Vettel beats Hamilton to Korea pole

Vettel beats Hamilton to Korea pole

Formula 1

Vettel beats Hamilton to Korea pole


Sebastian Vettel took his third straight Formula 1 pole as he beat Lewis Hamilton in Korean Grand Prix qualifying.

Practice had suggested that Mercedes would be able to give Red Bull a much harder time in qualifying at least at Yeongam. But in the event Sebastian Vettel’s initial Q3 lap of 1m37.202s put him 0.308 second clear of the leading Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton.

That lap had put Hamilton in third behind the second Red Bull of Mark Webber. Although Hamilton was able to get ahead of the Australian on his final pole shot, he was still 0.218sec adrift of Vettel, who was able to back off his own last lap, confident pole was secure.

Webber also abandoned his final lap and stayed third in the times, which will become 13th on the grid when his 10-place grid penalty for accumulating three driving reprimands is applied. That will elevate Romain Grosjean to third, the Lotus driver having outpaced the second Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Ferrari duo Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa. Grosjean’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen could only manage 10th, 1.3sec slower.

For the first time this year, Sauber got both cars into Q3, with Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez eighth and ninth quickest.

Sauber’s qualifying breakthrough came at McLaren’s expense. Despite encouraging signs in practice, the silver cars found themselves back in 11th and 12th, with Sergio Perez and Jenson Button missing Q3 by just 0.035sec and 0.038sec, respectively.

The Toro Rossos and Force Indias were also eliminated in Q2, while neither Williams made it beyond Q1, although Valtteri Bottas could at least be pleased to outqualify Pastor Maldonado by half a second.

Charles Pic squeezed ahead of Caterham teammate Giedo van der Garde by 0.007sec to lead the rear quartet.

Pos Driver                Team                 Time            Gap    1. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m37.202s 2. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes             1m37.420s  +0.218s 3. Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m37.464s  +0.262s 4. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault        1m37.531s  +0.329s 5. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m37.679s  +0.477s 6. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m38.038s  +0.836s 7. Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m38.223s  +1.021s 8. Nico Hulkenberg       Sauber-Ferrari       1m38.237s  +1.035s 9. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari       1m38.405s  +1.203s10. Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault        1m38.822s  +1.620sQ2 cut-off time: 1m38.327s                                   Gap **11. Sergio Perez          McLaren-Mercedes     1m38.362s  +0.793s12. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m38.365s  +0.796s13. Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m38.417s  +0.848s14. Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes 1m38.431s  +0.862s15. Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m38.718s  +1.149s16. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m38.781s  +1.212sQ1 cut-off time: 1m39.175s                                    Gap *17. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Renault     1m39.470s  +1.129s18. Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault     1m39.987s  +1.646s19. Charles Pic           Caterham-Renault     1m40.864s  +2.523s20. Giedo van der Garde   Caterham-Renault     1m40.871s  +2.530s21. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Cosworth    1m41.169s  +2.828s22. Max Chilton           Marussia-Cosworth    1m41.322s  +2.981s107% time: 1m45.224s
* Gap to quickest in Q1
** Gap to quickest in Q2