Sebastian Vettel re-asserted Red Bull Racing's authority in qualifying today for the European Grand Prix at Valencia in Spain by heading the pack and claiming his fourth pole position of the F1 2010 season.
Vettel, who had been fastest in final practice this morning, was on it throughout qualifying, posting the second best effort in Q1 and the fastest time in Q2 and Q3. He ended the session on a 1 minute 37.587 seconds, the best of the weekend.
Mark Webber meanwhile was next up, to give the Milton Keynes-based outfit its fourth front row lock of the season. Webber had held top spot through the first half of the top-ten shoot-out, but was pipped near the end and though he improved on his final run, it wasn't quite enough. He finished up just 0.075s adrift.
Lewis Hamilton took third and was the only other man in the 1m 37s. He was lucky to hang onto the place though after losing the rear end of his McLaren into turn 17 on his final run and blowing any hope of matching his Canadian GP pole of two weeks ago.
Fernando Alonso completes the second row, and given he was at the top of the times in practice on Friday, was disappointingly almost half a second off P1 in his Ferrari F10. His team-mate and inaugural Valencia GP race winner, Felipe Massa will start fifth, on a 1m 38.127s, just 0.052s slower.
Robert Kubica was again a force to be reckoned with in his Renault and took P6, ahead of reigning F1 world champion, Jenson Button, who made a mistake on his final lap. The Englishman was not at all pleased.
F1 2010 rookie's Nico Hulkenberg and Vitaly Petrov both made it into the final part of qualifying and will start eighth and tenth, sandwiching the Williams of veteran, Rubens Barrichello. Barrichello incidentally set exactly the same time as his team-mate, Hulkenberg, a 1m 28.428s, but starts one place slower as he posted the marker later on.
While Williams had much to celebrate though, especially given this year has been quite tough to date, Mercedes and Force India were both left looking a bit lacklustre and went out in Q2. They weren't even on the cusp either, as that 'honour' went to Sebastien Buemi and Toro Rosso, who was P11 in the second session.
Mercedes men Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher will thus line-up 12th and 15th respectively, with FIF1's Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi slotted in-between in 13th and 14th. Schumacher, who was criticised after his performance in Montreal, only just made out of Q3 too, posting a time to lift him up to 12th right at the end. However he continued to struggle in Q2, with reports suggesting he had some sort of power steering issue. It was his worst qualifying position since opting to return to F1 at the start of the year.