Mark Webber, Red Bull, Barcelona, 2011

Webber beats Vettel to pole position in Spain

2011 Spanish Grand Prix qualifying

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Mark Webber, Red Bull, Barcelona, 2011
Mark Webber, Red Bull, Barcelona, 2011

Mark Webber took pole position for the second year in a row in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel was hampered by a faulty Kinetic Energy Recovery System but was still able to take second ahead of the McLarens.

Lewis Hamilton starts third ahead of Fernando Alonso.


The huge gap in performance between the hard and soft tyres meant most teams had to consider using soft tyres even as early as Q1.

The major exceptions were Red Bull and McLaren, the latter pair falling to 14th and 15th as other drivers improved on soft tyres. However Mercedes and Ferrari both used soft tyres to ensure their drivers reached Q2.

Nick Heidfeld was unable to join in following his fire during practice. And a gearbox problem after his first run condemned Rubens Barrichello to elimination as well.

That handed a rare place in Q2 to Lotus’s Heikki Kovalainen.

The usual suspects filled the remaining places but all the drivers who set times were within the 107% time. Jerome d’Ambrosio, the slowest qualifier, was inside by just three tenths of a second.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

18Jarno TrulliLotus-Renault1’26.521
19Rubens BarrichelloWilliams-Cosworth1’26.910
20Timo GlockVirgin-Cosworth1’27.315
21Vitantonio LiuzziHRT-Cosworth1’27.809
22Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’27.908
23Jerome d’AmbrosioVirgin-Cosworth1’28.556
24Nick HeidfeldRenaultNo time


Sebastian Vettel was fastest in Q2 despite not being able to use his Kinetic Energy Recovery System.

Team mate Webber was second, two-tenths of a second slower than his team mate, ahead of the two McLarens.

Force India resigned themselves to not reaching Q3 and elected not to use a set of soft tyres. That allowed Heikki Kovalainen to beat them to 15th.

The Saubers and Toro Rossos also failed to reach Q3 as Pastor Maldonado reached the final ten for the first time.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Sebastien BuemiToro Rosso-Ferrari1’23.231
12Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’23.367
13Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso-Ferrari1’23.694
14Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’23.702
15Heikki KovalainenLotus-Renault1’25.403
16Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’26.126
17Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’26.571


Jenson Button led the cars out as the final ten minutes of qualifying began.

The McLaren duo briefly sat at the top of the times, Hamilton just three tenths of a second faster than Button.

But they were quickly beaten by the two Red Bulls, led by Vettel.

Webber had even more speed in reserve, though, and his 1’20.981 was a full second faster than the McLarens could manage.

An impressive effort by Fernando Alonso split the McLarens, leaving him just three-thousandths of a second slower than Hamilton.

Vitaly Petrov was sixth in front of Nico Rosberg and Felipe Massa.

Pastor Maldonado was ninth ahead of Michael Schumacher, who left the pits on hards but did not set a time.

Top ten in Q3

1Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’20.981
2Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’21.181
3Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’21.961
4Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’21.964
5Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’21.996
6Vitaly PetrovRenault1’22.471
7Nico RosbergMercedes1’22.599
8Felipe MassaFerrari1’22.888
9Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Cosworth1’22.952
10Michael SchumacherMercedesNo time

2011 Spanish Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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119 comments on “Webber beats Vettel to pole position in Spain”

  1. hopefully webber gets a good start. pole means nothing if he gets swamped.

    1. Webber to have his usual terrible start and Vettel’s KERS inoperable, leaving Hamilton to cruise into P1 at turn 1. Well, here’s hoping anyway!

      1. I predict he will have a bad start. Like at Belgium last year from pole. I really hope he wins.

      2. Laranja Mecanica
        21st May 2011, 14:28

        Starting with a flat tyre which leave it in the bin at the first turn

        1. I finally predict with me head rather than me heart and Webber goes and sticks the thing on pole.

          1. Vettels KERS didn’t work – You couldn’t know. I got caught also with my usual guess Vettel on Pole.

      3. There seems to be an increasing number of McLaren/Ferrari fans who can only hope that their chosen driver finds his 25 points through the misfortune of somebody else as opposed to beating them hands down.

  2. Fantastic Mark. Lets beat him were it matters too.

  3. Damn, Webber’s pole time was 14 thousandths faster than what I predicted him to do…

    Mega lap from Alonso and Petrov did a solid job too, and good stuff from Maldonado. Even if attration/stratgey played it’s part it’ll still be a confidence booster.

    1. I was only 2 thousandths off. I went for 1:20.981 – :(

      Anyone closer?

      1. sorry I went for 1:20.983 compared to his actual lap

        1. sid_prasher (@)
          21st May 2011, 15:01

          i had webber at 01:21.022

        2. had webber at 1:20.987…

        3. Very impressive – congratulations. Can I borrow Your crystal ball for the Lotto next week?
          I think You should have points for guessing the right pole time, and the 9 closest to get some points too. Even if I was far too optimistic this time with 1:19.995. KERS working on Vettels RBR wouldn’t have made that either.

      2. I had a .985, its the 21 seconds I needed to work on :(

    2. And Kovalainen? Astonishing performance.

      1. I know yeah? Massive stuff from Heikki.

      2. Definitely. Getting into Q2 was good, but you can’t help but think it was as a result of a terrible session for Barrichello and a no show from Heidfeld. However, to beat Force India hands down is astonishing indeed.

  4. I’m very impressed with Kovaleinen and Maldonado and quite disappointed with the two Saubers. The former two have improved MASSIVELY.

    As for the Red Bulls…. over a 1 second gap between them and McLaren and both drivers getting out of their cars before the session’s even over? Boring. Again. It’s 2004 all over again. That Q3 was the dullest qualifying I’ve seen in ages.Let’s hope the race gives us something else.

    Nice to see Webber on pole finally though – 5th, 4th, 3rd and 2nd and now possibly 1st tomorrow – and people rubbished my prediction of that two weeks ago.

    1. It´s Red bull´s fault or the others that can´t match their pace, you just have to choose which angle you wont to look at

      1. Its the rules, not RBR pace. Mclaren didn’t turn a wheel in the last 5 minutes either

    2. Any word on if Kobayashi was held up, or made a mistake in S2 before he gave up on his 2nd run in Q2?

      1. He said he was behind a Force India which made a mistake and slowed him down.

        1. Thanks for that, was wondering why he had a quiet last few moments.

    3. When you have drivers wondering wether to go out or not to save tyres you have to look at the tyre rationing.

    4. Really looks like Maldonado is getting to grips with F1 now. And Heikki looks to be really getting the maximum out of the car currently. He was helped a bit by FI going for hards only to save tyres for the race though.

  5. Nice to see a different pole sitter for the first time this season even if it was aided by Vettels mechanical woes =)
    What stood out for me the most in Q3 was Petrov. Looking at his live timing he had an extremely slow second sector and lost around half a second to the card around him. I think he had a real shot at third place today – that Renault is a rocket. It’s such a shame about Nicks car, here’s hoping ‘The Webber’ works out for him tomorrow

    1. is it me or are virgin fast becoming the slowest car on the grid?

      1. Well they ain’t far from HRT but if you are talking about D’Ambrosio he had problems so that’s not his real pace.

  6. Massa not even a tenth faster than Maldonado…

    1. I’m trying so hard to think of an acceptable excuse but there isn’t one.

      1. The problem is there’s a good few tenths between Alonso and Massa anyway, so when Alonso does something special and Massa finds it a bit tough the gap becomes huge.

        Considering Massa has done quite well this year already I’ll let this one slide, as long as he doesn’t make a habit of being this underwhelming…

        1. Massa has struggled for consistency since his accident, which is a shame because when he is on it there are few that can touch him ask kimmi and lewis.

      2. Almost a full second from your teammate is just too much.
        I never thought of him as a special talent but such difference just doesn’t make sense.
        To bad we will never know for certain if that spring on the head really is the cause of all this.

        1. But Alonso felt he had done a perfect lap. Massa felt nothing like that, so that is worth a good few tenths.

          Let’s see what it looks like after the start. I would not even be suprised to see Alonso stuck behind Petrov again while Massa is right behind them in lap 2.

          1. I’m hoping you’re wrong. Its high time he gained a position at the start.

      3. He was saying that the new HARD Tyres introduced in this GP were the cause of his mistakes.Lets see wat happen’s 2 morrow.

      4. Yeah, Massa is even lower than the second-fiddle standard. And people still condemn Ferrari for not treating their drivers equally – it would be the most unjust thing to put Alonso and Massa at the same level. The more time passes the more I’m convinced that Ferrari did the right thing at Hockenheim.

        1. Reubens may disagree. You cant underestimate the effect of a driver like alonso walking in and demanding number one status, and getting it. Maybe its time for massa to leave and prove his speed elsewhere ala reubens, Let someone else be alonso’s whipping boy.

          1. And you was there when Alonso walked in and demanded Nr 1 status? People thought that Raikkonen would be Nr 1 when he came to Ferrari but Massa managed to stay close to him in terms of performance and even beat him, that’s why they were treated equally.
            Who stopped Massa to prove his speed in Bahrain last year or in many other races where he finished miles behind Alonso?
            The thing is – Ferrari had 2 drivers last year: one who being 40 points behind in the standing claimed that he can fight for the WC (and he did) and another who complained all season that he couldn’t make the tires work. Now who would a rational manager support more? I think the answer is obvious.
            Massa has only himself to blame for falling to second fiddle. Oh, and Rubens (not Reubens) didn’t prove his speed anywhere – he was far behind Button in 2009 so I guess it wasn’t all his Nr 2 status at Ferrari that slowed him down.

  7. Nice one from Mark – Vettel’s face says it all.

    What’s the situation with Heidfeld? Will he be allowed to start?

    1. I’m sure he’ll get a dispensation, as happened with Kobayashi in Istanbul.

      1. Keith u r Superman.U have written this article fastesr than WEB’s pole time. :D

  8. How has it come to pass that we have had one of the most exciting qualifying in recent memory [Malaysia] and now one of the least interesting and dull sessions that i’ve seen? [Spain].

    The Red Bull advantage is insane. KERS or not. The race for 3rd will be interesting, but there will be little point in gambling on anyone else but Vettel or Webber for the win. A shame.

    Schumacher will be very interesting to watch tomorrow as well. I wonder if we will see a very short [i.e. 1-5 lap] stint on the hards and then softs all the way to the finish line. He may well be strong if there is an early safety car too.

    1. But Schumacher didn’t set a timed lap. Does the “start on the tyres you qualified on” rule still apply then?

      1. you start on the tyres you set your fastest lap on in Q3. he did not even set a lap time, so he can choose what he wants. very clever from schumi!

        1. if he doesn’t stick his front wing in Petrov’s car

      2. He starts with the tyres he made his fastest lap and that was on the options (soft).

        1. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
          21st May 2011, 20:33

          No, he can chose as that rule only applies to Q3, if you don’t qualify you chose your tyres

      3. “At the start of the race the cars that took part in Q3 must be fitted with the tyres the driver used to set his grid time. ” – Schumacher didnt’t set a grid time, meaning he has the right to choose which tyre he’ll run at the start, just like Petrov did in China.

      4. Well, if he didn’t set a time, there is not really any set of tyres that would fit the bill then, giving him the option to choose for the start.

    2. For the first time this season i put him in my top 5 prediction so i hope that he will compensate for all the boringness he gave me during the 2000-2004 years with doing something for me by getting his ass up there.

  9. box this lap
    21st May 2011, 14:26

    Vettel was close to Senna’s “poles in a row” record wasn’t he?. Now that Webber has pole he can start again! such a pity.

    1. He wasn’t THAT close and I don’t mind that he didn’t make it (yet).

      1. hopefully now the “vettel is the best driver on the grid” fan club will pipe down

  10. Really great lap by Alonso. A second quicker than his team mate. Thats not something you see everyday from the drivers in the top teams.

    1. Easily driver of the day. Whatever they pay him, it is not enough, because he is the only thing working at Ferrari at the moment.

      Embarrassing for Massa, but then again Alonso is a champion and one of the greats

      1. Read its something like EUR 150 million in those 4 years.

        I guess Ferrari feels the same. And the spanish public will have been just as thrilled as all Ferrari fans at Alonso’s lap here.

        The prospect of an Alonso on this kind of form is really a boost for rest of the season.

  11. Also – does Schumacher have to start on the hard tyre as went out on them or does he still have the choice as no timed lap was set?

    1. No time = any tyres you want. Good to leave the option of starting on the option (deliberate pun, shoot me now)!

  12. Eddie Jordan said he thought that SCH had done something clever by not wasting a set of tyres in Q3. Means he can start on whatever he likes. But he used a set of softs in Q1, so he’s still at a tyre disadvantage versus Red Bull and Maclaren, isn’t he?


    2. No, his in equal footing with them. No disadvantage but no advantage ether in terms of soft rubber.

  13. 3 thousands of a second away from Hamilton… really impressive lap by Alonso!


    2. Nigelstash (@)
      21st May 2011, 15:05

      Alonso is the man in form at the moment. The only driver on the grid who is doing better than his car deserves.

      1. Exactly.Now ferrari only have 2 improve the car a little more.I wonder wat would have happened if there rear wing was not banned.

      2. Yes and i think he will easily take hamilton due to his huge flat spot, and given the ferraris race pace he could push the bulls.

      3. The RB6 may have insane pace, but Vettel and Webber push each other to the point where they drag the absolute limit out of that car.


    1. dude turn off the caps lock

    2. Nice caps.

  15. The McLaren duo briefly sat at the top of the times, Hamilton just three tenths of a second faster than Button.

    Shouldn’t that read hundreds rather than tenths?

  16. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeees Mark :D!!!!

  17. Force India resigned themselves to not reaching 32

    Because Sutil would glass them in anger? :D

    1. The “glass of fury” attack applies only to Renault staff members ;)

    2. Gaston (@golarrazabal)
      21st May 2011, 15:12

      Adrian uses GLASS! It’s super effective!

      1. CHINA caught SUTIL! Will you give a nickname to your new SUTIL? SUTIL was transferred to Box 17

        1. Apparentely I am not the only one looking forward to the new PokéFOne Red (Bull) Edition.

  18. lol @glass of fury, and i am soooo relieved i didn’t have to see the finger again after quali. i was hoping it would be mark who did it :D

  19. BREAKING NEWS:Monteral and Valencia will have double DRS zones!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!AWSOME

  20. I am a big fan of the current qualifying format however the need to save tires for the race robs us of the manic last minute qualifying rush that we have seen in the past. I know the reason for this in Spain is the drastic difference between the primes and the options being aver 2secs per lap. Perhaps Perelli have made the gap too wide. Seems there could be more qualifying sessions like this if the differential is too big, and the necessity to be higher up the grid reduced through DRS and KERS making overtaking too easy.

    A little rant…but I think Qualifying was much less of a spectacle than it should be.

  21. Seb had that look like he knew (or he thought he knew) he could have had pole if it had not been for KERS. Mark didn’t steal pole he just borrowed it. That said, Mark fully deserved pole as he’s had the bit between his teeth all weekend and I really hope out of the RBRs he finishes higher.

    Ferrari’s radios are absolutely wonderful to listen to. Yesterday it was Felipe with “that was close” after nearly blowing his car to pieces and today Fernando’s laugh and “super lap” comment were hilarious. Great lap by Fernando and I’m glad the crowd have something to cheer about. On a slightly negative note it is a bit depressing that after the upgrades Ferrari still say 4th was “completely unexpected”. I’d hope they’d be a bit closer to the pace.

    I hope Schumacher gets a good race and his strategy was a surprise as I thought it looked like he had the momentum to beat Rosberg for outright pace (as he did last year I believe).

    1. Can anyone tell me what stefano said 2 FA around the lap.plzzzzzzzzzzzz

    2. I think the rear wing ban has compromised their weekend. I wasn’t expecting anything higher than 6th so the be so close to Hamilton and ahead of Button is excellent.
      Cant see him keeping Button behind on the dirty side of the grid off the start. Although Vettel will be a sitting duck at the start without KERS. Should be fun.

      Also Eddie Jordan was awful today. He thought Alonso would be better off staying in his pit than wasting tyres. Why start 4th when you can be 9th or 10th?

      1. Nigelstash (@)
        21st May 2011, 15:09

        If Seb gets mugged into the first corner, he might have to try to overtake a decent car. I feel a safety car coming on…

      2. It’s will be hard for Alonso to win against the Mclarens though because he has one less new soft rubber. Except if the Macs screw-up their strategy.

        1. His car is also slower. You cant pull off a lap like that every time around. So its safe to say he will be happy with a 5th come the end of Sunday. 4th would be like winning.

  22. Alonso 9/10ths of a second quicker than his teammate. Massa’s back fellas!

    1. Massa is obviously back. The way in which he dominated Alonso in Turkey just proves that.

  23. Amazing lap from Fernando. He drove LIKE A BOSS!

  24. Surely Alonso set that time for 4th place just to satisfy his Spanish fans. After all, that leaves him without a set of soft tyres for the race, giving him in a major disadvantage for tomorrow. I don’t see him finishing ahead of Button, the new prime tyres are just way too slow compared to the option tyres.

    As for Kovalainen, great work… it annoyed me to no end to hear Eddie Jordan complaining about Team Lotus’ strategy after qualifying, because they had chosen to use a second set of option tyres for Q2… Come on Eddie, everyone at Lotus knows for a fact they will eventually finish behind both Force Indias if nothing extraordinary happens, just let them celebrate their 15th place… sure it seems like a waste to use a set of softs just to get from 17th to 15th, but it must be a great moral boost for the entire team and Heikki in particular, what an archievement! I liked Heikki’s respone to Eddie too “that’s the boring way to look at it”… and that’s the stone cold truth!

    Then there’s Michael who MIGHT have chosen the best strategy, if he plays his cards right tomorrow, he may end up in the top 5… at least that’s what I think/

    1. But HAM said after turkey’s quailfying that the difference between thenew soft tyres and the one’s which had run 1 or 2 laps was no that much unless u flatspotted 1 of them and that what’s exactly what HAM did in the end,so i gyess he will be making a pitstop very early in the race.I predict WEB 2 win and the rest of the podium position r open,if RBR don’t Fix VET’s KERS prob.shou;d be an exiciting race.:D

    2. Well if Lotus wanted just to have fun knowing they found themselves in Q2 because Rubens and Nick had technical problems, that’s perfectly ok. Yet I doubt the “moral boosting” effect, they would have to really BELIEVE they have Q2 speed. And they KNOW they don’t have it.

      1. Why else did they go out on option tyres in Q2? Purely bragging rights.

    3. actually, they want to save soft tires for heikki and did one run in Q1. they didn’t expect at all to make into Q2.since its a rare occasion, why would they want to sit out in the pit? tho it just 2 grid position, their race pace is on par with FI,STR and Williams thanks to the new upgrade.

      IF heikki use USED soft tires in Q2 and use 2 stop strategy in the race, then he basically got the same amount of fresh soft tires as FI

      1. Even though Team Lotus brought new updates but still they cant match the midfielders. FI got 2 set of new options & 1 set of new prime tires left.

    4. Yes but the ferrari so far has shown good race pace and is easy on its tyres. I am no great fan of Alonso but when the guy gets the bit between his teeth in front of his home crowd he has got to be a threat at the very least to hamilton.

  25. sid_prasher (@)
    21st May 2011, 15:10

    The advantage of the RBR is just unbelievable…i hope their race pace suffers…
    Great drive from Alonso and even Maldonado – who has been mediocre until now…

    What will be the situation with Schumacher? i think he did go on an out lap in Q3 (not sure what compound tyre) though he didnt set a time.

    1. He went out on the prime tyres, but because he didn’t set a time he can freely choose what tyres to start on.

  26. Weren’t there at least a few qualifying sessions in the first few races where Webbers KERS wasn’t working?
    If that is true, can anyone remember anyone saying, “Seb beat Mark to pole because Mark’s KERS wasn’t working.”


    1. that happened only in Malaysia ;)

      1. Thanks, well at least I knew it happened at least once!

  27. On a side note: Where those Maldonado bashers now? ;) Told you he’s not as bad as he looks. Just like Petrov, the guy needs time and a better car. The latter seems to be in place.

    1. Force India set their Q2 times on prime tyres and weren’t even trying to get into Q3. As for Sauber and Torro Rosso, I believe they have a better car better drivers, just had bad sessions today. I personally think Maldonado ran his odd good lap and that’s it. Getting into Q3 this one time does not equal his disastrous performances this season so far, including crashing his Williams in just about every practice session thus far. I do not believe he has the talent to have a future in F1 and he will only last a couple of seasons at most. Petrov has at least twice the talent Maldonado has, so that’s a bad comparison as well. You HAVE to agree he got quite lucky today, as the Williams have shown to be outpaced by the Saubers and Torro Rossos most of the time the past few races.

    2. On a side note: Where those Maldonado bashers now?

      Waiting for him not to screw up on Sunday?

    3. I followed Maldonado last year at GP2 and he was very, very good. I expected much more from him.

      It seems that both him and the Williams are awaking

    4. The other day some said that Hulkenberg’s pole wasn’t such a big deal, so why would 9th place be one?

  28. Keith, I think you meant “to not reaching Q3” rather than “to not reaching 32” when talking about force India and Button was three hundredths off Hamilton, not three tenths.

    Great effort by Webber and Alonso though!

    1. Fixed it, thanks!

  29. This was the first qualy I missed in three years and I dont regret it. Honestly, if I miss the race tomorrow ( I wont ) I would’nt have missed anything. I have followed F1 for the last 20 years but it gets more irrelevant every year. I could not in conscience follow a series which supports regimes which torture and suppress the freedom of people. I would URGE people to THINK. Apparently, that’s is not what we do anymore. Grow some, and FORCE change instead of accepting things the way the are.
    Former F1Fanatic OUT!

  30. great ride from Alonso provided he was running a pakage which is not optimized in performance since their rear wing was deemed as illegal…
    wil b an intersting race tomrow.

  31. I guess it makes a good change for Vettel to not be on pole but still a great result for 1/2.

  32. Lewis quoted as saying he got the setup wrong on the car in quali, Button for a change said that he felt good and Guess who got the better time? Nuff said

    1. Hamilton also managed to flat spot is tyre in the process.

      Would I rather be 5th with four round tyres or 3rd with three round tyres and a misshapen one?

      Bet I know who’s gonna pit 1st!

      You must also remember that Button has not been far behind Hamilton when he said he wasn’t happy with the car.

      1. Hamilton will put first because he qualified ahead of Button and so has call over strategy. Have you watched F1 before VXR? Everytime you post something it’s anti-Hamilton. Is there something you want to share with everyone?

  33. Give the drivers who get though to Q3 a new set of soft tyres which they can just use for qualifying, so they can use both sets for one run each and then they get to keep the tyre they set the fastest lap on and the other tyre is then taken from them so they don’t end up just saving that as well so they have more softs for the race. Something so we could get the drivers to do two runs in Q3 just to beat each other.
    Maybe bring back a large number of qualifying tyres for the drivers to use so they can just eat all of them without thinking of the race, that way we could at least get the drivers to do a lot of laps to try and beat their team mates.
    Last year Q3 was always the most exciting because the tension kept building up until the last second, now most drivers do one run and some don’t even do any, so it is over before it is really started.
    I found my self like “well is that it? already?” after Q3. Not really exciting.
    Rant over.

  34. Interesting Schumi on hard tyre? He have one sets of option for the race. I think today we will see 3 stops due to the Super Hard tyres.Good job by Lotus.Webber did a absolute great lap followed by Lewis. If Alonso didn’t had that understeer in the final corner he may have ended in Q3.Another good drive was by Williams of Maldanado.It will be a good race,Vettel will have trouble as he don’t have KERS,the DRS zone is too big here so expect lots of overtaking.

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