Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber, Buddh International Circuit, 2012

Vettel heads Red Bull’s third successive front row

2012 Indian Grand Prix qualifyingPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber, Buddh International Circuit, 2012Sebastian Vettel continued his domination of the Indian Grand Prix weekend by taking pole position in qualifying.

He came close to missing out after a mistake on his first lap in Q3. But he recovered with his final run to keep Mark Webber from pole position.

The Red Bull drivers locked out the front row of a the grid for the third time in as many races, with McLaren and Ferrari lining up neatly behind them.


Red Bull and McLaren joined the track fairly late in Q1 to avoid having to use a set of soft tyres. They comfortably made it through, though Vettel lost his fastest time to Pastor Maldonado at the end of the session.

The Ferraris also secured safe passage through to Q2 by giving each other slipstreams on the back straight. Felipe Massa made it through despite spinning at turn 15 while on course to improve his time.

Not for the first time in 2012, Jean-Eric Vergne was eliminated in Q1. It was his team mate who delivered the final blow, pushing Vergne into the drop zone.

Paul di Resta narrowly avoided elimination after improving his time despite catching Pedro de la Rosa at the end of his lap.

Vitaly Petrov out-qualified team mate Heikki Kovalainen, who spun into a gravel trap at turn 11 at the end of the session.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

18 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’27.525
19 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’28.756
20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’29.500
21 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’29.613
22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’30.592
23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’30.593
24 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’30.662


Vettel’s place in Q3 never looked in jeopardy – he pumped in a 1’25.435 to reach the final ten and returned to the pits, having only put a total of eight laps on his tyres during the first two parts of qualifying.

By the end of Q2 the McLaren drivers, perhaps aided by improvements in the condition of the track, had closed to within a few hundredths of a second of him. Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes also looked quick.

Massa only narrowly secured his place in Q3 with a late improvement. Fellow Brazilian Bruno Senna was also eliminated having looked quick earlier in the session.

Romain Grosjean failed to make the cut after making a mistake at turn seven. And neither Force India reached Q3 in their home race.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’26.136
12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’26.241
13 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’26.331
14 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’26.574
15 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’26.777
16 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’26.989
17 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’27.219


The final part of qualifying did not get off to a good start for Vettel as he made a mistake on his first lap and had to return to the pits. Webber set the fastest time to begin with on a 1’25.327, followed by Alonso and Hamilton.

Vettel returned to the pits and produced a clean lap with his second effort which was enough to claim the top time back from Webber by four-hundredths of a second.

Webber had a chance to beat that with his final run. He asked for more front wing for the lap but locked up at turn three and ran wide, losing his chance for a second consecutive pole position.

That allowed Vettel to return to the pits early as they felt secure in their advantage over McLaren. Hamilton improved to third with his final run to form an all-McLaren row two.

The Ferraris shared row three after Massa posted a considerable improvement with his last lap including the fastest run through the first sector. Raikkonen, Perez and Maldonado were next, and Rosberg chose not to set a time.

Top ten in Q3

1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’25.283
2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’25.327
3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’25.544
4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’25.659
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’25.773
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’25.857
7 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’26.236
8 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’26.360
9 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’26.713
10 Nico Rosberg Mercedes

2012 Indian Grand Prix

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Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

101 comments on “Vettel heads Red Bull’s third successive front row”

      1. Yeah he needs to be happy because Red Bull locked the front 3 times in a row

        I never said that.

        I was just pointing out the fact that visibly there seems some sort of dislike between Vettel and Hamilton, or at least from my perceptive.

        1. I didn’t realize F1 drivers had to be friends either. If you look at the times Alonso has been on the podium and they show the three podium drivers after the race he very rarely talks to any of the others and generally only when directly spoken to. So Lewis is not the only one who keeps to himself.

          In terms of the press conference if you look carefully, both Hamilton and Webber were watching something to the side of the camera while Vettel was talking only returning focus to the interviewer when Vettel seemed to be finish what he was saying. I suspect they were watching a replay or something. But Hamiltons eyes show up more clearly than Webbers on the TV.

          I think too much is made of Hamilton’s body language. Do some research and you will fine some people naturally have a different body language than the majority and thus easily miss read.

          I have Aspergers Syndrome which means my body language and what i say is often socially incorrect for given circumstances and I can appear and come across as rude and arrogant because i can be harshly truthful and to the point with out adding all the superfluous rubbish that most people add to conversations. Everyone is different.

  1. I thought I’d never say this, and I’m usually the one to laugh at others for overreacting, but I’m afraid the championship is over. It was wide open after Singapore, but now Newey, just like last year, has developed another car miles ahead of the competition I’m afraid Vettel will cruze to another easy title.

    1. It certainly looks like that. Vettel is in the best position tomorrow to win the race. Having Webber behind puts him in a comfortable place for cruising tomorrow at the chequered flag, of course if the start doesn’t provide any surprise. And I hope this time we will not have any “drama” radio transmission lap after lap about the tyres. Congrats to Vettel for being there and capable to get the good result he needed.

      1. @debaser91

        So that’s how you want Alonso to win the championship? Because of mechanical failures?

        I’d much rather see my favorite drivers actually beating the competition on track. But that’s just me.

          1. @f1fannl

            Everyone rather see thier driver beat the competition on the race track.. but this isn’t a fairy tale. Dont expect Charles Pic to find 5 seconds a lap to beat Vettel.

            Unfortunately its down to the machines to decide the fate of the championship.. not drivers ability.

          2. @todfod well I’m sorry if the first half of the season has given you the impression – because it’s untrue. I certainly don’t for a moment believe that Maldonado was a better driver than Alonso in Barcelona this year – and I don’t for a moment believe that Perez was anywhere near 8 tenths quicker than Alonso in Malaysia.

            People are waxing lyrical on how the wet differentiates the men from the boys – but to be honest even that’s a load of tosh, though not many people are willing to bring themselves to believe this.

            Which season, especially in recent seasons, has seen more than one car winning in the same conditions? (don’t count mixed weather races as the same as full wet races) There are several occasions when two different cars do – but that’s rare.

            Best wet weather cars
            2012 – Ferrari
            2011 – McLaren
            2010 – Red Bull(wet), McLaren (changing)
            2009 – Red Bull
            2008/2007 – McLaren (plus a Toro Rosso)

        1. @f1fannl – Haha, some people on here make me laugh. You are applying your own (wrong) interpretation to what I said. Where exactly did I say I wanted Alonso to win the title?

          Before you start making sweeping generalisations about a person’s allegiances I can clarify I am neither a fan of Vettel or Alonso. I don’t support either driver, for the record the drivers I support are Raikkonen, Hamilton and Webber. Barring a miracle none of these drivers have a realistic shot at the title, so seeing as I have no real preference for who wins I want the championship battle to go on as long as possible.

          If Vettel carries on like this he could quite conceivably win 7 races in a row, hardly an exciting championship finale when a few races ago it looked like being a nail biting conclusion to the season.

          1. @debaser91

            That’s no excuse to wish misfortune upon Vettel. If Vettel and Red Bull run away with the title now, so be it. They’ve deserved it through hard work and dedication.
            Does that result in an anti climax? Yes. But that’s McLaren and Ferrari’s (and the others) fault for the inability to keep up in the development race. And that’s after McLaren started the season with a clear advantage and were competitive up to Singapore. Ferrari might have been slow off the line but since Spain they’ve been at least as fast as Red Bull up to Monza.
            In stead of wishing a DNF for Vettel you could also wish for Ferrari to find something that’ll put them ahead of Red Bull.

    2. That’s mainly because of DDRS which they developed just because they’ve unlimited resources and can afford a system that will only last for few months before getting completely banned!

        1. Obviously Vettel has the advantage. You’re comparing Adrian Newey to Pat Fry. We’ve seen it all season, and since 2010 for that matter. The only thing Fry is better than Newey at is making racing boats.

    1. @nico74

      If Alonso really said that than it shows what a joke he is. Where we’re these comments when the Ferrari was faster than the Red Bull in Spain, Britain, Germany, Italy and a wet Malaysia?

      It’s incredibly childish of him to keep refraining from acknowledging Vettel’s skill. It’s something I would expect from his supporters or the Vettel-haters. Not from a racing driver everyone seems to consider to be so mature (which in my view he still isn’t).

      1. I’m not a Ferrari fan, but the Ferrari has never been the fastest car all season. The Redbull team get it together and they’re way ahead. It’s got to be incredibily frustrating when you know Ferrari and Alonso is trying there best but can’t even get close because of machine superiorty. I’m sick of hearing people say it’s a wonderful thing this Red Bull dominance, or it’s fantastic how Vettel just cruises off into the distance. I hated it when Schumacher was doing it and I hate it now Vettel has the luxury. My only hope is this doesn’t carry on for years. 2014 should actually represent a break from the mould. Next year looks pretty much sealed as a Vettel championship already.. Seriously..

        1. They’ve been fastest in Monza at least. And there have been several races where they’ve been faster than Red Bull at least. Spain for example.
          The Ferrari was a ‘dog’ in the first 4 races. Since Spain they’ve been in contention for podiums and victories in almost all races. Just like Red Bull and McLaren.

          Furthermore, I haven’t seen anyone say the Red Bull/Vettel dominance is wonderful.
          Vettel and Red Bull get respect and praise for their accomplishments but that’s not to say everybody is happy with one dominant force.

        1. Because Newey is driving the Red Bull?….

          If it really was so easy to do what Vettel has done Webber would have been a lot closer in points. Both in this year as in the previous years. In stead Webber hasn’t even been vice champion once and it doesn’t look like he’ll be vice champion this year either.

      2. @f1fannl When a team is winning the development race like this, is obvious there’s someone in their headquarters that it’s doing his job, and what a job !.

        Alonso said nothing wrong. Newey’s Red Bull’s strongest card, alongside Vettel, who gets the most out of the car Adrian designs. It’d be ridiculous to think otherwise.

        It makes even more sense when, as you said, Ferrari were (sometimes) faster earlier in the season. That means Red Bull has improved a lot more than the rest, and that’s not down to the drivers. It’s down to their engineers.

        1. @fer-no65

          I know Alonso said nothing wrong. See my comment below my first comment.
          Nico74 misquoted Alonso which made me believe Alonso put Vettel’s latest surge down to Newey only. Which is clearly not the case.

          1. No wrong. He was referring to Newey. he siad: i’m not fighting Vet or Web im fighting Newey…. and he is right

            Alonso said “At the moment I am or, we are not, fighting against Sebastian only”. I.e., we are fighting Sebastian and Newey. Given that Alonso also corrected himself and said “we”, not “I”, you are wrong entirely, stirper.

  2. Ferrari and Mclaren must face the reality, they are fighting each other for 2nd in the constructors and that´s it.
    Tomorrow it will be Korea part 2.
    This very promising championship will drag itself for the remaining races.
    Damn you Newey!!! :-)

  3. Come on people have some faith! Nothing’s over yet! One DNF for Vettel and Alonso gets the Championship lead back! An engine failure, a gearbox failure, a loose wheel nut, an alternator issue, a disastrous pit stop, a driving error, a crash with another driver etc. You never know!

    1. I effectively said I hoped Vettel had to overcome some adversity if he was going to win this year and I got boo’d off another website for wishing harm on a driver.. And I never even said I wanted him to crash. I’m glad others see it the same as me, we want it to goto the wire and be exciting. The last couple of races have been dull when it comes to the championship.

  4. Nice to see such a small gap between Seb and Mark. Really get tired of all the “Mark gets the garbage car” tinfoil hat silliness. Good luck tomorrow RBR and let’s put the WDC and Constructors to bed!

  5. For the first time that I can remember, I have absolutely no desire to watch tomorrow’s race. Even when I didn’t have access to a television or a way to follow the race, I at least wanted to. But now even that is gone in the face of another lights-to-flag victory for Vettel.

    1. I understand why you think that, but urge you to look on the bright side. The win may be Vettel’s, but I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll at least have some battles for the podium places – Ferrari versus McLaren for 2nd place in the constructors’ should be something interesting to see – and some action in the midfield.

      1. Action in the midfield is a poor consolation prize when there is no championship fight to be had. It’s doubly disappointing for one team and one driver – particularly this team and driver – to dominate given the start to the season we had.

    2. Sigh.
      I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. I couldn’t even be bothered watching quali. We all knew where it was going to end up, and sadly I think the race will go the same way. I only hope to be wrong. Such a great start to a season, and now this. Very frustrating.

    3. @prisoner-monkeys Heh, same here. I have to get up at 6:30 (on a sunday) to watch this race, if I wanted. But I just won’t…

      I happily stayed awake for Malaysia (it starts at 4 am), but that was something else, and it was really worth the effort ! But tomorrow? no chance, really. I rather watch the replays later.

    4. @prisoner-monkeys – Yeah I’ve been feeling like that recently. I think I’ve been slowly losing interest in F1 in general.

      Sad to say this, especially on a website like this one but I’ve been following F1 since 2003, it’s been a good ten years for me but for MANY reasons, this season may be the last one I fully watch.

      1. I’m not going to be watching this one either.

        I can’t think of another sport where when an athlete is absolutely on the top of their game, they can perform at so much less than 100%.

        Federer in his pomp is a mélange of sultry swings of his racquet.

        Lebron James on form is an unstoppable tour de force of dunks, assists and bravado.

        Vettel leading a race is an exercise in gap management and component conservation (tyres, fuel etc.). It is not interesting to watch the fastest driver winning a race by going as slow as he can get away with. It is not racing, it’s race management. Please note that this is not a slight on Vettel but rather my appraisal of modern F1. My previous statements applies equally to when other drivers are leading.

        It is very sad to see the juxtaposition between passionate drivers like Ayrton Senna and Gilles Villeneuve who continually pushed to the limit and today’s drivers who can win easily whilst still colouring well inside the lines.

        I’ve been watching religiously since 1995 and almost every grand prix since 1997. My first memory was being distraught that Jacques Villeneuve was going to retire from MS’s foul play in Jerez and lose the championship because he had let the McLarens through on the last laps – I was too young and excited to understand that the teams had arranged this switch.

        For years, I would always wake up 45 minutes before the race, go for a 20 minute walk around the block to abate the sleep demons, come home, make coffee and watch the race.
        I haven’t done this in the past two years as the spectacle is no longer worth waking up for. Sad.

        1. It is very sad to see the juxtaposition between passionate drivers like Ayrton Senna and Gilles Villeneuve who continually pushed to the limit and today’s drivers who can win easily whilst still colouring well inside the lines.

          That’s the difference between motorsport and, say, Federer winning Wimbledon 6-0, 6-0, 6-0. In that short match, you see Federer’s magic raise above his opponent. It’s still an endurance, and you see him dominating an (often) superb opponent with ease, showing what he’s truly capable of.

          In motorsports, if someone is sooooo dominant, you barely see what’s going on. You know he’s the best (or he’s in the best car), but you can’t see him working to win, you just see a boring, 2 hours long race with nothing interesting whatsoever. It’s just an excercise, a practice session, with the odd Safety Car that “might spoil things up”, but never does.

          But… I don’t think past drivers did anything different. Those drivers knew when they were pushing too hard, and to push hard while leading by half a minute is ridiculous. Maybe driving was a little bit more difficult, so we could still appreciate it a bit more than today, but that’s another matter…

        2. I can’t think of another sport where when an athlete is absolutely on the top of their game, they can perform at so much less than 100%.

          That’s why I’ve become interested in Snooker. ;) The best athletes on their best days perform at their absolute maximum.

    5. Agreed. What a drop off in the excitement level from earlier in the year, which was maybe at an all-time high. The combination of Red Bull dominance, lack of rain, and teams finally adjusting to the new Pirellis, has totally ruined the season. I can’t believe that some people were actually complaining about the randomness earlier. I would do anything to bring it back!!!

    6. Hear hear. I’ve officially crossed into 2002/2004 record-and-wait mode. I did it for yesterdays qualy and don’t feel I missed out on anything of note by not watching it afterwards.

      1. It’s funny you mention Hungary 2004 in that article; the first race I ever stopped watching before the end.

        While the racing is much better and the recent races, despite being relatively easy Vettel victories, I haven’t had the urge to turn off the TV, neither did any races in 2011 make me want to go do something else.

        I do somewhat feel less enthusiastic due to the likeliness of a third Vettel championship in a row. It casts somewhat of a shadow over the races, in my opinion. Not sure if I’d call it ‘lower stakes’, but it lacks an edge earlier races had, for me.

    1. Petrov got a new engineer and their partnership seems to be working quite well, he was praising him a lot in his last interview. Also, according to his manager, the contract for next year is a done deal (if we can believe her, really), so he is sure about his future and it takes the pressure away. Heikki, on the other side, been very nervous about his future – last year he was rated very high and now, when a paydriver shows competitive results, there is an obvious question for Tony Fernandes: Is there any sense in paying a driver when you can get two paydrivers that will bring you money, which will go into car development, and are quick enough too? It might have played a role in his off during the hot lap.

      hey, my first comment here)))

        1. thanks for the welcome))

          I think both are talented drivers and both have gone miles in improving their skills, after all, driving a bad car teaches you some more. It is a shame, honestly, that Caterham is still nowhere after 3 years in F1, Heikki didn’t deserve that. They had enough money and resourses to make a better car. If they don’t join the medfield next year it will be a total fiasco.

    2. Actually, Heikki was the only driver of the bottom 10 or so to set his lap on hard tires. I don’t know how much of the deficit that explains but he probably could have gone quite a lot faster on softs.

      1. he could but he span off. And frankly, what was the point of trying to qualy on hards in a Caterham? To waste some rubber? To be fair, IIRC Petrov did his 1:29.0 on hards, so i think he could do a bit better on softs than he did too.

        1. Yeah I don’t know why they went out to set times on hard tires, perhaps to gain more data but I don’t think that would have been that valuable anyway on just a few laps of running them.
          I don’t however think that the contract situation for next year played any part in Heikki spinning off. Hopefully he’ll be in a more competitive car next year but there’s a lot of competition for the seats that are left.

      1. Sadly it was a recording on my Sky+ box but if you look in the correct places on the internet you’ll be able find recordings of most, if not all, of this seasons race and qualifying sessions.

    1. It’s not Renault’s but Magneti Marelli’s alternator. And it won’t shine till Texas when the current batch of 2011’s alternators are all used. Then RedBull have a choice of using 2013’s or 2012’s alternators

  6. I get that some people don’t like domination, and on the balance of the last 3.5 race weekends, Red Bull and Vettel have certainly been dominant.

    In my opinion – ok, you don’t like the situation. Fair enough. I don’t begrudge you that opinion.

    But should we really be complaining? F1 is a show, yes. A big show with contestants. So is something like football or MotoGP. I never liked either – and the solution is simple. Don’t watch it.

    I’m sorry, but I never had much sympathy for people who complained. No one ever promised F1 would have a riveting championship, nor have they ever promised F1 would have riveting on-track action. No one ever forced you to watch F1. It is, like everything else on the telly (except the news) a show, and as with any other show, you watch the ones you like and you don’t watch the ones you don’t like.

    Either you hate the situation enough to stop watching F1, or you like F1 enough to cover your dislike for the situation. I never liked the early 2009 F1 season due to the Brawn domination – but I liked F1 too much to give up F1 on that ground. So I put up with it and kept on watching.

    You have a remote control. Use it wisely.

    1. I think some people are complaining way too much, and it’s funny seeing people talk about how they’ve watched F1 since the days of Senna or whatever and suddenly now, now they are getting upset at domination. No, not when Williams dominated, nor when Schumacher dominated and the races were much much worse…but now, now with Vettel and Red Bull, now they can’t handle it.

      It’s quite funny how petulant some people are with their attitudes towards Vettel and Red Bull.

      1. @kingsix To be honest I don’t care if it’s complaining against Alonso domination, Schumacher domination, Vettel domination or Karthikeyan domination.

        People could do well to emulate Gandhi’s silent protest, and turn off the bl**dy television.

        1. Those complaining about domination should perhaps go back to watching nascar & leave F1 to those who understand & appreciate what racing actually is.

          people always go on about f1 been a show & how it should be entertaining, exciting & unpredictable, but why should it?

          when i began watching f1 in the early 70s people appreciated the skill of the drivers, the engineering & the danger. i never needed constant entertainment every lap, constant action at the front or 100+ passes a race to be entertained & back then neither did anyone else.
          this constant whining about someone winning in the best car, about no action at the front & how there was only 33 overtakes is getting annoying, f1 has not & should never be solely about these things.

          if f1 bores you so much then please stop watching so the true f1 fans who fully understand/appreciate the SPORT can continue watching it without all the artificial, gimmickry crap we’ve been forced to endure the past 2 years.

          1. Dizzy – some people like things such as the DRS and Pirelli, some don’t. I don’t see anything wrong with that – that’s just human to have differing opinions. But if they don’t like it, they shouldn’t be complaining about it IMO. Just turn – off – the – telly.

          2. Exactly. The same kind of driving was around in F1 since the beginning. I think its just a side effect of our modern culture that if we don’t get excited all the time we think it boring. Its the reason people have their ears plugged into their iPods 24/7 because silence and the sounds of nature are “boring” or the same reason the most commercially successful movies are the ones with bucket loads of action. In the 21st century people need to be constantly entertained and if that is not a given than they complain as they cannot appreciate something for what it is if they don’t get some sort biochemical reaction out of it that makes them excited.

  7. What a sad load of self-pitying, whining people in here. F1 has in recent years been and are still much more exciting than it has been ever before. Its still a great sport even if some of You don’t like RBR or Vettel. Of course F1 is about the total work performed by sponsors, constructors, designers, drivers, pit crew etc. etc. If You want to watch a sport where the result is unpredictable and created by the pure, noble athlete alone, then go watch Tour de France;-)

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