Sebastian Vettel took his third pole position of the 2009 season today with a stunning lap on his final qualifying run at Silverstone.
He and Red Bull team mate Mark Webber had been trading fastest laps all weekend, indicating that the Red Bull is now clearly the fastest car in F1. What is impressive about the latest round of developments on this car is that it is now clearly faster in the high speed corners, but also in the low speed corners, like the complex here in Silverstone.
Brawn did a good job in Turkey of improving their car in high speed corners, but here they have not been able to compete with the Red Bulls in that area.
Team insiders believe that this could be a turning point of the season, albeit tempered by the fact that Jenson Button enjoys a huge advantage over Vettel of 32 points.
Nevertheless some of them feel that Red Bull is now around half a second per lap faster than the Brawn, possibly the biggest margin between the fastest and second fastest car we have seen all year. Red Bull could be in for a second half of the season like Brawn’s first half. If Jenson were to suffer a DNF at any stage, it could turn it from a formality into a sporting competition.
Toyota were quick in the qualifying session today, with Jarno Trulli trading times with the Williams of Nakajima and Rosberg.
Nakajima had one of his best days in an F1 car today, with 5th fastest time ahead of Rosberg. He was fastest in Q1, although no-one really noticed because of Adrian Sutil’s accident which caused the red flags.
British fans at Silverstone were left disappointed with Button in 6th place and Lewis Hamilton a career worst 19th on the grid. The McLaren looked very unstable in the fast corners here and Lewis, as last year, was not able to match team mate Kovalainen in qualifying.
Adrian Sutil is fine and has been released from the hospital after a heavy accident, caused by a brake failure.
Meanwhile Bernie Ecclestone has said that Silverstone could well still be the home of the race next season if Donington is not ready in time. It makes sense for him to speak on this now because it will play well with the fans, who are feeling bruised by the breakaway talk this week and also because any venue needs to be able to start selling tickets in the week following a race. Amazingly that is when a great deal of the sales are made. It will also keep Silverstone on side and less likely to side with an FOTA breakaway, if it gets that far.
Ecclestone is also reported to have suggested that he is working on brokering a solution ot the breakaway crisis, proposing that the budget cap be dropped completely if the teams sign up until 2014. He told reporters, “I say, provided they commit for at least five years, they can spend what they like.”
More will no doubt come out on this later.