Vettel beats Hamilton to pole in Korea

Vettel Korea 2013 qualifying

Sebastian Vettel achieved his third successive Formula 1 pole position as he beats Lewis Hamilton in Yeongam.

Heading into qualifying, Mercedes seemed to have the pace to challenge Red Bull and yet the championship leader’s initial Q3 lap of one minute, 37.202 seconds put him 0.308 seconds clear of Hamilton.

Webber recorded the third quickest time but will drop down to P13 following his 10-place grid penalty for accumulating three driving reprimands.

Although Hamilton was able to get ahead of the Australian on his final pole shot, he was still 0.218 seconds adrift of Vettel, who was able to back off his own last lap, confident pole was secure.

With the grid penalty applied to Webber, Romain Grosjean will move up to third. The Lotus driver did a great job in qualifying to outpace the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and the Ferrari pair of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.

As for his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, the Finn could only manage tenth, 1.3 seconds slower.

For the first time this year, Sauber managed to get both cars into Q3, with Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez eighth and ninth fastest.

Sauber’s qualifying breakthrough came at McLaren’s expense however.

Despite encouraging performance in practice, both Sergio Perez and Jenson Button will start the Korean Grand Prix in P11 and P12, missing out in Q3 by 0.035 seconds and 0.038 seconds 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 his team-mate Pastor Maldonado by 0.5 seconds.

Charles Pic squeezed ahead of Caterham team-mate Giedo van der Garde by 0.007 seconds to lead the battle at the back of the grid.

So a fantastic result for Sebastian Vettel. His 42nd career pole position in the sport and his sixth this season. Can he win the race on Sunday and inch closer towards sealing the championship? Or will Lewis Hamilton give the young German a run for his money? We shall find out on race day.

Qualifying times from Yeongam:

1. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m37.202s
2. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes             1m37.420s
3. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault        1m37.531s
4. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m37.679s
5. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m38.038s
6. Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m38.223s
7. Nico Hulkenberg       Sauber-Ferrari       1m38.237s
8. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari       1m38.405s
9. Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault        1m38.822s
10. Sergio Perez          McLaren-Mercedes     1m38.362s
11. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m38.365s
12. Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m38.417s
13. Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m37.464s*
14. Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes 1m38.431s
15. Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m38.718s
16. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m38.781s
17. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Renault     1m39.470s
18. Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault     1m39.987s
19. Charles Pic           Caterham-Renault     1m40.864s
20. Giedo van der Garde   Caterham-Renault     1m40.871s
21. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Cosworth    1m41.169s
22. Max Chilton           Marussia-Cosworth    1m41.322s

107% time: 1m45.224s

*Ten-place grid penalty for accumulating three driving reprimands.

8 thoughts to “Vettel beats Hamilton to pole in Korea”

  1. Despite missing out on pole position at Korea, Lewis Hamilton is still hopeful of beating Sebastian Vettel in the race. has the story.

    Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes still has a hope of beating Sebastian Vettel in the Korea Grand Prix despite losing the fight for pole position.

    Qualifying has been Mercedes’ strong point during the 2013 Formula 1 season, with the team taking pole eight times from 14 qualifying sessions so far, but only winning on three occasions.

    But Hamilton believes Mercedes’ race pace at Yeongam is strong enough to give him a shot at Vettel’s Red Bull, provided he can get past it.

    “I will push as hard as I can to get past Sebastian,” he said.

    “Hopefully the long-run pace is not so bad so I hope it is the case tomorrow.

    “I am happy that the car is as competitive as it is, and the guys have done a good job to get us up this high.

    “I am happy with the performance this weekend and there is more to come.

    “From past experience it is very difficult to overtake here, but I anticipate I am going to need to try.”

    Despite ultimately taking pole by 0.218 seconds, Vettel said Mercedes remained a threat and that his pole lap had needed to be particularly strong.

    “I think it was a fairly close one,” he said.

    “I had a very, very good lap in Q3 on my first attempt.

    “As expected Mercedes was very strong, they look comfortable in the middle sector.

    “We’ve got the balance right this weekend, and we improved the car from yesterday. I was not entirely happy after final practice yesterday.”

  2. With an 10-place grid penalty Mark Webber has commented that he compromised pace for penalty. has the details.

    Mark Webber admitted his Korean Grand Prix qualifying pace had been compromised by the set-up direction he had to take given his grid penalty.

    The Australian will drop 10 places on the grid after being given his third reprimand of the year for his ‘taxi ride’ incident in Singapore.

    Analysis: why Webber was penalised

    Webber qualified in third place behind Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, but will start from 13th position.

    The Red Bull driver said his qualifying pace could have been stronger had he not prepared his car to climb through the field on Sunday.

    “We had to keep an eye on the race, with the ratios and all those things,” said Webber. “You try to have a more balanced view of the weekend as we always knew we would be out of position. I can’t qualify on pole 10 places further back than pole.

    “You would like to have your cake and eat it and have all the downforce on the car and have super, super top speed but that is not possible.

    “We had to take a bit of pace out of the car. I’m pretty happy, I could be two positions further up and be 11th rather than 13th, but it was a pretty tight qualifying.

    “We got it right, and the race will be well and truly out of position, but we will try and come back through.”

    Webber said his car had taken a step forward compared to Friday.

    “I think we certainly improved the car in areas we wanted to focus on,” he said. “The conditions were a bit different today, we had to keep an eye on that.

    “The long runs in practice two won’t be too relevant in the race, but we have our ducks lined up and know what we need to work on.”

  3. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso is not expecting a race-day surge following a difficult qualifying session. has the story.

    Fernando Alonso warned that Ferrari was unlikely to produce another race-day surge after qualifying sixth for the Korean Grand Prix.

    Alonso has finished second in the last three races despite qualifying ninth, fifth and seventh for those events.

    He will move up to fifth on the Yeongam grid on Sunday due to Mark Webber’s penalty, but thinks Ferrari is less competitive in Korea so progress will be harder to achieve.

    “I think this weekend we are not particularly strong,” said Alonso.

    “In the race pace yesterday we saw some problems, so I’m a little bit less optimistic in terms of winning the race or a podium finish for tomorrow. But we will try our best.

    “At the start there is a very short space to Turn 1 so we will do all our attacks in Turn 3 and Turn 4.

    “There’s always some action in this race so we’ll see what we can do, but we know that we’ll also struggle tomorrow.”

    His team-mate Felipe Massa qualified one place behind Alonso, and reckons Ferrari’s focus might have to be on those starting on its tail.

    “I hope the car is a little bit better in the race compared to qualifying, but it definitely won’t be an easy race,” said Massa.

    “We’re not just fighting Red Bull and Mercedes. One of the Lotuses is in front of us and we have some other cars very close, like the Saubers.

    “We’re fighting with many other teams who are behind us but very close.”

  4. McLaren’s Jenson Button has commented that Kimi Raikkonen’s delay cost him Q3 spot. has the full story.

    Jenson Button blamed Kimi Raikkonen for failing to reach Q3 during qualifying for the Korean Grand Prix.

    The McLaren qualified in 12th position after missing the Q3 cut by just 0.038 seconds.

    Button said Lotus driver Raikkonen had cost him time during his final flying lap, and he was convinced he would have been in the top 10 without that.

    “I came up behind Kimi on my last lap,” said Button. “It’s been tricky with traffic all day. I came up behind him in Turn 11 and 12, which are high-speed corners, so you get affected more than at low-speed corners.

    “It’s a pity considering he was on his in-lap, but there you go. I think we lost about a tenth and a half, which would have put us easily through. But it is what it is.”

    It was the first time since the Canadian Grand Prix that both McLarens were left out of Q3 as Button’s team-mate Sergio Perez finished the session 11th.

    Button admitted the McLaren was simply not capable of more at the moment.

    “We are going as quick as the car will go, and obviously that is not quick enough. I feel we are getting the best out of the car,” he said.

    “We’ve got an interesting straightline speed compared to our competitors, so the first couple of laps will be interesting.”

    Perez also believed reaching the top-10 shootout was possible had he completed a perfect lap.

    “We were very close to Q3. My lap was pretty good. I think reaching Q3 was possible. Sauber was very strong in qualifying, but I think our race pace tomorrow could be good,” Perez said.

  5. Kimi Raikkonen admits an error he made during qualifying compromised his chances of starting higher than 10th for the Korean Grand Prix.

    The Finn embarked on his hot lap during the final moments of Q3 and looked poised to set a good time after posting personal bests in the first two sectors before things went awry.

    Raikkonen’s problems began when he locked up on entry to Turn 10, which caused him to run wide and miss the apex. That was also the case at Turn 12 at which point he decided to abort his lap.

    “I made a mistake so I knew the the lap was gone,” he admitted. “That’s the way it goes sometimes.”

    Both Lotus cars have shown good pace all weekend which has been attributed to the longer-wheelbase car being kinder to the tyres over a long run, something Raikkonen sees as a positive heading into Sunday’s race.

    “I expect we will be a bit better tomorrow, better than the last race anyway, where I was struggling with the front-end the whole weekend.”

    Team-mate Romain Grosjean posted a time 1.3s quicker and lines up third for the race after benefiting from Mark Webber’s 10-place grid penalty.

    “It was very good to be P4,” said the Frenchman. “Obviously gaining a position is not the way you would like it, but rules are rules and it is positive to start from the clean side of the track.”

    He too feels the recent alterations to the E21 will pay dividends in the grand prix.

    “The race is going to be long and it will be interesting with the tyre degradation, but we’ll try and go for the best result we can, which I think is possible with the car at the moment.”


  6. Marussia’s Jules Bianchi was penalised over a Paul di Resta issue during qualifying. has the news story.

    Jules Bianchi has been penalised and reprimanded for impeding Paul di Resta during qualifying for the Korean Grand Prix.

    Force India driver di Resta expressed his anger over the radio at the end of Q1 after feeling Bianchi had not got out of the way while he was completing his final flying lap.

    Despite the incident, di Resta made it to Q2 while Bianchi’s Marussia was knocked out.

    The stewards deemed Bianchi had obstructed di Resta, however, and handed him a three-place grid penalty and a reprimand.

    “The driver of car #22 (on an out-lap) was given a radio warning of the approach of car #14 (on a fast lap) but decided to stay on line to start his own flying lap,” said a stewards’ statement.

    “The stewards consider that car #22 could have safely allowed car #14 to pass before starting his flying lap.”

    Bianchi, who had qualified in 21st, will now start last.

    Di Resta qualified in 15th place and said the incident with Bianchi had also cost him time in Q2.

    “He affected my lap and unfortunately I think it cost me a little in Q2 as I didn’t have the confidence to put the front wing on that I needed to based on the insight I had with the car before hand,” said di Resta.

    “At the end of the day we got through, but if it had cost us getting through into Q2 it would have obviously been a downward turn.”

  7. Fernando Alonso has hit out at Pirelli’s current Formula 1 tyres, but insisted they are no excuse for Ferrari’s disappointing form at the moment.

    The Spaniard thinks it is unacceptable that drivers have to conserve their rubber even on qualifying laps, as they had to do in Korea on Saturday.

    But although unhappy about the state of the tyres, he thinks Ferrari would be suffering even more against the opposition if Pirelli was producing rubber that was far more durable.

    “I think the tyres are what they are at the moment – and it is a tyre that cannot do five kilometres,” said Alonso, who has qualified sixth at Yeongam. “The quality of the tyres is on the limit.

    “It is the same for everybody and I am sure all the cars, if they pushed 100 per cent from the start of the lap, they would not last 5km. So this is not very helpful, and it is not very nice to drive like this for 95 per cent of the lap.”

    He added: “I am not blaming the tyres. But they are not good. We all see with our eyes. But it is the same tyres for everybody.

    “I am sure if we put a tyre that could do more than 5km they [Ferrari’s rivals] would be even faster in the last sector as well, so it is a compromise we need to find.”

    Although Alonso has bounced back from poor qualifying many times this season with strong starts and impressive long-run pace in the races, he is not convinced about his chances of doing so in Korea.

    “We need to see what base everybody has,” he said. “I think also in terms of degradation we need to see. There are some cars behind us that are a threat, like [Mark] Webber.

    “There is Sauber that, from the time we put the 2012 Pirelli tyres on, they were out of Q1 and now they are both in Q3. So there was a big switch and a big penalty for Ferrari and Lotus.

    “We need to see tomorrow. We can be on the podium or we can be out of the points, depending how the pace is in the race.

    “We need to prepare carefully for the race as it is not straightforward that Ferrari will improve, that we will have better degradation and we will pass people. It is not so clear this weekend and we need to work very hard.”


  8. Lotus driver Romain Grosjean was convinced he had the chance to qualify on the front row. has the details.

    Romain Grosjean believes it might have been possible for him to beat Lewis Hamilton to the front row in qualifying for the Korean Grand Prix.

    The Lotus driver qualified fourth, over three tenths of a second off fastest man Sebastian Vettel but he was only 0.111s off the Mercedes driver.

    While conditions meant that the track was slower during his second run in Q3 than his first, during which his fastest lap was set, Grosjean was set to improve until Turn 10 on his final lap.

    “I tried [to improve] in the last attempt in Q3,” he said when asked by AUTOSPORT if it might have been possible to beat the Mercedes driver to the front row.

    “I was up by one tenth and then had a bit of rear-locking into Turn 10 and lost that tenth.

    “I tried to recover in the last few corners, but the lap time was more or less similar and the track wasn’t as quick as the first run in Q2 on the second run, so we didn’t manage a better lap time.

    “It was more or less where we wanted to be, on the first two runs.

    “Red Bull and Vettel and too quick, but we know we could fight with Mercedes.

    “I was thinking more of fighting with Ferrari to start with but we were quicker, so that’s good.”

    Grosjean expects to fight for a podium finish in Sunday’s race but believes trying to fight Vettel for victory could prove counter-productive.

    “You don’t start the race not thinking about doing the best, but basically if he flies like was the case in Singapore, it’s not worth trying to follow him.

    “It could cost you pace [over a stint]. We will see how the degradation is and see what I can achieve in the race and it would be nice to be on the podium.”

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