Vettel takes pole in inaugural Indian Grand Prix

World champion Sebastian Vettel took his thirteenth pole position of the season with a commanding performance in qualifying for Formula One’s inaugural Indian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver was quickest in Q2, and carried that form into Q3 with a provisional pole time of one minute, 24.437 seconds on his first flying lap.

His rivals were unable to beat it and yet Vettel went even quicker to set a lap time of one minute, 24.178 seconds to firmly secure pole position at the Buddh International Circuit.

Following the penalty for Lewis Hamilton, who qualified in second but will receive a three-place grid drop for ignoring yellow flags during Friday’s practice session, it will be an all-Red Bull Racing front row.

Hamilton will now start the race in fifth position while Webber will be promoted from third to second on the grid.

Fernando Alonso was just 0.011 seconds down on Webber in the Ferrari, with Jenson Button next up for McLaren.

Felipe Massa took the sixth quickest time despite crashing in the final moments of Q3 when the Brazilian smashed his front-right suspension over a kerb at Turn Eight, which resulted in him skated off into the gravel at the next corner.

Nico Rosberg was seventh for Mercedes, while the remaining Q3 drivers all chose to sit out the segment to save a set of fresh Pirellis for the race.

Adrian Sutil was classified eighth for Force India while his team-mate Paul di Resta will start in P13. Both Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi also reached Q3 but Toro Rosso opted not to run.

Toro Rosso’s strong performance in qualifying squeezed some likely top ten names outside the Q3 cut. Neither Renault made it with Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna starting the race back in P11 and P15, although Petrov could consider himself unlucky as he equalled tenth-placed Alguersuari’s Q2 time but the Spaniard got there first. The Russian is also carrying a five-place grid penalty for colliding with Michael Schumacher in Korea.

Schumacher also narrowly missed out, by just a margin of 0.018 seconds and will start the Indian Grand Prix in P12.

The Williams of Pastor Maldonado and Rubens Barrichello sandwiched Senna in P14 and P16.

It was a tough qualifying session for Sauber. Sergio Perez was only P17 and will take a three-place penalty for the same misdemeanour as Hamilton, while Kamui Kobayashi was eliminated in Q1. The same could have happened to either Button or Schumacher had they not squeezed out strong late laps amid traffic.

HRT’s Narain Karthikeyan qualified ahead of both Virgin Racing for his home race, and will gain another position from his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo taking a gearbox penalty. Another gearbox fault meant Timo Glock was unable to set a lap time.

So yet another impressive performance by Sebastian Vettel in the flying Red Bull. His thirteenth pole position of the season, matching Ayrton Senna’s record. The youngest back-to-back champion is only one pole away from equaling Nigel Mansell’s achievement.

As for the team, this was Red Bull Racing’s sixteenth pole of the year. A superb record in their championship-winning season.

Qualifying positions for the Indian Grand Prix:

1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m24.178s
2.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m24.508s
3.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m24.519s
4.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m24.950s
5.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes     1m24.474s*
6.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m25.122s
7.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m25.451s
8.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes No time
9.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari No time
10.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari No time
11.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes             1m26.337s
12.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m26.503s
13.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth    1m26.537s
14.  Bruno Senna           Renault              1m26.651s
15.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth    1m27.247s
16.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault              1m26.319s**
17.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari       1m27.876s
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault        1m28.565s
19.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault        1m28.752s
20.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari       1m27.562s*
21.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth         1m30.216s
22.  Jerome D’Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth      1m30.866s
23.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth      1m34.046s***
24.  Daniel Ricciardo      HRT-Cosworth         1m30.238s****

107 per cent time: 1 minute, 32.222 seconds

*Three-place penalty (speeding under double-waved yellow flags)
**Five-place penalty (caused an avoidable accident in the Korean Grand Prix)
***Outside 107 per cent time, will need permission from stewards to start
****Five-place penalty (gearbox change, according to team)

12 thoughts to “Vettel takes pole in inaugural Indian Grand Prix”

  1. World champion Sebastian Vettel was happy with his qualifying result but has said that Sunday’s race conditions might be tricky due to the dust on the circuit. has the story.

    Sebastian Vettel is expecting a tricky Indian Grand Prix because of the dust off the racing line after securing pole position on Saturday.

    The German will start from the top spot for the 13th time this year, meaning he will tie the record for most poles in a season if he emerges on top again in the next race.

    Vettel was delighted with his pole but he admitted that, with the track still very dusty off line, the race could prove quite a challenge.

    “We all want to race, both the people who are in the front of the field and the people who get lapped,” said Vettel.

    “We all want to stay on the racing line and drive like that the whole race, so it could be tricky because off line it is quite dusty and it depends on where you forced to go off line or to lap other car, or make a pass.

    “It could be critical for the next few corners, not just that corner but also after that to get the tyres back to the grip level you had before. Once the dust is gone, the asphalt is very grippy and the cars stick to the ground.”

    He added: “I think it was a good session for us. It was tricky for all of us. The car has been fantastic since yesterday. I am extremely happy. It’s good to be here. It will be a very interesting race. It’s a challenging circuit so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

    Vettel, whose Red Bull team has vowed to help Mark Webber secure second place in the standings, refused to confirm he will let his team-mate through if necessary on Sunday.

    “We will see. It is a long race and Lewis starts in fifth, I think, with Fernando behind, Jenson behind, they surely will put a lot of pressure on us. It’s a long race and a new track, and we don’t know how the tyres will respond.

    “Mark and myself target to win the race, ideally with a one-two, so it will be an interesting race tomorrow.”

  2. Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber has said he does not want help from his team-mate to secure second position in the drivers’ standings. has the details.

    Mark Webber says he does not want Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel to give away any positions in order to help him secure second place in the drivers’ championship.

    Although Red Bull has hinted at the possibility of imposing team orders to help the Australian move up to second in the standings, Webber says nothing has changed for him.

    And he made it clear he does not want any help from Vettel if it means the German giving up a position.

    “Nothing will be different,” said Webber after qualifying for the Indian Grand Prix. “There has been a lot of talk from the team but nothing from me.

    “I don’t want any positions off Sebastian for the remainder of the year.”

    Webber is currently fourth in the standings, 13 points behind McLaren’s Jenson Button.

    Webber qualified in third place on Saturday but will start alongside Vettel after Lewis Hamilton is handed a penalty for ignoring yellow flags on Friday.

    The Australian admitted he could have gone quicker, but a yellow flag caused by Felipe Massa in the dying seconds of qualifying meant he could only complete one run.

    “It has been a good challenge for all of us,” he added. “It’s a good venue. It’s tricky to work out the strategy and the tyres not easy for one timed lap. Lots of teams tried different styles to get more out of car.

    “I could have done better in the first sector on my first lap, my only run. Then we got yellow flags with Felipe.”

  3. Despite receiving a three-place grid penalty for ignoring yellow flags during Friday’s practice session, Lewis Hamilton is feeling upbeat about the race. has the story.

    Lewis Hamilton said he remains optimistic about his Indian Grand Prix chances having gone second fastest in qualifying – which translates to fifth on the grid when his yellow flag penalty is applied.

    The McLaren driver knew the highest he could start would be fourth as he had been awarded a three-place grid penalty for going too fast through a yellow flag zone in Friday morning practice. He was three tenths slower than polesitter Sebastian Vettel as he claimed second in qualifying at the Buddh circuit – and felt that was the best he could have hoped for given the cars’ relative pace.

    “It has been a good day for me,” said Hamilton. “We are really surprised, quite surprised to be able to split the Red Bulls.

    “We had the penalty, which is a bit of a silly mistake for myself, I paid the price.”

    He thinks the layout of the track and McLaren’s long-run performance will minimise the hardship of starting back in fifth.

    “Tomorrow we have good race pace, and a long straight with two DRS zones so overtaking is easier than other places, so I’m still optimistic,” Hamilton said.

    The Briton relied on his first Q3 run for his second place, having abandoned a subsequent effort.

    “My first lap was very, very good, as much as I could get out of the car,” said Hamilton.

    “Maybe there was half a tenth but it was on the limit in the second run. I was a tenth down going into Turn 15 but didn’t see much point in wasting the tyres for a potential half a tenth so came in.”

  4. Sebastien Buemi hailed Toro Rosso’s performance as amazing after getting both its cars in the top ten ahead of tomorrow’s Indian Grand Prix.

    “I am very happy for the team as they did a fantastic job and I congratulate them and thank them for it. Having both cars in Q3 is amazing,” said Buemi, who will start the race from ninth position.

    The Swiss warned, however, that the team now needs to capitalise on its strong qualifying showing.

    “Now, I hope we can have a good race tomorrow, because there are no points for what we did today,” he said. “The first race at this circuit is bound to be an interesting experience. It was teamwork that delivered today’s result, with everyone giving their maximum since we arrived here in India.”

    Team-mate Jaime Alguersuari was also delighted with the team’s form after securing tenth place on the grid.

    “I am very happy, especially for the team as we are both in good positions and Sebastien was really fast, right from yesterday, when I had some problems. Today he drove a brilliant lap. We solved my problems overnight so that I could also be competitive today.

    “Tomorrow, we have a good chance of doing well starting from these positions and it could be useful in terms of the championship as our main rivals, the Saubers, are starting behind us. Strategy will be important and if we do everything right then maybe we can bring home a big points score.

    “The increase in performance at this point of the season is down to the great job the whole company has done in developing the car. I am hoping for a top eight finish tomorrow.”


  5. Japanese racer Kamui Kobayashi has said that his Sauber had the pace in Q2. has the details.

    Kamui Kobayashi is adamant that his Sauber had enough pace to make it into Q2 after a disappointing qualifying for the Japanese.

    The Sauber driver was unable to make the cut to go into Q2 after struggling with tyre warm-up issues, finishing down in 18th position.

    Kobayashi is optimistic, however, that his race pace will be better.

    “The pace of the car was certainly good enough for Q2, I was convinced about it and I also think our race performance should be alright,” said Kobayashi. “However, in qualifying it took me a lot of time to warm up the tyres, and then in the end I was unlucky.

    “I had just started my final flying lap when Felipe (Massa) came out of the pitlane in front of me. Although there wasn’t enough time left in the session for him to do another run he didn’t give room.

    “I am disappointed with today, but I will keep myself together and have a positive approach to the race. At least I have some fresh tyres left and this circuit offers opportunities for overtaking.”

    Team-mate Sergio Perez completed a difficult day for the Swiss squad after finishing in 17th position.

    The Mexican rookie admitted he was expecting a much stronger showing after a solid final practice session.

    “This was obviously a very bad qualifying for me,” Perez said. “After our performance in the third free practice this morning we were clearly expecting to do better in qualifying. The key problem was that we couldn’t switch on the tyres to get them really to work.

    “Knowing this, and given the fact that I had the grid penalty from yesterday, we decided to put only the used tyres on again in Q2, as it was better to save the fresh ones for the race.”

  6. McLaren’s Jenson Button rues his ‘terrible’ qualifying session which resulted in only fourth position on the grid. has the story.

    Jenson Button described his Indian Grand Prix qualifying session as ‘terrible’ and admitted he was puzzled by how his McLaren’s performance had changed since practice.

    The Briton was 0.7 seconds off the pace in fifth place at the end of Q3, though he will start fourth once his team-mate Lewis Hamilton drops from second to fifth due to a gearbox change penalty.

    Asked if he was happy with his car’s performance in qualifying, Button replied: “No, not at all. This morning the car felt great, the pace was good and the car just felt good. This afternoon I just couldn’t find any grip, on the prime tyre especially.

    “I didn’t really get a clear lap either on either of my soft tyre runs. The traffic’s been terrible out there.”

    He said the McLaren had felt more competitive in race trim in practice and hopes that remains the case on Sunday.

    “At the moment I’ve got to work out why I can’t find a better balance, and then hopefully we’ll have a better race than qualifying because it was a disaster in qualifying really,” said Button.

    “The car felt good on high fuel yesterday and I’m hoping that we have that balance tomorrow.”

    Button’s best time in qualifying came just as Felipe Massa crashed in the final sector. The McLaren driver felt he had done all he could to acknowledge the yellow flags for the incident, that he passed as it unfolded.

    “He was heading into the gravel as I was coming up to it,” Button explained. “I saw the tyre marks, I saw the smoke and then I saw the yellow flag, but I was actually in the yellow flag zone already so we’ll see what happens, but I backed off.”

  7. Narain Karthikeyan will get a five-place grid penalty for impeding Michael Schumacher during qualifying for the Indian Grand Prix.

    The Indian driver, returning to racing for a one-off with HRT this weekend, was found to have impeded the Mercedes racer during the first qualifying segment.

    Schumacher still made it to Q2 though, while Karthikeyan qualified in 21st position.

    He is the fifth driver to be given a grid penalty after Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Perez, Vitaly Petrov and Daniel Ricciardo.

    They are all set to start ahead of Virgin’s Timo Glock, who failed to set a time within the 107 per cent in qualifying.


  8. Mercedes GP’s Michael Schumacher was left puzzled by the gap over his team-mate Nico Rosberg following a tough Indian Grand Prix qualifying. has the details.

    Michael Schumacher put his difficult Indian Grand Prix qualifying session down to issues with tyre vibrations and traffic – but said he still felt he should have been closer to Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

    There was a 0.8-second gap between the two Germans in Q2 at Buddh, as Rosberg made the Q3 cut and Schumacher was left in 12th on the grid.

    “Qualifying today was not really very good for us,” said Schumacher.

    “At first I hit some traffic, and then on my final run in Q2, there was again vibrations on the set of tyres which I used which was not helpful.

    “Saying that, this certainly does not explain the time gap to Nico so we need to understand what the reason was for that and get on top of it.”

    The seven-time champion is optimistic that he can still move forward in the race.

    “As for the race tomorrow, this should work out better for me, and my aim undoubtedly is to score some points,” said Schumacher.

    Rosberg ultimately qualified seventh – and felt he could have done even better but for minor damage to his car and the yellow flags for Felipe Massa’s Ferrari.

    “I’m pleased that we made a step forward today but we could perhaps have finished higher,” said Rosberg.

    “In Q1, I hit a kerb quite heavily and damaged the floor which lost some of the car’s downforce for the rest of qualifying.

    “I was on my quickest lap at the end of Q3 but unfortunately I had to slow down for the yellow flag after Felipe’s incident so that cost me some time.

    “I will push hard to gain places tomorrow and have a good race on this fantastic track.”

  9. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso has said that winning the Indian Grand Prix is a possibility following qualifying. has the details.

    Fernando Alonso is not ruling out fighting for victory in the Indian Grand Prix after qualifying on the second row of the grid.

    The Spaniard posted the fourth fastest time of the day, but will start from third position because of a penalty to Lewis Hamilton, second today.

    Ferrari driver Alonso believes starting from third will give him the chance to fight near the top in the race.

    “I think it’s important for us to be in the two first rows of the grid because normally we struggle on Saturday and then we improve a lot in the race,” he said.

    “So being third on the grid gives us a possibility to have a better race result, because we are usually okay in the race, but we start fifth or sixth and we arrive too late to the leading group. So if we start at the front we can have more possibilities. ”

    Alonso said his main priority was finishing on the podium, but admitted he will take the chance to fight for victory if he gets is.

    “The important thing is to be on the podium. Winning the race is not completely out of the picture, because we fought for victory at Suzuka, where we started from fifth.

    “Tomorrow we’ll have to have a good race and fight for the podium. If there is a chance to fight for victory I’m sure we will take it.”

    The Spanish driver also downplayed concerns about going off the racing line during the race.

    “I think both sides are quite bad. There is not a clean side,” he added.

  10. After damaging his front-right suspension against the kerbs in the final part of Q3, Felipe Massa calls for changes to the Buddh International Circuit. has the story.

    Felipe Massa believes the design of the kerbs at the Buddh circuit’s Turn 9 should be altered for future years after his crash in qualifying.

    The Brazilian smashed his Ferrari’s right front suspension when he went over the low main kerb and hit the raised kerb beyond it on the inside of the turn. He then slid into the barriers at the next corner.

    “It’s a high-speed corner where you have very low kerbs, and then you have this high sausage kerb,” said Massa.

    “I think when you have high speed like that, the car has a lot of downforce, a lot of power to the ground, and when you hit something concrete like that, you can have a failure in the suspension and that’s what happened to me.”

    He warned that there could be repeats in his incident in tomorrow’s race, as he does not think his error was a large one.

    “I didn’t take the kerb too strongly, I took a little bit of kerb and then my suspension didn’t survive,” said Massa. “So it can be a problem for the race.”

    The Ferrari driver advocates a larger single kerb rather than the current two-tier design.

    “I think in a high speed corner like that it’s better to do real kerbs, a bit higher,” Massa said. “That’s the only thing I think should be changed for the future.

    “I think it’s important to discuss it. We cannot change anything for tomorrow, but I think for next year they can do a better job for those kind of kerbs.”

    Massa ended up sixth on the grid after the crash, and is sure it cost him a better starting position.

    “I am disappointed because I think we had a big chance to start with both cars in the top four,” he said. “It was not possible because of this crash.

    “I’m sure I would have improved on this lap and the position was supposed to be much better than what it is now, and I lost one set of soft tyres as well when I crashed.”

  11. Narain Karthikeyan admitted he was very pleased with his performance in qualifying for the Indian Grand Prix after finishing ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

    HRT driver Karthikeyan qualified in 21st position, but will drop down the order after getting a five-place penalty for impeding Michael Schumacher in Q1.

    The Indian, replacing Tonio Liuzzi this weekend, felt he had extract everything from his car.

    “Qualifying was quite good. I think we got the best out of the car. I’m very happy with the way I drove. I think it’s a good feeling,” said Karthikeyan.

    He admitted it felt good to outqualify Ricciardo despite the Indian Grand Prix weekend being a one-off appearance for him.

    “I’m very happy, because he’s rated very highly,” he added.

    Karthikeyan, who last raced in F1 in this year’s European Grand Prix, is optimistic he will be able to fight with the Virgins in tomorrow’s race.

    “On heavy fuel the car, compared to the Virgin, is not so bad, so I think we can fight a little bit,” Karthikeyan said.

    “I think basically we are better off in the race, and today was a big surprise to be ahead of them by some sixth tenths, which is a big margin.

    “I don’t know what happened with the other car. In the first sector we have similar pace to the Lotus. It’s at the high-downforce part that we lose. But we’ll try to finish the race and it will be a good day.”


  12. The sport governing body confirms the provisional grid for Sunday’s Indian Grand Prix following a list of penalties applied to five drivers. has the details.

    The FIA has confirmed the provisional grid for the Indian Grand Prix with the raft of penalties having left onlookers unsure about the exact order of positions after qualifying.

    With no less than five drivers having penalties for technical or sporting penalties, it was left to the stewards to work through the rule book to confirm the line-up.

    While Lewis Hamilton’s three-place drop to fifth and Sergio Perez’s similar demotion to 17th were fairly straightforward, the order behind was not so sure.

    However, the stewards have ruled that Daniel Ricciardo’s five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change means he will stay in 22nd, while Narain Karthikeyan starts 23rd after losing only two slots for his five-place grid penalty.

    Timo Glock will start last because he failed to set a time within 107 per cent of the quickest time in Q1.

    The full grid is:

    1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
    2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
    3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari
    4. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
    5. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
    6. Felipe Massa Ferrari
    7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
    8. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes
    9. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari
    10. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari
    11. Michael Schumacher Mercedes
    12. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes
    13. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth
    14. Bruno Senna Renault
    15. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth
    16. Vitaly Petrov Renault
    17. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari
    18. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault
    19. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault
    20. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari
    21. Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth
    22. Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth
    23. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth
    24. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *