Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Abu Dhabi, 2010

Vettel takes pole as Webber struggles to fifth

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Abu Dhabi, 2010
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Abu Dhabi, 2010

Sebastian Vettel will start the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from his tenth pole position of the season.

But team mate Mark Webber suffered a serious setback, only able to qualify fifth behind all his championship rivals.


The drivers found the track surface improving rapidly at the start of qualifying, with Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel going fastest seemingly with every lap they did.

Alonso stayed out later than his rivals and set the fastest time. Nico Rosberg also did a late lap to go second.

Jenson Button, meanwhile, ran into trouble with a brake vibration, and had to do a second run to improve his time.

As usual the three new teams were eliminated, with Jarno Trulli once again the fastest of the six.

The two Toro Rosso drivers found themselves in a battle to get into Q2. Jaime Alguersuari scraped through with his final lap, as team mate Sebastien Buemi failed to beat him by one tenth of a second.

Driver eliminated in Q1

18 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’41.824
19 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’43.516
20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1’43.712
21 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’44.095
22 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1’44.510
23 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’45.085
24 Christian Klien HRT-Cosworth 1’45.296


It was an eventful Q2 for Lewis Hamilton who who had two off-track moments and a controversial encounter with Felipe Massa.

Hamilton took to the kerbs and demolished a corner marker as Massa went around the outside of him. Both drivers made it into the top ten – Hamilton making it in with just a minute to spare.

Sebastian Vettel was the only driver to lap the Yas Marina track in less than a minute and 40 seconds and none of the others could match that.

Button improved to second with his last effort but just a few hundredths covered Rosberg behind him in third and Mark Webber.

A late improvement by Vitaly Petrov surprisingly eliminated his team mate Robert Kubica.

He was knocked out in Q2 along with Kamui Kobayashi, Adrian Sutil, Nick Heidfeld, Nico H???lkenberg, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Jaime Alguersuari.

Driver eliminated in Q2

11 Robert Kubica Renault 1’40.780
12 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’40.783
13 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’40.914
14 Nick Heidfeld Sauber-Ferrari 1’41.113
15 Nico H???lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’41.418
16 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’41.642
17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’41.738


The Red Bulls held back at the start of Q3 while the McLarens and Ferraris went first. And their first times were set in that order – Hamilton doing a 1’39.582, leading Button, Alonso and Massa.

While those four did two separate runs Vettel and Webber did just a single run at the end of the session. While that worked like a dream for Vettel, who who improved his time progressively to a 1’39.394, Webber ended up over half a second off his team mate.

The other drivers were all getting in each others’ way as the final laps begin, Rosberg threading his way through the Ferraris to ensure he didn’t miss the cut-off. Massa started his final lap the instant the clock ticked to zero.

Hamilton improved his time but fell short of beating Vettel by a few hundredths. But Alonso was the big winner, pulling together a lap good enough to salvage third place, splitting the McLarens.

The grid tees up a fascinating battle for the championship tomorrow with Alonso surrounded by McLarens, and Webber facing a mountain to climb to keep the Ferrari driver from the title.

Top ten in Q3

1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’39.394
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’39.425
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’39.792
4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’39.823
5 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’39.925
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’40.202
7 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’40.203
8 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’40.516
9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’40.589
10 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’40.901

2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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132 comments on “Vettel takes pole as Webber struggles to fifth”

  1. Hamilton takes the start as the Red Bulls are slow starters. Button accidently clips Alonso in an overtaking attemp which naturally causes an uproar. Vettel’s engine blows up. Webber is just struggling but eventually advances to third, his engine blows up on the last five laps. Hamilton’s champion!

    1. Webber is a slow starter. Not Red Bull.

    2. I’m a bit worried about Button clipping Alonso. IMO its not his fight and he has nothing to gain, so I dont think he will go out of his way to clip him.

    3. Button is usually good at avoiding contact.. too good I suppose that it often sacrificed his good start.

      1. Button clips alonso throwing him out of the championship and thus starts the worlds’ biggest controversy theory! :D

      2. As we have already seen, McLarens are too fragile to be clipping anything more rigid than a pillow, what’s more a Ferrari (see Monza, first lap…) So, even if Button tries something like that, I doubt Alonso would feel a thing…

    4. The comment above was first posted straight after quali, in response to the first comment to go up. Now the criticism voiced by Raj has been removed (along with the original posting of this comment) and for some reason my comment is re-posted at the the end of the thread.

      The cynic in me would say its a good example of what a carefully controlled and biased forum this is, but I’m sure that would be removed too, so I better just say..
      We LOVE The Leader.

    5. I prefer fantasies involving Angelina Jolie, but thanks for sharing.

  2. Looks like a repeat of last year’s race with Vettel and Hamilton in a 2 way race for the win. Can’t see anyone else touching them.

    1. Younger Hamilton
      13th November 2010, 14:23

      Note their both currently the only 2 drivers to be on the front row in Abu Dhabi.

      1. Their = belonging to them

        They’re = they are

        1. Younger Hamilton
          13th November 2010, 15:21

          Yeah sorry i was too quick,i once realised after i made the comment and when i was in my bathroom giving myself a good British Bath

  3. Hamilton will most likely be penalized, Alonso will be champion if his engine keeps working until the finish line!

    Truly disappointing couple of races from Webber, showing some psychological weakness. No wonder Red Bull favour Vettel, he has been absolutely brutal since Japan, and terribly unlucky throughout the year (no one had more mechanic-related DNF’s).

    P.S. NOT a Vettel fan by a long shot, but I must face the reality.

    1. Agree. Everyone seems to say how much Webber deserves it but fact is he’s had no mechanical failures.

      Vettel’s had a lot of failures and 3 whilst leading. If Vettel STILL manages to beat Webber in the championship it really will say a lot about who is the better of the two.

      1. Webber deserves it because after all these years he has driven for slow teams. To say he deserves it more than the other 3 is debatable.

        1. If he can’t win in a fully reliable RB6 he doesn’t deserve a title.

          Yamamoto’s spent a few years driving slow cars. He definitely deserves a title.

          1. In my world of sport there is no such word as ‘deserve’. You win or you don’t and recently Webber is the ‘don’t’ so if that’s what you mean ok. I just hope that whomever wins it wins it for the right reasons.
            At the moment Webber has not done enough and today did nowhere near enough, so I can understand why people might say he doesn’t deserve it.

        2. I agree with Tommy. Button spent years driving slow cars, but got a car that was the fastest for 7 races, and grabbed the opportunity to win a title with both hands.

          Webber definately hasn’t done that. Vettel can at least claim that he was ridiculously fast but beset by mechanical failures.

      2. Guilherme Teixeira
        13th November 2010, 14:42

        I once calculated how many points Vettel lost at least this season, either by accidents, failures or mistakes, and came up with 123 points.

        It amazes me how Webber had perfect reliability this year, lost at most 40 points due to mistakes/accidents and is still only 7 points in front of Vettel!

        That’s why I say, if Vettel wins this championship, he will be the most deserving one.

        1. Exactly! Bahrain, Australia, Korea being the most obvious non disputable ones where a 25 pointer would be a no-brainer! that’s 63 points just there!

      3. old story mate…

        all of them deserve it…

        1. Subjective comment I know, but still, IMO there is (Alonso and Hamilton), (Vettel, Rosberg, Kubica and possible Button) then (Webber) very closely follow by the rest, and then Yami’ :-)

      4. Couldn’t agree anymore with TommyB89. Everyone on this site sympathizes with Mark Webber because its probably he last title shot, and plus he is the less favoured driver at Red Bull and blah blah blah. But the fact of the matter is that he is not as good as his teammate, and despite his teammate losing close to 70 points through mechanical retirements, he still only trails Mark by 7 points.

        Everyone says Mark deserves the WDC, IMO he is the least deserving of the 5 title contenders this year. I wouldn’t want to look back on this fantastic season, and see Mark Webber as WDC.. no frickin way.. I much rather see Vettel, Alonso or Hamilton.

        1. LOL.. spot on Todford.

        2. Totally agree with your post. See my post above. ;-)

        3. Agreed, Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso are in a whole different league.

          1. Yep! They’re the absolute elite of F1 now.

        4. Agreed with Todfod

        5. Todfod and others don’t count the number of points Webber’s lost because Vettels been favored by the team? That number is probably unquantifiable. But throw Turkey in the mix as an obvious one…

          1. No, apart from losing 10 in Turkey, Webber has simply been too slow in the second half of the season in a dominant car. It’s not the team’s fault that he spun off in Korea, hit a Lotus in Valencia or lost a ridiculous amount of places off the startline.

            Your comment is exactly the kind of “blah, blah, blah” Todfod was referring to.

          2. How many points has Mark lost by favoritism in the RB garage? According to my calculations he has lost 0 points due to the only act of favoritism we saw at Silverstone.

    2. I don’t think either driver is up to Alonso or Hamilton. Vettel is superb at qualifying and lightning fast, but still making rookie mistakes when not at the front and can’t really overtake properly. Webber is just off being the very best. But on balance Vettel has definitely done what’s needed at the end of the season, while Webber has had every chance to seal the championship and failed to take them. I’ll be happy to see Vettel, Ham or Alonso champion. The latter for supreme self-confidence, talent and, yep, steamrolling Felipe Massa.

      1. Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel all half a second faster than their team mates.

        1. Exactly. It’s more difficult to compare between teams, but the final grid order of the season accurately reflects the best drivers in each of the top 3, I think.

    3. Jeffrey Powell
      13th November 2010, 14:42

      So Lewis sees Massa at the last second drives of the track to avoid him potentially destroying his race. Massa keeps to the racing line makes no attempt to avoid him , this is not a case of a driver hogging the racing line and having no regard for other drivers it’s a bungle or worse.Massa did not suffer from it I can see no reason for a grid penalty. Anyway all you Alonso fans ,if Fernando is stupid enough to tussle with the others (which I very much doubt) he won’t deserve the title.’Which I think he does'(Big Hamilton Fan ).

      1. Agree entirely. Hamilton certainly gained nothing by flying over the curb and was probably unsighted as he said after. Massa, though, once again showed his needless aggression towards Hamilton – which funnily enough he hasn’t the courage to show to Alonso.

      2. I don’t think Hamilton should get penalized, but he was off the racing line, driving slowly, obviously showing all others that he would let them through .. so Massa thought he would let him through but all of a sudden Hamilton goes to tae the corner instead of waiting. Clearly not Massas falut, but probably just a misunderstanding.

      3. I’m a fanatic Hamilton supporter, mate.

        However, after causing a bit of a ruckus with Senna on friday, Ham was already on the line for a penalty. Massa could just say he was blocked and I firmly believe the stewards will impose a 5 grid drop for Lewis.

        Unfortunately, I say, because I believe he has what it takes to win this race!

        1. Massa cannot say that Hamilton impeded him as he is on his outlap but not a timed lap!

          1. HounslowBusGarage
            13th November 2010, 20:36

            It’s 21.36 CET, and I haven’t seen a report of HAM getting a penalty. Does this mean he won’t get one?

  4. Younger Hamilton
    13th November 2010, 14:22

    Well i have to say Seb deserves pole by finding that amount of time in the final sector if it werent for that Lewis would have pole now but Great job by Lewis and Jenson and Fernando(I said i’d be supporting him after Lewis) as well to get themselves up there.Its a terrible situation for Mark he just have to drive the socks out of the car and maximise his start.Keith if im right then Seb,Fernando and Mark are all on the clean side(which is the racing line) of the grid

    1. The racing line actually goes ‘through’ the two sides as the last corner is a left and the first is a right. At the back of the rid there shoud be more of a difference than at the front.

  5. I’m predicting a messy start. I think Hamilton and Alonso are going to go for it, and it’s going to end badly going into the first corner.

    It’s also nice to see Petrov out-qualify Kubica again.

    1. You won’t give up until the very end will you.

    2. I certainly hope so :) Vettel deserves the title, despite his age and many mistakes.

    3. Fernando wont go for broke, he doesnt need to beat Seb and Lewis tomorrow, all he has to do is keep out of trouble and make sure webber doesnt find his way into 2nd place behind seb.

      I think Alonso will also be finding himself on the front row in the next hour or so

      1. I dont think so. The FIA would never disadvantage Lewis.

        1. Someone missed the 2008 season…

    4. I am predicting a messy start too.

      I think Massa will take out Webber and Vettel will crash into Hamilton after Hamilton out-drags him into the first corner.

      P.S. @Keith: Like the HTML tags for bold, italics and quotes, can we have one for sarcasm please.

      1. HounslowBusGarage
        13th November 2010, 20:42

        Nah, all wrong.
        WEB and ALO take each other out on the first lap, both retire. VET leads unassailably until the penultimate lap when his engine hand-grenades itself.
        HAM tours home saying “Me? Are you sure?”
        BUT second, MAS third.

    5. LOL. I knew PM was going to bring Petrov’s qualifying performance. Hats off to Petrov… he did better than most of us thought. :)

    6. Petrov out-qualifying Kubica was a shock.

      But doesn’t make up for his poor season.

    7. Yes PM, great news for Petrov. Very timely. :)

  6. Fantastic qualifying session. I though that Brazil’s qualifying were good, this is better by miles! Suddenly everyone just found the speed to take on the Red Bulls. Lets hope it don’t get too messy tomorrow between the top five.

    1. thought*
      comment too short

  7. Younger Hamilton
    13th November 2010, 14:27

    Well if Lewis can keep up with Seb in the first sector which i think is Likely considering McLaren’s miraclerous but great pace this weekend then Lewis and Jenson have a very good shot of getting their targets on the two straights and out braking them into the corners.The Battle for the race win i think its between Lewis and Seb

  8. I’m not sure Alonso would now want Hamilton penalised for getting in the way of Massa, as any grid demotion would put Alonso up to second and on the dirty side of the grid, with Button on the clean side in third. And as Alonso says, Hamilton’s welcome to race for 25 points — the two of them are running different races. What a first lap it’s going to be tomorrow!

    1. Right now he said that on tv “he doesnt want Hamilton penalised”

  9. Hold on your breath till the end of sector 2 especially if Vettel ends up leading by the end of sector 1 but with no big advantage from the others, it´s the only chance hamilton or even Alonso have to prevent Vettel from winning the race.
    Going to be pretty interesting.

  10. I think:
    Webber will take himself and Alonso out of the race.
    Hamilton and Button will pass Vettel and they finish in that order.
    Lewis Hamilton will once again be champion by one point! :D

    Unless of course he gets penalised for that Q2 incident. Is he under investigation?

    1. If Ferrari suspect that Webber might try to crash Alonso out of the race, so that Vettel becomes champion, then they might order Felipe to crash into Webber.

      And looking at the grid positions, Felipe is closer to Webber than Webber is to Alonso.

      1. i highly doubt anyone will order anyone to crash into another driver. Its highly dangerous and despite what attitudes they might have to each other, none of them would be so unproffesional or stupid or dangerous. The ramifications wouldnt just stop at the end of the season but effect their careers. Noone wants another Singapore scandal. Ferrari still chasing 2nd in the WCC and Webber can still win the WDC.

      2. That would be a great start wouldn’t it? Webber looks at running into the back of Alonso, while Massa spearheads across the track aiming for Webber. Cannot wait for those 5 red lights to go out!

        1. Now, THAT would be nasty.

          For years, fans will keep debating whether Webber was truly trying to crash into Alonso or not. Webber will finally release a book 20 years later to try and clear the mystery. But it will only add fuel to the fire.

  11. HAM will want to overtake VET on track – revenge for 2008!

  12. Look at this photo from when Hamilton took that corner marker with him. It seems the marker had a camera!

  13. Some curse of the middle east for Webber it seems. In Bahrain he qualified 6th and Vettel 1st, here again, he is way off his team-mate’s pace.

  14. that was a stunning qualifying… where did those laps come from Vettel, Hamilton & Alonso? ;) wow!!!

    who wouldn’t think that Luca will be asking Massa for a good start to pass and block Webber? that could ease Alonso’s race pace and thus a good comfort zone to take care of his engine.

  15. Brilliant Quali. Hope Lewis doesnt incur a penalty

  16. For once im happy mclaren are doing well. Im hoping for them to get to the end like they start!! or even if hamilton wins thatd be sweet too. Will be interested tomorrow… IF and thats a BIG if massa jumps webber at the start webbers championship is all but over. This qualifying comes at a good time to remedy all that snow falling outside :)

  17. I don’t know how much power Ferrari have to affect the outcome of any investigation, but they’d be mad not to try and keep Hamilton where he is.

    Yes, 2nd will give Alonso the championship. But he’d then be starting on the slippery side of the grid and vulnerable to Button and if there’s a squeeze moment, Webber could catapult ahead of him too. Then all Red Bull would need to do is get Webber ahead of Button and switch the drivers.

    With Alonso both higher than 5th and Webber, Ferrari would do well to keep as many cars between the two Red Bulls as possible.