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Vettel makes it a hat-trick of front row lockouts for Red Bull
Posted By:   |  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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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.


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


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…?


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


“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.


Makes a good headline…….no?


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


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?

VET ain't that evil

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.


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?

VET ain't that evil

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.


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


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.


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!


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?


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.


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.


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


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?

Joakim Hermansson

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



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:-)


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.


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 …


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.



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.


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.


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


Fresh challenge. But not in near future in my view


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


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


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.


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:


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.


[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!


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?




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..


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.


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


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.


I’ve emailed Magnetti Marelli again asking for help.


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


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!


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 🙁


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.


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.



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 !!

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