Skip to content

Vettel secures third consecutive pole position in Korea

Oct 5, 2013, 2:14 AM EDT

Korea F1 GP Auto Racing AP

Sebastian Vettel has secured his third consecutive pole position in qualifying for the Korean Grand Prix after an impressive performance in the final stage of the session, allowing him to see off the threat of Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

The defending world champion finished two-tenths clear of Hamilton in P2, with teammate Mark Webber qualifying third ahead of his ten-place grid drop following his misdemeanour in Singapore. Romain Grosjean’s good qualifying form continued as he finished fourth ahead of Nico Rosberg and both Ferrari drivers, but for teammate Kimi Raikkonen, such pace was harder to come by as he qualified a lowly tenth.

The Korean International Circuit bathed in warm sunshine for the first stage of qualifying as Mercedes and Red Bull prepared to go head-to-head for pole position. Coming off the back of his fine qualifying performance in Singapore, Esteban Gutierrez was the first driver to post a time in Q1 but Nico Rosberg soon topped this and laid down the first true challenge for teammate Lewis Hamilton and the two Red Bull drivers. Hamilton joined his teammate at the top with his first timed effort whilst Ferrari also ran well on the prime tire early on. Vettel and Webber elected to leave their first runs until the half-way point in the session, doing enough on the primes to get through to Q2 with relative ease. However, Gutierrez’s decision to take on super-soft tires forced many other teams to follow suit, with Kimi Raikkonen running strongly on this compound to finish the session quickest. The Caterham and Marussia drivers propped up the field at the back of the grid, but the final two places in the dropzone became the primary concern for Paul di Resta and the two Williams drivers. di Resta could not improve with his final run after he encountered traffic in the form of Jules Bianchi, but Valtteri Bottas and Pastor Maldonado also failed to post a quicker time, causing them to be eliminated at the end of the first session.

Mercedes and Red Bull renewed battle in Q2 as Rosberg and Hamilton posted their first times early on, with Red Bull again opting to leave their initial runs until later in the session. Both teams managed to get through comfortably once again with Vettel finishing fastest, two-tenths ahead of Hamilton. Most of the teams waited until the dying moments of the session to post their final times in order to take advantage of the improving track, but in Raikkonen’s case, an early run very nearly backfired with the Finn eventually scraping through in P8. Despite improving on their final runs, McLaren teammates Sergio Perez and Jenson Button failed to do enough to make it into Q3, qualifying eleventh and twelfth respectively. The Toro Rosso and Force India drivers also missed out on the top ten shootout as Gutierrez and Hulkenberg both ran strongly to secure Sauber their first two-car appearance in Q3 since Japan 2012.

Having used up most of their tires to get into the top ten, some of the runners had to sit in the pits for the majority of Q3 and instead set their times after the checkered flag fell. Red Bull, Mercedes and Lotus’ Romain Grosjean had the luxury of running twice. Unsurprisingly, there was very little to separate Webber, Hamilton and Rosberg, but the Australian driver managed to edge less than half a tenth ahead of the Briton. However, a strong final sector from Vettel allowed him to claim provisional pole by two-tenths of a second whilst Grosjean moved into P4 ahead of Rosberg. All ten drivers went out on track to set a time late on, with Gutierrez securing his best-ever qualifying result in ninth. Nico Hulkenberg also impressed for Sauber in P8, finishing behind both Ferrari drivers whilst Raikkonen appeared to struggle on his final run to finish tenth. At the front, Rosberg failed to improve with his final run and Webber also opted to pit instead of setting a second time. This gave Hamilton a chance to beat Vettel’s time, but the Briton could only finish second, allowing Vettel to back off and pit knowing that a third consecutive pole position had been secured.

The race between Mercedes and Red Bull looks set to continue into the race on Sunday, but perhaps the German team will be comforted by the fact that the Korean Grand Prix has never been won from pole position. However, Vettel’s pace suggests that his charge for a fourth consecutive championship is not going to be hindered barring wet weather or a mechanical failure in Korea on Sunday.

Latest Posts
  1. Ricciardo gave his all, and is rewarded with front row start

    Apr 19, 2014, 7:45 AM EDT

    Daniel Ricciardo AP

    All smiles for Daniel after qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.

  2. Williams combats wet weather woes in Shanghai

    Apr 19, 2014, 7:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Qualifying Getty Images

    Massa and Bottas both make the top 10 despite wet conditions playing against them.

  3. Hamilton breaks 45-year-old British record for most poles

    Apr 19, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT

    Daniel Ricciardo, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel AP

    Jim Clark’s record that has stood since 1968 has now been broken by Hamilton in China.

  4. Alonso upbeat about his chances in China (VIDEO)

    Apr 19, 2014, 5:15 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Qualifying Getty Images

    He might be down in 5th, but the Spaniard believes that a podium finish is well within Ferrari’s reach in China.

  5. What went wrong for Rosberg in qualifying? (VIDEO)

    Apr 19, 2014, 4:30 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Qualifying Getty Images

    P4 disappointing for the German driver, but where did it all go wrong for him?

  6. Lotus reaches top 10 for the first time in 2014 thanks to Grosjean

    Apr 19, 2014, 4:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Practice Getty Images

    Grosjean qualifies 10th to finally give the team something to smile about after a tough winter.

  7. Hamilton keeps his cool to claim pole for Chinese GP

    Apr 19, 2014, 3:04 AM EDT

    Mercedes Formula One driver Hamilton of Britain gestures while celebrating after taking pole position at qualifying session of Chinese F1 Grand Prix at Shanghai International circuit Reuters

    British driver secures wet weather pole in Shanghai ahead of Ricciardo and Vettel.

  8. WATCH LIVE: Rivals set to rain on Mercedes’ parade?

    Apr 19, 2014, 1:45 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Qualifying Getty Images

    Could Fernando Alonso or Sebastian Vettel take advantage of the wet track to snatch pole position?

  9. FIA releases full findings in Red Bull fuel saga

    Apr 19, 2014, 12:45 AM EDT

    Ricciardo AP

    Report reveals that Red Bull failed to supply accurate data, and what was supplied actually undermined the team’s argument.

  10. Ricciardo fastest in rain-affected final practice in China

    Apr 19, 2014, 12:02 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Practice Getty Images

    Red Bull driver fastest in a quiet final session ahead of qualifying later today.

  11. NASCAR team owner Jack Roush talks possible Cup engine changes

    Apr 18, 2014, 8:32 PM EDT

    Zippo 200 - Qualifying Getty Images

    Significant modifications to the Cup cars’ powerplants are likely to come within the next two seasons.

  12. James Hinchcliffe says he’s good with Ryan Hunter-Reay after Long Beach crash

    Apr 18, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT

    James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay AP

    The two Andretti Autosport drivers appear to have put Sunday’s wreck behind them.

  13. Sometimes, NASCAR media centers become comedy clubs (VIDEO)

    Apr 18, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    Matt Kenseth AP

    You can’t say these drivers don’t have a sense of humor.

  14. Formula E’s first two track layouts now revealed

    Apr 18, 2014, 4:15 PM EDT

    GERMANY-AUTOMOBILE-ECONOMY-FAIR-IAA Getty Images

    The second round of the championship in Putrajaya, Malaysia will see drivers contest a short, 1.6-mile street circuit.

  15. Transition back to IndyCar “still hard” for Juan Pablo Montoya

    Apr 18, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

    Montoya Getty Images

    Two races into his return to open-wheel, the former Indy 500 winner says he’s having a tough time with re-learning tracks.

  16. It’s early yet, but keep these qualifying stats in mind for future IndyCar street races

    Apr 18, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    Long-Beach-Lead Getty Images

    Here’s a look at the grid based on average qualifying positions through 2 races in 2014.

  17. IndyCar drivers mimic their cars, and it’s rather humorous (VIDEO)

    Apr 18, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    Dixon Getty Images

    IndyCar drivers do their best “hey, this is what this sounds like!” imitations.

  18. Porsche, Audi lead Friday practice in WEC opener at Silverstone

    Apr 18, 2014, 1:21 PM EDT

    Lucas Di Grassi, Loic Duval, Tom Kristensen AP

    Two practice sessions begin a new year for the WEC.

  19. F1 engine technology could hinder efforts to improve sound

    Apr 18, 2014, 12:15 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Practice Getty Images

    Making the V6s louder might not be such an easy fix.

  20. Vettel suspects Mercedes of sandbagging during practice

    Apr 18, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT

    Sebastian Vettel AP

    German driver not yet happy with his own performance in China, but his long run pace suggests that a podium finish may be within his reach.

Today on NASCAR AMERICA

Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. McMurray (10000)
  2. K. Harvick (3832)
  3. M. McDowell (1970)
  4. A. Seuss (1598)
  5. C. Edwards (1315)