Winners and losers from Nurburgring quali

Webber1Today’s qualifying session for tomorrow’s German Grand Prix was an exciting affair in which Mark Webber staked his claim to his first win by putting his Red Bull RB5 on pole position.

The Australian was the biggest winner of the day. His pole gives him the best chance he has yet had to make his mark on this year’s world championship, for which many consider his team-mate Sebastian Vettel the better Red Bull bet. Webber will not be troubled by the prospect of rain – he is an acknowledged wet-weather specialist and his car has proven its worth in the wet this season already.

Read Forumula1.com’s Exclusive Interview with Mark Webber at the beginning of the season HERE.

The Brawns were not far behind the lead Red Bull man, and their ever present threat reminds Red Bull of the need to always score the maximum possible. Brawn are in the position where they can play percentages – Jenson Button needs only to deploy his famed consistency and he will be triumphant come the end of the season. Tomorrow, however, the Brit will start behind his team-mate Rubens Barrichello.

Other winners included the McLarens, who converted Thursday and Friday’s practice pace (which some thought showboating) into hard results. Hamilton lines up fifth, but a deserved mention goes to Heikki Kovalainen, who chucked his own less developed machine into sixth. Kovalainen has not had the latest upgrades that Hamilton is enjoying, and it is clear the MP4-24 likes the Eifel mountains track.

Otherwise, Adrian Sutil proved the adage that home advantage really makes a difference, turning up a shocking seventh. Even taking fuel load into account, this is a great job. Nelson Piquet Jr finally proved he has a modicum of talent by making it into the top ten, no mean feat. The reported ultimatum that Renault gave Piquet last week – that Germany would be his last race unless he improved – surely had no impact on Nelson’s performance.

First amongst the losers we find Sebastian Vettel, who had difficulties timing his run correctly. The German will be cursing his luck, as the Red Bull might just have the edge over the Brawn here. He will have to show his mettle and get past at least one of the two white cars if he wants to keep his chase of Jenson Button going in the championship.

The tricky conditions in Q2 gave viewers a host of spinners, the highest profile of which was Fernando Alonso. Despite being outqualified by his team-mate for the first time in one and a half years the Spaniard only starts two places behind the Brazilian in 12th. It could have been worse for the Renault man.

Among the other spinners were Kazuki Nakajima and Timo Glock. Glock had a torrid session by all accounts, and Toyota do not seem to be able to make their car work in front of their many invited employees here. Last of all the runners was Sebastian Bourdais, also a spinner. The Frenchman is reported to have been given a similar ultimatum to Piquet’s, and today will not have helped his cause. Toro Rosso tester Jaime Alguersuari and rally star Sebastian Loeb are names linked with the Toro Rosso seat in the event that Bourdais goes.