Vettel and Red Bull were tipped at this Anti Clockwise Street circuit but what stunned the young German was that final timed lap from his teammate in the dying moments of Qualifying. It is now Webber who starts the Korean Grand Prix at the Pole position with his teammate just alongside him in what must be a most important race of the season as Alonso and Ferrari so far haven’t looked competitive in this circuit. Can Vettel take over the lead from Alonso in the drivers championship or will the Spaniard give a proper fightback in the race. We will know in other 24 Hours time.
All through the three sessions, Qualifying proved to be an exciting prospect. In the first session there was a scary moment for Narain Karthikeyan and HRT as they seem to run into the brake issues and had a spin in the long straight with Karthikeyan struggling to hold onto his car and nearly colliding with one of the Force India’s. That Q1 Session also saw Hamilton being on the verge of elimination as he elected not to do another timed lap in order to save tyres which could have really backfired on him and his team’s strategy. It was Bruno Senna and his Williams Team who saved Hamilton from an huge embarrassment as Senna who was all set to outpace Hamilton was asked by his team to abort the lap and thus was eliminated in Q1 and he joined Petrov, Kovalainen, Pic, Glock, de la Rosa and Karthikeyan. Charles Pic is carrying a 10 Place grid penalty for an unscheduled Engine change.
The Williams Team looked to be struggling in these conditions as neither of their drivers looked comfortable and although Maldonado squeezed himself into Q2, It looked like he was fighting an uphill task for a proper grid position. Q2 was never short of any dramas as Ricciardo stopped in the final minutes of Q2 with apparently a Gearbox issue and the yellow flags meant few drivers were affected in their final timed lap of Q2. Jenson Button seemed to be one of them who was disturbed by the yellow flags as he couldn’t set a proper lap-time to join his teammate for the Top 10 Grid shootout. Paul di Resta seemed to run into traffic issues yet again and he was again vocal about the same to his team as he communicated over the radio. The Sauber team never looked comfortable as they were in Suzuka as both of their drivers were also eliminated in Q2. But with the team known to be easy on its tyres, they will be an interesting team in the race tomorrow.
Initial timed laps for the Top 10 Grid shootout in Q3 was exciting as well, The big talking point was that of Alonso’s improved pace as they were expected to struggle here. Vettel initially topped the charts and was all set for the pole when his teammate pulled off an amazing lap in his last timed lap. But nevertheless, The Number 2 driver will play a crucial role in the outcome of the race and the championship. Lewis Hamilton will start from row 2 of the grid alongside the current championship leader Alonso. Raikkonen sandwiched the Ferrari’s as he lines up on row three of the grid with Grosjean falling just behind Massa. Hulkenberg put in another inspiring performance and he lines up on P8 on the grid and the Mercedes duo rounding off the Top 10.
It looks like an interesting grid for the race and Hamilton had a close look at the Red Bull car after qualifying. It will be team Red Bull’s race to lose tomorrow but Alonso and the Ferrari with their strong race-pace will try and finish the race and score few vital and much needed points.
01. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m37.242
02. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m37.316 + 0.074
03. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m37.469 + 0.227
04. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m37.534 + 0.292
05. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m37.625 + 0.383
06. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m37.884 + 0.642
07. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m37.934 + 0.692
08. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m38.266 + 1.024
09. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m38.361 + 1.119
10. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m38.513 + 1.271
11. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m38.441 + 0.674
12. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.460 + 0.693
13. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.594 + 0.827
14. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m38.643 + 0.876
15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m38.725 + 0.958
16. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.084 + 1.317
17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.340 + 1.573
18. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m39.443 + 1.235
19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m40.207 + 1.999
20. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m40.333 + 2.125
21. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m41.317 + 3.109
22. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m41.371 + 3.163
23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m42.881 + 4.673
24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth no time