It was a qualifying session of firsts at Catalunya, where Mark Webber beat teammate Sebastian Vettel to pole position, something no driver has managed so far this season. Further down the grid, Team Lotus got into Q2 and for the first time, qualified ahead of a few midfield cars.

Q3 was a two horse race for pole. Both the Red Bull drivers only did one hot lap. World champ Vettel went first with a 1m21.181s (without KERS) before Mark topped it with a 1m20.981s (his KERS was working). No one looked to be capable of touching those times, so the Bulls spent the last minutes of qualifying relaxing. The second row will be filled by Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso in fourth.

Further back, McLaren’s Jenson Button lines up alongside Vitaly Petrov for Lotus Renault GP. The Russian did a good job, but teammate Nick Heidfeld wasn’t even part of qualifying – his R31 burst into flames in morning practice caused by an exhaust failure. They couldn’t fix his car in time.

The rest of the top ten reads Nico Rosberg, Felipe Massa, Pastor Maldonado and Schumacher. The Williams man drove well to enter Q3, balancing the mood from the other side of the garage – a gearbox problem means Rubens Barrichello qualified 19th.

Team Lotus made the progress it was talking about, as Heikki Kovalainen took his updated T128 to 15th place on the grid. That’s ahead of the Force Indias of di Resta and Sutil. Then came Trulli in 18th place ahead of Rubens’ sick Williams. While it’s great to see Team Lotus competing in Q2 and placed ahead more than just the usual four cars, it has to be qualified that Force India opted to use hard tyres in Q2, saving the faster soft Pirellis all for tomorrow’s race.

Webber was fifth in Australia, fourth in Malaysia, third in China and second in Turkey. Will he be first in Spain? Here’s to a great race day tomorrow. Click here to view the qualifying time sheet.