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Mark Webber on pole for Korean Grand Prix, as Vettel drops script in final run
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Posted By: James Allen  |  13 Oct 2012   |  7:33 am GMT  |  147 comments

Mark Webber took pole position for the Korean Grand Prix with a strong final lap, bouncing back from an engine software problem in final practice to seal an impressive pole position and beat his team mate by 7/100ths of a second.

Webber spent time with the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt earlier this week and the golden glow certainly seems to have rubbed off on the Australian, who was delighted with his lap.

It’s the 36 year old’s second pole of the season, but the first he has won for himself on the track; he inherited the pole in Monaco from Schumacher thanks to a steward’s penalty. The freshly updated Red Bull car has had the edge all weekend, but in the end the gaps back to Hamilton at 2/10ths and to Alonso at 3/10ths were not as big as perhaps expected.

Also worth noting is that Webber had the pole position without setting the fastest time in any of the three sectors, it was just a very fast and consistent lap.

Webber beat Vettel for pace today, but his team mate, who had dominated practice and qualifying up to that point, had a poor first sector when it mattered.

Vettel misread what Felipe Massa was doing in the final sector as he came through to start his final lap; whatever effect it had on Vettel, it meant that his first sector time was down on his first run and that was enough to lose the initiative,

“Why didn’t you tell me about Massa?” an agitated Vettel asked over the radio on the slow down lap.

It was a second Red Bull front row lock out in a row after Japan, Webber’s pole was the 11th of his career and it will make for an interesting race, as when Webber starts at the front he generally does pretty well in the race.

“It was a reasonable lap, there have been few that have been nip and tuck this year,”said Webber. “We have a pretty handy car around here for sure. The hard work is paying off. We had a software glitch in practice so a little bit on the back foot going into qualifying.”

Red Bull showed that it had good performance on the long runs in practice, so it will be quite tough for the McLarens and Ferraris to find a way to get ahead of them on Sunday, while the in house battle at Red Bull will be interesting with Vettel clearly well ahead of Webber in the championship.

For example, if Webber were to win the race with Vettel second, then Alonso can retain his championship lead by one point if he beats Hamilton to the podium. The intrigue will be over the Red Bull tactics; they do not tend to employ team orders when both drivers have a shot at the championship, but Webber is 60 points behind Alonso, so his chances are far less than Vettel’s. Nevertheless a win tomorrow would certainly help towards redressing that.


Red Bull dominated the practice session build up to the qualifying with Vettel, although Webber had lost time on Saturday morning with a data issue on the engine which led to it not firing.

The temperature dropped a little before the start of qualifying, as cloud cover grew heavier.

In Q1 Narain Karthikeyan had a scary moment when he felt his brakes go away and he had a lurid spin off the track.

Massa and Raikkonen set the early pace on the soft tyres, then Vettel came in and smashed their time by six tenths. Vettel did the time on the third lap on the tyre, Raikkonen on the fifth, as the drivers found the best way to get the tyres to work.

Times were slower than in 2011, where the fastest in Q1 was 1m 37.5 and in the 1m 35s in Q2 and Q3.

Vettel and Webber were the fastest, Fernando Alonso was forced to use a set of supersoft tyres, where Felipe Massa wasn’t and yet he still could only manage 16th place, with Lewis Hamilton flirting with danger in 17th, refusing to rely on supersoft tyres.

Bruno Senna was unable to get it together and was eliminated, along with Petrov, who outpaced his team mate Kovalainen. Charles Pic beat his team mate Glock at Marussia.

In Q2 the drivers all moved to the supersoft tyre and Vettel was again straight onto the top, with Alonso and Hamilton getting it together too.

In the final part of the session Daniel Ricciardo stopped on track in the final sector with a gearbox issue, bringing out yellow flags out, as Raikkonen had done in qualifying in Japan.

Many drivers improved during this time, but not Jenson Button, who was 11th. Paul di Resta was 2/10ths slower than Hulkenberg and was eliminated, while team mate Nico Hulkenberg got through. Also eliminated in Q2 were Perez, Kobayashi, Maldonado, Ricciardo and Vergne.

It means that Button will start alongside his team mate for next year, Sergio Perez on the grid.

In Q3 Vettel was fastest, with Alonso second ahead of Webber, Massa and Hamilton, with Raikkonen the faster of the Lotus pair. The Mercedes pair and Hulkenberg meanwhile went out but pitted without setting a time.

In the final runs, Webber did a good lap, while Vettel lost time in the first sector and this swung the advantage to Webber.

Hamilton and Alonso both did good laps for third and fourth places, ahead of Raikkonen who was less than 1/10th of a second behind the Ferrari and only 0.38s behind the pole man in the updated Lotus.

KOREAN GRAND PRIX, YEONGAM, Qualifying

1. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m37.242s
2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m37.316s + 0.074
3. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m37.469s + 0.227
4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m37.534s + 0.292
5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m37.625s + 0.383
6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m37.884s + 0.642
7. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m37.934s + 0.692
8. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m38.266s + 1.024
9. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m38.361s + 1.119
10. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m38.513s + 1.271

11. Jenson Button McLaren 1m38.441s + 0.674
12. Sergio Perez Sauber 1m38.460s + 0.693
13. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m38.594s + 0.827
14. Paul di Resta Force India 1m38.643s + 0.876
15. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m38.725s + 0.958
16. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m39.084s + 1.317
17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m39.340s + 1.573

18. Bruno Senna Williams 1m39.443s + 1.235
19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1m40.207s + 1.999
20. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1m40.333s + 2.125
21. Charles Pic Marussia 1m41.317s + 3.109
22. Timo Glock Marussia 1m41.371s + 3.163
23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1m42.881s + 4.673
24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT no time

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147 Comments
  1. Paul L says:

    Team orders if Webber and Vettel are 1 and 2 tomorrow?

    1. Grabyrdy says:

      Mark’s best chance will be if Lewis gets Seb at turn 1. Then he can just go for it. Otherwise he might be asked to play the game sooner rather than later.

      1. Michael says:

        ‘Best chance’? Surely Webber is hoping that Vettel gets a great start and he can let him through at the first opportunity and then start holding up the field?

        I’m not a fan of either but it seems to me the obvious thing is for Webber to allow Vettel past and then control the pace from there.

        The thought that Webber should be, or want to be, doing anything other than that seems a bit strange.

      2. abashrawi says:

        And even then, if he and Hamilton are faster, he will be asked to slow Hamilton to let Vettel catch which may risk his strategy. It doesn’t look rosy for him.

    2. Wayne says:

      If they have any sense at all then yes, absolutely.

    3. Wade Parmino says:

      I think Webber should just hold the lead if he has it by the end of the first lap. On the last lap of the race if Vettel is still there in 2nd, then maybe it would be reasonable for him to hand over the win. At least then he has a serious shot at the win should Vettel drop out for any reason, and Webber can also show beyond doubt that he did have the pace for the win.

      Personally though, I hope Webber is leading just ahead of Vettel and he decides to defy team orders. That would be some great controversy there!

      1. Johnny Benerba says:

        I agree! If it comes down to the last lap and Seb is still right behind him, then maybe its an acceptable move but controversy is more exciting. I would love to see MW win but I have a feeling Vettel is going to blow everyone away on the first lap.

    4. Glennb says:

      and so there should be. I’m a Webber fan but it makes sense to help Seb out if needed.
      1. Webber can’t realistically win this WDC.
      2. Vettel realistically can win this WDC.
      3. Moving over is better than getting taken out.
      4. If Seb were to go on and win the WDC, everyone would say it was because Webber helped him out in Korea.
      5. Ah forget it. Webber isn’t moving over. It would never happen :)
      Personally I think Seb is good enough to win this one on merit. I hope Mark wins but I wouldn’t put any money on it…

    5. Rach says:

      Definitely mark’s chance of title has long gone.

    6. Craig in Singapore says:

      In 2010 when Webber was ahead of Vettel in the standings at the same point of the season Red Bull management outright refused to favour him saying that Vettel still had a mathematical chance. Vettel went on to win that WDC. Do not expect Webber to play 2nd driver now that the roles are reversed.

  2. Dufus says:

    On ya Mark. What a lap !
    As far as the radio talk from Vettel it just underlines
    why he is not popular.

    1. Wayne says:

      It’s not endearing the way the guy speaks to his engineer sometimes, same as Hamilton used to do. Good to hear Rcoky giving as good as he gets! “What was I supposed to say?” Good bloody point!

      Besides, wasn’t Vettel just looking for excuses at that point? Didn’t he loose his time in Sector 1?

      1. KRB says:

        He lost his time in Sector 1 b/c he came upon Massa at the start of his flying lap. Vettel thought Massa was pitting (why he would think that, I don’t know), Massa started his flying lap, and Vettel had to back off a little.

        Was surprised to hear Vettel say: “I am not a fan of blaming anyone or anything for the result.”

        Y’what?!?! I remember Malaysia this year, Canada ’10 (“I mean seriously guys …”), Hungary this year, etc.

        Maybe he means he doesn’t lay blame after the result is in?

    2. AuraF1 says:

      In most interviews I really like Vettel. He seems such a happy, thoughtful guy with a good sense of humour. But when you hear his petulance in car (a lot more this year than last given his lack of early season control) you get an image of such a different personality – it’s hard to reconcile the difference, but it does lend to this aura of him as a spoilt brat who complains if he doesn’t get everything his own way and that does sort of explain why such a fast champion driver rarely gets the respect he probably deserves.

      I sincerely hope he is actually that funny, down to earth guy and the petulance is just a sign of stress. If it turned out he’s a hateful person who does a good public impersonation of a nice guy for PR purposes it would be terribly disappointing.

      1. KRB says:

        Perhaps you’re right … maybe he’s just like that in the heat of the moment. Certainly isn’t an edifying example for a 2xDWC to show.

        He has a good sense of humour for sure, his impression of Kimi at the awards one year was classic. But then he also threw in something about Germans being good with knives in WWII, which was a definite comedy killer. Guess just chalk it up to him not knowing how far he could take his comedy routine.

      2. Martin says:

        I think it is the competitive environment and the heat of the moment. At that time the drivers are focussed on getting pole and don’t have a balanced world view. Given them five minutes to reflect and they become more balanced.

      3. ed24f1 says:

        I think many drivers have different personalities inside and outside F1. I’m thinking of Alonso as well, who by all accounts is quite a nice guy outside F1 but inside F1 is one of the most manipulative and ruthless drivers of the current generation.

    3. Kay says:

      I missed quali.

      What’s the radio message from Seb?

    4. Vettel has long had a reputation for being hard on his engineers – this is one of the reasons he has been so successful

  3. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    What was the answer from RBR to Vettel about Massa?

    Red Bull pit strategies will help Vettel against Webber? Hummmm…

    Hamilton should keep 3rd and Alonso just try a little to get 3rd, not too much tomorrow.

    Happy with Hulk again, hope he moves to another team before is too late, FIndia looks horrible with the bad news about Kingfisher.

    1. Brett Williams says:

      Rocky (in an agitated voice): “What was I supposed to tell you?!”

    2. Vinnie Nguyen says:

      “What was I supposed to say?”

    3. veeru says:

      “what did you expect me to say?” was the reply from rocky

      according to bbc

      1. Elie says:

        Yep that’s what he said I heard it

    4. veeru says:

      “What did you expect me to say?” was the reply from rocky

    5. Chromatic says:

      Any money Sauber are fielding Alguersuari and the Hulk next year. Munisha will announce on her birthday.

      1. Sossoliso says:

        Alguesuariis a mediocre driver. If Sauber drop Kobayashi, they will regret it.

      2. chaplinez says:

        “Alguesuari a mediocre driver”
        I guess I’m seeing this for the first time.

    6. KRB says:

      The Ferrari has good speed down the straights, so those ahead will have to build up a lead in the last two sectors.

    7. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      Tks all for the answer.

  4. Mac says:

    Vettel always beats Webber at the start so no need for team orders. Interesting to see what happens between Alonso and Hamilton tomorrow when the lights go green. Another DNF for Alonso?

    1. Peter says:

      Silverstone 2010? The infamous ‘not bad for a number 2 driver’ race. Vettel had pole, and Webber’s front wing, and Webber had his blood up.
      Webber out dragged Vettel to the first corner and never looked back.

      1. Mac says:

        One exception don’t make any difference, Vettel will beat Webber tomorrow at the start, that is fact. I’m not Vettel fan, but respect him as 2x WDC driver. (Soon to be 3x)

      2. Kay says:

        It hasn’t even happened yet and that’s a ‘fact’??!

        I think Silverstone 2010 is enough for the case of countering “Vettel ALWAYS beats Webber”.

      3. Bunt says:

        Dirty side of a rarely used track for Vettel. Might come in to play, especially if it puts Hamilton along side him.

      4. Wild Man says:

        Turkey 2010?

        Monaco 2010 & 2012?

        Spain 2010?

    2. Wild Man says:

      British GP 2010?

    3. Lezza says:

      Silly generalisation.

      1. Wilma the Great says:

        Nope. Just hard facts.
        Recent start performance:
        Vettel +1
        Webber -3

    4. Chromatic says:

      Webber is gatecrashing what is otherwise a title contenders’ only affair. He can also be the slowest starter of all. I expect Vet to lead out of the first corner followed by Alo.

      Massa worries me. Obviously he failed in getting p5 to protect Alo, but he is a good starter. Kimi is a good starter too, but I fear Massa making an “unsporting” move on Kimi to help the Ferrari cause. That would be some parting gift to Alo !

      If Massa keeps it clean, Kimi is on that podium with Vet and one other ….

      1. Doug says:

        If there is a big difference between the clean and dirty side it could be Webber, Hamilton 1&2 into the first corner…I hope so…it would make it much more exciting!

    5. Anil says:

      He’s on the dirty side of the grid which could make things interesting.

    6. peruvian says:

      I guess we all know that Webber’s car has a glitch at the start, so Vettel will be faster than Webber, but if I am Hamilton, and know this, I would try to beat Vettel, and since hamilton is on the clean part, I think he will, then Vettel will follow.
      Now if I am Mclaren, I will practice start simulations… like fake right ( so Webber moves to cover) and past on the left….
      My money is on Hamilton, he can win it, and Vettel is in a bad position, dirty side, and in this GP the dirty side is very, very dirty.

    7. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      Hamilton and Alonso could be interested to talk before the start to join forces against the 2 Red Bulls, right?

  5. Hey! says:

    Redbull won’t ask Webber to pull over.

    Their team orders are usually gearbox changes, diff problems, slow starts and dodgy strategy calls.

    1. AuraF1 says:

      I think with team orders legal now, they’ll simply tell him he needs to ‘turn the engine mixture down’ as Vettel is closing and then ‘preserve your pace’. Mark knows it. Vettel knows it. And it does make sense given their respective positions in the championship (this time anyway – the previous attempts were often when Mark was ahead of Vettel).

      The devil in me does hope Mark has some of that infamous radio trouble going about though when the call comes in…

    2. Erik says:

      Yeah don’t forget about ‘broken KERS’.. That’s come up a few times for Mark.

    3. hero_was_senna says:

      I would be surprised and disappointed if they did. In 2010, Webber was the better placed driver with 2 rounds to go, but they didn’t once ask Vettel to surrender position to him.
      If Ferrari had played their strategy differently in Abu Dhabi, and covered Vettel, thy would have won the championship.
      Vettel may well have another 2 poor results, and Webber may dominate races, so it’s too early to expect differently.

      I know Seb is the favoured son, but let’s wait nd see

      1. McHarg123 says:

        Although Weber’s chances of winning the title are unrealistic, surely they won’t ask him to move over. Vettel wasn’t asked to move over in Japan and Brazil 2010. Webber would have won the WDC if team orders occurred.
        Something tells me though that this GP could be one of the most thrilling yet. The top 5 on the grid are the top 5 in the championship. Go Kimi!! make this a thrilling 3 way title showdown.

      2. G Hindle says:

        MW needs to hope LH gets SV at the start and that FA joins in on the action. That way they may let him win. Ca’t see him beating SV if they are 1 2, even without team orders. SV is too good.

  6. AlexD says:

    Mark, Sebastian is much faster and more valuable than you, by putting a signature you confirmed that you understood the message.

    Could be a great fight between these two. Hopefully Alosno has the speed to finish ahead of Vettel.

    1. Mac says:

      I think RB 1 -2 tomorrow and Kimi will fight for 3rd with Alo and Ham if they survive first corner. Kimi was very happy with car performance today, so the upgrade works!

      1. Lynn says:

        Would love to see the 3 world champions Hamilton, Alonso & Raikkonen fighting for the last podium!

  7. Toby says:

    Put £2 on Webber to win the WDC the other day, at 100/1. Time for him to come good!!

  8. Nail in the coffin for Senna??

      1. Eleanore says:

        I’d love to know why the team ordered him to abort his best lap at the worst possible time.

      2. Eleanore says:

        I’d love to know why the team ordered him to abort his best (and final) flying lap.

      3. JEZ Playense says:

        About time.

      4. only1halen says:

        Being forced to sit out virtually every FP1 session has really hurt Senna’s season. He is having to play catch-up every Grand Prix weekend and that is not a recipe for success.

      5. Eleanore says:

        Remarkable how few people ever seem to take this into account. Having front wing issues this weekend all but cost him two of the three in terms of significant running.

    1. Vantro says:

      Probably. Lucky for Hamilton that Senna screwed it up once again in quali!

      1. KRB says:

        BIGTIME! What were McLaren thinking?!?! As for Senna, he’s blaming missing FP1 for missing out on Q2. Uh-oh, not a smart move methinks. The only thing positive in his favour is the sponsorship money he brings.

        How many $’s is that again?

    2. Simmo says:

      Having said that both his and Pastor’s Q1 times were incredibly close, just a few tenths off each other. Bruno was just a few tenths off. Had he made it through, rather than just missing the cut, he would be close to Maldonado…

      1. Andrew Carter says:

        4 tenths is quite a big gap these days, especially when the top 17 were covered by 1 second.

      2. Simmo says:

        Yes, but also taking into account he didn’t have an error-free lap… I don’t know, I guess you’re right :)

    3. Wayne says:

      Maybe not, his billionnaire backer in Brazil once said ‘I’ll do whatever it take to keep Senna in F1′ – it’s worked so far.

    4. Fernando Cruz says:

      Yes, if he can’t improve his qualifying until the end of the season.

      He’s really quick in races but starting so far back he can’t get good results. It seems he still has the same kind of problems that Jenson Button also had this year. They have a similar driving style and didn’t warm enough their tyres in a single lap. Being much more experienced and having the support of a top team Button solved his problems, but not Senna, or so it seems. Also losing FP1 doesn’t help. Furthermore Bruno didn’t find a good balance today in FP3.

    5. Ryan Eckford says:

      He is gone!

  9. Ninetto says:

    Fernando will own them all!

    1. PDiddly says:

      Now why on earth would you say that ?

      Way more likely he gets a bit of Grosjean on the way to T1.

    2. Adelaide says:

      Start will be crucial for Fer’s race – if Hamilton takes Vettel on the start. Also he must watch his back…

    3. Erik says:

      +1… When Seb heads to Ferrari go back to McLaren Fernando.

      1. Quade says:

        I was happy when Alonso left McLaren and hope he never returns.
        Did you hear Alonso’s comments about Lewis leaving McLaren? They weren’t very nice, he was over the moon because he knew McLaren was losing a gem. He first hinted that McLaren always failed good drivers and performed poorly even while having the fastest car most times, then he went on to list several other great drivers who had left McLaren with bitterness, the list included the likes of Senna, Hakkinen, Alonso himself and Lewis.
        McLaren might have their problems, but they certainly don’t need a “doctor” Alonso.

      2. F1fan4life says:

        Exactly!@# I thought I was the only one who felt this way. If Vettel has some great deal with Ferrari I hope Fernando goes to McLaren. They’ve provided better cars than Ferrari in the last few years now. That said if Vettel was leaving Red Bull I’m certain Horner will be begging Alonso to join.

      3. db4tim says:

        Yea…right

      4. hero_was_senna says:

        P.M.S.L

  10. Peter says:

    Will be very interested to see who dictates the first pit stop if Webber’s ahead. By rights it should be Webber according to Red Bull’s policy, by I wonder if they will bring Seb in first for the undercut.
    Subtle execution of team orders?

    1. F1fan4life says:

      Oh certainly. Something will happen to Webber if he is leading a RB 1-2 towards the end. The only thing longer than the straight at Yeong Nam was Vettel’s face today.

      1. Erik says:

        Ha ha, so true.

      2. G Hindle says:

        Yes, MW will be on a 4 stop strategy!

    2. Pargo says:

      I’m a Webber fan, but your first “if” is a big one.

    3. DK says:

      Mark is usually slower off the line at the start, and harder on his tyres.

      Let’s if this is the case tommorow.

      1. Simmo says:

        Mark always seems to have terrible starts…

      2. KRB says:

        I will say that Vettel has been quite harsh with some overtakes this season. His pass on him in Belgium was not what I would expect a driver to do to his teammate. At Spa he totally hung him out to dry, forcing Webber onto and over the kerb on the straight coming out of the last corner. He’s lucky that Webber backed off that time.

        That same race he also gave a little brush right to Senna as he was passing him in the bus stop.

        Like when he went to the racing line too quickly after thinking he had cleared Karthikeyan in Malaysia, he should exercise better caution when and where there is little upside in not doing.

      3. Martin says:

        I agree with you on Karthikeyan that what Vettel did was to put himself in unnecessary danger.

        In regards to Spa, I feel if the lead driver defends to the inside, denying the driver attempting to pass access to the apex of the corner, why having gained the ascendency, should the overtaking driver make space? To leave space just makes you vulnerable to losing the place again. To me Webber and Senna tried to block but were outmanouevred. They tried to shut the door in the inside to the first turn, but Vettel opened another and then shut it in their faces. A smarter move would have been to get out of it earlier and follow Vettel through the exit and lose less time. Webber made the same error in Valencia – on old tyres and lost more places into the coming corners.

  11. joshua says:

    Jenson with fresh options or primes could play a key role if the first round of pit stops. If he could hold up the redbulls by doing a one stop and be quick enough on the straights to ruin someones race, it could spice things up.

    Looking forward to watch kimi take it to the leaders with that good qualifying position!

    1. Martin says:

      It will certainly be difficult to get more than one stop ahead in 15 laps. I don’t fancy Jenson’s chances of defending into turn 3 with old tyres though. In Suzuka the DRS zone finished with a near flat out corner. Here it is is a big braking zone after a long DRS zone. Fresh tyres will help a lot on traction. Fighting the leaders won’t help his tyres either. Button is more likely to run a race that gives him the best result, rather than what will help Hamilton out.

  12. Dan says:

    Webber has out qualified Vettel 7 times this season, yet everyone talks about Vettel being the best qualifier in the sport and compares him to Senna. What a joke. Webber is nothing special and 36 years old.

    Meanwhile Alonso, the guy who’s apparent weakness is qualifying has out qualified Massa 18 times in a row or something lol.

  13. Cedgy says:

    Surely this is the for Bruno Senna, he just makes too many mistakes when things matter the most. Just because you got the name doesn’t make you a great driver!

    1. Fernando Cruz says:

      He didn’t find a good balance in FP3 and also had some problems. Doesn’t look good but he can be very quick in races and can still improve in qualifying. I hope he gets a clean race tomorrow but it won’t be easy to get points starting so far in a track like this.

  14. Steve says:

    James,
    You say red bull has superior race pace over the rest, Jenson said he thought he had the best pace over long runs, do you know what Hamiltons pace was like?

  15. Rob Newman says:

    This could be one of the most important races because potentialy the batton could change hand here for the lead and tension and emotions will be running very high.

    Hamilton doesn’t have anything to lose and he will go for it. It is Vettel who has a lot to lose especially starting from second on the dirty side of the grid.

    The race pacce of the Red Bull is not good. It will be the Ferraris and the McLarens who will do well here. Button will start on the soft tyres and will be the man to watch.

    It will be interesting to see what will happen if Massa overtakes Alonso at the start.

    1. Doug says:

      I agree, if Button has a good first lap & can get past the Mercs & Force India he could be on for a strong result.

    2. KRB says:

      Why would that be interesting? Massa would give it back in a flash.

    3. Quade says:

      Under race simulation, the Red Bulls were fastest in free practice, followed closely by Jenson Button.

    4. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      Alonso hasn’t lost a single position at the end of first laps for all the season. Why should it happen at one of the tracks with the closest first corner to the start grid?

    5. hero_was_senna says:

      He’ll Let him straight passed again…

  16. Ilin says:

    So if Massa was actually holding up Vettel, will Massa get a penalty?

  17. Trickle says:

    With regards to Red Bull team orders i reckon they will not go in with any from the start bur rather react to Alonso’s position/threat. If Alonso takes third but along way behind the 2RBs then i think it makes sense to let Vettel pass Webber. However if Alonso has a problem and falls back or gets a DNF they will let the race run its course with no orders.

    An aside i think Senna is gone for sure, EJ on BBC speculated him going to HRT and i think even that is generous. Not a single impressive performance from him.

  18. Trickle says:

    I believe they (RB) will react based on Alonso’s race and threat. If Alonso has a bad race; falls down the positions or a DNF then I dont see the need for team orders. However if Alonso remains 4th or even gains 3rd and Vettel and Webber are close then Vettel should be allowed to pass.

    Regarding Senna i think he is gone for sure. Bottas looks more promising. EJ on the BBC reckoned Senna going to HRT but even that is generous in my opinion, not at all impressed by Senna.

  19. James Clayton says:

    I was impressed with Vettel in post-race interviews:

    “I don’t want to blame Massa but here’s a list of reasons that it was his fault that I didn’t get pole…”

    1. Steve says:

      Vettel was coping the blame for the same thing last week. It was fair game for Ferrari to stick the boot in then…what changed this week?

      1. James Clayton says:

        Ferrari didn’t lodge a complaint, and I certainly didn’t hear them say “WE don’t want to blame Vettel but here’s why YOU should”

  20. George says:

    Hi James,
    Should those who improved times in Q2 during Ricciardo’s gearbox issue under yellow flags be penalised.

  21. KAlan says:

    Pirelli say the race can be done on one stop. Don’t know how many teams will go for that option. Most might start with a two stop strategy, especially the top 10,and depending on how the tires hold and if there is a safety car might switch to a one stopper.

    Without putting a curse on them hopefully, Ferrari looked mighty on friday during race simulation unless they were running much much lighter than Red Bull, Mclaren and Lotus. The only driver close to either Ferrari driver was Button who will be starting from 11th.

    Expecting Hamilton to pass Vettel off the line. With little or no racing all year on this track, it is probably too dirty off-line.

    Alonso starting from the dirty side like Suzuka with Kimi next to him on the cleaner side. Should be fun :) If Alonso makes it safely out of turn 1, he will most likely end up on the podium come the end of the race.

    1. G Hindle says:

      JB for sure will try.

  22. Lynn says:

    James, is starting on the clean side a real advantage in Yeongam?

  23. Miha Bevc says:

    It will be interesting between Vettel & Webber, because I don’t think Red Bull have been in this situation before.

    In 2010 they were both fighting for WDC until the end, but so did Alonso and Hamilton. With three races to go Webber was closer to WDC, but Vettel wasn’t ruled out yet (and to be honest, Red Bull seemed to prefer Vettel to be crowned WDC)

    In 2011 Vettel was out of reach not only to Webber, but to everybody, so it didn’t really matter.

    This year (realistically) there only Vettel, Alonso and maybe Hamilton left for the WDC. And with Webber ahead, it’s interesting what they will do. I don’t remember Webber giving way to Vettel or vice versa (as opposed to Alonso/Massa, Raikkonen/Massa, Raikkonen/Grosjean …)

    As for the race, it doesn’t look like Red Bull will be “away and over the hills”…

    1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      Turkey 2010. And remember what happened…

  24. Grabyrdy says:

    I’d like to understand the rule about yellow flags and not gaining time. Reading Jenson’s comments after qualy, it seems that in his last run in Q2 he felt that he had to back off lots in the final sector for the yellows because on his first run in Q2 he’d made a mistake there and he couldn’t be quicker than that.

    Is that really true ? Couldn’t he have been just under his best run thru there in Q1 ? Or even his best run thru there all weekend ? What’s does the rule actually say ? Because if it was only his previous run in Q2 which counted as a benchmark, that doesn’t seem fair. And what would the benchmark be if he hadn’t done a first run ? Or indeed if this was Q1 ?

    1. Quade says:

      Drivers are entitled to make excuses, which Jenson has done. But drivers in slower cars managed to extract more from other sections of the track not affected by the yellows, but Jebson didn’t.
      I don’t think the yellows affected his outcome, the McLaren handled very wretchedly anyway.

  25. Richard D says:

    With a number of drivers setting their best times in Q2 while there was a yellow flag for Ricciado, I having been waiting to hear what penalties are to be applied. None seem forthcoming! We had similar at the last race with Raikkonen going off. As a marshal, I am particularly concerned about safety and that drivers should adher to the regulations by reducing their speed for the duration of a yellow flag; a “lift” resulting in the loss of mere fractions of a second is not enough! The whole object of reducing speed is to bring the cars under closer control rather than remaining “on the edge”. One thing that makes it worse is that the drivers are focussing their concentation on minimising the amount of time they lose from lifting rather that ensuring safety of everyone concerned; the stricken driver, marshals etc. F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport and should be setting an example to others. I’ve hunted through various regulations to find a definition of how much drivers should reduce speed but can find nothing. Perhaps there is no specific definition, in which case there should be. Have we got to wait for someone to get killed or injured before this regulation gets enforced properly?

    1. Quade says:

      The yellow flags apply only to the section of the tracked where they are waved, not to the entire track. Therefore, those who did their fastest laps under the yellows would have gone faster in all track sections except the affected one.

    2. ch says:

      Excellent point. Ant and Johnny Herbert on sky said same.
      Personally wish they’d reset the clock, i.e., so yellow flag time does not count, make quali less a lottery and help lessen the very risk you point out.

      1. James Clayton says:

        Reset the clock to zero? Or just pause it when the flags come out? The later won’t help because you still need time for an out lap. And luck will still come into it, unless you want to give a new set of tires to anybody who aborted a lap under yellows?

    3. Areyoux Seriouse says:

      I tend to agree with most of it.

      I just read Button’s comments on ESPN, “…if you don’t lift and you qualify through to Q3 and you put it on pole you might lose five places with a penalty but you’re still sixth instead of 11th.”
      Those things were clear already in 2006, when the knock out system was first introduced. It is 2012 now. Why Button didn’t roar earlier and ask for changes? He should remember the qualifying at Suzuka, in 2009…

      I would like to see the drivers be more interested, more vocal in what they are doing, not wait for stewards to mess up and decide races or even championships.

      Perhaps the teams accept soccer like referees because they bring more attention, fuzz and clicks to the “sport”?

      For me, these inconsistent penalties seem just crazy. Year after year we see green light for some wrongdoings and full red for the same offence a fortnight later. At the same time, we see number of regulation changes every season, but how many of them are aimed to bring credibility back to the sport?

  26. Albert Park says:

    Great to see RIC yet again outshine VER even with a broken car!

    1. McHarg123 says:

      Although Vergne is leading the points. Ricciardo has had the better season from mind. Qualifying 6th in Bahrain and defending successfully against Schumacher. Would be in front if it wasn’t for the fuel pick up problem on the last lap in Monza. He should retain the seat for 2013.

  27. Elie says:

    I can see a strong possibility of another 1st corner incident quite frankly. The track being so dusty off line and Fernando will be keen to get round Seb and Mark will hold up Lewis into the first corner.. I really hope Kimi can weave through.. It might change the whole nature of the race. Otherwise if Seb gets in front early -It’s shut the race and another boring race with Red Bull with one hand on the trophies!!
    Looks like lotus have found about 3/10s so far but they still need another 5/10 of a sec to be asking questions of Red Bull or Mclaren but its promising for the remaining few races. I just can’t help but think where they would be if they got started working on their DDRS earlier as well as the Coander exhausts.- which will need another weekend or two to optimise !

    1. Chromatic says:

      Improvements seem to have come as much from set-up work over the weekend as from the coanda, which shows it always pays to go back to the basics in going forward. The upshot is Kimi is happy [happier...]

    2. Brad says:

      Learn to see how Seb drives Elie, he’s fascinating to watch, every curb, every lap the same meticulous precision. I know you’re a Kimi fan (same like me) and it’s probably because of his god-talent on the racetrack, but I’ve come to appreciate the way Seb drives during Kimi’s 2 year absense…

      1. Elie says:

        Brad he’s good no two ways but a good car lets you do that (Kimis words) and evidence of this is Mark being quite competitive with him. Just watched the race and he really killed the fronts on the kerbs- so no I definitely would not say he’s super smooth..maybe it’s because I was huge Prost fan- that is the definition of precision driving! As for Kimi he is still the smartest out there. It was awesome watching him & Hamilton race today ! – for me they are the best racers.

  28. Elie says:

    *shut the gates*

  29. Chromatic says:

    James, apparently RB are using a ‘more reliable quality’ 2011 spec M Marelli alternator. Would that be the case also for Lotus?

  30. TitanRacer says:

    I cannot remember reading any prior F1 coverage where so many World class drivers at the sharp end of the grid readily admitted to making “several small mistakes”, “a small mistake”, “a large mistake”, “I spun a week ago” or being “confused” on their quali efforts…

    how refreshing!!

    these guys prove their hero worship Superman status event after event. but IMHO, it is so good for the sport for everyone to see they are in fact human!

    I am loving the Korean GP so far…

    1. G Hindle says:

      Good point, I like this too. I think Valentino Rossi started this off in MotoGP!

  31. Die Scuderia says:

    Alonso can win this race. I hope he does. But first, the race start is even more important.

    Somehow I find the yellow flags quite interesting during qualifying. They sure can ruin your day. The last thing you need on Q3 is a yellow flag…period. Out of interest, what if Massa brings a yellow flag on Q3 just after Alonso posts the fastest time and with no time to do another hot lap? wouldn’t this be interesting and prompts the rule to be revised? Just a thought….

    DS

    1. Martin says:

      It is only a small variation on Monaco 2006 and Singapore 2008.

      With 10 minutes for Q3, there would be time for another run. To rules include tyre management in the equation, so only doing one run at the end is a risk. A big crash would bring out a red flag. Drivers might not have sufficient tyres to mount a challenge though.

  32. Quade says:

    Sad to see the McLarens handling so badly. It is hard to see how they wouldn’t use tyres poorly in the race.
    It is at times like this that we see Lewis value, why? He is now locked out of technical discussions and set up direction at McLaren due to contract obligations, and suddenly McLarens set up has gone south. Last race was bad, this one looks much worse.

    1. Martin says:

      Beyond locking brakes, I didn’t see too much wrong. Button said he felt he had the fastest race car from the Friday runs after qualifying.

      Frank Dernie, who James has featured a bit on this site, has indicated that drivers make pretty bad race engineers. There are drivers who give good feedback and those that don’t. There are drivers that can driver around problems and those that can’t.

      The only real criticism I’ve heard of Lewis in terms of setup was that he would tend to drive around problems rather than necessarily force the team to fix them. I haven’t seen it suggested that he gives inconsistent feedback.

      Paddy Lowe on Autosport suggested the big change is a whole suite of developments by Red Bull working, not just the extra DRS system.

      At Suzuka there appeared to be something stuck in Hamilton’s car from qualifying until lap 24 of the race. Hamilton said on that lap he heard a clunk from the back of the car and suddenly the car lost its understeer characteristic from qualifying and his lap times improved and became similar to Button’s.

      Cheers,
      Martin

    2. G Hindle says:

      The McLaren is handling well right now according to JB.

  33. Emanuel says:

    I kind of learned to live with the fact that successful German F1 drivers are just not liked very much by “true” F1 fans, for whatever reason. But after reading many comments on f1 websites I’m amazed how much hate is really there. Why is it so hard to understand that Vettel is disappointed to not have gotten pole?
    If you were a driver, with your current live soley focussed on being the best driver in the world and basically have set the pace the entire weekend, wouldn’t you too be upset, to get beat when it mattered?
    You would also think that your personal pit crew has a much better bearing on what the other cars in your proximity do, i.e. Massa going for another lap or going into the pits. So if that important piece of information was not given to you and you had to react to an unforseen situation while trying to squeeze out a perfect lap, wouldn’t you ask your engineer as well, why he didn’t tell you?
    I really don’t like how much emphasis the media and fans take out of a single broadcasted radio transmission. And how they think it tells them the “real” character of Sebastian Vettel, who can’t drive but just got lucky all his live to sit in the best car and now he is spoiled.
    They are calling for honesty on one side, but take it the wrong way when a driver shows some real human emotions.
    I think Seb was in his right to ask the question and it explained the situation, while Massa didn’t do anything wrong and therefore Vettel didn’t want to blame him during the interview. He also had all the reasons to be dissapointed.

    I hope for a good race tomorrow.

    1. Martin says:

      Hi Emanuel,

      I agree entirely. The Australian TV hosts (we get UK Sky for the commentary) somehow managed to turn Massa in to “Mark’s lap”. Probably patriotic paranoia.

    2. James Clayton says:

      Vettel clearly did want to blame Massa in the interview, though. That’s the point.

    3. G Hindle says:

      [mod] It gets easier to like these guys when it becomes clear they are F1 greats – it won’t be long now for Vetel. Also, the German sportsmen are perceived as having high levels of confidence, which tends to add to these feelings a bit. Putting your finger up denoting number one will also be seen as arrogant by some people, which also adds to it. I notice Alonso is always saying how great LH is – you can bet he’s trying to wind Vetel up (his main threat really). It’s all good fun really!

      [Don't use language that you used in your first paragraph here again, please - Mod]

    4. Ahmed says:

      Thank you for speaking the truth! I thought I was the only one thinking along these lines…

  34. Andrew Carter says:

    I was definitely surprised to see that a whole bunch of drivers have been allowed to get away with setting their fastest laps under yellow flag conditions. I’m pretty certain that’s against the rules.

  35. john says:

    Turkey 2010!

  36. mattoz says:

    James, How much do you think that missing FP1 most weekends has compromised Bruno Senna this year?

  37. Luke DLP says:

    Why is there so much emphasis here and in other media about Vettel having ‘lost’ this pole? Any chance Mark was just better on the day? Not bad for a number two driver… now bring it on home!

    1. James Allen says:

      To be clear the emphasis here is that Webber beat Vettel to the pole.

      Vettel dropped the script because he had been the pace setter up to that point

  38. Valiant Valen says:

    The perfect result would be Alonso colliding with Vettel into turn 1 and Hamilton winning so that we can have 3 or 4 drivers in with a good chance to make it all the more exciting.

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