Qualifying Report – Korean Grand Prix

Hi folks! Welcome to the Qualifying Report for the Korean Grand Prix!

Qualifying Report - Korean Grand Prix

Qualifying Report – Korean Grand Prix

Mark Webber performed a consistent, albeit stellar, lap to outperform his teammate Sebastian Vettel and gained a well deserved pole position. It was even more well deserved since Webber had not been able to run the super softs in Practice 3.

Now that I am done with the pole update I shall dive straight into the Quali report.

Q1 seemed like the usual affair, the big names on top, the smaller names at the bottom. In the case of Narain Karthikeyan, a front brake failure had prompted an early retirement. He somehow managed to drive the car back to the pits but had to sit out of the session. He will start from 23rd on the grid tomorrow, thanks to Charles Pic’s 10 place grid penalty.

Wait, did I say usual? Yes it was usual, till about 5 minutes to the chequered flag. Then all hell broke loose. Daniel Ricciardo switched to the super softs and immediately moved into the Top 10. Suddenly, Alonso was in danger of being relegated. Ferrari hurriedly reacted to the new development and sent Alonso out. However, the whole grid had decided to switch to Super softs and set faster times! Hamilton was one of those who was caught out by this. With seconds remaining Schumacher, Senna and Alonso were pushing hard to improve their lap times. Alonso produced a lap that put him in 16th place. Now only Senna was left, and Hamilton was in the garage in 17th place! If Senna were to make it, Hamilton’s hopes of the championship, all dashed! Senna though didn’t make it. He ended his lap pretty early as he made a mistake and decided to abandon the lap.

This was an amazing Q1! The best Q1 all season! The cars from the first position to the seventeenth were covered by just 0.9 seconds!

Q2 was simpler though. The Saubers, which were so good in Suzuka, just couldn’t deal with the pace of the other cars. Nico Hulkenberg of Force India produced an amazing lap to jump into the Top 10. Once again, there was a spanner in the works! Daniel Ricciardo parked his Toro Rosso in the closing stages of the race near the last corner (gearbox failure). This led to a yellow flag situation where drivers are supposed to lift off. However there is a loophole here. If a driver is able to show the stewards that he went slower through a corner than he normally would have, he can go scot free! What this means for drivers though is that keep the foot down, but don’t use KERS or DRS in the yellow flag zone. Button, a true gentleman, backed off. He was 0.005 seconds slower than Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes.

And then we had the Q3 shootout! This ladies and gentlemen was the one we’d all been waiting for! The Red Bulls, fast as fast can be now, the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso and lone ranger Lewis Hamilton! Everybody expected the Red Bull to be at the top from the start. It was a bit of a surprise though when Alonso banged in a very fast lap early in the session and left people wondering if there might be something unexpected on the cards! It was a twisty turny session, one where Vettel sat pretty at the top for a while. Then Mark Webber went for a scorcher of a lap and got provisional pole. Everybody was thinking that it will be yet another pole for Vettel. Sadly, that was not to be. A poor first sector meant Vettel was always playing catch up. Then Vettel encountered Massa who was also on his fast lap and couldn’t produce anything to get above his teammate.

During the press conference Vettel looked pretty disappointed although he said that he din’t want to blame Massa for what happened. Hamilton had sneaked in behind the two Red Bulls with another good Quali performance and Alonso was home in 4th.

Considering the race pace of the Ferrari, 4th is a good place to start for Alonso. The car is almost a second faster than the Red Bulls in race trim and Alonso will be expected to at least sneak on to the podium come the race tomorrow. Kimi was fifth, a start much better than recent races, however the car with it’s new Coanda exhaust was a handful during all the practice sessions. Kimi was still hopeful though, he would do everything to sneak onto the podium.

The rest of the grid will line up like this on the grid:


01. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m37.242

02. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m37.316 + 0.074

03. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m37.469 + 0.227

04. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m37.534 + 0.292

05. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m37.625 + 0.383

06. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m37.884 + 0.642

07. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m37.934 + 0.692

08. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m38.266 + 1.024

09. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m38.361 + 1.119

10. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m38.513 + 1.271

11. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m38.441 + 0.674

12. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.460 + 0.693

13. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.594 + 0.827

14. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m38.643 + 0.876

15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m38.725 + 0.958

16. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.084 + 1.317

17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.340 + 1.573

18. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m39.443 + 1.235

19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m40.207 + 1.999

20. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m40.333 + 2.125

21. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m41.317 + 3.109

22. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m41.371 + 3.163

23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m42.881 + 4.673

24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth no time

These are the provisional lap times though, the grid order after the penalties will have Charles Pic starting from the back of the grid. This race might just decide the new champion! Keep watching!

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