British GP: Vettel and Red Bull crush opposition
Vettel's time of 1m29.615s was a full 8/10ths up on 3rd place Fernando Alonso's Ferrari with Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber on the outside front row with a lap of 1m29.758s.
Lewis Hamilton will start 4th for McLaren to give his countryman something to cheer about and Nico Rosberg rounded out the top-5 in his Mercedes, 0.8s and five places ahead of teammate Michael Schumacher who now clearly appears to be too old for F1 and should have stayed retired.
Meanwhile Jenson Button declared his McLaren "undriveable" after failing to qualify higher than fourteenth at Silverstone.
McLaren has had a difficult weekend, with high-profile updates taken off the MP4-25 after Friday practice.
Button's teammate Lewis Hamilton still managed to qualify fourth, albeit almost a second off the pace of the runaway Red Bulls.
"I'm sorry about that," Button's engineer told the 30-year-old during his slowing-down lap at the end of Q2.
The Briton told the BBC: "This morning the car felt really good. I personally think there's something wrong, the car was undriveable."
Renault's Robert Kubica will join Rosberg on row three, followed by Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari, Rubens Barrichello, and a surprise Pedro de la Rosa who was 9th in for Sauber.
Lewis Hamilton (4th, 1:30.556): "Fourth position makes me happy like you wouldn't believe! And I'm so proud of my team. They've been pushing so hard all year, but in the last couple of weeks, they've pushed longer and harder than ever to get the upgrade package here. The new parts are an improvement, but we just weren't able to get them all to work properly yesterday. And while that meant we had to take most of them off last night, the team still did a remarkable job to get us ready for qualifying this afternoon. We knew we were some way off the Red Bulls on sheer pace, so my grid position was really down to getting as good a lap as possible around here. And, honestly, I reckon this is the best lap I've ever done - and it's down to all the fans around here: the support around this track is like nowhere else. British race fans are the best by far. I had to nail that lap as if my life depended on it - and I don't know how I managed to get so far up the grid. I'm so happy. The guys in front are faster than us, but this race isn't over."
Jenson Button (14th, 1:31.699): "This morning the car was really good, so it felt like there was something wrong this afternoon. I don't yet know if there's an issue, but the car felt very strange. I had to take enormous amounts of front wing out, and I don't know why. We had a similar problem finding a good balance on Friday. We removed the blown diffuser overnight, and I'm comfortable that that was the right decision. It wouldn't have been right to run it here. But we've still got some aero upgrades on the car - a new front wing - and they're working really well. While it's true that we didn't have too much practice with the exhaust system, things were reasonably good in P3, and I still felt like we could do a reasonable job in qualifying this afternoon. So P14 is very disappointing."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "With extremely limited testing opportunities and a big upgrade package to develop, we were always going to be up against it this weekend - and so it proved. Nonetheless, I want to pay tribute to the indefatigable work ethic of all at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. Everyone has made a truly enormous effort - and, although we had hoped to qualify rather more impressively than we did here at our home grand prix, everyone did an absolutely fantastic job when you consider that we found ourselves on the back foot this morning with an untried configuration to take into qualifying. Moreover, Lewis drove superbly this afternoon to record a seriously impressive second-row grid slot, and will be pushing as hard as ever to convert that starting position into a significant points haul tomorrow afternoon. As for Jenson, it's a pity that we didn't manage to supply him with a car in which he could feel comfortable today - but, like Lewis, he never gives up and on race day he'll be giving no quarter in his attempts to score as many points as he possibly can."
Nico Rosberg (5th, 1:30.625): "I'm really pleased with fifth place today and it shows good progress after being so far back in Valencia at the last race. This is a positive step and important for us to know that we really understood what the problems were and how efficiently we have been able to turn the situation around. Everyone at the factory has worked really hard and this gives us a great chance for the race tomorrow at one of our home circuits. My lap was good today and it's nice to be fighting back up there towards the front again. I'm looking forward to the race and if I get a good start, then we have every reason to expect a strong result."
Michael Schumacher (10th, 1:31.430): "Clearly I am disappointed after today's qualifying as I couldn't get my lap together in Q3. After the second session which was pretty good, I wasn't able to maximize my performance and I am obviously unhappy about my grid position. I made a small mistake on my first quick lap so I slowed down to give the tires the possibility to work again for the second fast lap. But there wasn't much more to come and so I pushed harder and therefore made some mistakes. Now I will have to work hard for the race tomorrow which will be difficult from where I am starting as overtaking here is not really possible. I have to do a good start and see how far I can get. I will certainly try to make the most out of it."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "Nico did a very good job today and his fifth place puts us in a decent position for the race. Michael looked quick after Q2 and we were expecting an equally strong Q3 however he made a mistake on his lap and unfortunately that was it. But we saw today what Michael is capable of and that's encouraging for the future. This is an important weekend for the team as we focus on consolidating our position and today probably finds us in our natural position in the order right now. We have a fantastic team and I am pleased that they have had some modest reward today from the commitment and hours of hard work that went into our upgrades. Of course the race is what counts so we will wait and see what happens tomorrow."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A step forward compared to our performance at the last race in Valencia. The gap to the best placed 'non Red Bulls' is not too big today and Nico extracted everything possible from our car. It's a pity for Michael who was in fifth place in Q2 and in a position to repeat that result in Q3 if it had not been for a slight mistake on his only run. However Michael is a good starter and can make up places. For Nico, a respectable result is possible tomorrow and this would be the best reward for all of our hard-working team members at Brackley and Brixworth. Many of them will watch their home race from the grandstands in Silverstone hoping for a good result for MERCEDES GP PETRONAS."
Sebastian Vettel (1st, 1:29.615): "Silverstone is unbelievable. The corner combinations, I can only say it again and again, they're so much fun - especially in qualifying. Our car obviously works very well in these sorts of corners, it's so great, the speeds we reach here - I think we're all a bit crazy, but it's so much fun. The new section is also good, especially Turns 11 and 12 where you come into the new section with a big bump. I really like this track and fortunately our car always works very well here. It was a tight session today. In Q2 I wasn't perfectly happy - I think I was pushing too hard and tried a bit too much, so for Q3, I went a bit more conservative. I still had to push and I had two strong laps; in the end we got the pole, which is the key for tomorrow."
Mark Webber (2nd, 1:29.758): "That was pretty good; we did the best we could. It was a very tight fight with Sebastian again, unfortunately he got me, but we've got a long Grand Prix tomorrow. I have to thank the guys, they've absolutely buried themselves to get my car ready for this weekend and have done a great job. We're at the front and some of our main rivals have had a more difficult day, so it's interesting. Seb and I ran different spec front wings here for qualifying, but we're still evaluating which is the best to have, I don't think there's a huge amount in them. The effort that goes into any GP is unique, but the English support is massive. There's a big industry here, Formula One has been here for decades and that's reflected in people's passion and desire to be here."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "A brilliant performance by the team today - both drivers were excellent, there was really nothing to choose between the two of them. After this morning's incident we only had one new spec front wing available for qualifying, which Adrian was very keen to run; not necessarily because it was better, but because it offered a new direction to look at. Therefore it came to me to make a difficult decision as to which car it went on. A situation like that is not ideal and it doesn't happen very often. It went to Sebastian based on Championship position, his performance in P3 and the drivers' feedback on the different front wings from yesterday. In the end it was a great team performance to be first and second for tomorrow's race in front of so many members of our factory which is based 20 minutes away. The drivers were very, very closely matched through all three sectors of the qualifying and were quick at different parts of the circuit. I'm really pleased for the team to be starting its local race at the front of the grid."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "The team's ninth pole position out of a possible ten this year is great. We have a front row lock up at Silverstone, which is a track that's full of history. It's a very good result for us; it's the local race for many people from the Red Bull Renault team and we're very happy to offer this front row to our friends at Red Bull in Milton Keynes. Now we need to confirm this tomorrow and try to reproduce what we did last year with a perfect one two."
Fernando Alonso (3rd, 1:30.426): "We knew that at this type of circuit, the Red Bulls would be out of reach, but we managed to get ahead of the rest of the pack. We are aware we still need to up our performance level but it was important to get a positive indication and I think that, thanks to all the work we have done in the past weeks on the development of the car, we have managed to do that. On my final run, I had traffic in sector three - I think it might have been Michael - but even with a clear track ahead of me, I definitely would not have improved my grid position. Up until now, the weekend has gone well but now we must tackle the part that counts, the race: we must try and finish on the podium, because we need to score a lot of points. In terms of pace, we have proved to be competitive and we must try and at least put the Red Bulls under some pressure to ensure they don't have an easy time of getting the win. In two days we have seen how easy it is to lose precious time through small errors and this circuit is pretty tough on the cars. This morning's problem? There was a slight water leak because of a problem with a pipe, but it was all fixed in the break before qualifying."
Felipe Massa (7th, 1:31.172): "I am pleased with the performance of my car which was competitive today. Unfortunately, I always struggled a lot in terms of getting grip from the tires on the first lap on a new set, as was especially obvious in Q3. I would say that here we saw the same situation that arose in Melbourne and to a greater extent in Barcelona. A shame, as I could have got a better result. I remain very confident for the race: yesterday, when we had a heavy fuel load on board, we managed to maintain a good pace and I hope that tomorrow, it will be even better. I plan to make up some places compared to my grid position, although I am aware it will not be easy. Despite the modifications, in my opinion, the track does not produce many overtaking opportunities: let's see what we can do."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "We can be reasonably satisfied with today's outcome. Fernando had a great qualifying, getting all the potential out of the car. A shame for Felipe, who could have finished higher, although his chances of having a good race are still intact. Looking to tomorrow, clearly our aim is to get a podium finish. We start behind what looks like the untouchable Red Bulls, but several times this year we have seen our car prove to be more competitive in the race than in qualifying. It will be important to get a good start and, as usual in fact, reliability remains the key factor. Usually in qualifying, you see all the potential in terms of performance and for us it is encouraging to see that on a track whose characteristics definitely do not favor our car, the extensive work of the past few weeks is reaping its rewards: now we must transform that into results."
Chris Dyer: "We had a few minor problems this morning on Fernando's car, because of a water loss: it was down to a leaking pipe which was promptly repaired, but it meant our Spanish driver was unable to try the soft tires before qualifying. In any case, it would not have changed much in terms of his grid position. Fernando did a great job, getting the maximum out of his car, while Felipe was unable to do the same, mainly because of a lack of grip: a shame as maybe he could have been a few places higher up the order. We knew the Red Bulls would be strong here, but we are happy to be ahead of our other rivals. Both drivers start from the clean side of the track and so we hope to be able to make up some places at the start and then make the most of our race pace and maybe improve still further through strategy and how we carry out the pit stops. From what we saw yesterday, we should not have any problems with the tires, neither the hard nor the soft."
Rubens Barrichello (8th, 1:31.175): "Top eight in qualifying is a good effort by the team. We still have to improve but today's result is satisfying and probably the best we could hope for. I hope we can get into the top six tomorrow. The cars are all very close, and there aren't too many overtaking opportunities around the lap, so it's going to be a good battle. The upgrades are all working well, but they need more development if we are to move higher up the field."
Nico Hulkenberg (13th, 1:31.635): "Traffic really destroyed qualifying for me today. As I was going into the first corner on a quick lap in Q2, Liuzzi exited the pitlane under blue flags but didn't move out of my way. That ruined my lap from the outset as I couldn't get past him. I also struggled with the car today. I don't know why and I'll be looking into that with my engineers now."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "That was a good qualifying by Rubens. It was a shame that Nico didn't go through to Q3. All the new parts have improved the cars' pace but, as usual, we need to keep working hard on the whole car package. Our focus is now on the race and scoring points tomorrow."
Robert Kubica (6th, 1:31.040): "It hasn't been the easiest weekend so far and we have been struggling with the overall feeling and pace of the car. We've been changing lots of things, but it has been difficult to put everything together. It felt like a great result just to get into Q3, so I'm very happy to qualify in P6 and pleased with the lap time - especially because, on the first lap of my final run, I had a big moment in turn 1 and nearly lost the car at 270km/h! Looking to the race, we know how difficult it is to overtake at Silverstone. As usual, the start, the first lap and the pit stops will be the crucial points in the race."
Vitaly Petrov (16th, 1:31.796): "At the start of the session everything seemed quite good: the lap time was there and the speed was there. After my first run in Q2, the engine cut out in the pit lane, and my mechanics did a fantastic job to get me back out before the end of the session. But on my final lap in Q2, I didn't warm up the tires very well so I need to analyze the data from my lap. For the race tomorrow we know how difficult it is to overtake here, but as usual I will try my best."
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: "Today's qualifying session was a mixed one for us. Robert drove superbly to deliver the perfect lap on his final set of tires in Q3 and his sixth place is an excellent result. Once again we are pleased to be ahead of one Ferrari and one Mercedes. Vitaly's session was more complicated because there was a fuel pick-up problem at the end of his first run in Q2, which cut the engine and put him under pressure for the rest of the session. His result was not what we were hoping for, especially after an excellent lap in Q1 and the speed he had shown earlier in the weekend. I hope tomorrow he can show some good race pace and make up some positions."
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: "This weekend hasn't been the most straightforward for us, but it's difficult to pinpoint where we are struggling. Overall I think Robert's sixth place is pretty much where we deserved to be, but it was a real fight to get him up there. He and his engineers did an excellent job in Q3 and managed to get the best out of the tires, which brought him up to P6. Obviously P16 is disappointing for Vitaly, but we had a fuel pick-up problem during Q2. The mechanics did a great job to get the car turned around in time for another run, but it wasn't enough to get him into Q3. It's a real shame for Vitaly because he had matched Robert this morning and did a strong job in Q1."
Adrian Sutil (11th, 1:31.399): "We have had a good car the whole weekend but we struggled a bit with the tire grip today so the result is a little bit disappointing in the end. In Q1 I could set a good time on the hard tire and it looked really good for a Q3 slot but then in Q2 I just couldn't get a good lap any more and couldn't go any quicker. We need to investigate why we couldn't go faster on the softer tire but it's not the end of the world and P11 is a good position to start. The top 10 is of course the goal for the weekend, so it's important to finish the race, then anything is possible."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (15th, 1:31.708): "We need to work to understand why we were not so fast this session as we believed a Q3 position was possible with both cars based on the performance in practice. In Q1 it went OK and the balance in both the high and slow speed corners was quite good. Unfortunately I only got one flying lap on my first run and then on the second couldn't improve. I think P12 or higher was there, but it can happen. We'll now start 20th because of the penalty - we thought that we had to keep Nico [Hulkenberg] behind and I didn't realize he was on a hot lap. From there it's not going to be easy but there are overtaking spots here at least, plus the incentive of racing in front of our home crowd."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "It's a shame we couldn't produce a better qualifying result at our home race this weekend, but we shouldn't be too downcast by the starting positions. As we saw in Valencia, a lot is still possible from these positions and we could still yet get a good haul of points. Both drivers couldn't quite get the optimum lap but our performance in the earlier part of the weekend shows that the pace is there. We've gone well at Silverstone before and the drivers feel confident round here so we've got to keep focused right till the end."
Sebastien Buemi (17th, 1:32.012): "Q1 went well, but I am a little bit disappointed about Q2, because I was hoping to do better, maybe thirteenth or fourteenth. On my final run, I chose to use the Prime tire, which is not the best way to go quickly, as you should be able to make the most of the Option, but today the car did not allow me to be significantly faster on the softer tire, so we decided to try the Prime, after it worked well on my first run in Q1. Now we will have to see if we can do something on the strategy front to try and get something out of tomorrow's race. You could feel that the wind had increased a lot from this morning, especially in the first corner, but that was the same for everyone. I think we have lost out a bit in terms of performance compared to the other cars around us, but the team is working hard to catch up."
Jaime Alguersuari (18th, 1:32.430): "I had a lot of trouble with heavy traffic this afternoon and effectively, I only got one clean lap. It is a shame, as I am sure that without the traffic I could have got through comfortably to Q2 as the pace was easily there in the car, but I did not have enough fuel to do another lap and there would not have been time to go out again after I came into the pits. The last three qualifying sessions have not gone very well for me, but let's see if we can come up with a good strategy for tomorrow and have a better afternoon. I am staying calm about it, because these situations happen now and again and I have to keep looking forward."
Giorgio Ascanelli, Technical Director: "There's not much to say about this qualifying: we were simply not fast enough and it is down to the car as the drivers did what they could. I expected us to be outpaced here and we are pretty much running at our maximum capacity. However, we hope to have something good coming in the next race or two, which will allow us to move forward. We had two good races in Canada and Valencia, even if we were already losing ground to our nearest rivals, but at those tracks, our drivers were able to make a difference, but that was not possible here."
Heikki Kovalainen (19th, 1:34.405): "I'm pleased because I'm in the position I targeted for qualifying, but even though we're the fastest of the new teams, that wasn't my best qualifying session this year. It was pretty tricky out there today - it was windier than in FP3 and I found the balance wasn't quite where it had been this morning. Nevertheless, we're in a good position and good shape for tomorrow. The car feels good on the heavier fuel load, so I think we'll be ok. I also want to say that Jarno did a great job out there - to be within half a second after the bad luck he's had all weekend is great, and I hope we can get both cars home tomorrow. That's the main goal, so let's see what happens."
Jarno Trulli (21st, 1:34.864): "I'm pretty happy with my result to be honest - I managed to learn the circuit very quickly, almost having to do so during qualifying as the problems I had on Friday and Saturday meant I've had very little time on track! Qualifying was the first time I managed to really push the car, as a hydraulics problem had cut short FP3, so, overall, I'm happy and my position is better than I expected."
Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: "We did as well as we could have expected with not a lot of running this weekend, but well done to Heikki who probably could have gone faster if he had not hit so much traffic. Jarno did exceptionally well, having only run a few laps all weekend, and that's what his pace, experience and knowledge gives us. It was great to see the Lotus Racing flags in the crowd, and a lot of green and yellow shirts and caps. Tomorrow, hopefully, we can make them proud, bring two cars home and put on a show worthy of the efforts of the team."
Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "I have mixed feelings after qualifying. Again we had some mechanical problems with Jarno this morning, which meant that going into qualifying he had only completed 12 laps over the whole weekend on the new circuit layout, so he had a very difficult task in front of him and did a good job to be as close in time to his team mate as he was. Heikki had traffic on both his runs, which was a shame as he could have got a little more out of the car had he had a clear run, but he was ahead of the other new teams so that's a positive. Overall it's been quite a difficult weekend so far but we're looking forward to the race tomorrow and are focusing on getting both cars to the finish."
Karun Chandhok (23rd, 1:36.576): "I had quite a messy run with traffic which was really frustrating. We lost about four tenths on the first run when I was in traffic on my quickest lap. Then on the second run, I had a lot of traffic on the out lap and couldn't get the tires in the window. It's a shame because we had the potential to go at least half a second faster. Considering that I was faster this morning in FP3 I think I could have been quicker without the traffic. It's going to be a long hard race tomorrow with the high loads on the tires and the bumps and we'll do the best job we can."
Sakon Yamamoto (24th, 1:36.968): "Yesterday, it was a memorial day for me in my life being back in Formula 1 on my birthday. I am very pleased about the qualifying result even though it was a bit difficult because of changing wind directions. I like this circuit because it is very challenging for the driver and the new track layout is also quite interesting. We expected to go a bit quicker but the car balance was slightly changing compared to the morning session. We will have to find it out for tomorrow. I am looking forward to the race and I am going to do as best as I could to give something back to the team."
Colin Kolles, Team Principal: "It was a difficult day for us but everyone in the team did a great job. The changing crosswinds had effects on the car balance. In qualifying, we had a small balance problem on the rear end of Sakon Yamamoto's car which didn't allow us to go quicker. Karun Chandhok was unlucky on his second outing when he was disturbed by traffic. Otherwise he could have done a quicker lap. For Sakon it is not easy to start into the season without having raced since 2007. There are many small details like how to use or heat the tires that he has to learn about. But Sakon is improving every lap and as there are 52 laps to go in the race tomorrow, he can show a good performance. All in all, we could work on the set-up for the race and are confident, to fight for positions with the other teams on Sunday."
Pedro de la Rosa (9th, 1:31.274): "I am a very happy man today. It was not only my best qualifying this year, but also the best Saturday because in free practice this morning my car was very good. We learned a lot during Friday's practice sessions and made a lot of changes, aerodynamically as well as mechanically. Now my car is very consistent. Ahead of the weekend we thought we would be quite good here because of the high speed corners, and it has turned out we are. It is good to match expectations. The new parts we took to Valencia worked and the small steps we have for Silverstone are an improvement too."
Kamui Kobayashi (12th, 1:31.421): "The overall performance of the car has definitely improved, but today I found it extremely difficult to put a good lap together. I got it right in one corner, but wrong in the next. Sometimes the grip was there, sometimes it wasn't. I struggled from a lack of consistency. The race is a different story and from 12th on the grid there is certainly a good chance to score points."
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "For the first time this season our lap times in qualifying have been competitive and this certainly is pleasing."
James Key, Technical Director: "We had anticipated this track would suit our car better than some others, but we needed to work a lot after we arrived here. The engineers did an excellent job to get the car's balance right. In the morning session you could see we had made a good step forward, so our target was to get to Q3. It was a brilliant drive from Pedro. He put in a superb lap for his best qualifying result so far this season. Kamui also did very well coming so close to Q3, and he just missed it by a tenth of a second. We will now concentrate on the race tomorrow and hope to score some more points."
Timo Glock (20th, 1:34.775): "It has been quite a difficult weekend leading up to Qualifying. We experienced a lot of technical problems throughout Free Practice and I couldn't do any proper set-up work. This morning I had a problem with the throttle pedal and I didn't have any proper running on the Option tire, so we went pretty blind into Qualifying in terms of the set-up. In the end I was quite happy with the car, even though it still isn't fully fine-tuned. However my two Qualifying laps were really good and I'm very pleased to be ahead of Lucas despite the difficulties. We're also closer to Lotus, having beaten Jarno and being only two or three tenths behind Heikki. It is really positive for the Team and shows our aero package really works. With an easier weekend I think we would have been closer to them. We now have to wait and see how the race goes for us but I'm looking forward to a good fight with Lotus."
Lucas di Grassi (22nd, 1:35.212): "I think we improved the car a lot since the last race. It feels much better and I'm looking forward to the Race tomorrow. For Qualifying we didn't achieve the best lap possible because I wasn't able to put a lap together and there is more to come from the car. The positive is that we are much closer to Lotus and our upgrades are proven to be exactly as we expected so I'm pleased."
Nick Wirth, Technical Director: "That was fun! It's been tough waiting for this moment, and to be in a good qualifying fight has certainly lifted the whole team. Lucas continued his great string of consistent and fast performances and the work that he and his engineers have done this weekend have been very valuable for the team. We aren't quite there on car weight with Lucas's chassis which is costing him a few tenths, but we'll get there soon. It certainly hasn't been anywhere near a smooth enough weekend on Timo's car and we got another new front wing on his car with minutes to spare before qualifying. Frankly, he did a fantastic job considering his lack of running this weekend and that's great for him. For the team, this session marks a clear step forward in performance where we have caught up Lotus and pulled further away from HRT, and it couldn't be a more public validation of our digital development process. We'll keep our heads down and focus on another strong two-car finish in front of our fans, friends and families."
Feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Go to our forums to discuss this article