Webber stuns Vettel with pole position in Korea

2012 Korean Grand Prix qualifying

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Korea International Circuit, 2012Mark Webber claimed a surprise pole position for the Korean Grand Prix.

He had missed the last part of final practice with a technical problem and seen the other Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel lead throughout qualifiyng up until the final lap of Q3.

But a terrific last lap from Webber saw him snatch pole from his team mate.

Q1

Vettel did a single lap in Q1 which beat the fastest time at that point by six tenths of a second, easily enough to see him progress to Q2.

Narain Karthikeyan had a dramatic spin at turn three following a problem with his front brake. He returned to the pits but was unable to set a time.

As the track improved the drivers who returned to the track on super-softs found considerable improvements. The Saubers moved up to fourth and fifth followed by the two Toro Rossos.

That left some of those who had not done a second run looking worried. Fernando Alonso returned to the track on super-soft and only posted a modest improvement.

It was enough to move him up one place ahead of Lewis Hamilton. The McLaren driver was in real danger of being eliminated in Q1, and was only spared the embarrassment when Bruno Senna abandoned his last effort.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

18 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’39.443
19 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’40.207
20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’40.333
21 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’41.317
22 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’41.371
23 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’42.881
24 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth

Q2

As in the first session Vettel only needed one lap to put his car at the top of the times, although his margin was reduced.With that he was happy to stay in the pits while everyone else did a second run.

Alonso took second, two-tenths of a second slower, and just 13 thousandths faster than Hamilton.

However several drivers’ attempts to improve were stymied by a problem for Daniel Ricciardo, who stopped at turn 11. “I think something with the gearbox,” he told his team. “I tried to upshift and it went to neutral.”

Kimi Raikkonen was one of the drivers who improved after the yellow flags came out. He moved up to fifth, which pushed Button down to 11th, and out of Q3.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’38.441
12 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’38.460
13 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’38.594
14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’38.643
15 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’38.725
16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’39.084
17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’39.340

Q3

Vettel kept up his run at the top with a 1’37.316 at the beginning of Q3. “A very tidy lap,” was race engineer Guillaume Rocquelin’s verdict, who added there was perhaps a little more time to find in the second sector.

Alonso split the Red Bulls, taking second ahead of Webber. Massa backed him up in fourth with Hamilton fifth.

But having slipped to third, Webber hit back in a big way with his second lap. He produced a very clean final run, edging Vettel’s time by less than a tenth of a second.

Time and again we’ve seen Vettel produce a late flying lap to take pole position in these circumstances – but not this time. He stayed second, sealing a second consecutive one-two for Red Bull.

Hamilton moved ahead of Alonso with his last effort, taking third on the grid. That left the Ferrari driver fourth ahead of Raikkonen, and the pair will have their team mates directly behind them on the grid.

Top ten in Q3

1 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’37.242
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’37.316
3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’37.469
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’37.534
5 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’37.625
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’37.884
7 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’37.934
8 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’38.266
9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’38.361
10 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’38.513

2012 Korean Grand Prix

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122 comments on Webber stuns Vettel with pole position in Korea

  1. Estesark (@estesark) said on 13th October 2012, 8:21

    I wonder how many of us expect Webber to remain in front of Vettel after the:

    a) first corner
    b) first lap
    c) first round of pit stops
    d) chequered flag?

    I’m definitely not expecting either of the last two. Vettel will get past, either through his own pace, strategy or team orders.

  2. caci99 (@caci99) said on 13th October 2012, 8:36

    Bravo Webber, a pleasant surprise when I woke up. Unfortunately I don’t think he will fight for the win. The championship battle is so tight that even Webber understands he might gave up his place if the circumstances will allow it. I also feel Grosjean will not do his usual stuff tomorrow, his pattern seems to be one horrible start the other one good.

  3. Drezone said on 13th October 2012, 8:59

    The look on Vettel’s face was priceless after quali

    He’s still a spoilt brat

    Pity red bull will ask Webber to let him past either at the first corner, pit stops or later in the race

    The only chance for webber to win us to have another car between him and seb

  4. Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 13th October 2012, 9:20

    I really hope Webber gets a well deserved win just to shut up all you Webber bashers. Give the guy a break.

  5. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 13th October 2012, 9:21

    I think Webber has a real shot of victory here. I get the feeling he struggled with rear tyre degradation a little in the second half of the season, especially when in traffic, but this track is front-tyre limited, according to the Paul Hembery (http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/103364), and he shouldn’t be in traffic. Also, he looked very fast here last year too (only on the softs, not on the super softs), but he couldn’t get by Hamilton. As for his starts, they have not been spectacular, but nowhere near as bad as last year, and it’s only a very short run to the first corner.

    In the same autosport article, Hembery said that a one-stop was possible, and that may be very good news for Jenson Button. He doesn’t need to start on used tyres, so he should be able to do a few laps longer on his set of super softs. Whether he can challenge for the podium or even victory will depend on how much time he will lose in the first stint. If Mercedes is slow and he is stuck behind them, the leaders will probably earn a free pit stop over him.

  6. xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 13th October 2012, 9:28

    I really think Vettel will win it tomorrow; his pace at the start of the race is always scintillating

  7. kenyaf1 said on 13th October 2012, 9:47

    I dont oversee any team getting in between the 2 redbulls for the 1st corner unless LH or Alonso try something extra agressive and cause a crash (LH of 2 years ago would most certainly try something, he seems to have outgrown that sort of dangerous driving). The team have to be smart and its better to lock out other team for the first corner and after building some lead they can then race against each other.
    If however they drive as individuals, I would expect someone to loose out a position and my bet is Webber getting passed by vettel in the 1st corner and maybe even Alonso by end of lap1.
    Let’s hope there is no crash tomorrow though and we have a race where none of the top 5 are taken out in the 1st corner.

  8. Young One said on 13th October 2012, 9:52

    The body language of the three drivers says crash crash at the first corner.

  9. fleetmaster said on 13th October 2012, 12:14

    Vettel couldn’t hide his true feelings after the radio call of the result…………his reply was that of a spoilt brat !!
    I truly hope Mark gets a good start and Kimi comes flying past Vettel and ties down second place (one can only wish )
    A crash free start would be nice indeed !

  10. tobinen (@tobinen) said on 13th October 2012, 19:07

    I had Alonso e/w for pole position so slightly disappointed he missed P3 by a tenth or so.

    On the plus side I had Rosberg to beat Schumacher and Raikkonnen to beat Grosjean so I’m slightly up.

    I’m now checking the prices for the race but there aren’t exactly great prices on offer

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