RED BULL’S Sebastian Vettel secured his 22nd career pole position and seventh of the season with a Q3 time of 1:36.975 (124.993-mph) around the Valencia Street Circuit ahead of tomorrow’s European Grand Prix.
The reigning world champion will have his team-mate, Mark Webber, for company on the front row of the grid after the Australian set a 1:37.163 in the final part of qualifying. The 2008 world champion, Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), will start from third on the grid, after setting a 1:37.380 lap time.
Fourth to tenth on the grid is as follows: 4th) home favourite Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), 5th) his team-mate Felipe Massa, 6th) Jenson Button (McLaren), 7th) Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), 8th) Michael Schumacher (Mercedes), 9th) Nick Heidfeld (Renault) who didn’t set a Q3 time, as did 10th) Adrian Sutil (Force India). Heidfeld was the quickest of the pair in Q2 and thus is ahead of Sutil on the grid.
Q2 was Red Flagged for a short while after Pastor Maldonado (Williams) stopped out on track with what seemed like electrical problems and a mobile crane needed to be brought onto the track in order to move the car.
Those drivers who were knocked-out of qualifying in Q2 were: 11th) Vitaly Petrov (Renault), 12th) Paul di Resta (Force India), 13th) Rubens Barrichello (Williams), 14th) Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber), 15th) Maldonado, 16th) the well again Sergio Pérez (Sauber) and 17th) Sébastien Buemi (Toro Rosso).
The main (and only) highlight of Q1 was Jarno Trulli spinning his Lotus at Turn 25 on his final lap. The session also claimed Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso) as a victim for the third straight race. His race seat may now come under serious scrutiny if he cannot perform tomorrow in his second home Grand Prix of the season.
Alguersuari will start alongside his team-mate Buemi in 18th place on the grid and ahead of: 19th) Heikki Kovalainen (Lotus), 20th) Trulli, 21st) Timo Glock (Virgin), 22nd) Vitantonio Liuzzi (HRT), 23rd) Jérôme d’Ambrosio (Virgin) and finally 24th) Narain Karthikeyan (HRT) who was nearly a whole second faster than the 107% Rule time of 1:45.301.
Past winners of the European Grand Prix on the grid:
- Michael Schumacher, 6: 1994 and 1995 (Benetton), 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2006 (Ferrari). All except ’94 at the Nürburgring (Germany). 1994 Euro GP was held at Jerez (Spain).
- Fernando Alonso, 2: 2005 (Renault) and 2007 (McLaren). Both at the Nürburgring.
- Rubens Barrichello, 2: 2002 (Ferrari) and 2009 (Brawn). ’02 at the Nürburgring and ’09 in Valencia.
- Felipe Massa, 1: 2008 (Ferrari). Massa won the first race on the Valencia Street Circuit.
- Sebastian Vettel, 1: 2010 (Red Bull).
I’m not going to say who I think will win tomorrow, because at the moment anybody who bets against a certain German must have a hotwire to God.