• British Grand Prix qualifying

Webber grabs pole from Vettel

ESPNF1 Staff
July 9, 2011

Mark Webber took pole position for the British Grand Prix, just beating his Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel in a rain-affected qualifying session at Silverstone.

Red Bull made light of the exhaust-blown diffuser controversy by locking out the front row. Webber's time of 1:30.399 pipped Vettel by just 0.032s, as all of the best laps were set on the first run of the final session with rain preventing any improvements. Fernando Alonso was third just over 0.1s further back, with Felipe Massa in fourth place over half a second behind his Ferrari team-mate, but it was a bad day for Lewis Hamilton who was two seconds off the pace in tenth.

Jenson Button was fifth for McLaren on an all-British third row, but he is joined by Paul di Resta who delivered a fantastic performance in his Force India to secure the best qualifying result of his short Formula One career. Pastor Maldonado built on his fine form in the practice sessions with seventh place ahead of Kamui Kobayashi, Nico Rosberg and Hamilton as McLaren seemed hard hit by the latest rule clarification.

Rain was expected during the final session, so everybody went for an early run and for once Vettel wanted to be first over the line rather than last. He set the benchmark time but had Webber following a few seconds behind who quickly took pole. Although Hamilton's first lap was slow he would have been expected to improve, but the rain came just as the drivers went out for their second runs.

In the second session Michael Schumacher was the big name to drop out, as he failed to improve with his final run. Button also required a late run to get through, and even though he was fourth in that session he was just 0.5s ahead of Vitaly Petrov in 14th, as the gap from Hamilton in eighth and Schumacher in 13th was 0.1s.

There was also a Lotus in Q2, as Heikki Kovalainen had made the most of similar late rain in the first qualifying session. Kovalainen went out early on a drying track to set a competitive time ahead of both Toro Rosso drivers, and another brief downpour prevented any drivers improving and saw both Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi drop out, while Daniel Ricciardo will start 24th and last on his grand prix debut.