

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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday May 21 2011

Time: 2:03PM


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