The circuit may be brand new but there’s nothing new about the front row of the grid: Sebastian Vettel leads another all-Red Bull front row.
The pair beat Fernando Alonso’s time in the dying moments of Q3 to grab the front row of the grid for the first Korean Grand Prix.
The first part of qualifying ended with the three fastest drivers – Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso – separated by just a few hundredths of a second.
The battle to escape the bottom seven was, as usual, contested mainly by the bottom three teams, of which Jarno Trulli was the fastest driver. Timo Glock took 20th behind him after a spin.
Nick Heidfeld was briefly in the bottom seven but improved his time by 2.5 seconds to grab a place in Q2.
That left the fight between the Force India and Toro Rosso drivers. It was Vitantonio Liuzzi who fell short, losing time in the final sector on his last run, condemning him to 18th.
Driver eliminated in Q1
|18||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Force India-Mercedes||1’38.955|
|22||Lucas di Grassi||Virgin-Cosworth||1’42.325|
Red Bull showed their hand in the second part of qualifying with Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel taking over at the top of the times.
But it remained very close – Webber just four hundredths of a second quicker than his team mate, with Felipe Massa’s Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren within a tenth of a second.
The Sauber pair only did one run during the session and neither made it through to Q3.
Vitaly Petrov spun and ended the session 15th – he will take a five-place grid penalty following his Suzuka crash and start 20th.
The two Toro Rossos were eliminated along with Adrian Sutil.
Nico Hülkenberg was the last driver to be knocked out, one tenth of a second slower than team mate Rubens Barrichello.
Driver eliminated in Q2
|14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1’37.783|
|16||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1’37.853|
|17||Sebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1’38.594|
Fernando Alonso led the way to begin with in qualifying after an astonishingly fast first sector time put him provisionally on pole position.
He improved on his second run but the Red Bulls left their final efforts as late as possible and beat his time to lock out the front row of the grid once again.
Having trailled his team mate in Q2, Vettel was a crucial seven hundredths of a second faster in Q3.
Hamilton could only manage fourth, three-tenths of a second slower than Alonso, after surviving a lurid slide on his way into the pits between laps.
A late improvement by Nico Rosberg knocked Massa back to sixth and left Button in seventh.
But Renault’s anticipated pace failed to materialise – Robert Kubica could only manage eighth.
Top ten in Q3
|1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1’35.585|
|2||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||1’35.659|
2010 Korean Grand Prix
- Mercedes deny Massa held up Schumacher for Alonso
- Korea say 168,000 attended first F1 race
- Alonso not considering Brazil title win
- Hamilton: Alonso would have passed me
- Button: “I will fight until it’s impossible”
- Horner hits back over Webber criticism
- Korean International Circuit: your verdict
- Montezemolo: “We haven’t won yet”
- 2010 Korean Grand Prix: the complete F1 Fanatic race weekend review
- Who was the best driver of the Korean Grand Prix weekend? (Poll)
Image © Red Bull/Getty images