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Vettel on pole for first Korean Grand Prix
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Vettel on pole for first Korean Grand Prix
Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Oct 2010   |  9:02 am GMT  |  124 comments

Sebastian Vettel will start tomorrow’s inaugural Korean Grand Prix from pole position after an extremely tight qualifying session. Mark Webber was just 7/100ths of a second slower in second place with Fernando Alonso a further 9/100ths off Webber.

Vettel's 9th pole in 17 races (Photo:Getty)

It is Vettel’s 14th career pole position and the 9th this season in 17 races. Perhaps more staggeringly it is Red Bull’s 14th out of 17 races. After second in Singapore, then pole and the win in Japan this is starting to look like a sprint finish by Vettel and Webber is looking nervously over his shoulder with a slender 14 point advantage over his team mate.

Webber starts on the dirty side of the grid and thus faces an immediate threat at the start of tomorrow’s Grand Prix from Fernando Alonso, who will start third on the clean side. As this is a new circuit which was very dirty at the outset, it is treacherous off the racing line and with Webber’s unconvincing starts recently, there is a very real chance he will lose at least one place tomorrow. If he finishes third behind Vettel and Alonso, his lead over Vettel will be down to just four points with two races to go.

The start will be very tight, it’s a short run to Turn 1, but then a tight angle. Then there will be further attacks into Turn 3, at the end of the longest straight in F1. The order at the end of lap one could be quite different from the grid.

Race strategy will be very important tomorrow. All the signs are that the soft tyres the top ten runners will be starting on will grain quickly, so early stops are likely. It is possible that we may see some drivers trying a two stop plan, as in Montreal. This will make the battle between the front runners very interesting and it may offer an alternative strategy to the McLaren drivers, who are likely to be much faster in the race than in qualifying. Button likes doing things differently, so we may see that tomorrow. If he doesn’t do something then his championship quest will almost certainly fade away.

Will there still be five of them Sunday night? (Photo: Getty)

The McLarens were disappointing in qualifying, Lewis Hamilton is fourth, half a second off Vettel, while Jenson Button was 7/10ths slower than Hamilton and starts 7th behind Nico Rosberg, who did an outstanding job in qualifying and Felipe Massa. “It’s nice to be ahead of one of the McLaren and Ferrari cars and also Robert who has been very close to us recently, ” said a delighted Rosberg. He was 2/10ths faster than team mate Michael Schumacher in 9th, who said that he got the maximum from the car today, which suggests that he’s accepted he is 2/10ths slower than Rosberg.

“We were very quick in practice, so I don’t know where the Red Bulls found an extra half a second in Q3,” said Hamilton. “Still, it’s important to remember that we’re still in the fight: we make good starts, and there are some long straights here, which should suit us.”

In the first part of qualifying, Hamilton set the pace ahead of Vettel. At the back of the field, Force India were obliged to use a set of soft tyres to make the cut, Sutil did it, Liuzzi failed and was eliminated from Q1 for the fourth time this season. He complained of graining problems on his lap.

Jenson Button was a second down on Hamilton, complaining over the radio that his front wheels were locking.

In Q2 the decision to be made was whether to run the hard or soft tyre. Massa went out on softs first, but was slower than Fernando Alonso. At the end of the session, most drivers went onto the soft tyre as the track improved all the time.

Eliminated from Q2 were Hulkenberg, Kobayashi, Heidfeld, Sutil, Petrov (who will start 20th on the grid after his five place penalty from the Japanese Grand Prix) Alguersuari and Buemi.

At this stage it looked as though a two lap run was the fastest way on the soft tyre, the faster lap coming on the second lap.

Alonso set the fastest time on the first runs in Q2 ahead of Vettel and Hamilton, with Webber down in 5th. But Webber stuck with the two lap run tactic for his final attempt, while Vettel nailed it in one.

All weekend the teams have been working out whether to run downforce for curves of Sectors 2 and 3 or run low drag for the straights. Judging from the speed trap times, Ferrari opted to run extra downforce as Alonso is slower than both Webber and Vettel on the straight. McLaren went for the straight line speed and were 6km/h faster.

KOREAN GRAND PRIX, Yeongam, Qualifying
1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:37.123 1:36.074 1:35.585
2. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:37.373 1:36.039 1:35.659
3. Alonso Ferrari 1:37.144 1:36.287 1:35.766
4. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:37.113 1:36.197 1:36.062
5. Rosberg Mercedes 1:37.708 1:36.791 1:36.535
6. Massa Ferrari 1:37.515 1:36.169 1:36.571
7. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:38.123 1:37.064 1:36.731
8. Kubica Renault 1:37.703 1:37.179 1:36.824
9. Schumacher Mercedes 1:37.980 1:37.077 1:36.950
10. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:38.257 1:37.511 1:36.998
11. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:38.115 1:37.620
12. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:38.429 1:37.643
13. Heidfeld Sauber-Ferrari 1:38.171 1:37.715
14. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:38.572 1:37.783
15. Petrov Renault 1:38.174 1:37.799 *
16. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:38.583 1:37.853
17. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:38.621 1:38.594
18. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:38.955
19. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:40.521
20. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:40.748
21. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:41.768
22. di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:42.325
23. Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1:42.444
24. Senna HRT-Cosworth 1:43.283

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I think Massa reaslly messed up his qualifying strategy again today. Apparently he only had one set of softs for q3 (probably because of q2) so he only got one run so he probably wasn't dialled in and then he found traffic. He messed it up in q3 in Monza too and perhaps should time his runs better for the amount of times he finds traffic. However, it was good to see him have a better qualifying than in recent races and I'm sure Fernando's happy too.

Does anyone know what happened to the Renaults? They just seemed to fade after all their promise much like Singapore.


Well the team order saga has affected Filipe somewhat. He will have to perform better next year. Fingers crossed for him


He was being outperformed before that saga


could you explain what has affected him before order saga as he was losing to alonso almost in every Q and every race?


Ferrai in general wasn't doing very well before the team order saga anyway. Alonso is one of the best drivers in history. We expect him to do better than Massa. But the saga dented Massa's confident, he is only a human!


Singapore was their last Grand Prix with an update to the car. From there the team decided to focus only on 2011 and so without any updates they are being swallowed up into the midfield for the last few races. Bit of a shame really but certainly nothing new.


Wghen I said faded I meant as they seemed so strong in practice much like Singapore where they looked quick but disappeared and I think Hungary too to some extent.


Renault? If I recall correctly, a third place in Quali in Japan followed by a crash and a misplaced wheel in the race.


I expect to see Massa playing demolition derby tomorrow in the first corner.


...And let's hope he, or any other car, is not limping back to the pits when the field come round turn 17 to start lap three.


James, could Alonso be setting his car up for more of a rain setting with the lower speed on the straight. He did mention that in the post quali interview about the conditions.


Yeah i'm expecting a pretty green track that might still be a bit damp. Would be surprised if we got rain during the race!


Ferrari are always too clever for themselves same mistake as in spa if that's what they have done


Yes, that's also a factor, I think. But forecast is for rain in the morning, not for the race


Forecast seems to be for heavy rain all day. Sounds like fun!! Has JB already done his thing with strategy? Wouldn't surprise me.

I recall seeing a football match with Liverpool against Chelsea many many moons ago. One guy stood out for being able to outhink his rivals and team - Daglish went one to fruther success as a manager. Button has that quality. Speed is not all.


Alonso still managed to set the fastest time through the first sector, despite running more downforce and a lower top speed. Just goes to show exactly how good the braking and traction is from his Ferrari. So if it does rain, I reckon he's in good shape for the race. It's looking to shape up like a good race tomorrow 🙂


If it rains, it will clean up the track, and they'll all have to start putting rubber down again. 10-12 laps for the softs ?

Pity Jenson can't start on the hards. But the Hulk and Quick Nick might. Could be fun ?


Would be a helping hand to Webber et al behind him.


Vettel is beginning to look like the "Schumacher" of the olden days!! The way he carries himself and moves around the paddock with that supreme air of confidence reminds me of Schumi in his hey days. I feel come Abu Dhabi we will be crowing a German World Champion again.


The kid is doing well and he will surely contest championships for years to come but presently he makes too many mistakes in the races and Webber's tactics are usually better so he's no Schumacher yet. I predict Vettel's impatience and desperation to close the championship gap causes him to make another mistake in today's race. Let's hope he doesn't take out any of the other championship contenders.


He may well be WDC this year, but the new Schumacher?.....this Red Bull is head and shoulders above any other car on the grid. You can only be gauged how good you are against your team mate.....and he,s only just shading Webber for speed.....I remain unconvinced.


Ok, I'm a Webber fan, so my thoughts are influenced somewhat. But rather than concluding Vettel isn't the "real deal" because he is often only a little faster than Webber (apart from Suzuka), I think people should start realising Webber is actually pretty fast himself (e.g. look at past results in crap cars: getting a Jaguar - JAGUAR!! - on the front row; challenging for a win at Monaco, the ultimate driver's track, in a severely inferior Williams until the engine blew etc.....). There are the haters that keep calling him "mediocre" etc., but the point is, he's keeping Vettel (who is considered DAMN fast) honest. I reckon that when Vettel gets a new team mate that he'll outqualify them 90 - 95% of the time (unless they were hamilton or alonso, who most probably won't be joining him). If Vettel WAS in the same team as Hamilton or Alonso, the quali results would probably be 50/50. Webber being 10:7 down isn't much worse than that.


Last year Vettel outqualified Webber 15 times!


I am not a weber fan but if there was ever an underdog who seems to be as good as world class drivers in one season, it's him. I think he is at his best and can give trouble anyone at the moment. I wish he wins the wdc


Vettel is fast over a lap- great talent, but seems to make terrible mistakes in races. He drives to win every race or bust, not to win a championship. Someone may have calmed him down, but he will probably have to lose a championship to learn that lesson. He is probably going to do one more brain fade before the end. Alonso is the threat as he knows how to win championships and Ferarri will sacrifice Massa to help him.


I still think Webber is the favourite. It's not like Vettel is edging him by tenths. There's only a few hundreths and Vettel has always been a better qualifier anyway.

So the important thing is that Webber isn't getting tentative and I do feel that he has a better race speed on this track.

I'd rather see them in a position where the one who finishes ahead in the last race wins the title with ALONSO in the mix if possible. That would be great.

As for McLaren, it is really strange how they're buzzing about their updates every race or every second race while they've been actually loosing to RedBull and mainly to FERRARI in the 2nd half season. I think they should transfer some of their PR speed to their car, it might help in the future.



The same could be said of the Ferrari PR machine about Massa helping Alonso's WDC position. The more LdM comments about Massa, the worse his results seem to become.


Maybe that's the purpose.


Has there ever been a driver as pitch sensitive on setup as Button? F1, as I understand it, is all about both driving an imperfectly handling car and adjusting to constantly changing conditions. Maybe slot-car racing, where remote control cars are on rails, might be more to Jenson's liking.


Easy on there Mate! Button is the current world champ - and that isnt for no reason - he beat Rubens last year and he's known for his car set up.

James how do you rate Webber's starting chances tomorrow on the dirty side of the track? He's had real problems with the starts recently - why is that?


I will go for alonso vettel rosberg webber Hamilton at the end of the first lap if it's dry


Not great. He's in trouble and expects to be fighting Lewis for P4 on the straight on lap 1


It's wet now.. so taht means goodbye rubbery advantage of odd side, and goodbye dusty disadvantage of even side.

Even if Webber can pull away in 2nd or 3rd that gives him the straight and a long one at that where he could jump vettel.

On a slight tangent, James, with the slipperyness (reading ur tweets) of the track, Alonso, not known for his wet weather skills as much as say hmailton or webber, could be facing a slightly bigger problem even if he does get a clean getaway?


Good one!

Button's quick in a great car, but in one that is merely good, he isn't really as competitive unless the people around him stumble (Australia & China 2010). Arguably, last year's Brawn was competitive but it wasn't that good really - it wasn't perfect due to the late engine switch. It's early advantage with the double diffuser and so, gave it around six-tenths to a second up on it's competition which is why Jenson was able to cope. But when everyone else had caught up and the gap came down just around a tenth or so, Jenson couldn't drive around the car's inherent imbalances.


Would you care to explain why with those facts at your disposal, you ignored the fact that he was quick at suzuka.

Is he as good at maximising performance from a skittish car, definitely not. Is he an average driver, not at all.

Quali is definitely his weekpoint, but his race pace is usually fast. Give the guy some credit.

I'm sick of hearing he only ever wins through good luck.


It's a well known disease know as Trulli syndrome ! The disease is more lethal if the patient has natural lack of speed.


Like Alonso, I thought he had pole in his pocket after his final run in Q3.

He looked a bit disappointed. He didn't even attempt another run thinking that his time was good enough.

I never imagined that both Webber and Vettel would improve on their 2nd timed lap.


Vettel did only 1 run it was webber that did 2 timed laps.


But did Alonso have enough fuel/time for a one more lap?


I believe Alonso and Vettel passed under red light after their good laps.


Alonso was fueled for only one timed lap run, as was Vettel. Webber was fueled for two and he improved on his second run. Alonso wouldn't have enough fuel for another run.


maybe he didn't have fuel for another lap or his tyres can't cope with another lap


Poor Jenson is affected by "maybe tomorrow (in the race)" disease, after one more time he said "(Earlier) today and yesterday, I was happy with the car and the balance was good, but this afternoon I've got very little grip, and I just can't stop locking tyres and find the pace. It's surprising to be so far back."

The smart world champion always struggling with his car. Strange that no questions of the english media about huge diference with his team mate. (0,7 this time).


I think that Barichello in the 2nd McLaren would do an outstanding job, setting the car up... eliminating its handling problems by solutions and driving around... perhaps same as MS, JB also benefited a lot from Barichello last year... Jenson is not showing a fighting spirit in taming the car...he looks very timid around this track


I'd rather have their wdc titles.


Barrichello ultimate goal in life is to critisize Michael Schumacher. He is no use for anybody and needs a shrink immediately.

If Schumi is in a position to win the championship next year (almost impossible though !) I fear for Rubens mental health.


Can the 'English media' be lumped into one homogenous group with a single opinion on everything?

Much has already been said that both McLaren drivers need to make a big impact this weekend otherwise it's over.


What are you on about, either Brundle or Jordan clearly remarked that Hamilton was "7/10th faster and even that wasn't good enough"


It's always easier to criticize Felipe Massa. The only way Button could win is in mixed conditions taking the right decisions. He hasn't won by genuine speed this year and not even once did the BBC or journalists ask him how come he's slower than Lewis. The difference is huge even in race trim where his supposed smooth style allows him to look after his tyres and have an extra edge in long runs. But Hamilton beat him in low fuel, high fuel, long runs, short runs, etc...

I think he's one of those accidental world champions who were lucky enough to have a quicker car than the rest one year and managed to beat the others. He is not in the top league drivers.

Just remember that Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve were world champions.

I want to see journalists being more objective with him. Give him just 5% of the treatment you give Felipe MASSA and I mean by that you James and more importantly the BBC crew.


Don't be so harsh on Damon Hill!. If he hadn't been slammed into by MS he could have had 2 WDCs, which is damn good by anyone's standards. Not to mention 22 GP victories - no matter the cars you drove, that's a BIG achievement


Just remember that Schumi had 2 races bans out of 16 for that end of season thriller. It's like in the primerleague Man United had between 4 or 5 games bans which roughly 10 points (3 victories one nil one defeat). Almost impossible to recover


Massa has been outperformed by Alonso all season. That's the difference. Compare that with Jenson who has more WDC points than Hamilton. The two McLaren drivers are more evenly matched although Hamilton has consistently shown superior race pace all season, especially in qualfying.


While Im not a Lewis fan as many of my comments betray me here... Phil is right, Lewis is up on points despite binning the car 3 times this year, mechanical DNF once and at least one lower points hall from mechanical issues. Button has been more consistent yes... more consistently mediocre. That and his looking after the tires hasnt helped a lot because especially the softs arent really falling off very fast even at the hands of someone like Lewis. In an ideal world Button could run a 1 stop strategy and the other more aggressive drivers would have to run 2, but that isnt the case this year. He may have a good leg up when they switch to Pirelli though.

Jens is a class act but seriously, Barrichello outperformed him something like 80-90% of the time in the last half of the season when the BGP struggled in comparison to the Brawn rivals. Unfortunately his looks an awfull lot like a gimme WDC on account of the Brawn difuser.


Huh? Jenson has more points than Lewis?? Where d'you get that from????!

I think you'll find Lewis has more points.

And, it hasn't been close - he has been consistently outqualified and outraced by Lewis who has plainly outclassed him.

The points don't tell the whole story.


Wow 6 seconds different between Vettels Q1 time and Sennas Q1 time in the HRT.


1. Vettel

2. Alonso

3. Webber


I'm affraid I should agree... no matter I would obviously prefer this one:

1. Alonso

2. Lewis

3. Seb

4. Webber

And don't forget that if we have a really wet race, everything could change...


That looks like a credible prediction. I'd love Webber to win WDC, however Vettel looks unstoppable and Alonso's also mighty. Webber's hanging on a thread, and there's no mercy in F1.


Hamilton and Button are officially out of the championship title eventhough I think that Lewis might win tomorrow.

With all their updates, they are unable to outqualify RedBull or Alonso and that is a problem because they won't be able to overtake in Brazil and Abu Dhabi. Here, with graining tyres and the dirty circuit they can recover or loose further but there's no way they can manage to overcome their deficit in quali in the next couple of races and they need to beat 3 opponents not one.

So Martin, you'd better refocus on next year's car. This season is over for you and your drivers be it for the driver's or constructor's championships.

Alonso isn't in a much better shape either. He'll need Vettel to take Webber out to have a say in the title but at least he's hanging on and if the RedBull's get it wrong he might grab it. And in Brazil, he has a certified FERRARI circuit and a competitive team mate for once.


Yes - Massa will shine in Brasil as he was shinning all season. Competitive teammate to Alonso means what? Q3 for Massa?


Hamilton is handicapped by the dirty side of the track at the start but Alonso might still is hands full in defending his position from Hamilton if McLaren has the race pace.


Red Bull/Webber won in Brazil last year.


Ferrari were nowhere last year


No point in giving up at this stage everytime someone overtakes Webber or Vettel tries to overtake there is a decent chance one of the cars will be out.

Any car development for next year may be seriously compromised anyway if the FIA decide to enforce the rules and get rid of flexing wings.


I think this talk of redbull wings is annoying nobody complained about maclaren f-duct as it was copied by others the only diff is nobody understands how the redbull works hence ppl saying the car is illegal just the same with double diff


Amazing turn of pace again from the redbull boys. So many poles, they really should have had this sewn up by now (whichever one you want to win).

When it comes down to q3 mclaren have come up short far too many times. It will be interesting to see if they are faster in the race. It's looking like unless mclaren charge through and take 1 2 that one if not both of them will be out of it.

The potential for a drying track will be interesting tomorrow. Can't wait.


Hi James, could you find out how much laptime the difference in weight between Vettel and Webber is worth? Considering their hefty stature difference, and the ridiculously small advantage that Vettel has had now several times in Qualifying, I think Webber's achievement of matching the German is quite something, especially being on the latter part of his career!

These two guys are really pushing themselves to the limit, whoever wins the championship will have truly deserved it.


Great Point Ralf F, I have often thought about this point as well, although I'm sure the driver/car combined weights are the same (well I think they would be) the fact that Vettel is so much small would allow the RBR engineers to better place the weight balance in Vettel's car. As you point out the margin are so close between the two of them I suspect that Webber is actually the faster driver.


Isn't it the combined weight of car and driver that counts, so heavier driver=lighter car?


Will the rain:

A) Wash the dust off the track?

B) Damp down the surroundings preventing further dust flying on to the track?

C) Wash rivers of mud across the track, leaving more muck than before?

D) Raise oils in the asphalt to the surface leaving a "driving on ice experience"

As was mentioned in commentary (Paul de R and Crofty R5Live) where is the big road sweeping vehicle that normally sweeps the tracks?


First of all, I imagine that if it rains then the difference between dirty and clean sides of the grid would disappear, and so Mark will recover the P2 advantage over Alonso.

In dry conditions, as the track is so new, it seems that it is much better to start from odd-numbered positions. I think something similar happens in Hungary.

As a side question, James: do you think it could be fair to give the drivers the right to decide from what position they want to start, according to their Q3 times, obviously. I mean, Mark saying "I prefer starting from P3 instead of P2"?


It was Gary Paffett today, not Paul Di Resta


Amazing that there were no pitlane entry accidents in P1,2 & 3. nor in qualy either.

With the plan to build skyscrapers right up to the track side there seems little if any room for cranes and recovery vehicles to lift stopped cars out and over the barrier.Indeed I haven't seen any cranes at all yet. This may be a false impression as per Monaco where a crane appears almost before the car has come to a halt and whisks it away, BUT if not then we are in for some very long safety car runs. With an oily circuit, an off, into a wall is almost guaranteed.



I reckon that because Jenson was struggling so much in qualifying, that Lewis must have also been hurt by the same problems to some extent and therefore the McLaren is probably under represented compared to where it really is on this track - so in the race, you would imagine that they would be right up there on pace.

Also, im not sure if you noticed but while Vettel, Webber and Alonso improved on their Q2 times quite significantly in Q3, Hamilton only found a tenth.

He was also quite a lucky boy in that if he hadn't of gone faster on his second run in Q3 then he would of had to have started on the soft tyres that he had that off with.


Here again Rubens Barrichello is complaining about Michael Schumacher. The german impeded him in the 2nd part of qualifying. It didn't prevent Barrichello from reaching Q3 and Schumi apologized after the qualifying and yet Barrichello is crying to the media.

He is really having childish behaviour here. He lost nothing in the process, the guy apologized. Why build up a story out of it.

He is still having nightmares recalling FERRARI days I guess. But in an interview after he left FERRARI he recognized Schumi's superiority on him on one hand and on the second hand he had his chance with BAR against BUTTON (not the mightiest opponent) and he did nothing with it.

As for team orders, he had to be man enough to refuse to obey or he had to leave the team and he did neither. So please Rubens, leave FORMULA 1 because there are so many young talented guys waiting and having grudge against none.


I agree regarding BAR, no need to call for him to go, though.


Lewis Hamilton quote : "I think I got more than what we had in the car out of it and I couldn't really ask for anymore."

Someone should remind him that it is impossible to get more than what the car has. He should have attended his physics lessons.

It always strikes me how humble is this guy. I mean he has always his feet on the ground of some skyscraper.


No...it's quite clear what he means. He outperformed the car's potential, it's a phrase many drivers use and not meant to be taken too literally.

I'm really looking forward to the race tomorrow.


If it rains tomorrow morning , the track will lose rubber down and be very, very slippery.


Great qualifying, very interesting and a track always improving and really nice to watch.

Great job by Seb again he seems to be on a row now and he might take the championship if he converts his poles into wins. Mark as to respond and he might have a chance at Brasil.

Alonso said he was happy and wasn´t expecting pole but it didn´t look that away in the camera, the look on his face watching the time screen was showing a litle bit disapoitment.

As for the wet-race set-up i don´t think they take that route because if we have a dry race and with the continous rubbering of the track they would be in trouble.

I think mclaren as to put all their money on Lewis, he his the one that can give them the champioship. Button just doesn´t have the speed or the confidence of Lewis, who might be a menace for Alonso and Webber if he has a god start.

I´m hoping for a dry race and i´d love that after some laps everybody will be in trouble with tyres and we might see a good race like in Canada.

James, Vettel´s last try was only one fast lap, right? Only Webber did two fast laps?


It's going to be an exciting race tomorrow. The track, despite all the little problems, seems to be one of the best Tilke's creations so far. However, overtaking is not going to be easy due to slippery surface outside racing lines. But again, if it rains in the morning, it may wash out all the rubber off the track and considering the amount of mistakes done by everyone during practices, I expect a lot of people exploring the landscape in the first half of the race.


One of the most interesting things were what the BBC guys said. They said that Vettel is more comfortable with the updates which the team has produced in recent times and that Webber has lost control that he had earlier in the season. If it is true, one can make his own conclusions.

I agree that the strategy will be important, but I doubt that the tires will be such a problem as for example in Montreal.

Also it is quite clear that Button's challenge is over anyway. Even for Hamilton it almost impossible to win this title.

It is good that at least James praised Rosberg. Almost nobody today mentioned him. He really was one of the best drivers in qualifying. A really good performance.


Webbers chance is if Alonso and Vets squable at the first corner (like Massa in germany) and Webber slips by. MW WDC 2010, thats my hope anyway


I suspect the Red Bull drives have been on the "big lever" to adjust there ride height again 😀


James - can you explain how, if Fernando was running more downforce and compromising his straight line speed, he was fastest through the first sector?


He did an awesome job because his straight line speed is well down below Red Bull in bottom half of the list


It's interesting, as listening to some of the drivers' comments, particularly those of Sebastian Vettel, apparently there's not a great deal a driver can do to influence the sector time, given it's just straights and breaking zones?

I saw the speed trap times too and I guess that the Ferrari must behave supremely under breaking. We know it has a reputation for being very stable in the breaking zones but I'm surprised that Fernando made such as gain.

Clearly he nailed it.

I have to say, I'm loving watching Fernando Alonso at the moment, I just hope he's in the championship hunt right until the end because we've seen some Champions' drives from him in the second half the season.

As much as I rate Webber and Vettel, I don't think they're quite at the level to produce performances like that in machinery that's good but clearly not as fast as the competition.


Really astonishing how he managed that ! Is it because of the famous FERRARI traction out of slow corners.


great pole from Vettel.... He has to be the fastest man in F1 and is quickly becoming the most consistant as well

Win the title Seb!!!!!!!!!!!


I like Vettel, but most consistent? Come on.


Certainly over over 1 lap he's up there.

He is nowhere near some of his rivals on consistency. If he was consistent he'd had won this years wdc already.


You can't deny that he was fast...really impressive lap. What annoys me about Vettel is all this finger pointing stuff when he gets out of his car at the end of qualifying.

I almost want to grab him and tell him that you don't win a race on Saturday afternoon's, and given his relatively poor pole to win conversion rate this season, all this 'number 1' stuff seems to be a bit premature and immature.


What have you to say about Hamilton's cockiness ? Boy, I hate the way Lewis rates himself and the way he shows it. There's nothing natural about the guy and he's the only one in that case.

Vettel, Webber, Alonso and Button all do have natural behaviour. I don't like Alonso's behaviour generally, he's not relaxed but that's the way he is, he's natural.

Lewis is playing a role. He wanna be a super star as much as a world champion but he's lacking natural charisma in my opinion. Too fake and it shows.


Fingers crossed for Webber. Matter of time until Vettel makes an usual mistake. Hopefully he doesn't run into Alonso or Webber.

By the way JA putting the maths aside there's already only 3 left to fight for the championship, not 5.


Agree with the 3 comment. The only way jenson or Lewis will have a chance is to win all 3. And that will be very difficult to say the least.

That doesn't mean I won't be cheering them to do it tomorrow! I'd like to see mark win it if not.


Unless Vettel makes a strike taking out both Webber and Alonso. That might put Hamilton back in shape.

As for poor Jenson, he needs some help from some supernatural powers to intervene.


heavy rain for 2morrow AM look like another fantastic race hope JB&LH do very well they got the pace for the race and with the help of the shower lewis can take care of the bulls&ferrari by the end of the first sector.looking good.


Regardless of individual preference, for the benefit of everyone and the excitement of the championship, we need Button to win. Then Hamilton second and both Red Bulls and Alonso out of the points.

What a result that would be as we go to the last two GP's!


James, do you agree that Jenson has been outperformed by Lewis comprehensively this season in terms of speed? For example today, he was a second of Lewis' pace in Q1 and Q2, and seven tenths off in Q3 -- that's massive. To put it in perspective, MS is four tenths behind Rosberg, and is considered to be struggling.

In my view the current points standings don't reflect the true picture of Jenson's speed deficit. Lewis threw away between 40 and 50 points over the last four races and is still leading Jenson. Second, if it were not for some of those "strategic" calls early in the season (that could've gone one way or another), Jenson would be several more points behind Lewis.

James, do you have any indication of what the people in McLaren make of the current world champion in comparison with the performance of his team mate?



I am 10000% sure that next season will be a nightmare for JENSON. He get away with great gambles and some silly mistakes from Lewis and he was bulletproof (zero mistakes) and yet he's behind.

Next season is the beginning of the end for poor Jenson.


Lewis has certainly had Jenson where he wanted him for a while now, with the exception of Monza, where Lewis went for the wrong set up


people are acting as if jenson was happy with the car and was 7 tenths slower but he was struggling with tyre temperatures and locking brakes stop overreacting this happened to jb last year with rubens



Talking of set ups. Has anyone else noticed how much faster Button is than Hamilton thro the speed trap. Does this mean that Button is running a different set up to Hamilton with less downforce and this could be why he struggled with the tyres, not an excuse just an error by Buutons half of the garage.



Fernando had another lap in Q3. Why did he not go for it? The track was getting faster and faster and the cars lighter. Did he think he had pole?


Maybe not enough fuel...


One word. Fuel.


Enough fuel for another lap?


Probably had no fuel left to do another lap, would be my guess.


Disappointed with Kubica's position. He says balance changed between FP and qualifying. Is he a bit over-sensitive (like Jenson)? I think the best guys like Alonso and Hamilton can drive around such issues...


Now the best possible result for tomorrow, to keep the championship going, is:

Rambo and Seb take each other out, Alonso wins before Hamilton.


Well they didn't actually take each other out but... I got the result right. Should have wagered money on it..


I think Webber won't only be jumped by Alonso at the start, but also Hamilton and Rosberg.

Webber has had poor starts the last 5-6 races, always losing a couple of places. I think Vettel could be leading the championship at the end of the race, if he doesn't bin it...


I'm afraid Buttons season is over.

Very lucky last year but the bottom line is.... he just isnt fast enough !

All he ever complains about is tyres .

surely it must affect all other drivers as they are all on the same tyres.


With the hard rain now falling in Korea, we should have a very interesting race. If it dries we should have two or maybe three stops.


I think it's gonna be a cracking race!

The Maccas seem to have good top speeds - as do the Merc's - giving them opportunities in sector 1 (Top 6 in speed trap were all powered by the Merc engine). The Bulls are stunning in sector 3 and good in sector 2. Alonso is consistent all the way around. It's going to be very interesting indeed 🙂

If we do get rain before the race, which washes the track green, will it negate the (presumed) advantage that those starting in odd numbered grid slots appear to have?


Vettel really annoys me with his stupid finger thing!

Great lap though.


He's a prodigious talent, but that finger gesture makes me want to poke him in the eye 🙂

Thomas in Australia

I can't begin to imagine the pressure of starting from P2 on the filthy side with Alonso and Hamilton right behind you.

Poor old Webbo can't have slept too well last night.

Thomas in Australia

On another note, surely this spells the end for Bruno Senna?


As long as either one of the Red Bull drivers wins the WDC & Red Bull the WCC, I am happy!

I want a new WDC & WCC this year just like last year!


I wish they would start the race. I used to enjoy wet races, until recently. Surely wet races are no more dangerous than those prior to 2009.


Hi James,

Do you think Vettel will use a new engine and take a grid slot penalty in Brazil or run an old unit? Also how do you think Alonso is going as far as engines go?

Webber seems to be in the best position as far as engines go I think? I am under the impression his last engine went in the car before practice 2 and only got about 3 laps of racing today.

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