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. Roush Fenway shores up sponsorship for Stenhouse as Zest returns to No. 17

    Jul 30, 2014, 7:12 PM EDT

    Pocono 400 - Practice Getty Images

    Personal care brand will serve as primary backer for Stenhouse in multiple 2015 races plus work in a season-long associate role.

  2. NASCAR AMERICA: Wednesday Round-Up Includes Denny Hamlin Interview (VIDEO)

    Jul 30, 2014, 5:38 PM EDT

    DHIMSPenalty AP

    NASCAR AMERICA on Wednesday includes a Denny Hamlin interview, a recap of the Hamlin penalties and Dale Earnhardt Jr. new crew chief news.

  3. Red Bull GRC: Nelson Piquet Jr. goes wakeboarding (VIDEO)

    Jul 30, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

    PiquetWakeboard

    Nelson Piquet Jr. shows Kristen Kenney how to wakeboard, on the day after Piquet bagged a podium finish in Red Bull Global Rallycross at Charlotte.

  4. WATCH LIVE: Denny Hamlin reacts to Indy penalties on NASCAR AMERICA

    Jul 30, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    NASCAR America

    Coming up today: Full coverage of Brickyard penalties against Joe Gibbs Racing, including reaction from driver Denny Hamlin; interview with Eldora Truck Series winner Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr.

  5. How will Greg Ives handle the spotlight as Dale Jr.’s crew chief?

    Jul 30, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

    History 300 - Practice Getty Images

    Next year, Ives will have deal with an amount of fan and media attention that dwarfs anything he’s ever encountered in the sport.

  6. IndyCar: Mid-Ohio Livery Notes

    Jul 30, 2014, 4:06 PM EDT

    JPMHawk Getty Images

    The livery notes going into this weekend’s Honda Indy 200 at Toronto.

  7. Greg Ives to become crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. next season

    Jul 30, 2014, 2:39 PM EDT

    GregIvesCrop Getty Images

    Ives currently serves as crew chief for Nationwide Series points leader Chase Elliott and also worked as a race engineer for Jimmie Johnson during his run of five Sprint Cup titles from 2006-2010.

  8. Gordon’s crew chief: 24 team more confident after Brickyard win

    Jul 30, 2014, 1:14 PM EDT

    Sprint All-Star Race - Practice Getty Images

    In addition to talking about the meaning of Sunday’s win at Indy, Alan Gustafson touches on the penalties against fellow crew chief Darian Grubb and Joe Gibbs Racing.

  9. Columbus Blue Jackets’ James Wisniewski, Jared Boll named Mid-Ohio grand marshals

    Jul 30, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    BlueJacketsGMs Getty Images

    Pair of Blue Jackets players to give the command for Honda Indy 200 this weekend.

  10. Better mindset, form for Briscoe, CGR heading into final month of 2014

    Jul 30, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    Briscoe072914 Getty Images

    Perhaps you haven’t noticed the uptick in form of Ryan Briscoe and the NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing team over the last couple months. Here’s a recap…

  11. MRTI: Jam-packed weekend for all three ladder series on tap at Mid-Ohio

    Jul 30, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    MazdaRoadToIndy

    Seven races on tap for Indy Lights (2), Pro Mazda (2) and USF2000 (3) in critical Mid-Ohio weekend.

  12. Ten with Townsend: Toronto debrief

    Jul 30, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    TorontoLeadPts Getty Images

    Insights and observations from NBCSN’s Townsend Bell after the pair of Toronto races, heading into Mid-Ohio.

  13. NASCAR AMERICA: Tuesday Round-Up (VIDEO)

    Jul 29, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT

    NASCAR America

    The impact of the Jeff Gordon Era; a family affair at Indy for the Dillons; thoughts on the Homestead tire test in August.

  14. JGR’s Brickyard penalties in line with similar ’08 penalty for Edwards, Roush

    Jul 29, 2014, 6:34 PM EDT

    Denny Hamlin AP

    Carl Edwards, Jack Roush and crew chief Bob Osborne were severely penalized for a missing oil tank container lid after Edwards’ win at Las Vegas six years ago.

  15. Denny Hamlin’s team hit with big penalties after Brickyard infraction

    Jul 29, 2014, 5:41 PM EDT

    Pocono 400 - Practice Getty Images

    No. 11 crew chief Darian Grubb suspended for six races, fined $125,000; No. 11 car chief Wesley Sherrill suspended for six races; Denny Hamlin loses 75 championship points, but still in position to make the Chase.

  16. High 5: Chip Ganassi Racing’s win streak at Mid-Ohio (VIDEO)

    Jul 29, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    Honda Indy 200 Getty Images

    A look back at Ganassi’s half-decade of dominance at the old-school road course in the Ohio countryside.

  17. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 p.m. ET

    Jul 29, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    NASCAR America

    Coming up today: The Top 5 wins of Jeff Gordon’s career; “Scan All 43″ for the Brickyard 400; reaction to Ty Dillon’s Nationwide win at Indianapolis.

  18. NASCAR AMERICA Minute: Where is Jeff Gordon among NASCAR’s greats? (VIDEO)

    Jul 29, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 Getty Images

    Richard Petty and David Pearson were joined on Sunday by Jeff Gordon as the only Sprint Cup drivers to win at least 90 races at NASCAR’s top level.

  19. Susan G. Komen honors Pippa Mann as its rookie-of-the-year; Mann also auctions helmet

    Jul 29, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    PippaKomenAward

    Between a few days in Texas and auctioning off her race worn Indianapolis 500 helmet, it’s been a busy couple of weeks for Pippa Mann and the Susan G. Komen organization.

  20. Chase-eligible teams – but not drivers – allowed at Homestead tire test

    Jul 29, 2014, 2:31 PM EDT

    Advocare 500 - Practice Getty Images

    Chase-eligible teams will have to send a driver not qualified for the post-season to an Aug. 26 tire test at Homestead-Miami Speedway.