Stats from Valencia Qualifying
Who says qualifying at Valencia can’t be interesting? We might have anticipated a close qualifying session given that FP2 had seen 15 drivers setting times within one second of the leader, but Mark Webber’s surprise exit from the first session had not seemed likely.
A DRS fault and lack of FP3 practice were to blame for the early exit but his was not to be the only surprise as Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa followed suit in the second session. With four of the top contenders dutifully dispatched, the duel for pole saw Vettel and Hamilton battle for the honour, in the end the German was to take his 33rd pole, putting him alongside Alain Prost and Jim Clark’s record for career poles. Maldonado’s strong performance sees him start on the second row alongside Romain Grosjean, with his team-mate, former World Champion Kimi Raikkonen one place behind.
Rosberg starts the race a disappointing sixth after strong times all weekend whilst this was to be the first Q3 session to see both Force India drivers take part. Honourable mention must go to Heikki Kovalainen who starts the race in sixteenth place, ahead of both Toro Rosso’s, perhaps tomorrow could be Caterham’s day.
- Sebastian Vettel has been on pole 3 times this season with an average qualifying position of 5.5; Lewis Hamilton’s average qualifying position is 1.9 having set 2 poles and one fastest time in Q3.
- The best three sector times combined would have produced a 1 minute 37.938 lap, just 0.148 seconds faster than pole.
- Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Pedro de la Rosa are the only drivers to have beaten their team-mate in qualifying at each event this season.
- Nico Rosberg is the first driver to use a fifth engine this season, he has 3 new powerplants available for the remainder of the year.
- The top three qualifying drivers have no new sets of soft tyre available for tomorrow’s race having used them all during qualifying.
Qualifying Lap Times
|1. Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1:38.086|
|8. Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:38.752|
|10. di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:38.992|
|Q2 cut-off time:||1:38.703|
|17. Ricciardo||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:40.358|
|Q1 cut-off time:||1:40.087|
|18. Vergne||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:40.203|
|19. Webber||Red Bull-Renault||1:40.395|
|21. de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||1:42.171|
107% time: 1:45.742
Timo Glock did not take part in qualifying due to illness. The FIA has yet to confirm if he will be allowed to take part in the race.
Best Sector Times
What are your predictions for the race? Can Romain Grosjean score his maiden F1 victory? Will Caterham score a point? Who should have done better in qualifying?
Photo: Red Bull Racing/Mark Thompson/Getty Images