Webber turns the tables on Vettel to claim pole for Korean Grand Prix
13 October, 2012
Oct.13 (Apex) Mark Webber showed true grit when the pressure was on to nab pole position for the Korean Grand Prix, from Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel who was easily the pre-qualifying vaourite in Yeongam.
It was a more frosty exchange over Vettel’s radio as his engineer Guillaume Rocquelin informed him: ”You’re P2. Your lap wasn’t good enough. Mark is P1.
Vettel retorted: “Why did you not tell me about Massa?”
While Rocky replied: “What was I supposed to say?”
An interesting dynamic is brewing in the energy drinks camp and being a fly on the wall during the pre-race team talk would e priceless…
Webber relished his first true pole of the season, ”This is my first [pole] on track [after inheriting pole at Monaco]. I’m happy to get the job done reasonably well. We did it when it counted and that’s what it’s all about. I’m happy to start on pole, but tomorrow is the main day. Off the back of Suzuka we feel we had improved the car, but you never get ahead of yourself. We came here knowing it’s not going to be a given, we’ve got a good car here for sure.”
By the time Vettel was speaking in the post qualifying press conference he appeared to have cooled down, ”Overall I think we can be happy with the result. We were quite quick in the first part of qualifying, we were quite quick in the second. The last run – I don’t want to blame it on Felipe. I thought he was coming in but he wasn’t and I caught him in the last sector so I had to back off. It’s not ideal. Nevertheless, the second lap wasn’t good enough. I lost a little bit in middle sector which has seemed to be ok all weekend. l think second is a good position to start with. There’s a long straight after the start so it could be interesting tomorrow.”
Lewis Hamilton will head up the second row, after going third fastest with Fernando Alonso set to line up beside him in the Ferrari. The gap to Red Bull not as big as expected, with the McLaren driver only 0.227 seconds down and Alonso fractionally slower than that, comparing to the morning session when Vettel was a massive half second up on his closest rival.
Nevertheless Hamilton was under no illusions, ”It’s going to be very tough to get ahead of them [the Red Bulls]. These guys have clearly made a very big step. We’ve got to keep pushing, we’re not far off. The race pace for Jenson looked good yesterday. I’m happy that I got a clear lap and was able to put the car as high as possible.”
Ferrari are hoping their race pace will count in their favour in the race, after an improved qualifying all round for the Maranello squad, team boss Stefano Domenicali commented, ”We’re never happy but we have made another step in the right direction in qualifying. The target was to start from the second or third row at least and we have. Now we focus on the race. On Friday, the race pace was not to bad. Let’s hope to have a clean start without any problems.”
Kimi Raikkonen was best of the Lotus pair with the fourth best time, and will share the third row with the Ferrari of Felipe Massa who was sixth fastest.
Heading up the fourth row will be under fire Lotus driver Romain Grosjean who summed up his goal for the race immediately after setting the seventh best time, ”Hopefully tomorrow is going to be a good day for me. I need to get through the first lap without incident.”
Nico Hulkenberg was the second fastest Mercedes powered driver, with the eighth best time and heading the Mercedes (works team) pair of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher who will share the fifth row for the start.
Missing out on Q3, despite having front running pace, was Jenson Button who was forced to slow in his final run of Q2 when yellow flags were deployed as Daniel Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso ground to a halt on track. As a result the McLaren driver was doomed to 11th on the grid.
Biggest casualty in Q1 was Bruno Senna in the Williams who was confined to an early shower after missing the cut.
Final word to Red Bull team boss Christian Horner who will see his cars start from the front row of the grid for the second time in a week, this time at the Korean Grand Prix: “We just need to make sure we get through the first couple of corners OK this weekend and make sure we turn a great qualifying into a strong race result. You’ve got all the major contenders up there so it’s going to be a fascinating race.”
Korean Grand Prix Qualifying, Yeongam – Saturday, 13 October 2012
|1||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:38.397||1:38.220||1:37.242||17|
|2||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:38.208||1:37.767||1:37.316||13|
|8||12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:38.981||1:38.428||1:38.266||18|
|14||11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:38.942||1:38.643||15|
|23||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||1:42.881||7|
|24||23||Narain Karthikeyan||HRT-Cosworth||No time||1|
|Q1 107% Time||1:45.082|
Note: Pic drops ten places for an unscheduled engine change. Karthikeyan failed to set a Q3 time within the 107% requirement – races at stewards’ discretion.
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