Red Bulls beat Alonso to claim the front row (Korean Grand Prix qualifying)

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Korea, 2010

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
19 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’40.521
20 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’40.748
21 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1’41.768
22 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1’42.325
23 Sakon Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1’42.444
24 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’43.283


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 H???lkenberg was the last driver to be knocked out, one tenth of a second slower than team mate Rubens Barrichello.

Driver eliminated in Q2

11 Nico H???lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’37.620
12 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’37.643
13 Nick Heidfeld Sauber-Ferrari 1’37.715
14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’37.783
15 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’37.799
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
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’35.766
4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’36.062
5 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’36.535
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’36.571
7 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’36.731
8 Robert Kubica Renault 1’36.824
9 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’36.950
10 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’36.998

2010 Korean Grand Prix

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135 comments on Red Bulls beat Alonso to claim the front row (Korean Grand Prix qualifying)

  1. Damon said on 23rd October 2010, 8:16

    Dejavu time again. Martin whitmarsh ” disappointing qualifying but we have great race pace” arrrgghh!!! And also the f###### weather!!!

    • Younger Hamilton said on 23rd October 2010, 8:22

      De javu time again for Jenson ‘struggling with the balance’ all the time i know its his first year and he’s in a car designed for Lewis but can he find other reasons why he’s hasd poor qualis

  2. On a slightly different note I thought the BBC pre-quali coverage was excellent today. We got to see a lot from inside the MTC. It’s insanely professional and quiet there (even Whitmarash was whispering when he was talking from Korea to the MTC). It seems very, very well polished. Kuods to Dennis for organising such a place. It’s more like something out of a sci-fi movie or a fantasy by The Big Bang Theory guys than a real building. I have to admit though, it’s not really my style. It’s too strict and sterile for me but it was fascinating to see.

    Congrats to Seb, RBR, and Alo who I thought did the maximum. Mclaren and Kubica seemed to fade after all the hype but sure the race will be different. Nice to see Felipe have a better qualifying session.

    Hamilton’s moment where he went wild at the pit entry was quite mad. He was very lucky (or skillfull) not to have a huge crash.

    • DeadManWoking said on 23rd October 2010, 9:34

      Very skillful AND very lucky, just like at Spa this year.

      “Ah Lewis you may want to be a little careful, we’re getting reports of more rain on the circuit … Lewis? … Lewis?”

  3. senna out qualified by team mate again. where does this leave him for next year?? really gonna stuggle to get a half decent seat, even longterm.

  4. DavidS said on 23rd October 2010, 9:13

    Predict Vettel to lead from start to finish. Webber and Alonso will have a good battle for 2nd.

    That will leave Webber with a much slimmer championship lead, which is exciting for the championship, but the race itself will be quite boring.

    • VettelS (@vettels) said on 23rd October 2010, 9:28

      I reckon Alonso will make mince meat of Webber at the start. I think Vettel’s likely to hang on okay- if he doesn’t mess up he should be reasonably safe.

      Realistically though, I think Webber may have to settle for 3rd, or even 4th if Hamilton gets passed.

      • Santi said on 23rd October 2010, 11:33

        I was thinking the same. It seems to me that the most likely outcomes are: VET-ALO-WEB or VET-ALO-HAM

        I hope it’s the latter though, since that’d make a tighter championship :)

    • Alex Bkk said on 23rd October 2010, 13:05

      Webber needs a 5th I think to keep the lead.

  5. MahavirS said on 23rd October 2010, 9:37

    Going by stastics a Red Bull 1-2 usually means some other team takes victory on Race day. Alonso might be able to capitalize on the red bull situation where both Vettel and Webber are potential title contenders.

    Could being so close to winning the title make Webber flinch or will Vettel be able to take the pressure. Should undeniably make for an interesting race.

  6. A great session whoever says that Saturday is boring well you should have seen those final one minutes.This has to be the best qualifying session of the season so far.

    Alonso given the fact that he had enough fuel could have done another flying lap as he crossed the line before one second to the chequered flag & that late charge for the Bull’s were great to watch.Dissapointing performance from Kubica I expected him to be in the top 5 & Button well he will have a very busy afternoon tomorrow.Webber starting on the dirty side will help Alonso to take P2 by turn 2 & with his straight line speed advantage he may also take the lead from Vettel in turn 3-4 by the end of first lap.Hamilton & Massa are too in a very bad position as off-line it’s very dirty here & good job by Roseberg,if he have a good start then he may fight for the podium come tomorrow.

    • DeadManWoking said on 23rd October 2010, 9:58

      Alonso was 2.3 kph slower than Vettel in qualifying trim, which is how they will have to run tomorrow. Vettel was second fastest to Alonso in Sector 1 by only .15 seconds in qualifying and faster than Hamilton. It’s all going to come down to who gets the better start off the line Sunday.

  7. Damon said on 23rd October 2010, 10:05

    Game over for hamilton, vettel for title?

  8. JohnBt said on 23rd October 2010, 10:15

    Alonso will be managing his engine carefully as the horsepower would have dropped by now. Tightrope situation for Nando but will be interesting.

    Look forward to a spectacular race tomorrow. Forecast says there might be some rain.

  9. SoerenKaae (@soerenkaae) said on 23rd October 2010, 10:21

    Actually after todays qualifying session I am happy that there are only 12 teams in F1. It would hae been dull if it was the same 8 persons getting eliminated every time. The aspect, that one of the established teams drivers gets eliminated makes Q3 exciting!

  10. i think the red bulls will be lucky to still be leading at the end of the 1st lap. those long straight at the start are perfect for mclaren and ferrari..

  11. Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 23rd October 2010, 11:18

    Poor from McLaren once again. I really don’t see what advantage they get from talking up their chances every weekend, only to be consistently shown the way by Red Bull and Ferrari.

    I don’t think a Red Bull 1-2 in qualifying every race is “boring,” especially not when they have to work for it like today. You could clearly see how the strengths of the different cars played in each sector.

    • chemakal said on 23rd October 2010, 12:42

      Just a slight remark, the RBs and Alonso have shown the way…

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 23rd October 2010, 12:53


      Red Bull have had the best car in nearly every qualifying session and today Alonso-Ferrari did a better job than Hamilton-McLaren. That’s it. We don’t even know what the full circumstances are, McLaren were complaining about tyre temperatures, could be an excuse or a genuine reason.

      Yeh, “consistently”, who qualified net 3rd last time out and who nearly beat Alonso’s time on the inferior compound? Kinda sad how you have to be selective to suit your bias rather than it just be enough for some guys to have done a better job this time out.

      • Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 23rd October 2010, 14:04

        They have been close with Ferrari all the way through, but McLaren have for the last few races been putting out statements to the effect that “this track will suit our car.” And what is the result? No change to the status quo. Simply put, I don’t understand why they don’t just concentrate on doing the job on track rather than inflating everybody’s expectations.

  12. Jason said on 23rd October 2010, 12:29

    Whitmarsh really just DOESN’T KNOW what to do. McLaren will probably end up third in the constructors. The sooner he leaves the better…

    • Bookgrub said on 24th October 2010, 1:42

      Whitmarsh knows exactly what to do – support his engineers, provide them with the right environment, keep the atmosphere relaxed and positive.

      It isn’t Whitmarsh developing the car, and it isn’t his fault if the McLaren engineers haven’t been able to close the gap this year.

      He proved last year that his leadership isn’t an inhibiting factor for car development.

  13. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 23rd October 2010, 12:39

    Disappointed that qualifying wasn’t closer than it could have been but Webber’s grid slot should make it interesting for the championship.

  14. chemakal said on 23rd October 2010, 12:41

    The spanish TV was surely wrong, but commentator said with only 100 seconds left to the end of Q3: Vettel is still in boxes! He wouldnt have had time for his last incredible lap. No comments thereafter, must be mistaken. Anybody heard anything similar?

    • chemakal said on 23rd October 2010, 12:54

      by the way, a very risky strategy by Vettel in Q3 waitning til the last moment to gain greater grip (the track has been improving from lap to lap). Any trafic, no pole options although it finally worked out for him

  15. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 23rd October 2010, 13:18

    Anyone else experience a lot of problems with the TV images? It would skip back to a few seconds before and then fast-forward to catch up with itself.

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