• Spanish Grand Prix

Webber takes pole as Red Bull dominate

ESPNF1 Staff
May 8, 2010 « Virgin, Renault and HRT get grid penalties | »
Mark Webber took pole ahead of Sebastian Vettel © Sutton Images

A dominant Red Bull locked-out the front row of the grid with ease in Barcelona, as Mark Webber took pole ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

Webber pipped Vettel by little over a tenth of a second to take the all important No.1 slot ahead of tomorrow's race. The difficulty of overtaking at the Circuit de Catalunya has seen the grand prix won from pole for the last nine years, and only rain or reliability issues are likely to stand between Red Bull and race victory tomorrow.

Challenging them into the first corner will be Lewis Hamilton from third on the grid. His lap was nearly faultless, but such was Red Bull's advantage that he could not get within 0.8 seconds of Webber's time. Home hero Fernando Alonso was fourth in the Ferrari, driving with just finger tips on the steering wheel at times as he used the back of his hand to control the car's F-duct.

Jenson Button was fifth fastest after a small mistake on his lap, but admitted it was of little consequence as no one was likely to trouble the Red Bulls for victory on Sunday. Behind Button, Michael Schumacher maintained his good form in practice to line up sixth, ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg for the first time this season. Schumacher has made the most of the updated Mercedes all weekend while Rosberg paid a high price for taking the wrong route with set-up on Friday.

Splitting the Mercedes on the grid is the Renault of Robert Kubica, who again outperformed his car in Q3. The R30 has no major upgrades in Spain but is still very competitive and a contender for a good points finish on Sunday. Felipe Massa will be hoping to challenge the Renault, but after a tough time in Q3, he lines up ninth on the grid over 1.5 seconds off Webber.

Kamui Kobayashi rounded out the top ten, after a fantastic lap saw him finish Q2 eighth. He has not finished a race this season, so his second top-ten qualifying result will be very warmly welcomed at Sauber. His lap knocked Adrian Sutil out of Q3 for the first time this season and the Force India driver will line up 11th ahead of Pedro de la Rosa in the second Sauber and the Williams of Nico Hulkenberg in 13th.

In the other Williams Rubens Barrichello struggled and was knocked out of Q1 alongside Lotus, Virgin and HRT. Barrichello said the updates Williams brought to Spain had not worked and complained to his team over the radio for putting him off. He will automatically move up one place on the grid, however, as Vitaly Petrov faces a five place grid penalty from 14th for changing his gearbox after a crash in final practice.

Also facing penalties are both Virgin drivers, whose team failed to declare its gear ratios to the FIA in enough time, and Karun Chandhok who had to replace his gearbox. Those penalties won't have a huge impact on the grid however, simply moving Bruno Senna up three places.