In a thoroughly exciting qualifying session, there was a change at the top of the qualifying timesheets from what we have been used to, this season and further down the order, there was a Lotus in Q2 for the first time this season.
Mark Webber qualified his Red Bull RB7 on pole position with a time of 1:20.981, two tenths of a second quicker than Sebastian Vettel in the sister Red Bull. It is the first time this season that anyone but Vettel had been on top on a Saturday but this is a track that Webber likes after a pole position and a dominant win last year. Lewis Hamilton is on the third row of the grid with a good performance from his McLaren; however he was almost a second off the pace of Mark Webber.
Local boy Fernando Alonso put in a brilliant performance to qualify in fourth place, just three thousands of a second behind Hamilton. Jenson Button is on the third row of the grid, right behind Alonso by just a mere two thousandths of a second, and just five thousandths of a second behind his team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
The next best placed person was Vitaly Petrov who put his Renault in 6th place with a time of 1:22.471. The Russian gave a great performance to give Renault some hope of a good result after his team-mates Renault caught fire in Saturday morning practice, meaning that he couldn’t set a time in qualifying.
Seventh place on the grid was Nico Rosberg in his Mercedes. He put in a time of 1:22.599 to put his car on the fourth row of the grid, two hundredths of a second behind the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa.
Pastor Maldonado was a season best ninth, leaving him in a good position for a good race finish after putting in a time of 1:22.952. Michael Schumacher went out for one run on the hard tyres at the end of Q3 but aborted the run on his out lap, leaving him 10th on the grid without having set a time in Q3.
11th place on the grid went to Sebastian Buemi who qualified directly ahead of Sergio Perez in his Sauber and his Toro Rosso team-mate Jaime Alguersuari. Kamui Kobayashi in the second Sauber finished the session in P14 and an excellent performance from Heikki Kovalainen saw him not only bring Lotus into Q2 for the first time this season but he also out qualified the two Force Indias of Paul Di Resta and Adrian Sutil respectively.
Jarno Trulli ended the session in 18th place, out qualifying Rubens Barrichello whose session ended prematurely with a gearbox problem which stopped him from being able to put in a final lap to get into Q2. Timo Glock was next, with the two Hispanias of Liuzzi and Karthikeyan in 21st and 22nd, who both out qualified Jarome Dambrosio in the Virgin. Nick Heidfeld was last however he didn’t set a time after the fire in Saturday morning practice.
All of this shapes up for a very exciting Spanish Grand Prix