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F1 2010 pole positions - Red Bull dominated qualifying, but did success last through each race?

Published by Christine

As the season ramps up to it's closing race, we are gradually passing landmarks. Last Free Practice Friday of the 2010 season, last ever Bridgestone qualifying, last pole position of the year. With a full set of statistics for pole-sitters now, I thought it would be good to have a quick look at who's done well and who may have been expected to do better.

As I'm sure you're aware by now, Red Bull have absolutely dominated qualifying this season. A tweet that flew past my eyes just after today's qualifying had finished earlier:

Red Bull takes a remarkable 15th pole of the year, matching the record also achieved in dominant seasons by McLaren and Ferrari.

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You could hardly call this a dominant season for Red Bull, though. They certainly started out the year looking as though they would be able to match Brawn GP for world domination, but gradually their grip on the top has faded as the year has progressed. The constructors title is in the bag, but they are clinging on to driver title hopes by the skin of their teeth.

Still, you cannot fault them on qualifying prowess.

Top Qualifiers in 2010
Sebastian Vettel10
Mark Webber5
Fernando Alonso2
Lewis Hamilton1
Nico Hülkenberg1

Vettel has an amazing ability to unlock speed around one lap that we haven't seen in a driver for a long time. That so-called "qualifying specialist" tag may apply to the young German. The problem for him comes in translating that qualifying speed into a race win. A quick look at the table below shows that it wasn't until Europe that he managed to convert a pole position into a race win, whilst Webber did it twice ahead of him.

Qualifying vs The Race in 2010
Grand PrixPole SitterRace Pos
1BahrainSebastian Vettel4
2AustraliaSebastian VettelDNF
3MalaysiaMark Webber2
4ChinaSebastian Vettel6
5SpainMark Webber1
6MonacoMark Webber1
7TurkeyMark Webber3
8CanadaLewis Hamilton1
9EuropeSebastian Vettel1
10BritainSebastian Vettel7
11GermanySebastian Vettel3
12HungarySebastian Vettel3
13BelgiumMark Webber2
14ItalyFernando Alonso1
15SingaporeFernando Alonso1
16JapanSebastian Vettel1
17KoreaSebastian VettelDNF
18BrazilNico Hülkenberg8
19Abu DhabiSebastian VettelTBC

Aside from Red Bull, it's also worth noting that McLaren have only scored one pole position this year, but have still managed to be right up there and fighting for the title along with the best of them. Equally, Alonso has two and is currently leading the driver standings.

We assumed that pole position was going to be ever more important this year, with a lack of refuelling strategy to fall back on, but with the continuing pit stops, plus some rather inconsistent driving from those at the front, it hasn't been the be all and end all that we might have expected.

While no points are ever scored on a Saturday, this year qualifying has remained one of the most exciting sessions of the weekend. With so much at stake in Abu Dhabi though, all eyes will be firmly fixed on the race.