Well, you can’t say you weren’t warned. With almost crushing inevitability, Red Bull have locked out the front row for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya – Mark Webber beating team mate Sebastian Vettel into second on the grid with a lap time nearly a full second quicker than McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, who starts from third.
It was a truly staggering margin, and although the Briton insisted afterwards that “anything can happen” in a Formula One race, he seemed to say it more in hope than expectation.
Unless Hamilton performs a particularly effective rain dance in his hotel room, or reliability gremlins strike Red Bull once again, the statistics say he might as well be driving in a different race. The pole-sitter has won every race at this circuit since 2001 and Webber has no intention of bucking that trend now.
“It was a sensational quali session but there are no points today,” the Australian said, trying hard to keep a lid on his excitement. “Christian (Horner, the Red Bull team principal) said before the session ‘you probably won’t get to drive a car like this around this track very often so just go and enjoy it’, and I did. I am looking forward to the race.”
Vettel is surely the only man who can challenge Webber. And he can point to another statistic, this time in his favour; that no pole-sitter has yet gone on to win a race this year.
Vettel should know, he has been on pole for three of the four races and yet his only win came when he started just behind Webber in Kuala Lumpur.