F1: Round 8 – Silverstone, Great Britain – Qualification

Sebastian Vettel converted his strong performances in practice to a second consecutive race pole position.

Rubens Barrichello managed to stop Mark Webber making it a Red Bull lock-out on the front row, after Webber got a disappointing final run.

But Jenson Button slumped to 6th, struggling all afternoon to get his tyres up to temperatures with a combination of the cool and overcast conditions and his own smooth driving style working against his efforts to put heat in the tyres. Even getting through to Q3 had been a worryingly tense affair for the championship leader.

In fact it had been testing session for many of the big names in F1. Toward the end of Q1 there was a real danger of all the McLarens, Ferraris and BMWs getting dumped out of qualifying, but late runs saw them all scramble to safety. The sole exception was home favourite and reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton, who was on his last fast run when Adrian Sutil had brake problems and went off at high speed into the barriers at Abbey, bringing out a red flag with too little time for a restart.

In Q2 it was no surprise that Hamilton’s Heikki Kovalainen went out, along with the two BMWs and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa – an all-star list. That left the top ten as a battle between the Red Bulls, the Brawns, the Toyota and the Williams, plus Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso.

Red Bull had topped the timesheets in Q2 and Vettel’s pole never seemed seriously in doubt in Q3, suggesting either that the Silverstone circuit simply suits the Red Bull particularly well – or else the team are starting to get the upper hand over the Brawns at least. It may be too late in terms of the championship, but stranger things have happened in seasons past and Jenson Button and Brawn may have a lot to think about this weekend.

Qualifying times

Pos  Driver       Team                       Q1        Q2        Q3
 1.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:18.685  1:18.119  1:19.509
 2.  Barrichello  Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:19.325  1:18.335  1:19.856
 3.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:18.674  1:18.209  1:19.868
 4.  Trulli       Toyota                (B)  1:18.886  1:18.240  1:20.091
 5.  Nakajima     Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:18.530  1:18.575  1:20.216
 6.  Button       Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:18.957  1:18.663  1:20.289
 7.  Rosberg      Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:19.228  1:18.591  1:20.361
 8.  Glock        Toyota                (B)  1:19.198  1:18.791  1:20.490
 9.  Raikkonen    Ferrari               (B)  1:19.010  1:18.566  1:20.715
10.  Alonso       Renault               (B)  1:19.167  1:18.761  1:20.741
11.  Massa        Ferrari               (B)  1:19.148  1:18.927
12.  Kubica       BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:19.730  1:19.308
13.  Kovalainen   McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:19.732  1:19.353
14.  Piquet       Renault               (B)  1:19.555  1:19.392
15.  Heidfeld     BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:19.559  1:19.448
16.  Fisichella   Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:19.802
17.  Bourdais     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:19.898
18.  Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:19.909
19.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:19.917
20.  Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:20.236
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