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Mark Webber may have seen his Barcelona pole run end with a lowly 12th place on Saturday, but the Australian carries no less than four sets of new tyres into Sunday’s Grand Prix. Similarly, Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel has three new sets.
“I’m pretty surprised by that,” Webber admits, having been caught out as he sat in the garage and saw his name tumble down the order as others improved in Q2. “The guys did a good job with the car and were pushing hard all weekend. We were quick, but the track kept getting faster and we got caught out.
“My first timed lap in Q2 wasn’t fast enough. I was P2 after the first lap and we thought we had done enough, but in the end it wasn’t. I didn’t use two sets of tyres in Q2, which it turns out wasn’t the right thing to do. I was told not to go out again, but the way that the track improved was a surprise to all of us.”
Vettel did not intend to start Sunday’s race on the Soft compound and so elected to pit and not post a lap time in the top ten shootout. He starts eighth.
“A pretty different session today, it was extremely tight,” says the winner of Bahrain and last year’s race in Spain. “From Q1 onwards we decided to go on the Soft tyres. The first run in Q2 wasn’t good enough, so I had to go again and it was clear then that if we made it to Q3 we wouldn’t have any new Soft tyres left.
“I think we got the maximum at the end there in Q3; we saved some sets of tyres, which we thought going in to qualifying would be crucial, but we didn’t have the pace of the top five cars today. Tyres will be important tomorrow, so let’s see what we can do.”
This means eighth position is Red Bull’s highest on the grid this weekend - their worst qualifying result since the Italian Grand Prix of 2009.
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