Vettel takes pole for the Indian GP as Red Bull dominates again
27 October, 2012
Oct.27 (GP247) Sebastian Vettel did the business as expected, to claim pole position for the Indian Grand Prix at Buddh International Circuit, with Red Bull teammate Mark Webber starting beside him. For the third time in as many races the fizzy drinks boys will start from the front row.
Vettel scored his 35th pole position in the process, after dominating all three free practice sessions, Q2 and then the all important Q3. He is clearly the man to beat as he seeks to claim his third world title.
If there was any blip on his performance it may have been a slight mistake which scuppered his first fast run in Q3, but he then did enough on his second flyer to take pole with a minute still to run in the session with all his main rivals still with a lap in hand. But in the end his time of 1 minute 25.283 seconds was enough to earn him a top spot start, for the second year running at Buddh.
Vettel is chasing his fourth win in a row after victories in South Korea, Japan and Singapore. The German has never before chalked up four successive victories in a single season but he won in India last year.
He said afterwards, “It was a tight session, especially having made a mistake on my first run on Turn Four. All in all it has been a great weekend so far. The boys have been pushing very hard. We have to keep pushing – there are a lot of races to go. The best chance to do well is to focus on every single step. We’re look forward to the race. I’m happy to be on pole but there’s a hard race coming up tomorrow.”
On the day Webber was probably the only driver with any hope of challenging for pole, but it was not to be as he made an error on his last flying lap. He explained: “It wasn’t the smoothest [flying lap] for [Sebastian] and also for me. On the last corner I got a little on the Astroturf on the exit and didn’t have cleanest run to line, but I’m driving the car. It was a pretty tight run thing between Seb and I. The McLarens were doing a very slow out-laps, and I had no grip in the first sector. I was surprised to end up in second.”
All weekend the McLaren duo have looked the most likely to spoil the Red Bull party. They failed in qualifying, but will be quietly confident that they may have the armoury – namely strong race pace – to challenge for victory, with Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, third and fourth respectively, sharing the second row.
Hamilton said, “I’m happy with third. The team have done a great job this weekend, although we weren’t quick enough to be ahead of [Red Bull] today. But our race pace is just as quick as these guys.”
Row three is an all Ferrari affair, with Fernando Alonso staring fifth and Felipe Massa in sixth. Alonso, closest to Vettel in the world championship standings, will be hoping to pick up the pieces should anything befall the Red Bull driver because the F2012 appears to be about half a second shy of being able to challenge toe-to-toe.
Racing at Buddh for the first time, Kimi Raikkonen was seventh fastest and outshone his Lotus teammate, and Buddh rookie, Romain Grosjean who will line-up 11th after failing to make it beyond Q2.
Sergio Perez was best of the Sauber pair with the eighth best time, while teammate Kamui Kobayashi struggled and will start down in 17th.
After a subdued start to the weekend in India, Pastor Maldonado finally got going, topping the timing screens after Q1, progressing to Q3 on his way to ninth on the grid. Teammate Bruno Senna, showed promising pace in practice, but was a Q2 victim and will start from 13th.
At the front Red Bull have hit a fine run of form at exactly the right time, no doubt due to the genius of Adrian Newey who has clearly uncovered a hidden gem of a car in the once troublesome Red Bull Racer. McLaren, who have constructors’ championship ambitions are the most likely to run them close and may even beat the Milton Keynes boys.
Ferrari are hanging in there, but once again appear to have turned certain championship victory into defeat – the ghosts of 2010 are calling. The Maranello boys can only hope to pick up the pieces should Red Bull falter, which, if this season is anything to go by, could very well happen…
Subbed by AJN.
Indian Grand Prix Qualifying, Buddh International Circuit – Saturday, 27 October
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:26.387||1:25.435||1:25.283||13|
|2||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:26.744||1:25.610||1:25.327||17|
|10||8||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||1:26.458||1:25.976||No time||23|
|12||12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:27.185||1:26.241||20|
|16||11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:27.462||1:26.989||19|
|22||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||1:30.592||8|
|Q1 107% Time||1:32.071|
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