Red Bull: The car has been working very well all weekend

Team and drivers report from qualifying day at the Korean Grand Prix, Round 14 of the 2013 Formula 1 world championship.

Sebastian Vettel, Position: Pole, (3rd Practice – P1, 1:37.881): “It was close today. I had a very good lap in Q3 on my first attempt and thought I would find it hard to do better. On my second attempt I caught Kimi on the warm up lap and didn’t have time to drop back, but fortunately the first lap was good enough. Mercedes were strong and seem to be comfortable in the middle sector. We’re good in Sector one this year which a surprise as that’s mostly straights. We improved the car from yesterday as I wasn’t entirely happy with it after the second practice. In terms of conditions, we should be okay if it’s dry or wet tomorrow; it’s not clear if we get some rain from the typhoon, but let’s see what happens.”

Mark Webber, Position: 3rd, (3rd Practice – P2, 1:38.018): “We had to take a bit of pace out of the car for qualifying, not much, but it was about how we would compromise between qualifying and the race tomorrow. I’m pretty happy, I could be two positions further up but that would mean, with the penalty, I would be 11th rather than 13th. It was a pretty tight qualifying with the two Mercedes, Seb and myself. Tomorrow’s race will be interesting, I will be out of position, but we’ll fight and come back through. I think we improved the car in some areas from yesterday.”

Christian Horner: “An exciting qualifying today and a great first run in Q3 for Sebastian, which proved to be the lap that achieved the pole position. It was a very strong performance from Mark and it’s a shame that he now has to take a ten-place penalty, but we’ve set the car up with that in mind and hopefully he can make good progress tomorrow. Congratulations to Renault on achieving their 208th pole position, which matches the all-time record of Ferrari.”

(Renault) Thierry Salvi: “The car has been working very well all weekend and in the end all it took was one great lap by Sebastian in the start of the session to secure his third consecutive pole. Mark pushed hard and this position limits the damage his ten-place penalty will inflict tomorrow. We know our rivals will try to reset the pole advantage in the race so we need to stay on top to get the maximum from the car, which is again the quickest package of the paddock. On another note the pole is a great feeling for Renault as it takes our tally of pole positions in F1 to 208, equaling Ferrari’s record. We’re very proud to have achieved this with Red Bull Racing.”

Climate (out of) control

After wondering whether Typhoon Fitow would hit this race, it now seems it won’t, although we might still get a wet race. A lucky escape when you think back to the impact made by some of F1’s past big weather events:

  •  Australian GP 2013 – Qualifying at the opening round this season was halted by torrential rain. Q1 took place in wet conditions but Q2 and Q3 had to be postponed until Sunday morning
  • Malaysian GP 2009 – Torrential rain caused this race to be stopped after just 31 of the scheduled 56 laps. It was the first race for 18 years in which half points were awarded
  • Japanese GP 2010 – Intense rain on Saturday meant that the whole of qualifying had to be postponed until Sunday morning. The weather wasn’t quite as bad as at the…
  • Japanese GP 2004 – Dreadful Saturday conditions, caused by the approaching Typhoon Ma-on, caused both qualifying sessions (yep, there were two back then!) to be cancelled and quali was held on Sunday
  • Australian GP 1991 – The shortest race ever. Just 14 of the scheduled 81 laps of Adelaide’s circuit were completed before downpours made the streets undriveable