Red Bull Racing driver Mark Webber has taken his second pole position of the season with a time of 1m30.399s, following the Australian’s pole at the Spanish Grand Prix in May. It is the eighth pole position of his career, continuing Red Bull’s domination of qualifying this year.
Webber, the winner of the British Grand Prix last year, used Pirelli’s P Zero Yellow soft tyres to set his quickest time, in a qualifying session that was characterised by changing conditions.
After rain throughout Friday, the uncertain weather persisted today with an ambient temperature of 19 degrees centigrade and a track temperature of 19 degrees as well. In Q1, conditions remained dry until 10 minutes from the end, by which time Webber had already set a benchmark time on the P Zero Silver hard compound tyres.
The track was damp at the start of Q2, ensuring that many of the leading runners came out on the P Zero Blue intermediate tyres. As the track dried the drivers progressively used the P Zero Yellow soft tyres – but with all of them leaving it until the very last minute to set a time, it was a frantic dash at the end to avoid the drop zone.
Conditions in Q3 started off dry, meaning that all the drivers headed out to put in a banker lap on the P Zero Yellow soft tyre straight away. The two Red Bull drivers were straight on the pace, with Webber leading Vettel, then with just over two minutes to go light rain began to fall again.
This confirmed the top positions, with a particularly fine effort from Force India’s Paul di Resta to secure a career-best sixth on the grid (beating his previous record of eighth in China) and a career-best seventh for Williams driver Pastor Maldonado (beating his previous record of eighth in Monaco). Both drivers used the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tyres to set their times.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery commented: “It’s been a fascinating continuation to what has been an extremely unpredictable weekend so far. The changing conditions meant that the teams had very little dry running before qualifying, and with all the drivers forced to make the most of a very limited window of opportunity to set a time, the pressure was on right down to the last minute. In the end Webber made the best use of his tyres at the right time, and that’s going to be the key to success again tomorrow. The forecast is for drier conditions, but you never know what will happen, particularly as the teams still have little data on the P Zero Silver and P Zero Yellow tyre under racing conditions at Silverstone. Strategy is going to be critical, and this presents drivers such as di Resta and Maldonado with the opportunity to capitalise on their excellent qualifying performances.”
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