Third pole in a row for Vettel in Korea

2013 Korean Grand Prix qualifying

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Korea International Circuit, 2013Sebastian Vettel shrugged off the challenge from Mercedes to claim his sixth pole position of 2013.

He will share the front row of the grid with Lewis Hamilton, who looked capable of threatening Vettel in Q1 but thereafter was consistently a few tenths of a second behind.

A strong qualifying performance from Romain Grosjean will see him start third following Mark Webber’s ten-place grid penalty.

Q1

Q1 produced no major shocks as the Caterhams and Marussias were eliminated as usual and the Williams pair also failed to progress.

Paul di Resta made it through despite being held up by Jules Bianchi at the end of his final run.

Both Red Bull drivers were able to progress to Q2 without using a set of super-soft tyres, as was Hamilton. But Nico Rosberg picked up a puncture after his first run and had to return to the track for another attempt.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’39.470
18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’39.987
19 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1’40.864
20 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’40.871
21 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1’41.169
22 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1’41.322

Q2

Hamilton led the way to begin with, beating Vettel’s best time from Q1 with a 1’37.824. But Vettel hit back, taking a further quarter of a second off Hamilton’s mark to stay ahead.

Their team mates were third and fourth and this quartet all chose to remain in the pits and save tyres for the final runs. So did Romain Grosjean, who did a late run in the Lotus to secure his place in Q3.

The rest of the drivers took to the track for a final run. Nico Hulkenberg put his Sauber in fourth and with team mate Esteban Gutierrez joining him in the final ten there was no room for either of the McLarens, who missed the cut by just four-hundredths of a second.

“I got screwed a bit by the Lotus,” complained Button after his final run. “That’s Raikkonen who you let by on your out-lap,” replied his engineer.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Sergio Perez McLaren 1’38.181
12 Jenson Button McLaren 1’38.362
13 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’38.417
14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’38.431
15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’38.718
16 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’38.781

Q3

For the second race running Vettel’s first effort in Q3 proved good enough for pole position – but this time he wasn’t confident enough to stay in the pits.

His 1’37.202 ultimately proved quick enough for his second pole position in Korea. But race engineer Guillaume Rocquelin warned him that with the track conditions improving all the time his three-tenths margin over his closest rivals might not be enough.

So he returned to the track along with Webber, the two Mercedes and Grosjean – the Lotus driver having split the silver cars with his first run. But the final runs altered the order little: Vettel stayed ahead and Webber’s decision to abandon his lap promoted Hamilton, who would have moved ahead of him anyway due to Webber’s penalty.

The Ferrari drivers lined up behind them followed by the two Saubers and Raikkonen in a disappointing tenth.

Top ten in Q3

1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’37.202
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’37.420
3 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’37.464
4 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’37.531
5 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’37.679
6 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’38.038
7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’38.223
8 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1’38.237
9 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’38.405
10 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’38.822

2013 Korean Grand Prix

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27 comments on Third pole in a row for Vettel in Korea

  1. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 5th October 2013, 7:44

    Button was stretching it with his complaint of being ‘held up’ by a Lotus. Raikkonen was off the racing line and doing his best not to get in the way. Di Resta was unlucky to be held up but I think Bianchi was on a flying lap and thus had every right to be there.

    Hoping a bit of rain can spice things up tomorrow, or possibly a bit of Grosjean?

  2. Stunning lap by Vettel. Never saw it coming(he didn’t even miss a single apex!).

  3. Hamilfan (@hamilfan) said on 5th October 2013, 7:50

    ah … it’s happened a_….gain :( . At least Lewis managed to split them .

  4. Lari (@lari) said on 5th October 2013, 7:52

    Quite expected grid, nothing too spectacular there, maybe little bit suprised what happened with Raikkonen on his only Q3 run.

    Sky Sports showed the situation with Button in replay and I couldn’t imagine what else the Lotus could’ve done, he was as far off the racing line as possible there and not really slowing Button down. Unless Button thinks as the commentators said “Just seeing a car in front of you might slow you down”, then most drivers will have issues if that’s the case :)

  5. MNM101 (@mnm101) said on 5th October 2013, 7:56

    Great job by Seb, put in an awesome lap. I really hope it’s going to rain tomorrow, we’re all overdue for a wet race in 2013

    • @mnm101 I agree, but it doesn’t even have to be tomorrow – just sometime! Japan might get hit by another typhoon I believe, and there’s always a threat of rain in Brazil. It’s not out of the question for India either.

      • Nevertheless that won’t affect the outcome of the race perhaps it would only help Red Bull further. The only chance for opponents is if the new kevlar fronts aren’t strong enough for Red Bull in the long corners of Japan and India.

  6. Neel Jani (@neelv27) said on 5th October 2013, 7:57

    Firstly, I couldn’t catch up on the FP sessions so it was my first chance to see the pitlane exit and it sucks, big time! Not only the bumpy nature (a result of a hush-hush move to make it in time) but the exit seems even more dangerous.

    Earlier exit was dangerous if the cars coming into turn 1 make a mistake and run wide collecting the car coming out of the pits but now the exit line is on turn 2’s exit and that’s where cars coming from turn 1 into turn 2 naturally swipe across the track due to sheer speed which is even more dangerous when a car is coming out of the pits.

    Secondly, I really was surprised when I saw some pictures of FP3 where all the team personnel were not wearing any safety gear but bravely pulling the cars back in the garage. No helmets and no fire proof clothing. That’s dangerous and F1 does not need another wake up call after German GP.

    • They can at least see the cars coming though now, which was always a problem before. There shouldn’t be a massive speed differential either, but I agree – it should exit further down the straight past the corner exit and there should really be a barrier lining the pitlane itself.

  7. Neel Jani (@neelv27) said on 5th October 2013, 8:00

    Btw what’s up with Lewis? Even the British weather does not change as often as his mood! Till Hungary he was all down emotionally and was back up to his jolly self from Belgium and now back to that sad face in Korea. He really is a bit too emotional.

    He was somber and spoke almost inaudibly in the press conference on Thursday and even now in the Saturday’s conference.

    Earlier I used to feel for him but now it’s getting on my nerves.

  8. Eddie (@wackyracer) said on 5th October 2013, 8:17

    Nice Gutierez!

  9. Jono (@me262) said on 5th October 2013, 8:38

    wow F1 is so unpredictable these days

  10. Nick (@npf1) said on 5th October 2013, 9:10

    I think I’ve never been this close to the actual time with my predictions (.011) but I put Hamilton on pole.

    I really hope Grosjean can make up for his bad luck in Singapore, and both Saubers stay in the top 10.

  11. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 5th October 2013, 9:43

    Man, those Red Bull’s have found the sweetspot between down force and straight line speed.

  12. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 5th October 2013, 11:09

    Alonso makes a fair point, however a lot off drivers have said exactly the same thing over the last 3 seasons and I didn’t hear Paul Hembrey belittle them, so yes he is getting too big for his boots. Alonso admits his Ferrari is also not cooperating so I don’t see why Hembrey acts so childish. If he thinks the facade we have seen this season has done the sport and good then he is very wrong.

    We need tyres that at least give the driver the chance to go 100% and push himself and his machine to the limit. I believe Pirelli themselves are sick of the criticism and wants to built more durable tyres next year, and to be honest I sincerely hop they do so.

  13. Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 5th October 2013, 11:40

    What happened at the post-qualifying press conference? I read the transcript and there was just one question from the floor! Usually there are ten or more.

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