Shane van Gisbergen has sealed another pole position on the Adelaide streets as Red Bull Holden Racing Team stablemate Jamie Whincup fell to seventh in a gripping Top 10 Shootout.
Last man out Whincup, who took pole and victory at the Superloop Adelaide 500 on Saturday, lost nearly half a second in the final sector of his lap to hand his teammate pole for Sunday afternoon’s Race 2.
Defending series champion Scott McLaughlin made it an all-Kiwi front row, with Tickford duo Cameron Waters and Will Davison filling out the second row.
It marked van Gisbergen’s 30th career pole and eighth on the Adelaide Parklands Circuit, drawing level with Whincup’s tally which itself rose to eight following his Saturday effort.
Earlier, the two-part qualifying began in high drama for Brad Jones Racing rookie Jack Smith, who caused a red flag after he hit the Turn 8 wall. When the session resumed, Lee Holdsworth swiped the same wall but managed to top Q1, and would carry over his pace to end up P6 in Q2.
Whincup and Waters were split by just 0.0436s at the top in Q2, with the Red Bull Holden driver’s 1:19.8363s the benchmark, the top 10 covered by 0.5993s down to Anton De Pasquale.
Whincup wins opening race
For the second day running, De Pasquale was the first man out in the shootout, but his 1:20.5161s was quickly usurped by Rick Kelly before Fabian Coulthard went even faster. Chaz Mostert – who holds the practice/qualifying lap record after his Friday heroics – pipped Coulthard by 0.0191s to be fastest through the first four runners.
Van Gisbergen had other ideas, despite the track warming up, putting 0.3s on Mostert before Will Davison gave away a strong opening sector to slot in between the Holden duo.
McLaughlin’s effort proved 0.0383s down despite a fastest first sector of his own, while Waters went in the opposite direction and slotted into third.
That left Whincup to try set a Red Bull Holden front row, and two quick sectors had the seven-time champion in line for pole. However, the #88 pilot fell away in the final sector to cede pole to his teammate and make his chances to defend his Saturday win much tougher.
Seven years on, it’s still one of those infamous phrases which will take its place in Formula 1 infamy for generations, and leaves a rotten taste in the mouth for many.
March 24, 2013 was a date which saw Red Bull split down the middle, leaving an irreparable chasm in the team garage. According to the Multi-21 team order, race leader Mark Webber was supposed to finish the Malaysian Grand Prix ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel, who had been ordered to maintain P2.
However, in full view of the world – and with Webber having turned down his engine – Vettel muscled his way through in the closing laps to steal victory, depriving Webber of what would have been his final F1 win.
The podium celebrations were hardly celebrations, with Webber also berating Vettel in the cool down room in front of the camera: “Multi-21, Seb. Yeah, Multi-21.”
It was tension not seen between teammates since the animosity between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, although Vettel – a reigning three-time world champion – had the team in his corner, while Webber was at the time hurtling towards retirement.
“It probably culminated at the end of 2012 when Sebastian was fighting [Fernando] Alonso for the championship and Mark squeezed him up against the pit wall at the start of the race in Brazil, in the championship decider,” Horner told the official F1 podcast in 2018.
“This ultimately resulted in him getting turned round by Bruno Senna. Sebastian was hugely angry about that.
“There was a hangover of that that led into Malaysia, literally two races later, split by four or five months. You had a situation where you have Mark in the car ahead, Sebastian on new tyres in the car behind.
“The tyres were pretty fragile, we’re telling them hold position and Sebastian thought, ‘f**k you’.”
The Vettel-Webber relationship had been fractious for some time, even before the Malaysia meltdown. Vettel was the Red Bull academy’s first genuine star and had already steered himself and the team to three straight driver-constructor doubles between 2010 and 2012.
Webber, meanwhile, joined the Red Bull family in 2007, and had one real shot at the title in 2010, only to crash out in Korea while in the standings lead before losing out to Vettel in the Abu Dhabi season finale.
Vettel had started the 2013 Sepang race from pole, but Webber held the lead for much of the afternoon as the Red Bull duo kept the duelling Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg behind.
Once Vettel defied the Multi-21 order with 13 laps to go, the Red Bull pit wall was left knowing they would walk away with the perfect result – a 1-2 finish – but with one driver under fire despite executing a ruthless assault, and the other left knowing where he stood.
In his autobiography, Aussie Grit: My Formula One Journey, Webber shed more light on the drama: “I knew within two laps that Seb was going to take matters into his own hands despite the reassurance over the radio that the race was mine. I started defending, but as a result of our respective qualifying runs he had new tyres and I didn’t.
“Whatever his thinking was, when he overtook me I wasn’t so much angry as very sad that the team had reached this sorry state.”
Horner’s managing of the race was also there for all to see, radioing to the German at the time: “This is silly Seb, come on”. It later escalated to the point where Webber thought Horner was trying to satisfy his Red Bull seniors, prompting the Australian’s wife and long-time manager Ann to seek an explanation from the team principal as to why Vettel had avoided punishment
At the next race in China, Vettel told Webber of his frustration after what happened in Brazil four months earlier, Horner describing that discussion as “probably as tense as it could get”.
There, Webber felt his and Vettel’s relationship had hit rock bottom: “The ensuing conversation was the most disappointing moment of our entire relationship. [Vettel] said he was pissed off by what I had said on the podium in Malaysia, that while he respected me as a driver he had no respect for me as a person.
“That was a heavy line for me. I simply said, ‘Then our relationship is in trouble. That’s it.’
“I had clung to the belief that we might sort things out between us but I couldn’t help thinking someone must have got in his ear to cause such an about-face.
“Christian later Insisted it was all of Sebastian’s own doing, his justification being that it was payback for Silverstone 2011 and Brazil 2012. I could have gone back a lot further than that.”
Ferrari remains adamant its pace in testing was “true” amid suggestions the team was ‘sandbagging’ with its new-for-2020 SF1000.
Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc strayed from top times across the six days of testing in Barcelona last month, instead trying to understand the new car as the team aims to end a 13-year title drought.
“Where will be compared to the others? Barcelona is always testing, you need to wait for the first three races to understand where you are.
“It’s important for us as a team to continue progressing, to have solid race weekends, from the team, driver and reliability point of view.”
Ferrari made a concerted effort to improve the handling of its car, but it seemed to come at the expense of more drag.
Binotto conceded Ferrari “steered the direction of our project into a different direction compared to the past”, but explained that in losing initial ground in testing, the team has more room to move when it comes to future “potential development”.
Critically, he suggested where Ferrari lost out in 2019 – race pace – could well improve year on year thanks to a better all-round package which can retain tyre life in races in 2020.
“We have been a lot faster through the corners compared to last year,” Binotto said.
“The car is doing what we are expecting, being faster in the corners, but we’re slower on the straights.
“I think we believe that having more downforce should help us not only on a single lap but also in the race, like in tyre management and tyre wear.
“If I think of the race simulations we did, compared to single laps performance, we have been stronger on the longer stints. That’s the benefit of more downforce.”
Broadcast details have been confirmed for the new Erebus Motorsport docuseries, which was filmed throughout the 2019 Supercars season.
The eight-part series, Inside Line – A Season with Erebus Motorsport, documents the challenging campaign for the Holden squad, which ran under the Penrite Racing banner with drivers David Reynolds and Anton De Pasquale, team owner Betty Klimenko and CEO Barry Ryan.
The series will be broadcast exclusively on Fox Sports (channel 506) and Kayo, with the first episode to air Tuesday March 31 at 7:00pm.
The second episode will air on Thursday April 2 at 7:00pm, with subsequent episodes to be relased on the following three Tuesday and Thursdays.
Sky NZ will be taking the series for New Zealand viewers. Check local guides for details.
The release of the series comes as the racing is put on hold amid the COVID-19 outbreak, with Supercars also revealing plans to run an online All Stars Eseries.
The Inside Line series will also be an annual production, with a new team to feature in the next series based on events of the 2020 season.
Klimenko said: “I was all for doing this. In the beginning it was a little daunting, but once you got used to a crew they were really good about it and it just became part of every weekend. I forgot about them half the time. I’d go to the bathroom and leave my mic on by mistake!
“I think people will love it because they’re going right behind the scenes. Not just right into the garage but de-briefs, the personal lives of the people who make up Erebus. They’re going to see what makes us tick. Every team is different and this is how we do it.”
“Our new annual docuseries Inside Line provides an excellent insight into the world of Supercars and all the dynamics of a motorsport team – getting to know their personal lives, the explosive track action and the team’s full-blown rivalries,” Supercars CEO Sean Seamer added.
“With unprecedented access to the inner sanctums of the team and drivers, both on and off the track, this compelling series is a must watch for any sports fan and showcases what is at the very heartbeat of our championship.”
In the wake of the global success of Netflix’s Drive to Survive series, based off events in a calendar Formula 1 season, Fox Sports chief Peter Campbell was keen to take fans into the inner sanctum of a leading Supercars squad.
“Inside Line – A Season with Erebus Motorsport is a fantastic addition to our unrivalled motorsport offering and we’re thrilled that the first and only place it will be seen is on Foxtel and Kayo Sports.
“Following on from the success of Formula 1’s Drive to Survive on Netflix, that is also available on the new Foxtel user experience, we’re very proud to showcase our own characters from the Supercars Championship and take fans to places they’ve never been before.
“Foxtel subscribers will also be able to stream the series anywhere, anytime on Foxtel GO.”