Valencia: 1, 2, 3…Qually

Free Practice 1

  • Ferrari: Bringing a new front wing element for the weekend, usually features a triple but are trying out a double. Both drivers set good times, but Massa is continually bested by Alonso.
  • Force India: Hulkenberg is in for di Resta this morning, but 20 mins in he collides with a wall and ends the session for himself. Turn 12, rear lock up and loses front end just after going top in the standings, damage to left rear tyre and front left suspension. As di Resta he can do is sit, watch and hope it’s fixed he’s afforded the time to catch up on another sporting event, Wimbledon.
  • Hispania: Both drivers are at the bottom of the posted times, Liuzzi ahead of Karthikeyan.
  • Lotus: Chandhok is in for Trulli but is soon told to stop using second gear and returns to the garage. Not too much luck for him when he sits in a Lotus having only managed 2 timed laps in 3 Friday practice sessions.
  • McLaren: Hamilton informs his team his DRS is not working. No spectacular times for the team, but they are testing new aerodynamic parts, as most teams are.
  • Mercedes: Rosberg sets the first time. Schumacher is pipped by Alguersuari.
  • Red Bull: Webber goes top an hour in and stays there. Vettel is running the Silverstone engine mapping, so no off throttle blown diffuser for him. Great chance to get some data in from their fastest driver.
  • Renault: When Petrov winds up he gets his himself within a second of Webber. Heidfeld also posts a good fast time, coming close to Massa.
  • Sauber: Perez is confident about his readiness to race, saying his is ‘positive’ and’ motivated’ for the weekend.
  • Toro-Rosso: Ricciardo is in for Buemi and is beaten by Alguersauri by 2 tenths.
  • Williams: Barrichello complains of a high level of vibration when he goes fast.
  • Virgin: Glock spins between turns 4/5 and stalls his car, it’s stranded across the track and stops further fast laps from everyone else.

Top FP1 times:

Position Driver Team Time
1 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing 1:40.403
2 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:41.227
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:41.239

Read: Full FP1 Results

Free Practice 2:

  • Ferrari: Alonso is very strong in this session, going top early on and keeps himself there come the end of the session, despite pressure from Vettel and awkward Karthikeyan.
  • Force India: di Resta’s first outing in Valencia is going from bad to worse, the damage caused by Hulkenberg kept his car in the garage for most of the session, only having 10 minutes to play with in the end.
  • Hispania: Both improve marginally, but still are at the bottom of the table.
  • Lotus: Mike Gascoyne explains that a spare had not turned up from Red Bull, preventing Chandhok from going back out. Kovalainen reports that the car has improved from the morning session.
  • McLaren: Hamilton had a fast lap scuppered by traffic, and Button complained of a lack of rear grip. Not the first time that complaint has been made. But it doesn’t hold him up as he ends up ahead of Vettel.
  • Mercedes: Schumacher ramps up the pace and gets within touching distance of Vettel. Rosberg is a little off the pace in comparison.
  • Red Bull: Both drivers are getting to grips with a track that is rubbering in, they post fast times but are beaten a flying Ferrari and McLaren.
  • Renault: Good improvement on times, but not enough to match the front running teams.
  • Sauber: Perez is obviously feeling comfortable in the car as he gets ahead of team mate Kobayashi.
  • Toro-Rosso: Alguersuari had a mechanical issue (began by changing the gearbox) that prevented him from running in the session, but remains upbeat about earning some points from the collected data. Team also report that he was testing out new floor, front & rear wings.
  • Williams: No more work about Barrichello’s vibration issue, but both drivers climb a little higher and sit exactly in the middle.
  • Virgin: d’Ambrosio slips behind Glock in this session, but are about 1.5 seconds ahead of Hispania.

Top FP2 times:

Position Driver Team Time
1 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:37.968
2 Jenson Button McLaren 1:38.195
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:38.265

Read: Full FP2 Results

Free Practice 3:

  • Ferrari: Alonso continues his form from FP2 and sets competitive times early in the session. The team splits front wing strategy, Massa on new double element and Alonso with the triple element. Either way the duo lift spirits of the paddock as they provide a decent challenge to Vettel.
  • Force India: di Resta is still playing catch up from the missed sessions, only completing 3 flying laps could hinder his qualifying chances.
  • Hispania: Liuzzi edges out d’Ambrosio and team mate Karthikeyan.
  • Lotus: Trulli posts the first time of the day. Kovalainen is about a second off the pace of the closest Toro Rosso of Alguersuari.
  • McLaren: The team is committing to their new front wing, but both driver lament the loss of qualifying engine mapping. They’ve also brought an updated rear wing, focusing on the angle of the wing and improving their DRS system. It aims to increase downforce and protect the rear tyres, will help during the race but may hurt qualifying. Button
  • Mercedes: Schumacher struggled with the balance of his car early on.
  • Red Bull: Vettel dominates the session, disputes claims that engine mapping gives the team an edge. Webber is close behind just outside the top 3, but has oversteer issues during the session.
  • Renault: Despite quick time set yesterday morning, Petrov and Heidfeld hover around the bottom of the top 10.
  • Sauber: Perez improves on his Friday results and proves he’s definitely back and recovered from Monaco. Kobayashi plants his car in the wall at the end of practice.
  • Toro-Rosso: Buemi is faster than Alguersuari again.
  • Williams: As others step up the pace both drivers fall back and divide the Toro Rosso’s.
  • Virgin: d’Ambrosio stays off the bottom rung and is within a tenth of Liuzzi, but just under a second off Glock.

Top FP3 times:

Position Driver Team Time
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:37.258
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:37.678
3 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:37.840

Read: Full FP3 Results

Qualifying:

Q1

Heidfeld and di Resta are out first, but it’s Vettel who takes first blood by going top of the table. Alonso had a set-up lap ruined by Kovalainen on the final corner. Kobayashi who had that crash in Q3 gets out, albeit late, to see Button continue to struggle with the car balance and set-up. Maldonado, Perez, Buemi and Alguersuari are the last to get out, but they all make it work for themselves apart from the Spanish native. From the sector times McLaren are losing the majority of their time in the last sector, but Hamilton pips Vettel. Mercedes go onto the options early suggesting they are concerned about their outright pace. Webber kept the pressure on himself with a couple of laps earning him mid-teen positions, but pulls through. Trulli spins on his last chance at a hot lap. Massa posts the fastest time.

Out in Q1 are: ALG, KOV, TRU, GLO, LIU, DAM, KAR but all are within the 107% rule.

Q2

Massa goes out first hoping to replicate his Q1 pace and goes 0.5 faster from the off, but he is quickly topped by Webber, then Alonso. Then Vettel joins the track and flexes his muscles by going faster than everyone else by over 0.5 seconds. The McLarens then set up the chase and tuck themselves close behind the German. However before Alonso can post a time off the fastest first sector, Maldonado stalls his car and parks it on turn 20, red flagged the clock is stopped. The top six park their cars and those in the drop zone fill the track and attempt to creep up the grid. Sutil proves the big news as he puts himself into Q3.

Out in Q2 are: PET, DIR, BAR, KOB, MAL, PER, BUE.

Q3

Alonso posts the first time on used tyres and is soon punished by Hamilton and then of course by Vettel. More indications of pace worries from Mercedes, when Schumacher’s ‘realistic’ target of 4th row is achieved. When the chequered flag is dropped on the session there are seven cars on their respective hot laps. Vettel is in prime position as he is the last to cross the line, and he grabs another pole position with Webber completing the 3rd Red Bull 1-2 on the year.

Top Qualifying times:

Position Driver Team Time
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:36.975
2 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:37.163
3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:37.380

Read: Full qualifying results

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