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Three Is The Magic Number As We Qualify On Pole In Valencia

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It's been a roller coaster afternoon for Red Bull Racing here in Valencia today. Mark faced a hydraulic issue during qualifying which prevented his use of DRS and resulted in a nineteenth position on tomorrow's grid, while Sebastian delivered an impressive lap in the closing minutes to secure pole position for tomorrow's race start, his third pole of the season, his third in Valencia and the thirty-third pole of his Formula One career.

Michael Schumacher led the pack with just ten minutes to go in Q1 this afternoon with a fastest time of 1:39.577 at which point Sebastian had only just taken to the track for the first time and Mark remained in the garage after his installation lap. Sebastian managed P6 with his first lap of the Valencia circuit which rose to forty six degrees in temperature. With no DRS due to a hydraulics issue, Mark went out on soft tyres in an attempt to make the grade into Q2.

However, despite a good lap, Mark's efforts weren't enough and he went out along with Glock (who didn't take part due to illness), Pic, Karthikeyan, De la Rosa, Petrov and Vergne, who was denied by a last-ditch lap for seventeenth from Heikki Kovalainen. At this point it was Maldonado at the top with a lap of 1:38.825 followed by Di Resta, Hulkenberg, Rosberg, Hamilton, Perez, Massa, Alonso and Schumacher. Sebastian got through in fourteenth.

With Q2 underway it was all change for the drivers in a session that was equally as gripping as the first. With five minutes to go the quickest man was Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg with a time of 1:38.504. Kimi Raikkonen was behind him and Jenson, Lewis, Kamui, Seb, Romain, Paul, Michael and Nico Hulkenberg made up the top ten. Both Ferraris fell short after doing their first run on the harder tyre. As ever this season though, nothing stays the same for long and by the time the Q2 session ended we had Romain Grosjean on top with 1:38.489 and Seb had pulled himself up to the fourth spot while Alonso and Schumacher joined the non-qualifiers with respective eleventh and twelfth starts on tomorrow's grid.

Onto Q3 and that's when Sebastian pulled a pole out of his bag with a blistering lap time of 1:38.086 - more than three tenths faster than his fellow front-rower tomorrow, Lewis Hamilton. Monaldo, Grosjean, Raikkonen, Rosberg, Kobayashi, Hulkenberg, Button and Paul Di Resta make up the top ten for tomorrow's European Grand Prix.

So that’s Seb’s third pole position of 2012, his third here in Valencia and the thirty-third one of his career which is a truly incredible feat and proves there's definitely some mileage on the saying that 'three is the magic number"! Our Team Principal put the achievement into context earlier when he pointed out that it "...matches Jim Clark and Alain Prost, which are two extremely illustrious names".

Sebastian himself paid tribute to the team's collective effort in achieving the pole today saying: "We have been good here in previous years, so hopefully we can keep it up for tomorrow. The guys deserve that, they have worked hard all weekend.”

While we would have hoped for a stronger start for Mark, rest assured both RB8s will be attacking that track tomorrow. Mark has proved before that he is capable of determined driving through the pack, so we have no doubt that he'll be pushing hard and leaving a lot still to play for when the chequered flag rises.
 


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