As telly coverage ends with The Cult's classic rock anthem 'She Sells Sanctuary', this seems like the perfect time to say goodbye. Thank you for all your messages today. I'll be back from around 1130 BST tomorrow to take you through the race. Enjoy the rest of your day.
dyrewolfe on 606:
"Well, well... Red Bull lock out the front row again. Hamilton fluffed his last lap and presumably Button did too. Ferrari looking strong and both Renaults and Williams in the top 10 too. Should be an interesting race...assuming the drivers can figure out one or two good overtaking spots."
This is a big day for the Williams team. Hulkenberg and Barrichello posted exactly the same time - a 1:38.428 - but the Hulk is ahead of his team-mate because he set his time first.
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who is third on the grid:
"I am really happy to be here. This weekend we knew that the other teams were bringing updates and in practice we saw that we were quite a way behind. It is going to be an interesting race and I can't complain about where we are starting from."
Red Bull's Mark Webber, who is second on the grid:
"I am very happy to be on the front row, all credit to the team. It is not one of our strongest circuits, let's see how tomorrow goes. I am very optimistic that we are going to have a good race."
Pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel: "It's good. The last couple of races we did not have a smooth run. The race days were sometimes a bit rough. Canada and Valencia should not be our strongest but it's good that we can put the car on pole and the pace is looking good."
McLaren's Jenson Button is pretty downbeat after qualifying in seventh. "It was really good until the last corner but then I made a mistake," he tells the BBC. "I am disappointed to be down there because this is a circuit you can't overtake on. Hopefully I can get a good start, otherwise it's the pit stops."
Here's how the grid will look tomorrow - Vettel, Webber, Hamilton, Alonso, Massa, Kubica, Button, Hulkenberg, Barrichello and Petrov.
"Mama Mia!" exclaims Vettel as he drives home. He has got some Abba on in there? That's his first pole since China and Red Bull have now secured eight pole positions from the first nine races.
SEBASTIAN VETTEL QUALIFIES ON POLE FOR THE EUROPEAN GRAND PRIX 1401:
Hamilton makes a horlicks of it, that's it for him. Webber now, and he can't do it. What about Button? No. Or Kubica? No again.
The session is over. Vettel now, and that's a 1:37.587. He's on provisional pole but Webber, Hamilton, Button and Alonso are still out there.
Alonso is first out. He sets a 1:38.075 for fourth. Is he going to do another lap?
The Hulk moves up to fifth with a 1:38.428. The big boys are waiting for their moment, they then come out of the garages - here we go.
Vettel is third with a 1:38.028, then it is Button, Massa, Alonso, Petrov and Kubica.
They are all on the softer tyres now. Alonso sets a 1:38.698 even though he had to lift off a little during that lap. Hamilton, also on the softs, posts a 1:37.969. Red Bull respond - Webber posting a 1:37.852.
The light turns to green for Q3. "This is going to be dynamite," says a colleague. Can't really argue with that. By the way, our very own Sarah Holt has filed a blog on Toro Rosso's
take a quick peak why don't you.
BBC pundit Eddie Jordan:
"Nico Rosberg started the season the stronger and it was catch-up for Michael Schumacher, and we gave him the time. He had the car developed and made longer but all the technical developments have done nothing (for him), zippo. You saw, for me, a really poor, poor show in Canada, and this just further endorses it, Michael Schumacher is clearly not at ease with himself in Formula 1. Let's be very clear about the situation. If it was any other driver, other than the great Michael Schumacher, we'd be looking for his head, or most of the press would be looking for his head, because clearly this performance in the past couple of races has been very poor."
Just to clarity who has failed to make the final part of qualifying: Buemi, Rosberg, Sutil, Liuzzi, Schumacher, De la Rosa and Alguersuari. There's going to be even more questions about Schumacher now.
Massa now third after a 1:38.046. Session over. Schumacher sets a 1:39.234 for 15th - that's his worst qualifying performance of his comeback. Here's Rosberg - and he misses out as well. Big blow for Mercedes. Both Williams cars make the top 10 as do both Renaults.
Hamilton moves up to fourth with a 1:38.158. Buemi, Rosberg, Sutil, Liuzzi, Schumacher, De la Rosa and Alguersuari have one last lap to make Q3.
BBC pundit David Coulthard:
"Michael Schumacher may not have driven this circuit before but all the teams have simulators. Mercedes have one that's very well developed and he will have been there in Brackley, he'll have driven this circuit on it. He's just looking tentative. As Martin Brundle mentioned he's running the limiter in some places - that's just sloppy. This is a seven-time world champion, he knows how to shift gear. Running the limiter is costing you lap time and overheating the engine. In his first career, even when his car wasn't performing he would deliver a lap time - even if he had to jump in his team-mate's car he would deliver a lap time that was quicker, even on a bad day."
BBC F1 analyst Martin Brundle:
"This is not the same Felipe Massa that we saw in 2008 and the first part of 2009. He is not back up to speed yet, I don't think he is quite as crisp."
Schumacher is in the garage and is in discussion with his team. It really is close at the top end. Don't go anywhere.
Crazy scenes in Valencia. Vettel is quickest (1:38.015) then it is Webber (1:38.041), Kubica (1:38.062), Alonso (1:38.179), Hamilton (1:38.243) and Massa (1:38.335). Buemi, Rosberg, Sutil, Liuzzi, Schumacher, De la Rosa and Alguersuari are in trouble.
BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz:
"Schumacher's car was pulling to one side which is why they thought it was a power steering problem. He was only in the garage for seven or eight minutes before Q2 but they think they have fixed it."
It's pretty busy out there. Schumacher returns to the track and he is on the super-softs. Massa sets a time of 1:38.591 only for Alonso to post a 1:38.455. Hamilton then sets a 1:38.402 only for Webber to go quickest with a 1:38.041.
No time to rest, we are go for Q2.
Well that was close. Schumacher doesn't really look comfortable out there. "His performances in the last couple of races have been poor," says BBC F1 pundit Eddie Jordan. The drivers who duck out are: Kamui Kobayashi, Trulli, Kovalainen, Di Grassi, Glock, Chandhok and Senna. At the top it's Kubica, Vettel, Button, Barrichello, Alonso, Webber, Massa, Hamilton, Rosberg and Hulkenberg.
Schumacher is on his final flying lap. The Mercedes team tell him that there may be a power steering problem. "Can you drive around it?" they ask him. Unfortunately we don't hear an answer. Schumacher gets his car around in 1:38.994 and he's done it! He's up to 12th. Relief all round for Mercedes.
Kubica is top and he is followed by Vettel, Button, Alonso, Webber, Barrichello, Massa, Hamilton, Rosberg, Liuzzi and Sutil. Schumacher slips down into the drop zone. This is a massive moment for the German.
Another flying lap from Kubica and he improves to a 1:38.132. That Renault really does look good. Drop zone: Pedro de la Rosa, Kovalainen, Trulli, Glock, Di Grassi, Chandhok and Senna. Schumacher is 15th.
Just as I type that, Kubica moves straight to the top of the leaderboard with a 1:38.282. Could you do me a favour and manually refresh this page? Then, as if by magic, you will have that leaderboard back. I thank you.
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel is now quickest with a 1:38.324. Kubica is the only driver not to have set a time. Trulli, Kovalainen, Di Grassi, Chandhok, Senna and Glock are in the drop zone.
Lots of times being posted now. Alonso is top with a 1:38.736. Hold on, Rosberg moves into second with a 1:38.752.
The Hulk posts a 1:39.758 but then Button beats it with a 1:39.467. The Toro Rosso of Sebastien Buemi is third after a 1:39.956.
Trulli sets a 1:44.542. Virgin's Timo Glock posts a 1:43.683.
I have taken the leaderboard out of this story as we have some technical problems. It will be fixed as soon as possible. Many apologies. Anyway, on the track, the Lotus of Jarno Trulli is the first man out.
Green light - the 20-minute Q1 is up and running.
Ferrari on Twitter:
"There is a lot of tension in the garage. We all know it will be crucial to qualify well ahead in the grid if we want to reach our goal."
aaron1606 on Twitter:
"Alonso and Kubica front row - then the Red Bulls, then the McLarens - you read it here first!"
The weather in Spain is absolutely gorgeous now. The track temperature is 43C. This qualifying session is going to be massive as overtaking opportunities are absolutely critical at this street circuit. Ready?
Not long now. Jake Humphrey reveals the enormous boat in the Valencia harbour which I have been drooling over all weekend is owned by Force India chief Vijay Mallya. I wonder if he'll let me borrow it for a weekend? Just a thought. The telly boys try to talk themselves into speaking to Jenson Button as he walks to the McLaren garage. They all wimp out though and let the defending world champion prepare for the race.
David Coulthard on Michael Schumacher:
"For Michael to put in a merely good performance is not good enough."
Mercedes boss Ross Brawn speaking to David Coulthard on BBC One:
"We've not done a good enough job this year and whether the focus on last year's championship took a little bit of edge of what we've produced this year is possible. We know where we're going now and have more stability. Things are much more positive now that things are in place and we can really work on the future, but we're a bit disappointed at the moment. Michael Schumacher would admit he's not where he wants to be. We're seeing signs of progress in some races but not in others, but we've not had a great car this year, which has not helped him."
McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh:
"F1 has changed a lot, you have to change throughout the year otherwise you will get beaten. We are pushing hard and if you don't, then you will be behind in two or three races."
BBC commentator Jonathan Legard:
"I made a swift stop at Renault before qualifying to see how confident the team were after a strong performance from Robert Kubica in practice. The Pole, who was on the front row in Monaco, was second fastest to Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull. Renault are hopeful that Kubica will qualify in the the top few rows and that Vitaly Petrov will get into the top-10 shoot-out. Petrov says he is still struggling with the Renault's modified exhaust system."
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Valencia:
"And here is the promised news. I popped up to Ferrari HQ to see how the team were feeling ahead of qualifying. The Italian team came here with a major update and Fernando Alonso got the car humming to set the fastest time in Friday practice. But Ferrari now have a bit of a puzzle ahead of qualifying. Alonso set his fastest time in final practice - a 1:38.513 good enough for fifth overall - on the harder tyres whereas the super softs were expected to offer greater pace. Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari set the eighth fastest time of third practice on the softer compound. The word is that Alonso feels more comfortable over one lap on the harder tyres - which is contrary to the rest of the field - but the drivers who finish in the top 10 must start the race on the tyres which they used to earn their places on the grid. What I'm wondering is, will tyre and race strategy dilemmas affect Alonso's chase for pole?"
As for Schumacher, well he swatted away the criticism with an acerbic put down. "I don't take them seriously because there are different elements to Formula 1, and one part is show business," he said. "So I cannot take it seriously as a realistic criticism, so I put it down to show business, and to moan about me sometimes creates some attention, which maybe is to be purposely achieved." Time for a handbags graphic.
The return to F1 of seven-time champion Michael Schumacher has certainly created a few talking points this season. His out-of-sorts display last time out in Canada, when he tangled with Robert Kubica and Felipe Massa in finishing 11th, attracted a fair bit of attention - BBC F1 analyst Martin Brundle saying it was "the worst race I had ever seen him drive". However, Mercedes chief executive Nick Fry has
backed his man,
insisting: "We're very comfortable with Michael's performance and I can't see any reason why he won't come good."
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Valencia:
"Hello again. There's a nice breeze by the harbour in Valencia which, when you're striding up and down in all-black racesuits like Virgin's Lucas di Grassi and Timo Glock, is no bad thing. It's surprisingly quiet in the waterfront paddock. The biggest cheese here seems to be the boss of Spanish bank Santander - an important F1 sponsor and whose cash-point is handily close to my London abode. Don't worry, I'll have some proper F1 news in a minute."Holty, I'm disappointed that there are no celebs!! Surely box office names like Michael Ball would turn up for this one.
James Buckley via text:
"Sat in the sun with the laptop and a beverage, awaiting the quali. Go McLaren!!!"You've taken my advice, good work.
Andrew via text:
"Currently sat in Shangri La @ Glastonbury. No acts I want to see till four, any suggestion where I might find a TV to watch quali?"
No idea, I've never been. I reckon you should stick with us, but I would say that wouldn't I?!
There's plenty of gossip doing the rounds and you can take a look at our round-up of the latest titbits
It includes some nice quotes from Lewis Hamilton, who says Michael Schumacher is too old to make an impact in F1.
Look sharp, telly coverage of qualifying is now up and running on BBC One and also at the top of this page. And there's Jake's white jeans!! Steady now ladies.
England and Germany may be facing each other on the football pitch in South Africa tomorrow, but there was a little Anglo-German tension during free practice on Friday. Lewis Hamilton was balked at the final corner by Michael Schumacher as the seven-time world champion was slowing down because of a car in front. Although there were some hand gestures from Hamilton, the skirmish did not carry on afterwards. Which was nice. Here's Schumacher: "I must apologise as I did not see him and was not informed that he was there. As I was planning my lap at that moment and looking ahead, I was unfortunately in his way." And as for Lewis, here's what he said: "It's always difficult to find a gap out there. I saw him ahead of me and I thought he was on a quick lap - then, all of a sudden, he slowed down to create a gap from the guy in front. Around here, it's all about managing the gap between the guy in front and the guy behind. Fortunately, I missed him, so no hard feelings - and I hear he apologised anyway, so it's all good. There's no problem. Everyone's always backing up here at the final corner."
Steve in Lancing via text:
"To Dan in Ellesmere, orange juice and castor oil worked for my other half when my daughter was a week overdue! Good luck with the new addition to your family."What a lovely combination, was that at the same time?
Rachel, on a hot bus in Bristol via text:
"I can take those gold Spa tickets off him if needs be nearer the time! Hehe! Always wanted to go there!"
There's major news from the BBC F1 crew in Valencia. It seems as if the influence of David Coulthard MBE and Eddie Jordan has got to presenter Jake Humphrey. It is my duty to report that Jake, our very own Jake, is wearing white jeans. Extraordinary scenes.
BenIssatt on Twitter:
"Just something I noticed Orlo, Barrichello is sixth for Williams! Could all the big teams be sandbagging still? And Schumi is 15th!!"
Right then, qualifying is coming up at 1300 BST and just in case you are unsure as to how it works. Here's a very brief run down. All 24 drivers take part in Q1, with the slowest seven dropping out. Then 17 drivers go in Q2, with the slowest seven again getting sent to the naughty step. The remaining 10 drivers then battle it out in the Q3 shoot-out.
seanbhoy87 on Twitter:
"Can I go on record Orlo, Hamilton to miss out on pole by the slimmest of margins to Alonso. The rest is up for grabs. Can't wait!"Of course you can. You're right, it should be a cracker.
Hello there. Sorry about the little gap in commentary, it was time to grab a bit of lunch. Lunch this early? Madness.
Dan in Ellesmere, Shropshire via text:
"I've got gold tickets for Spa, but my wife is due to give birth on the race day. Do you have any tips I can use to 'help' her on? Cheers."That is some dilemma... I'm no help as all my children were late!
Tell you what though, qualifying is going to be absolutely cracking. The gap between Hamilton in 10th and Vettel in first is only 0.764 seconds. Where's your money?
Well, well. Vettel sets the fastest time, can he secure pole position for the first time since China? Orlo tip Kubica also looks strong while there's going to be a bit of head-scratching in the McLaren garage. Or are they simply keeping their powder dry?
The flag falls, it's the end of the session. Right at the end, Vettel is on a flyer and sets the quickest time of 1:38.052. Kubica ended up in second and he is followed by Webber (1:38.313), Sutil (1:38.500), Alonso (1:38.513), Rubens Barrichello (1:38.623), Vitantonio Liuzzi (1:38.676), Massa (1:38.686), Button (1:38.769) and Hamilton (1:39.816).
Keep with this, there's a lot changes at the top of the timesheets. Kubica posts the quickest time of 1:38.154, Sutil is up to fourth after a 1:38.500.
Webber beats his team-mate with a 1:38.313. Then it's Vettel, Alonso and Kubica.
Alonso does not improve on his time with the first two fast laps on those tyres but Vettel does. He's now quickest with a 1:38.487 despite getting caught up in a little bit of dirty air from the Lotus of Heikki Kovalainen near the end of the lap.
We now have the final 10 minutes and Alonso is out and about on the softer option tyres - so are Vettel and Webber.
We now have brief lull before the final flurry of activity. Nico Hulkenberg reports to his team that he is "pretty happy" with the balance of his Williams. The McLarens of Hamilton and Button are eighth and ninth and BBC 5 live analyst says the team "seem to be off the pace".
Kubica is up to second with a 1:38.564. Is this the time to mention that he's my cheeky bet for a place on the podium? Maybe not.
Alonso improves to a 1:38.513. Then it is Webber (1:38.720) and Vettel (1:38.727). We are getting an incredible camera shot of the underneath of Jenson Button's McLaren. It really highlights how close the bottom of the car is to the track.
BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz:
"One of the stories of the weekend is how good these Ferrari developments are. As admitted by technical director Aldo Cosa on Friday, this really is just a Mark I version (of their
Red Bull-style blown diffuser
) and there is more to come."
Now Alonso goes fastest - a 1:38.713. Rosberg is fourth and he is followed by Sutil, Kubica, Hamilton, Massa, Hulkenberg and Schumacher.
Alonso now moves up to second with a 1:38.970. Vettel is on the harder prime tyres and improves to a 1:38.727... and then Webber goes second with a 1:38.802. That Red Bull 'F-duct' seems to be working well.
Vettel now sets the fastest time - a 1:38.884. Then it is Sutil, Kubica and Alonso (1:39.187). I do apologise for not clarifying this earlier but the Red Button coverage is not available on Freeview. Sorry.
Renault's Robert Kubica is now top of the pops with a 1:39.123, hang on... Sutil beats it with a 1:39.066. Hamilton is third (1:39.226) and Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg fourth after a 1:39.357.
BBC commentator Jonathan Legard in Valencia:
"Red Bull say they will continue running their version of the F-duct for third practice. They've yet to use it during qualifying but plan to here. Mercedes will also be keeping their modified exhaust system on Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg's cars. McLaren say the tyres compounds - super-soft and medium - are very evenly matched. And the big question for Ferrari today is are they as fast as they think they now are?"
There's a host of times on the board now. Lewis Hamilton sets a 1:39.338 to post the quickest time so far while Force India's Adrian Sutil is second with a 1:39.522.
Ferrari on Twitter:
"The track is getting a bit more crowded but our drivers are still outside their cockpit."
BBC 5 live analyst Anthony Davidson on Michael Schumacher:
"Michael has done quite a respectable job so far. Nico Rosberg is a quick driver and I think he is wringing that car's neck. I think he has been underestimated for quite some time. He has come of age now and I think he is getting the best out of that car. F1 has changed quite a bit since Michael was in it a few years ago. It has moved on a lot. It's fair people are hard on him because he is such a legend. But he is getting older, he is not the driver he used to be - he already wasn't when he left Ferrari in my mind. Everyone was saying it was going to be hard for him and I didn't expect any fireworks. This is the best field since I've been following F1, and he couldn't have chosen a tougher time to come back. Don't forget that a lot of the time at Ferrari he had a dominant car and the only person he had to beat was his team-mate."
Virgin Racing report that Timo Glock wanted the team to look at the throttle settings. Di Grassi posts a 1:43.867.
THERE IS A CAR ON THE TRACK!! Sorry about the shouting, I got a bit excited. Virgin Racing's Lucas di Grassi is the man who has the Valencia circuit all to himself.
BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz:
"Sebastian Vettel has the troublesome gearbox that he had in Canada in his car. Vettel had a gearbox oil leak in Canada and drove half the race with low gearbox oil. Red Bull will be monitoring that."
It's all quiet out on the track. Everyone has now completed an installation lap. Ferrari's Felipe Massa steps out of the car and takes his helmet off. Cool as you like, overalls around his waste, Alonso takes a stroll down the pit lane. Track temperature is now 32C.
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Valencia:
"A lively start to the day at BBC HQ as DC and EJ have been reunited and another member of the team has just rushed in in search of gaffer tape. Goodness. We are all set for a final push for form on the track in final practice around Valencia's quayside circuit. The teams will tweak and try out their raft of updates in the final hour before qualifying at 1300 UK time. McLaren's Jenson Button says the key to a fast lap round here is how you use the kerbs. He says: 'It's all about hitting them cleanly and bouncing off them well. If your car doesn't ride the kerbs you can lose a lot of time around here.' Michael Schumacher has never driven around here until Friday and he said: 'It's demanding to get the real rhythm which I have not totally found over one lap yet.' Last chance to pull everything together in final practice before the dash for pole."
Four minutes in, and we have a problem for a Virgin Racing car. Timo Glock is just coasting around the track and BBC F1 analyst Anthony Davidson believes he is stuck in gear. Most of the cars have completed their installation laps.
AntonBear on Twitter:
"Looking forward to practice and quali, hope the McLarens were sandbagging yesterday. Another one-two with Jenson Button first would do nicely!"
And we are go for 60 minutes of final practice.
Coverage is up and running on the Red Button now. BBC pit-lane reporter Holly Samos
says Robert Kubica, who has Renault's version of the 'blown diffuser', is hoping for a top-five position in qualifying. It is a bit cooler today in Valencia. Track temperature is 30C, yesterday afternoon it was 45C.
andyloudon on Twitter:
"England beating Germany? That's never going to happen in the world of Football. McLaren might manage one up on Mercedes though!"
So then, Alonso took full advantage of that aerodynamic upgrade yesterday to set the
fastest time in Friday practice
- just 0.056 seconds clear of Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel. The Ferraris have a version of the exhaust-blown diffuser which is believed to have contributed so much to Red Bull's early dominance this season. Take a look at
Jonathan Legard's blog
on how this will affect Ferrari's title challenge. Apparently, a rival engineer believes Ferrari have the quickest car in Valencia. Take a
for an explanation as to how the exhaust-blown diffuser works.
Daryl in Kings Lynn via text:
"I'm looking forward to this afternoon, I think it could be tightest quali session of the year so far."
How can I catch the action, I hear you ask? Well let me tell you. Final practice is on the Red Button from 0955 BST with qualifying on BBC One from 1210 BST. Coverage of qualifying is also on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra. All this is also available from the stream at the top of this page. Lovely.
For today I suggest you grab your laptop, fold down the sun lounger in the garden, grab yourself a hearty breakfast, and settle down for what is bound to be a riveting day. What the hell, I'm even going to use a sun graphic. Don't forget though, that this is your commentary and I reckon today is as good a day as any to get involved. You can use
or text us on 81111
(UK) or +44 7786200666
(worldwide) with F1 before your message.
Some early news from Valencia to wake you up. BBC F1 commentator Jonathan Legard
"Red Bull running F duct and Mercedes running blown diffuser for qualifying and race. McLaren say tyres very evenly matched."
Hello you. It's a muggy morning in glamorous Shepherd's Bush and from the telly pictures we are getting, it seems pretty hazy in Valencia. We've got an hour of third and final practice starting at 1000 BST before qualifying begins at 1300 BST. And all before the World Cup gets going. What's not to like?
Ferrari have not had the honour of pole position since Brazil in 2008. It's a run of 25 races, their longest drought since 1990-94. But with Ferrari seemingly rediscovering their mojo and Fernando Alonso topping the timesheets in Friday practice, will that run come to an end today? A warm welcome to qualifying for the European Grand Prix (with a bit of practice thrown in).