Vettel takes pole for the Indian GP as Red Bull dominates again

Sebastian Vettel on his way to pole position for the Indian GP, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice, Friday 26 October 2012.

Sebastian Vettel on his way to pole position for the Indian GP

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.

(L to R): Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren, pole sitter Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing and Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing celebrate in parc ferme. Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying, Saturday 27 October 2012.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.”

Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB8. Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice, Friday 26 October 2012.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.”

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren in parc ferme. Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying, Saturday 27 October 2012.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.

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F2012. Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice, Friday 26 October 2012.Rounding out the top ten was Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes, who appears to be getting the upper hand, of late, in the internal battle with teammate Micahel Schumacher,who was 14th.

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

Pos No Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Laps
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
3 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:26.516 1:25.816 1:25.544 23
4 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:26.564 1:25.467 1:25.659 21
5 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:26.829 1:25.834 1:25.773 21
6 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:26.939 1:26.111 1:25.857 18
7 9 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:26.740 1:26.101 1:26.236 25
8 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:27.179 1:26.076 1:26.360 23
9 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:26.048 1:25.983 1:26.713 24
10 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:26.458 1:25.976 No time 23
11 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:26.897 1:26.136 16
12 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:27.185 1:26.241 20
13 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1:26.851 1:26.331 19
14 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:27.482 1:26.574 19
15 16 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:27.006 1:26.777 19
16 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:27.462 1:26.989 19
17 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:27.517 1:27.219 17
18 17 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:27.525 11
19 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1:28.756 10
20 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1:29.500 10
21 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1:29.613 11
22 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1:30.592 8
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1:30.593 10
24 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1:30.662 11
Q1 107% Time 1:32.071
  • Speedo

    Interesting line up – Red Bulls followed by the McLarens, Ferraris and Kimi. Hope Perez keeps out of the mix at the start as we want to see a clean get away by all the front runners. I wish Lewis had got the front row along with Vettel but seeing him behind Vettel should enable him to get the better of the slow starting Webber. It was said the McLarens have very good race pace, but it will be proved only tomorrow . It should be an absorbing race provided Vettel is given a challenge by the front runners.

  • Butterfly

    Not bad by the boys in red. Good to see Massa up there.

  • edd

    vettle will again grab a 20 sec. lead as webber holds up the mclarens at turn one… seems as if we just saw this?

  • wolf

    Go Vettel!