Date: 23rd July 2011 at 2:15pm
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Red Bull’s Mark Webber took pole position ahead of McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and team-mate Sebastian Vettel in Saturday’s qualifying.

Qualifying at the Nurburgring started with a dry track, with the clouds rolling in threatening rain at some stage in the session which never materialised.

Just like on Friday and earlier on this morning the temperature remained cool, which was going to cause teams problems with getting the two Pirelli tyre compounds up to optimum temperature, something which could have cost Jenson Button in the final qualifying session as the 2009 World champion complained of lack grip on his final runs in Q3.

Earlier in qualifying it was Felipe Massa who topped the time sheets in Q1 with a 1minute 31.826 second lap, Adrian Sutil’s Force India was second quickest with Renault’s Nick Heidfeld third.

With 30 seconds of Q1 to go Mercedes Nico Rosberg was the only driver in any risk of embarrassment, but his final attempt was easily good enough to get him through to Q2, so in the end the usual suspects were knocked out with HRT’s Daniel Ricciardo and Tonio Liuzzi at the back of the grid behind Jerome D’Ambrosio, Karun Chandhok, Timo Glock, Heikki Kovalainen and Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi the first of the midtable drivers to fall.

Qualifying 2 got under way with everyone setting an early time and all of a sudden Lewis Hamilton announced McLaren were in contention this weekend setting a great time beating the 1minute 31 second barrier for the first time.

McLaren, Red Bull and Ferrari were all content with their first runs leaving Mercedes, Renault, Force India and Williams to battle to sneak through into the pole position shoot-out.

Force India’s Paul di Resta was the first to strike knocking Renault’s Petrov out of the top ten on his final run.

Schumacher in the Mercedes then set a time to knock Maldonado in the Williams out of the top 10, Force India’s Sutil then knocked his team-mate out of the running with just 15 seconds of the session to go.

As the chequered flag fell next up to cross the line was Renault’s Petrov who needed to gain a tenth of a second to get through to Q3 which he managed, to knock Renault’s Heidfeld out in a highly entertaining end to the session.

So to round up, Heidfeld, di Resta, Maldonado, Barrichello, Perez, Buemi and Alguersuari were the drivers who were knocked out of Q2.

So with three teams battling for pole position Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was the first out of the garage setting a time of 1minute 30.866seconds, McLaren’s Hamilton then went a tenth faster before Red Bull’s Mark Webber blew both away going almost half a second quicker than both. Even team-mate and championship leader Sebastian Vettel couldn’t match Webber, however his time was good enough to get ahead of Hamilton and Alonso.

However with 4 minutes remaining there was still time to wheel the cars into the garage, change tyres and settings and have another run.

With less than 2 minutes remaining all ten cars were back out on track.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was first to have another go at pole position but could only get within two tenths of Webber’s time go third, Webber then beat his fastest first time with a lap of 1minute 30.079seconds to confirm pole position.

Hamilton then got within 0.55 seconds to set what Hamilton called a ‘wicked’ lap to start tomorrow’s race second on the grid.

Vettel finished qualifying in third, with Alonso fourth, Massa fifth, Rosberg sixth, Button will be disappointed to be a second behind Hamilton in seventh, Sutil eighth, Petrov ninth and Schumacher tenth.