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Vettel makes it a hat-trick of front row lockouts for Red Bull
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Posted By: Matt Meadows  |  27 Oct 2012   |  12:57 pm GMT  |  123 comments

Sebastian Vettel overcame a mistake on his first run in the final part of qualifying to take pole position for the Indian Grand Prix ahead of Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton.

Although a predictable result, it was achieved with difficulty; Vettel had a worrying moment when he made a mistake on his first lap in Q3 after, running wide on the in-field section. At this stage Webber help provisional pole with the fastest time of the weekend. Vettel was able to keep his cool and pip his team mate to pole by just 5/100ths of a second, but he had to be careful, knowing that another mistake would be a disaster.

It is the 35th pole of Vettel’s career and with Fernando Alonso beginning the race in fifth it offers him a great opportunity to extend his six point World Championship lead. A win tomorrow would make it four consecutive victories for the first time in his career.

It is also the first time that Red Bull have had three consecutive front-row lockouts, illustrating their dominance at this important stage of the season.

However there is hope for the opposition; the race pace of McLaren, Ferrari and Lotus is similar to Red Bull and the Bulls are really vulnerable on the straights in the opening couple of laps. Vettel has the second slowest straight-line speed at 311km/h, compared to 321 for the Ferrari and 318 for the McLaren. Add in DRS effect and they have a headache if they can’t get free of the one second DRS detection zone.

The use of KERS at the start and DRS after lap 2 could open a chance for Hamilton, Button or Alonso to attack and as Hamilton pointed out this afternoon, he has nothing to lose as he is 62 points behind Vettel in the championship.

Alonso meanwhile has said that he feels he is working with very fine margins,

“It is not so easy to fight, especially on Saturday, but on Sunday we are normally more competitive,” he said. “Tomorrow we need to overtake McLaren as soon as possible and put pressure on Red Bull to wait for a little mistake, a pit stop problem, reliability or something. If they can start, go away and have an easy race, that’s the worst news for us.”

Strategy wise the tyres show little degradation or wear and so there will be a number of cars trying one stop strategies tomorrow; the tyre choice is quite conservative for this weekend.

Vettel continued his Free Practice form during qualifying and topped every session, barring a late Q1 run from nowhere by Pastor Maldonado on the option tyre. He was able to take just one run in the first two stages of qualifying, allowing for two runs in the final shoot out. It was also interesting to note that Vettel completed just eight laps in the first two stages of qualifying, compared to sixteen for Hamilton and twenty-one for Nico Rosberg.

The front three rows for tomorrow’s Grand Prix are all shared by team mates; Red Bull then McLaren then Ferrari, with Jenson Button joining Hamilton on the second row and Alonso beating Felipe Massa in to fifth place. Both McLaren and Ferrari showed strong pace in their longer fuel runs during Free Practice and Vettel will need to make a characteristically strong first stint to escape those behind.

“I think we had a little bit of a surprise on Friday, in terms of long runs. Everyone was quite competitive and their tyres seemed to last a long time; we will see what that means for strategy tomorrow,” said Vettel about his chances for tomorrow.


It was a very close session throughout, but particularly in Q3 as the top six were covered by 6/10ths of a second. The McLaren and Ferrari duos both seemed to extract the most out of their machinery and tomorrow’s race could see McLaren focussing their attention on beating the Prancing Horses to regain second place in the Constructor’s Championship.

Vettel was once again the man to catch in Q2 and he and team mate Webber needed just one option tyre run to make their way in to the top ten shootout. Throughout the first two stages of qualifying the World Championship leader completed just eight laps, contrary to the average of sixteen laps between the other nine cars that made it in to the final shoot out.

Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez will fill the fourth row as they both got the better of their team mates and are looking strong for a good result tomorrow. The Lotus has shown good race pace all weekend and Raikkonen will once again look to gain a few places tomorrow by making his tyres last and keeping out of trouble. The Sauber had not looked at all competitive during the weekend and with Kamui Kobayashi qualifying in seventeenth place Perez’s lap became all the more impressive, whilst heaping pressure on his team mates future.

The top ten is completed by Maldonado and Rosberg, with the latter opting not to set a time in the final part of qualifying as he has just one set of the option tyre available left for the race tomorrow.

The Williams looks competitive here; Maldonado’s team mate Bruno Senna, has been quick all weekend and it looked like he could have caused an upset further up the grid and got a result which would help his chances of retaining his seat for 2013. However, he slumped to a disappointing 13th in Q2, while Maldonado was ninth, four tenths faster than the Brazilian.

A notably poor session occurred for Paul Di Resta who exited in Q2 and sixteenth place after being 6/10ths slower than Nico Hulkenberg. With a drive at Sauber looking increasingly likely, the difference between the Force India drivers today could be a big indicator as to who would be the preferred choice.

Finally, both HRT drivers beat the Marussia of Charles Pic today, the Frenchman finding himself one second slower than Timo Glock.

[Additional reporting: Matt Meadows]

INDIAN GRAND PRIX, Buddh International Circuit, Qualifying

1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m25.283
2. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m25.327 + 0.044
3. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m25.544 + 0.261
4. Jenson Button McLaren 1m25.659 + 0.376
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m25.773 + 0.490
6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m25.857 + 0.574
7. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m26.236 + 0.953
8. Sergio Perez Sauber 1m26.360 + 1.077
9. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m26.713 + 1.430
10. Nico Rosberg Mercedes no time

11. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m26.136s + 0.701
12. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m26.241s + 0.806
13. Bruno Senna Williams 1m26.331s + 0.896
14. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m26.574s + 1.139
15. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m26.777s + 1.342
16. Paul di Resta Force India 1m26.989s + 1.554
17. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m27.219s + 1.784

18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m27.525s + 1.477
19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1m28.756s + 2.708
20. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1m29.500s + 3.452
21. Timo Glock Marussia 1m29.613s + 3.565
22. Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1m30.592s + 4.544
23. Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1m30.593s + 4.545
24. Charles Pic Marussia 1m30.662s + 4.614

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123 Comments
  1. david says:

    Vettel won 4 consecutive races from. Brazil 2010 toMalaysia 2011. Just hasn’t managed it in the same season.

  2. Craig in Manila says:

    JA,

    Do you know if the 321kph by Ferrari was recorded during one of their slipstreaming games ? Or was it purely “standalone” straightline speed ?

    1. Alexis says:

      Alonso got to 322kph by slipstreaming in qualifying, which is pretty much 200mph exactly.

    2. Tom Haythornthwaite says:

      Undoubtedly while slipstreaming. They were doing it on almost every flying lap. (I’m at that corner.)

  3. Sebee says:

    It’s not just Vettel, it’s Newey we’re fighting for the championship – says Alonso.

    What’s that Justin Timberlake song? Oh yes…Cry me a river….like Bridgestone was fighting Michelin? Like everyone was fighting the dampeners you had? Like everyone was fighting that Polish software kid who used to do your killer starting grid launch software? There are bright minds on every team. Don’t make it sound like you never had the benefit of them in the past, or even now Fernando. Are you actually saying Ferrari makes rubbish cars and some guy can outdo the all of Ferrari?

    1. Peter says:

      Wow
      Sounds like you have a chip on your shoulder.
      What he is doing is giving Newey the respect he deserves as the best designer in F1 at the moment.

      1. Sebee says:

        Yes, pump up and pep talk your opponent. Smart strategy by Alonso.

      2. rad_g says:

        Dude, it’s not like Alonso is crying about it. He simply states the fact.

      3. Sebee says:

        Fact which we know. Fact which by those inside Ferrari can make them feel sub-par and not up to the job. Thus not motivated.

        I don’t recall Schumi idolizing other team members. Simply talking up his troops to do better.

    2. PDiddly says:

      Added to this, he also tells us now that he is still “100% certain he will win the WDC”

      I wonder about MiG2009′s comment, who got a look at Alonso’s bodylanguage ?

      A nice win for Seb tomorrow and a paltry handful for Teflonso will be a massively satisfying result, even more so if we are treated to some of his increasingly deranged crackpot comments.

      1. Galapago555 says:

        I’m nicely surprised you managed this time to write correctly his name, using capital letter.

        Obviously you didn’t fail to insult him again, as usual. You obviously have Fernando under your skin… funny, isn’t it?

        [mod]

      2. Peter C says:

        Posts like this should not pass through moderation. It adds nothing to the thread.

      3. KRB says:

        No idea why Alonso would even say that … just unnecessary. The comments about Newey are to suggest that it’s more about the designer, than about the driver. Which I think many would agree with, but still doesn’t need to be said. Why give Vettel anything to use as extra motivation right now?

        I think it’s fair to say that Newey has been the king of the 2009-13 regulations era. Save for the first half of 2009 when Brawn caught them out with the double diffuser, they’ve had the best car ever since. There have been times when others have had cars almost equal to theirs, but no team has made a car that has gapped them to the extent that they’ve regularly gapped other teams in their dominant periods.

    3. MANish says:

      There are bright minds at every team: yes indeed.. but Newey is the brightest of all… and there are fast drivers in all top teams but Vettel is not necessarily the fastest of all… now that sounds like a Justin Timberlake song..

    4. Alex says:

      EXACTLY!! I wonder are the 7/10 of a seconds that HE says usually brings to a team??? He is a sore loser,and by the way:is not a bit suspicious that all of the sudden Massa is on pace right now?

      1. Galapago555 says:

        EXACTLY!!

        He was 35 secs faster than Massa today. Considering that they raced for 60 laps that means he was JUST 6/10 of a second per lap faster than his team mate.

        Sore loser…

        LOL.

      2. James Allen says:

        Yes but don’t forget Massa didn’t have the new diffuser and had fuel consumption issues

    5. Rob Newman says:

      + 1

    6. Mitori says:

      I hear someone crying even harder! ;-)

    7. Bring Back Murray says:

      There are good people on every team yes. But what man in recent history has been so single handedly responsible for one team’s success?

      I don’t know what he does but Red Bull for whatever reason are always ahead of the game.

      And fair play to them. Hanging on in there all season and finally when the car is ready they start winning every race.

      Still only takes one DNF from Vettel…

    8. Quattro_T says:

      ALO is doing nothing but stating the obvious… And if I remember correctly, he was and would still be comfortably infront of the notably faster RB in the championship standings, had he not been taken out twice from behind, at first lap incidents.

      “Like everyone was fighting the dampers you had?”
      Are you referring to the mass dampers that Renault presented to the FIA before even racing, got green light for and were deemed legal for many races thereafter? Those that got suddently and mysteriously, midseason, banned when FIA choose to go against the ruling of its’ own race stewards (who also found them legal when Ferrari protested), and make them illegal? Those dampers? Well, he beat the opposition even with them removed (and with inseason testing, allowing for development of replacement, banned) obviously and made it 2 titles.

      “Like everyone was fighting that Polish software kid who used to do your killer starting grid launch software?”

      That software you seem to know so much about – can it by any chance still being in use today at Ferrari? Because, if I am not wrong ALO is still one of the best staters and has gained many places at the starts for quite a long time since then, suggesting obviously some kind of software must still be at work.

      “Are you actually saying Ferrari makes rubbish cars and some guy can outdo the all of Ferrari?”

      No, only that they make cars much slower than RB (again, review qualy performance of last 3 years for details). The “guy” you (and ALO) are mentioning has won eight (8) titles with three (3) different teams – of course, there is still a small possibility it is only a coincidence that championship winning packages are produced at the teams he happen to be working for…

      1. Ahmed says:

        No one is disputing that Renault’s dampeners, software etc weren’t legal, however Alonso used them to his advantage at the time. As with unlimited testing, in any era it’s the best team that does the best job in that environment and rules that usually wins…
        Why can’t Alonso help Ferrari develop into a championship winning car in 3 years???
        Instead he deflects attention away from the drivers (smart way to not get criticized) and makes it about Newey. Same old excuses, “our car is not good enough”, “RBR” is too good” etc etc.
        I think Alonso is getting frustrated as he is running out of excuses, and cannot do what Schumacher did. Schuey turned Ferrari from a mid field team to a dominant top team. Raikonnen and Alonso both had the luxury of joining Ferrari as a top team, and guess who got the job done? Raikonnen in his first year!
        Alonso maybe looking at 4-5 years at Ferrari with no title…

      2. Quattro_T says:

        “Why can’t Alonso help Ferrari develop into a championship winning car in 3 years???”

        He did actually apply for the job as chief designer, but Di Montezemolo as usual thinking he knows everything better than everyone, did not give him that job unfortunatly. So ALO has been forced to focus on trying win title with what he has.

        As you are mentioning SCH, I should maybe refresh your memory. (1) ALO did beat SCH and his Ferrari when at his best (2) SCH did not win a title with Ferrari until his 5th year at the team (3) ALO, in spite of the obvious lack of speed compared to main opposition, did acutally position himself and Ferrari for winning the title both in 2010 and in 2012, until circumstances out of his control, put VET in the better position.
        (4) SCH and Ferrari had the freedom to test as much as they wanted back then…

      3. W Johnson says:

        Alonso, one of the best starters is a myth!

        He only has better stats because he has had much lower grid starts so with the better car has had more opportunities to move up!

      4. W Johnson says:

        stats = statistics

      5. Quattro_T says:

        Had he had a better car as you are saying, he would not be having “much lower gid starts”, you would think…
        Since you are saying it is a myth he is one of the best starters, even though the actual stats clearly suggest something totally different, would you care to tell us what you are basing your statement on? How did you like the start today, when he was surrounded with the “much slower cars”?

    9. adam says:

      hahaha sebee you spoke the truth! i love it when alonso fans have a taste of sour grapes!! hahah

    10. F1fan4life says:

      [mod] To think that one Formula One driver can make him spend months posting ‘facts’ to no avail is hilarious. I’m sure Fernando is shaking in his Ferrari boots awaiting Sebee’s next comment.

    11. quest says:

      Didn’t know Alonso was designing the car in addition to driving. Alonso is a genius!!

  4. Anil says:

    Interesting to see how slow there’s bulls are in a straight line, given that unless they have a couple of tenths over everyone going into the straight on lap 1, they may well be looking into their mirrors an awful lot.

    Add in Webbers notorious poor starts and I expect Lewis to be able to lead by the end of the first lap.

    1. mark says:

      Thats what im counting on because if vettel stays in the lead after the first few laps that will be it.. but compromise him by lewis getting ahead could make it a very interesting race. Because vettel wont be able to just run at his own pace looking after the tyres etc etc

  5. Honkhonk says:

    I have to be honest, it is entirely tiresome watching the Red Bull dominance over the last few years. It was fun for awhile, but it’s a little sickening to see Vettel rack up records like number of poles past some greats who I believe could do the same if in dominant machinery. He’s up against Webber who will always be considered good, but not great. It was the same with Schumacher, who was partnered with Barichello in 2000s. Barichello will always be considered good but not great. The thing is even after locking out the front row with the fastest car Vettel still acts displease, like he still could have done more. Well everyone could do more, and I don’t buy the perfectionist act. Do we need to listen to this? At least Webber is more honest about their advantage. I’m no Schumacher fan but when he was dominant he would often smile sheepishly at interviews as if a little embarrassed with the performance advantage.

    I believe Alonso, Schumacher, Hakkinen all would be able to do what Vettel is doing now in a Red Bull, and think that they would actually do better. It’s been a few years of the same old song, and for the first time in a couple of decades I’m actually losing interest in Formula One, which has been my favorite sport. I think we are in another stage of the Newey era, funded by the vast resources of a team with serious budget compared to all others, and I’m tired of watching it. I might be the only one who feels this way.

    1. JR says:

      No, you are not the only one, this season looked great, the best in ages, and suddenly we are again in the same boring and predictable thing as last year, an absolute anticlimax.

      1. KRB says:

        For real! Remember those people clamouring for more ‘predictability’ earlier in the season?!! Maybe this isn’t the sort of predictability they meant, but it’s certainly predictable. And it is a total anticlimax.

    2. Stuart Harrison says:

      You’re not the only one, not by a long shot. :)

      As for the lockouts, I’m a bit stunned that RBR didn’t manage it last year – didn’t Vettel have something like 17 out of the 19 poles? How did they *not* manage three front row lockouts in that time?

      As for 2012, it looks all but over now. I’m not looking forwards to 2013 either, given that the rules aren’t going to be changing much (meaning that teams will start 2013 how they ended 2012) – three teams dominant, one ring-pull to rule them all, and in the darkness bind them.

    3. MrExasperated says:

      I totally agree with everything you say, its been a thilling 3 quarters of a season thats going to end in an anticlimax.

      Its never interesting watching a competition when one side has such an enormous advantage. All Vettel has to do is pull clear of DRS and then as usual its a trot home to victory yet again……

      Where’s the satisfaction of winning if you dont have to really fight for it??

      1. Ahmed says:

        Red Bull had pole by 2 tenths! It’s not like they were a second clear at the front??? Even in 2011 yes Vettel did have an amazing number of Poles, do u remember the margins? At times they were less than a tenth, and completed under immense pressure with a perfect lap. Now to be able to do that consistently throughout the year, whilst not making the slightest mistake and dominating your team mate? Sounds like a legendary driver to me…

    4. Rob Newman says:

      I dodn’t think we should call it the Newey era. Webber had the same machinery all these years and he is far behind in the chmpionship. Vettel also had bad luck this year and they didn’t dominate like last year. Red Bulls came from behind. Have to give credit where is due. Vettel is doing a better job.

      1. F1fan4life says:

        There are several drivers out there that are better than Webber. Being better than Webber doesn’t make you a great. He already explained his thoughts on Webber.

    5. VicWeir says:

      No, you’re not.
      I have nothing against Vettel personally. I think he’s a very good driver capable of outstanding precision -driving which will always put him a great position for achieving pole positions.

      But, if the car isn’t working entirely to his needs he’s not yet able to achieve in the way the drivers you’ve mentioned would be. Look at his standing in the WDC before the Newey revival after the August break this year.

      I do think that his elevation to the ranks of the all-time greats by some commentators is a bit premature given the enormous significance of Adrian Newey’s input to his past three years’ success.

      1. Ahmed says:

        Vettels standings before August? He would’ve been leading the championship in a car that was not dominant! 2 DNF’s inc a certain win at Valencia? Through no fault of his own….

      2. Phil Too says:

        Did Spa 2012 not occur in RBR and Vettel [mod] minds?

        Webber starting 7th and Vettel 11 hardly speaks of car working perfectly. Yet Vettel drove a brilliant race (that would win any other driver DotD poll on this website) to second.

        But I guess haters have gotta hate

      3. KRB says:

        The thing is that RBR has always had very good race pace, in EVERY race but one (Monza). Yes, at Spa they weren’t good over a single lap, of course sacrificing qualifying speed for race pace.

        I think Vettel is a very good driver. Best on the grid? Nope. For me, Alonso and Hamilton are a step above. I can still recall how Button owned Vettel several times in 2009, even after Red Bull had caught Brawn up, and I don’t rate Button among the very top tier of drivers on the grid.

        I think Vettel is quick, but I would like to see him up against either Alonso or Hamilton, but realize this is not likely to ever happen. The DWC is not really a true drivers championship, though I suppose it has never been. It is more a Best Team/Driver Combo Championship. Some of the best championship years, for me, have come when two top drivers have gone hammer-and-tongs in the same car. 1986, 1988, 1989, and 2007 were all great DWC years. It’s not the way most teams go about it now though.

    6. GY says:

      I feel exactly the same, couldn’t put it better myself.

    7. JF says:

      Why blame Vettel: if what you say is true, that anyone should win (including My Grandma) driving in that car, why hire drivers, the other Redbull should always be second. I assume you would be complaining about any driver X who wins often. If forums (or you) had been around when Senna was cleaning house I imagine that you would have been describing how Senna was obviously a crappy driver in a great car.

      Sometimes you just have say great is great and stop making excuses.

      1. Andrew M says:

        The difference is Senna went head-to-head with a proven world champion (Prost), Vettel is going head-to-head with Mark Webber.

      2. JF says:

        I don’t buy that argument, they key thing here is that Vettel keeps getting slagged for winning in a dominant car as have many if not all of the greats. Its virtually impossible to win in anything but, although Alonso may make me eat that this year (I hope). Maybe Webber isn’t a champion for Vettel to beat but Webber also highlights the point that it takes more than a dominant car to be dominant, I doubt Red Bull would be where they are now without a Vettel/Hamilton/Alonso caliber driver in the car.

      3. KRB says:

        The difference being that Senna and Prost were in the same car, and each won a title (Prost’s very controversial, no doubt) in their two years together.

    8. [MISTER] says:

      Same here my friend. I miss that excitment that was keeping us in front of the TV until the last lap to see who is the winner.
      And the most that I dislike are Vettel’s celebrations at the end of the race. The same old tiring “yuuuuhooo. We did it boys! That’s what I’m talking about!”

      That could be for me the most annoying thing I could hear.

      1. JF says:

        I think you need to blame the regulations rather than specific individuals. There hasn’t been racing as you describe is since the the late 90′s early 2000′s.

    9. snailtrail says:

      Agree – F1 2012 getting boring.

      This is one of the things with F1 that is difficult for the public to understand:
      1 – good driver & crap car = driver is crap
      2 – bad driver & good car = driver looks good
      3 – good driver & great car = great driver

      Unlike most sports – motorsport is VERY reliant on good machinery and having a good team.

      When a team produces very good machinery its the driver that gets the praise and media attention.

      Fans love to see driver against driver – but this is rarely seen – theres lots of other factors: team orders, team budget, tyres, car etc etc.

      Seb is a very good driver – but its starting to feel fake due to how good the car is – but this is a credit to all the people in the redbull team.

      1. KRB says:

        Vettel had four podiums from the first 13 races, when the RB8 was still the best car overall, but not dominant as it is now.

        Now that it is dominant, he’s scored 4 wins in the last 4 races.

        Those are the facts, and they are instructive.

      2. JF says:

        The only fact you are missing is that Mclaren was the fastest car overall early on (squandered with poor tactics and pit stop errors). Mclaren peaked around the summer break, and RedBull caught up in speed but like Mclaren suffer some reliability (like poor Webber today). Now they are the fastest car, thats for sure. Ferrari is argueably the best car all round, they have been consistently competitive, fairly reliable, but never the fastest, for the whole season while the other top teams went through their various performance peaks and troughs.

    10. For sure says:

      F1 is a funny “sport” isn’t it. If you think a certain driver isn’t good, you can it’s the car. If Alonso was driving RB, it must be the driver.
      It’s all speculation, that’s the truth.

  6. Pete_from Nepal says:

    Wow, a lot of the people I support were beaten by their teammates: kobayashi, senna, heikki, massa, schumacher. May be I am an under-dog kind of guy, but good thing i am no Team Principal!

    1. mark says:

      any chance you could start supporting vettel ?

      1. MiG20009 says:

        @mark, Maybe when hell reaches -273.15 degrees celsius.

      2. Pete_from Nepal says:

        Haha nice one, sir.

        By the way, you aren’t THE Mark, are you, as in Mr. Webber? It’s an absolute honor to meet you sir! And I will do as you say, Vettel for victory today haha!

      3. mark says:

        My bank account wishes i was mark webber lol.

  7. MiG2009 says:

    Red Bull are taking everyone back to school. Did you see Hamilton’s body language, it must be crushing seeing an opponent sail away with it, almost effortlessly.

  8. Rob Newman says:

    Very good job by the McLarens after a bad spell. I am happy both Button and Hamilton are up there. I am happy for Williams too.

    I can’t understand what the Ferrari guys were saying. They said that is the maximum from the car. But is it? On their final qualifying laps, Massa was more than 1/10th up and Alonso was more than 1/10th down on the first sector. Then on the second sector, Alonso was 6/10th down and Massa was 3/10th down. If Msssa was fast on the first sector, then why Alonso was slow? That is his fault. Nothing to do with the car. I am sure Massa was asked not go faster than Alonso.

    Then Alonso was seen mumbling and talking to himself. He is loosing the plot and expecting Red Bulls to falter. He said they are fighting with Newey. Well, he had the opportunity to join Red Bull and he turned it down. Why is he grumbling now?

    I am expecting an exciting start. The Ferrari launch is very good and with an extended DRS zone and less straight line speed, the Red Bulls really have a big task on their hand. It is not going to be a walk in the park.

    1. [MISTER] says:

      Alonso’s and Massa’s final laps were the fastest. It could be just a case of having different setups. Like Massa with less downforce being able to go faster on the straights and Alonso having the car with more downforce, therefore a bit slower in the first sector.

      Like I said, the final laps from both of them were the fastest they went all day..so it could be just a matter of different setups on their cars.

      Also, saying that Massa was told not to go faster is crazy. How exactly you think Massa can predict his time so it will not be faster than Alonso but faster than those behind him when he is driving at 200mph??? He already spun twice this weekend without having to watch his lap time.
      I am sure if Massa would’ve qualify higher he could just let Alonso past at the first turn..

    2. Amritraj says:

      I think Alonso was quite open about the fact that he wasnt able to extract the maximum from the new tyres. He was faster than Massa after the tyres were 3 to 4 laps older.

      As regards his comments, they were certainly strange. I think it is not him alone competing against one Mr. Newey, but big budget, professional organisations competing against each other.

      Somewhere, he is extremely frustrated seeing his lead wiped out. From being the hunted, he is not the hunter, and I am afraid not with the sharpest weapon(read tool)in the box.

      Let’s hope Alonso has a good, safe start tomorrow and can take the fight to the Bulls.

      Regards,

      Amritraj

    3. F1fan4life says:

      He never said he expected the Red Bulls to falter. You seem to love poking at Alonso but there are many better educated fans here than you that can spot a parrot twisting words. You actually say he is grumbling when asked a question by the press? And he must have had the hindsight to know Red Bull would have the fastest car years ago when he could have joined them… so he should have been able to see into the future? I wonder if the you actually take your opinions seriously.

  9. Jonathan says:

    Hi James,
    I was watching qualifying and martin brundle made the point that one of the cars (i think it was bruno senna) was running a set of scrubbed/used tyres in the first session of qualifying when he said teams were given 6 new stes of tyres to use for qualifying so he didnt know why this was? Do you have any idea as to why it was the case or are teams allowed to used scrubbed tyres in qualifying?

    Keep up the great work!

    Jonathan

  10. Irish con says:

    Vettel has won 4 in a row. There not in one season but to me it still counts. Brazil and Abu Dhabi 2010 and Australia and Malaysia 2011. It counts for me. I’ve said this before on here and know one seems to notice this.

    On a different note it really annoys me when a driver can’t match his scrubbed tyre run on his final run in q3. Means they have to start on a tyre that has done more laps and compromises there first stint big time.

  11. r0ssj says:

    Unfortunatley, I don’t think anyone will get close enough to Vettel on the straight to capitalise on Red Bull’s poor straight line speed.

    If anything the Ferrari’s, McLarens and Lotus will probably end up fighting between themselves, allowing Vettel an easy cruise to victory.

    Hope I’m wrong, the last few races have been dull and it’s looking like a pretty disappointing end to what had been great closely fought season.

  12. DK says:

    Now it really look like 2011 again. I am missing the races before summer break.

  13. fabio says:

    In India, when Seb gets pole, the mood on the RBR pitwall was relief and congratulatory.

    In contrast, at Korea, when Mark got pole, it seemed quite sombre. Stone faced. Not many smiles.

    Just something I observed.

    Anyway, even with a slower car, I reckon the RB7′s are going to sail away in the the last 2 sectors. If no one can pass Sebee in the first sector of the first lap, all hope is lost (that is, if you are not a Red Bull fan).

    Fingers cross Mark can repay Seb for the first corner manouvre in Korea.

    1. Dufus says:

      Yep, the pit wall responses to Webber when he beats Vettel tell us a lot about the “team”. Its the same as what Anne Neal said after Monaco 2010. You would have thought someone died.
      For this reason i dislike RBR immensly.

  14. Dave Deacon says:

    F1 via RBR quickly becomes boring. We are used to excitement and variety and this kills it. WDC seems a foregone conclusion thanks to Newey. We were looking for a grand finale not a procession. Seeing as if they’re so clever, give them dodgy tyres…

  15. Methusalem says:

    After a bottle of Redbull we are now having hangover

  16. Robert Gunning says:

    I get the impression that Alonso may try a one stop tomorrow, as this is significantly quicker than a two stop, but poses more risk. However, this is only way Ferrari can beat Red Bull from this position, despite showing better race pace in practice; but a lower tyre degradation rate should suit them.

    1. [MISTER] says:

      That can be very risky and Alonso cannot aford risky.
      He might end up fighting with people on different strategies and that could mess up his plans on a 1 stop. Alonso is not yet in a possition when he has to risk it by doing a 1 stop, I think.

  17. Chromatic says:

    For once, every driver on the first 4 rows has done the very best they can and they line up strictly according to the maximum their machinery can deliver on a single lap.
    You can’t ask for more.
    Only one driver in the top four teams failed to deliver: Grosjean, the star qualifier of the year !!

  18. Craig D says:

    It’s funny how the first half of this season was really unpredictable (which some blamed the tyres for) and now we’re ending with it being predictable again. Although more specifically it’s that Red Bull are back to having their edge. All fair though; they’re doing the better job. Or at least Newey is!

    1. James Clayton says:

      Pirelli admitted on Sky F1 practice that they deliberately throw something strange in the ways the tyre performs so that the teams have something to get to grips with at the beginning of the season. It makes me feel sick.

      So yea it gave us “7 winners in 7 races” that everybody repeatedly reminds me about and I’m sure will all through next year too, but that’s because all the teams were spending more time trying to understand the tyres and less time actually developing the car.

      Net result is the team that gets there first has more time to spend on developing things like double diffusers and “the device”s.

      If they hadn’t changed the tyres this year then we’d have had an out and out engineering battle from the beginning. Maybe Red Bull would have romped away with it. Maybe McLaren and Ferrari and even Mercedees would have developed just as well and we’d have had a genuinely great season. Sad thing is we’ll never know. Looks like Pirelli want to give us commic book starts to every season :(

      1. Peter C says:

        What a way to run a ‘sport’.

        If that’s true about Pirelli throwing a curved ball, it must presumably have been arranged earlier in the season (F.I.A. /even Bernie-Todt).Surely Pirelli couldn’t do tyre spec. manipulation entirely alone?

        We call it ‘Motorsport’,but is it? I have been a huge fan since the Vanwall days – everything seemed fine until the BIG money came in with Bernie spotting a way to make a fortune.

        Everyone went along with it because they wanted part of that fortune too, but it has ended up as a sad manipulation which diminishes the ‘sport’ aspect, IMO.

        Will BCE live longer than me? Probably.

      2. Tim says:

        Agree. When the “money men” see an opportunity to seize control of a sport or business that is either a necessity with people or has a loyal fan base, they move in and seize control. They then offer a few cheap “bells and whistles” added on to the product and raise the price astronomically, whilst at the same time cutting costs to themselves. They squeeze until the ROI drops below a certain threshold and then sell, moving on to their next “investment”. Makes me think of Dracula, lol. Sad, very sad. It doesn’t have to be this way.

        Tim

  19. Wade Parmino says:

    I think all Alonso can do is hope for Vettel’s alternator to fail. It’s 2011 from here on out.

    1. k5enny says:

      Or his team mate could crash, bringing out the safety car to his advantage!!??

    2. Chromatic says:

      I’ve emailed Magnetti Marelli again asking for help.

    3. James Clayton says:

      Qualifying will be 2011 style because Red Bull have their DDRS. Race pace from everybody is close, certainly here.

      If the Mclarens can get the jump on the Red Bulls at the start or the first pit the race the Ferraris may also be able to get past.

      Hamilton would love nothing more than to help Alonso to this championship ahead of Vettel. I do wonder just *how* far he’d be willing to go.

  20. Bismarck says:

    [mod] Um vettel could you not take pole and not make things easier for yourself so I can be entertained because if you dont then I’m not watching anymore. Oh and stop winning races to help yourself win all these championships so I can be more entertained. You are doing so good and beating my favorite driver again that there is no way it is you so I’m going to take a frustrated dig at you and say it is all your car. If you don’t do want I want I’ll keep saying this.

    Reporter: seb you qualified p10 today can you explain that?
    Vettel: well I read a blog on ja so I decided I would make things harder on myself to entertain a fan who is totally biased and does not like me.
    Reporter: you also did it with no drs, front wing, or rear tyre.
    Vettel: well once again that biased fan and his damn “all car” comments! I have to make sure he is happy because he threatened he wouldn’t watch anymore!

    It’s a good thing vettel hasn’t beaten Alonso or anyone else in the same car because if he did people’s heads would pop off lol. Couldn’t imagine the comments we would see then!

    1. JF says:

      Vettel will have to win in a full body cast driving a donkey-cart backwards before he gets even a half-hearted mild “OK” drive on this forum.

    2. Moe says:

      +1000
      The most creative comment I have seen in a long time…It’s amazing how short sighted some fans are when their driver is not winning..

    3. Mitchel says:

      That’s so true!

      Vettel has no respect for the fans- it’s like he’s going out there to be the fastest in every session, and to win every race by the biggest margin!

      Can’t the FIA clamp down on this?

      :)

  21. Cobalto says:

    Sergio Perez is showing that he can also qualify well. He’s much better racing so tomorrow I’m looking forward on finishing on the top 6 running a 1 stop strategy together, probably with RAI. Great race for tomorrow.

    1. Martin says:

      It will be interesting to see how he goes. He’s starting on used tyres like the rest of the top ten. If you look at:

      http://www.formula1.com/results/driver/2012/867.html

      the only race where he started in the top ten and went forward from his grid position is Malaysia.

      My feeling is that here he did a better job than several other drivers, such as Grosjean and Schumacher and possibly Senna to get into the ten when he shouldn’t have been. Not sure about the Force Indias.

  22. Marc Aubry says:

    If MW stay second to SV after the start, SV will be on his way to a race win. If MW gets pushed further down at the start, we might still have a race. I hope to see SV, LH and FA go top three at the start, even better if KR gets to fourth. The top for in the WDC going at each other. One can always hope. Marc

    1. JF says:

      Based on Webbers start record, I assume Hamilton, or Button will be in at least P2 after the start, It should be good one. Mclaren will have a straight line advantage which could do it early in race

  23. Jeremiah says:

    Why on Earth would Vettel want to go to Ferrari ??!!

    1. James Allen says:

      Fresh challenge. But not in near future in my view

  24. Jeremy Lord says:

    I heard Kimi made a comment to the BBC interviewer which I doubt will make it to the screen. He said they made some changes to the car after P3 and they were “sh1t”, which is a shame because I think he could have qualified higher today.

  25. ronmon says:

    I love F1, but the total lack of parity due to Red Bull waging a money war while every one else respects the resource restriction agreement is spoiling it for me. If they can’t rein them in next year I may give it up.

  26. Tim says:

    This could be the F1 season finale. Was hoping for an exciting finish in Brazil. Maybe Karthikeyan and Vettel could have another “meet and greet” akin to lap 46 in Malaysia. Are there such things as “rogue monsoons” that could just drench the ckt for a bit? How ’bout if someone sneaks into Newey’s office and breaks all his pencils? F1 should have a trophy specifically for designers. He’s worth every red cent.

    Tim

  27. Frank says:

    Why are you all whining?

    It is a team sport and not Newey against the rest. How ridiculous is Alonso’s and your argumentation? Suddenly Massa is quick again…

    Ferrari has got the biggest budget over all teams since for ever and they are not capable of beating one human being called Adrian Newey?

    Vettel is driving great. Lewis as well, in my opinion his best season since 2007 (2008). But his team let him down.

    Look at Silverstone GP. Webber won ahead of Alonso and Vettel:
    Alonso 129, Webber 116, Vettel 100 points.

    Vettel had one DNF and one cucumber experience in Kuala Lumpur. Alonso and Webber finished all the races until then. So Vettel lost 37 points.

    Webber never had the lead in the championships in 2012. Webber never finished in front of Vettel after Silverstone.

    Do the math …

  28. Eric Weinraub says:

    I must say that both Hamilton and Rosberg better start looking for where they are going to be driving in 2 years because I seriously don’t see Mercedes spending their money on Honda part 2 if this is the best they can do.. Honestly, it is amazing how bad this team sucks. Easily, this is the worst car Michael has driven in his 20 years in the sport. Its embarassing. And to Ross, maybe the people around you should get more credit for those years at Ferrari and Bennetton ’cause your years at Honda have, with the exception of the double diffuser year, steadily backwards.

  29. AlexD says:

    I think F1 is like this – if your team cannot win for several seasons, you slowly lose interest, especially when you see Vettel domination. I am glad I am travelling extensively these days and cannot watch races. Painful to see Ferrari losing the title.
    But I guess there are happy folks in this forum for the same reason I am not:-)

  30. Joakim Hermansson says:

    This could for sure be an interesting point of discussion tomorrow, or what do you think?! Could Vettel lose his pole lap?!

    pic.twitter.com/eHhIoSgf

  31. Tony Hirst says:

    I posted a few charts summarising qualifying action at http://f1datajunkie.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/f1-2012-india-qualification-summary.html
    What jumps out is how HAM was underperforming compared to his best possible/ultimate laptime, as well as how comparatively slow the Red Bulls are…

    It would be great if part of the race preview included a summary of the sector properties, so we could start to chat a bit more about what one team faring well in one sector compared to another versus a different team might suggest about the relative performance/handling of the respective teams’ cars?

  32. Kevin says:

    Who has seen the footage of Vettel going off the track twice in his qualifying lap?

  33. Marko says:

    I must say that I don’t want to see Vettel run away in the last few races because he has the superior car, but please stop whinging about Red Bull. In this level of Motor Sport, the other teams should engineer their own improvements to take on the Red Bulls, not make the RB innovations illegal just because they give an advantage. I realise that cost constraints are a big factor but this supposed to be the top end.

  34. will billage says:

    [mod]
    I wonder if it’s team order time at RB yet? I would love to see Webber wipe the floor with him. Fascinating is it not that when Webber out qualifies him in Korea he has problems off the start again….? hmmmmm?

    1. Wilma the Great says:

      Webber’s engine power definitely was powered down with a secret switch from the RBR crew. You have to be blind, not to see this. If they would let him, he would clearly outperform Vettel in each and every race.

  35. Simon Donald says:

    Never has an opening lap been more important than today! If Vettel leads after lap 1 and especially if Webber is number two then its all over. But if one or both of the McLarens can get past on lap 1 then it’s anyone’s race. I don’t dislike Vettel but for the season’s sake I’d love to see him squirm behind a couple of McLarens and with Alonso biting at his heels!

  36. Moe says:

    Prediction for the race. There will definitely be contact in the race for the win, the only question is 1st corner, lap or during the race? Hamilton and Massa both have nothing to lose and both would rather Alonso win WDC over Vettel (Hamilton more so). There will be an aggressive/clumsy move to try and overtake, and Vettel will have a DNF, which will hand the lead back to Alonso.

  37. TDE says:

    Vettel cut turn 7 slightly on his pole lap. Is that allowed now?

  38. murat says:

    I don’t like all these comments about vettel.I think he isn’t honest person.he makes out he is but every now and then he shows he’s tru face.spoiled brat!!and that finger gets me crazy!I wanna break it off give it back to him.what makes him think that “HE” is number one?

    1. VET ain't that evil says:

      IF he thinks he is number one, maybe winning two titles in a row, and being on track for a third is perhaps a good enough reason. Try to relax a little or following golf instead.

      1. murat says:

        I wud win with that car!that don’t make him number one!after the race who was the driver of the day in ur opinion?vettel?

      2. VET ain't that evil says:

        I would pick Alonso for driver of the season let alone the day.

        But your original post asked why VETTEL would think that HE is number one.

  39. Glennb says:

    “Vettel makes it a hat-trick of front row lockouts for Red Bull”

    Seb must be thrilled at locking out the front row single handledly.
    I could have sworn that Webber might have contributed to the treble lockout…
    I suppose it’s your forum.

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s very clear in the first para that Webber is on front row with him…

    2. Peter C says:

      Makes a good headline…….no?

  40. Marybeth says:

    Alonso said after qualifying, “Now we are fighting against a Newey car,” he added, in English. “They are first and second all the time; it’s not only Sebastian.” He is also quoted in Italian: “If you want to win the championship you need to have the same resources as your competitors.” Does that mean that Alonso is going to take the Santander money & buy a seat at Red Bull…?

    1. James Allen says:

      He’s been fighting against Newey cars his whole career, as did Schumacher

  41. Timo says:

    James,

    To your knowledge, have Pirelli changed the tyre compunds / construction since the summer? Hembury was saying on Star Sports prior to the race in India that either compound could last an entire race distance. Seems a far cry from where tyres were at when this season kicked off. This is doing nothing for spicing up the racing — I was distinctly reminded of the Bridgestone years of single stop processional races. Won’t be surprised if Pirelli goes even more conservative next year — it’s the final year of their contract and they presumably would prefer to sell more tyres commercially than create exciting races only for losing teams to blame the tyres! Coupled with the stability in regulations, looks like we are in for a dull 2013.

    1. James Allen says:

      No, the teams have got really good at using the tyres. That’s how good the engineering is.

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