Vettel breaks track record with Indian GP pole

2013 Indian Grand Prix qualifying

Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Buddh International Circuit, 2013Sebastian Vettel maintained his record of starting every Indian Grand Prix from pole position as he claimed his seventh of the year.

Vettel beat his 2011 track record at the Buddh International Circuit by 59 hundredths of a second as he comfortably saw off his rivals.

The Mercedes pair start behind him on the grid but were over seven tenths of a second slower than Vettel’s flying Red Bull.

Q1

The combination of rapidly improving track conditions and a significant gap in performance between the soft and medium tyres presented teams with some difficult decisions in Q1. In the end, only two drivers tried to make it through the first phase of qualifying without using the soft tyres.

Mercedes predicted a cut-off time for Q1 of 1’26.5 and Vettel beat that by six tenths of a second on his medium tyres. But Romain Grosjean, who has used similar tactics to good effect in recent races, was not able to pull it off this time.

The Lotus driver lost time on his final run, blaming traffic, and slipped to 17th place as Felipe Massa posted a late improvement in his Ferrari, leaving him to watch the rest of the session from the pits.

Pastor Maldonado also failed to make the cut for Q2 along with the Marussias and Caterhams as usual.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

17 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’26.577
18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’26.842
19 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1’26.970
20 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’27.105
21 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1’27.487
22 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1’28.138

Q2

Vettel switched to the soft tyres for Q2 and improved his time by 1.4 seconds. Fernando Alonso managed to split the Red Bulls with a lap three-tenths of a second slower than Vettel’s.

Mark Webber had a scruffy lap, running well off the track at turn nine. But according to team principal Christian Horner he didn’t gain time by doing so, and race director Charlie Whiting let the time stand.

The Force India drivers were separated by less than three hundredths of a second but failed to make the final ten at their home event. Nico Hulkenberg was the only Sauber driver to reach the final ten as Esteban Gutierrez was almost a full second off his team mate.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’25.519
12 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’25.711
13 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’25.740
14 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’25.798
15 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’26.134
16 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’26.336

Q3

The final part of qualifying presented teams with the question of which tyres to start the race with. Red Bull and Ferrari both elected to split the strategies between their drivers.

Vettel’s soft tyre run was his usual tour de force – rapid and accurate, he covered the lap in 1’24.119, beating his previous course record for the Buddh International Circuit.

As in Singapore, it seemed he didn’t need to make a final run, but he did go out again on the soft tyres. Lewis Hamilton caught the Red Bull driver at the fast turn eight/nine chicane and said on the radio he was held up.

Nonetheless Hamilton took third on the grid behind team mate Nico Rosberg, both using soft tyres. Behind them Webber took ‘medium tyre pole’, half a second slower than his team mate.

Choosing the medium tyres turned out to be a major sacrifice for Alonso. His Q2 time on soft tyres would have been good enough for third in Q3, just 14 thousandths of a second slower than Rosberg. With track evolution, a front row start may have been in the offing.

Instead he took eighth behind Massa, Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg, all of which were on soft tyres. The medium-tyred McLarens share row five, Perez ahead of Button.

Top ten in Q3

1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’24.119
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’24.871
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’24.941
4 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’25.047
5 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’25.201
6 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’25.248
7 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1’25.334
8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’25.826
9 Sergio Perez McLaren 1’26.153
10 Jenson Button McLaren 1’26.487

2013 Indian Grand Prix

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112 comments on Vettel breaks track record with Indian GP pole

  1. Patrick (@paeschli) said on 26th October 2013, 11:10

    It’s interesting to see so many teams splitting up their strategies: Red Bull, Ferrari etc.

    I’m sure many lower teams will also have one driver starting on prime and the other on softs, for example Lotus or Toro Rosso.

    I’m glad with Pirelli’s choice of compounds, we’ll see one of the most strategical races of the season.

  2. Malik (@malik) said on 26th October 2013, 11:11

    Vettel is the record breaking rocket :)

    • Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 26th October 2013, 11:30

      I’ll correct that for you :-)

      The RB RB9 is the record breaking rocket :)

      • toiago (@toiago) said on 26th October 2013, 11:34

        If it was like that, Webber would also be smashing records.

      • mixwell (@mixwell) said on 26th October 2013, 11:41

        which record did Webber break ?

      • @full-throttle-f1 Webber has been made to look very normal in comparison. He’s won no races this season, and since 2010 he’s won 7 races.

        In comparison, Alonso has won 11 and Hamilton 11. Also, Webber has failed to finish second in the WDC in all those years: average finishing position in the WDC for Webber (2010-2012) is 4th; Alonso 2.67 and Hamilton 4.33.

        Pole positions now. Webber is on 11, Alonso 4 and Hamilton 14.

        That doesn’t look that spectacular, does it?

        Now for Vettel:

        30 wins
        36 poles
        average finishing position in WDC: 1

        I don’t think I need to elaborate.

        • LSL1337 (@lsl1337) said on 26th October 2013, 12:08

          all it means, that Vettel faster than Webber, GJ man, this ONLY thing really worth 4 WDC. some people…

        • Malik (@malik) said on 26th October 2013, 12:21

          Good Job Man :)

        • Jono (@me262) said on 26th October 2013, 13:40

          Webber has achieved all he has with not much more than a race engineer
          Vettel has the support of uncle Marko, Horner and the entire redbull team behind him . vive le difference

          • @me262 he has had the support of Marko, but he contributes absolutely zero to the building of the car and race strategy.

            Horner and the Red Bull team are behind both their drivers. Thinking otherwise is just silly conspiracies: Red Bull don’t do team orders to favour the number one.

          • Oletros (@oletros) said on 26th October 2013, 16:26

            Yes, Horner is behind VET car pushing it during races

          • TheBass (@) said on 26th October 2013, 17:14

            @me262 Reportedly, Webber is paid around 10M Eur per year. You’d had to be extremely naive (borderline irrational) to believe any team would spend that much money on a driver for so long just not to give him any support whatsoever.

            Not denying Vettel’s the number 1 on the team, that’s clear, in the same way Alonso is in Ferrari, Hamilton was in McLaren when Kovalainen was there, etc. But to say Webber and his engineer have done everything practically alone is pretty, pretty silly.

          • TheBass (@) said on 26th October 2013, 17:19

            @vettel1

            but he contributes absolutely zero to the building of the car and race strategy.

            That’s not true. Newey himself has said that Webber has been a big contribution in the aerodynamics development.

            Besides, all drivers contribute heavily in the development of strategies, all of them want to have the best possible package.

            It’s silly to say that Webber has done everything alone, but let’s not jump to the other side of the fence.

            It’s proven he’s not as good as Vettel, but that doesn’t men he doesn’t do a lot of work.

          • wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 26th October 2013, 17:34

            @silence

            That’s not true. Newey himself has said that Webber has been a big contribution in the aerodynamics development.

            I believe @vettel1 was talking about Marko, not Webber.

          • @silence you’ve misunderstood: I’m talking about Dr. Marko, not Webber!

          • TheBass (@) said on 26th October 2013, 18:14

            @vettel1 @wsrgo Indeed, I totally misunderstood that :-)

        • HoHum (@hohum) said on 26th October 2013, 14:07

          @vettel1, this is a stupid argument and I am not getting into it, but surely you can concede that Webbers lap time, useing the harder tyre, of less than a second off the all-time lap record was a decent effort.

          • @hohum what?

          • kpcart said on 26th October 2013, 14:45

            it was a decent effort, but don’t take away from Vettels effort. stop looking for reasons to belittle Vettel, when Vettels results belittle your oppinions on him

          • Loup Garou (@loup-garou) said on 26th October 2013, 17:00

            Yes, Webber’s qualification in P4 today on prime tyres was an excellent effort. It is yet another example of this very talented but inconsistent driver who is essentially a journeyman showing flashes of brilliance. Webber’s career statistics would have looked more impressive had he exorcised the demons in his head and been more committed to the job. For all this good qualification, there is every chance that he will have an off-day tomorrow, especially if he has one of his poor starts and allows Massa, Raikkonen and the Hulk past in the early laps.

      • karter22 (@karter22) said on 26th October 2013, 12:15

        @full-throttle-f1

        I’ll correct that for you :-)

        The RB RB9 is the record breaking rocket :)

        Shhhhhh…. they`ll come after you with pitchforks and torches for saying that!!! XD

        • Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 26th October 2013, 12:49

          @karter22

          They are banging on my door :-(

          Max ( @vettel1 ) stop trying to come through my window!

        • @karter22 no, we will just talk sense ;)

          If you really need proof that it cannot just be the car, look at Webber’s average finishing position in the WDC – a whole 3 lower than Vettel.

          • danclapp (@danclapp) said on 26th October 2013, 16:05

            Yes and again i repeat look at webber through his f1 carear, he as not pulled up many trees as he Max. I find it hilarious today when someone was saying its all Vet not the car Vet is easily the best? Huh excuse me is Vet really 7 tenths faster than Hamilton, i think not. Im only comparing Ham and Vet now so Alonso fans im not saying Ham is better that him. Im just saying that i think Vet is better under pressure compared to Ham, 2010 says alot to me when he kept it under control but its all you guys can say is well Vet is 3x WC soon to be 4 thats all you guys use is numbers when surely you admit that car is unbelievable since Hungary(Vet was leading till then but by no means dominant). He as won everyrace since Hungary. Merc were best in qually all year now they dont get a sniff in qually either yet you lot just think its Vet doing a good job and making everyone look silly. Which clearly is not the case. Show me when the last time ferrari or Mclaren had 7 tenths over the field in qually? It never happens thats why.

          • @danclapp why can it not be both? I’ve never understood why you need to be in one camp: i.e it’s Vettel or it’s the car. Why not the combination of both?

          • Oletros (@oletros) said on 26th October 2013, 19:33

            I find it hilarious today when someone was saying its all Vet not the car

            Who has said that, normally what people respond is to the claim that it is all the car

      • Vettel set a lap time that was faster than when he had the blown diffuser working for him. Give the guy some credit

  3. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 26th October 2013, 11:13

    Interesting to see if Mercedes/Hamilton are going to proceed with the ‘being held up’ claim.

  4. Ean (@ean) said on 26th October 2013, 11:18

    Perez 3/10th faster than Button

  5. Nick (@nick-uk) said on 26th October 2013, 11:19

    Another standard episode of ‘The Vettel Show’.

    • SpadSXIII said on 26th October 2013, 11:26

      Mark Webber on the mediums is likely to spoil the Grand Chelem, he will likely be leading by lap 10

    • Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 26th October 2013, 11:45

      Can I see that show? @nick-uk

      It would make a good movie with Bernie and all that as the dark forces.

      “RESISTANCE IS FUTILE”
      A FIA production

      Starring Bernie Ecclestone as ‘Evil Bernie Ecclestone’, Sebastien Vettel as ‘The Golden Boy’ Helmut Marko as ‘Darth Marko’ etc.

      A short time ago on a race track far far away…
      The Emperor (Bernie Ecclestone) was seeking to strike a trade mission in various parts of the world to create more monetary gain for himself and The Red Bull empire. He and Darth Marko (Helmut Marko) destroyed the competition of other teams with their ‘Death RB9′ (codename ‘X1′).

      Even those opposed to parts of the RB Empire had to succumb to what ever Darth Marko had to say, many seeing Marko using The Force to strangle Mark Webber (Eric Bana).

      But there were several Rebels (or ‘teams’) that would put up a fight against the evil Empire. Two jedis called Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso would try to destroy the evil force of Red Bull and their Sith trainee Sebastian Vettel. They failed, “always next they replied”.

    • kpcart said on 26th October 2013, 14:48

      Another standard episode of ‘The Vettel Show’ – The modern master who will go down as better then even Senna, I am enjoying this, the best man in the best car breaking the records. if he was inferior like some fans think, he would only win 4 races a year like Hamilton does every year in a great car.

  6. karter22 (@karter22) said on 26th October 2013, 11:33

    Why am I not surprised. Last race to be held there… He does a grand chelem and gets crowned WDC, record included and nobody ever gets to race and challenge these stats. Honestly I am not surprised!

  7. Apologies to Romain Grosjean fans, i had him as second on my race results prediction which is clearly why he failed to make it through Q1. Still, at least my early season bet on Alonso for the championship is looking good ;)

  8. Chris (@ukphillie) said on 26th October 2013, 11:50

    Hmmm track record?

    Ironic, seeing as Vettel hardly used any of the track in all of qualifying.

    As if F1 wasn’t enough of a joke this season, we’ve thrown the rules out as well. Vettel did not set one lap time in all 3 Q sessions where he didnt cut a corner. His Q2 time was about 5 seconds ahead of P2. It’s disgusting.

  9. DaveF1 (@davef1) said on 26th October 2013, 11:51

    Any particular reason why no one decided to use the track? Pretty sure the white lines are there for a reason but if drivers keep ignoring them then what’s the point of having a circuit to begin with, just let them run off the circuit and cut as many corners as they like.

    Then again I guess that’s what happens when 3/4s of the circuit is just car park run off.

    • Chris (@ukphillie) said on 26th October 2013, 11:55

      I was watching very carefully. Raikonnen was the cleanest, he didn’t cut a corner in any session. Vettel was the worst, Hamilton and Rosberg weren’t too honest either. Webber was good and even Alonso was well behaved.

      Vettel bought so much time off track I can’t believe he hasn’t been penalised.

      • Juzh (@juzh) said on 26th October 2013, 12:00

        hahahaha, everyone was either same or worse than vettel. Don’t know which quali were you watching.

      • toiago (@toiago) said on 26th October 2013, 12:04

        Webber good? His fastest lap in Q2 had him going so far off the road in one of the corners that the team told him to repeat it so that they would avoid any troubles which might have come from it, but he couldn’t improve and kept it.

    • karter22 (@karter22) said on 26th October 2013, 12:07

      @davef1
      So he did several Germany 2012 (in race) again?? Using the whole run-off areas?? or just blatantly putting the 4 tyres past the white lines? I didn`t bother watching qualifying session since i knew Vettel would be on pole and Fernando would be miles back!
      It`s just so disgusting how “they” do this… They are hell bent on SV getting crowned WDC in this one! What better way to win it? Nobody is ever going to race here ever again, he`ll have track record and I am just putting this out there, $100 says he does a grand chelem!! It couldn`t be better scripted than that!

      • Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 26th October 2013, 12:15

        $100 says he does a grand chelem!

        OK, I’ll take that bet! Hope we are talking US-Dollar as he will certainly not do a grand chelem this weekend.

      • @karter22 “they” were not the only one to do this. Vettel was actually very tidy, especially in his pole lap.
        In the briefing the stewards said it’s okay to do it, so everyone does it.

        • karter22 (@karter22) said on 26th October 2013, 12:22

          @yobo01
          By “they” I meant the dark forces that @full-throttle-f1 mentioned on his post a bit further up in the thread! LOL!

          @mike-dee
          Yes, talking about US dollars and you´re on! Western union accepted? 100 free of sending fees!!! XD

          • MJ (@mjf1) said on 27th October 2013, 2:30

            Vettel will not get a grand chelem because he is on options while webber and co are on primes. Vettel will have to pit very early and it is highly unlikely he will have gained enough time to come back out of the pits without being overtaken by the prime runners.

    • Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 26th October 2013, 12:11

      I think going wide after a corner will not really gain you a lot and might even lose you a bit, but cutting turn 12, which many have been doing, definitely helps a lot – you can have a faster speed through turn 11 and 12, and you make the track shorter by half a metre or so.

      • karter22 (@karter22) said on 26th October 2013, 12:18

        @mike-dee

        I think going wide after a corner will not really gain you a lot

        Wrong! If he is carrying enough speed going in, it will give you some advantage especially if by going wide you are setting up the next corner. It was well discussed here some while ago.

    • Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 26th October 2013, 12:30

      @davef1

      I feel that in this case, them going over the white lines was okay, because there is curbing on the exit of every corner.
      I feel that the cubs (rumble strips, whatever you wanna call them), should count as part of the ‘race track’.

      Once they exceed those limits, then there should be invalid laps. However, Whiting may not feel the need to invalidate them as they will be losing time should they run out further than the curbs.

      If there are no curbs on the exit, then they should stay within the white line.

      • Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 26th October 2013, 12:41

        @tophercheese21 From the Sporting Regulations (Article 20.2):

        Drivers must use the track at all times. For the avoidance of doubt the white lines defining the track edges are considered to be part of the track but the kerbs are not.

        A driver will be judged to have left the track if no part of the car remains in contact with the track.

    • No idea.
      If you look at Vettel’s pole lap:
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/24682933
      he clearly leaves the track with all four wheels three times.
      If they are going to penalise Grosjean for a single, much more excusable infraction in Hungary, then ignoring this is inconsistent and unfair.

      • Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 26th October 2013, 15:04

        The thing is that they would literally have to penalise every single driver if this rule is applied strictly. Vettel went of 3 times, but twice it was just a few centimetres; many others were much worse.

      • @nigel1 you need to listen to the interview with Charlie Whiting. They are specifically allowing drivers to run wide in qualifying (all of them) but in the races to maintain/gain position, they are expressly forbidding it.

  10. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 26th October 2013, 12:24

    8 tenths to P2… smh.

  11. zicasso (@zicasso) said on 26th October 2013, 12:25

    @keithcollantine
    Can you tell me how can the record stick when most drivers including Vettel left the track more than once in the process? That is pretty inconsistent.

    • @zicasso as long as the FIA deem the leaving of the track to be okay, the record stands. And they have: they told the drivers it was okay to run wide, and no penalties have been applied for doing so.

      You may not agree with it, but that’s a different debate entirely (and one I may side with you on). But officially the record is completely valid.

      • toiago (@toiago) said on 26th October 2013, 12:59

        @vettel 1
        Why would the FIA agree to letting drivers run off the track in India, when in other places they are so strict about it? We sometimes criticize the FIA for not being consistent enough in some matters, but with this there doesn’t seem to be any problem. It should be the same for every venue in the calendar I believe.

      • toiago (@toiago) said on 26th October 2013, 12:59

        I meant @vettel1, sorry!

        • It’s really as Dizzy said @toiago: it is really just track dependant. On some tracks you may gain quite a significant advantage, others not – it’s subject to discussion before the event.

          However, what I think you are confusing this with is the FIA’s clamping down on overtaking off the track or going of the track to defend, which is a different issue entirely and one which the FIA will still be clamping down on in India. So in qualifying it’s fine to run wide, but in a race for position not so!

          • BJ (@beejis60) said on 26th October 2013, 14:53

            @toiago I don’t think it’s track dependent, I think it’s during a passing move is when the penalties come for leaving the track. Watch races and decide when people are leaving the track.

        • toiago (@toiago) said on 26th October 2013, 13:37

          I actually wasn’t confusing them! I was just referring to track limits in general. They exist for a reason, so they should have to be respected always. That’s why the stewards won’t allow drivers to step on the pit exit lines, for instance (it isn’t a track limit per se, but is still a limiting line). So I don’t know why they’re lenient on some situations, and much more rigid on anothers, there should be some more concistency regarding it. It’s a rule and should be followed.

    • Dizzy said on 26th October 2013, 12:59

      The drivers raised the issue of running wide in the drivers briefing on Thursday.

      After some discussion, It was decided that they would be allowed to run off the track as there is no significant advantage in doing so in the places there doing it.

      • kpcart said on 26th October 2013, 14:54

        its funny how people are only complaining about Vettel going past the track limits! the other drivers did it too. lets pick on the fastest driver becaue we are jealous and shallow.

    • James (@speedking84) said on 26th October 2013, 14:22

      Why are so many people getting frustrated about drivers leaving the track, Charlie Whiting has allowed it, so if everyone is allowed to do it then it isn’t an advantage to anyone.

    • OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 26th October 2013, 16:55

      @zicasso So DSQ all the drivers in Canada for going off near the wall of Champions? Oh! That would make Vettel champion already!!!!

  12. Damon said on 26th October 2013, 13:55

    I don’t know why Mercedes decided to use options for their Q3 run, they probably would have ended up 3rd and 4th at worst. They haven’t got a cat in hells chance on the equal strategy as Vettel

  13. Patrick (@paeschli) said on 26th October 2013, 14:13

    I’ve read somewhere that Pirelli says the best startegy is to stop at the end of the 2nd lap if you start with the option tyres …

  14. Fixy (@fixy) said on 26th October 2013, 14:52

    Another cracking qualifying performance by Felipe. 6 tenths on Fernando!

  15. This qualy session nearly put me to sleep, not because Vettel was fastest (he deserves it) but does anyone else think that the format is so tired now? For me Q1 is almost tedious to the point of being unwatchable. Q2 improves a little but the fast guys still aren’t quite trying, yawn. Q3 only lasts 10 mins and consists of missing a large chunk of the action because the Top 10 are completing their lap at the same time. In the end we see a few complete laps (if we are lucky) and glimpses of others. It’s all very unsatisfying. 1 hour session, 12 laps please or i’ll just be watching the races next year.

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