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. Roger Penske defends Keselowski, says other drivers “jealous” of his success

    Oct 19, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

    Sprint All-Star Race - Qualifying Getty Images

    The Captain doesn’t mind some emotion and edge from his veteran driver.

  2. What now if your favorite driver is eliminated from Chase?

    Oct 19, 2014, 8:19 PM EDT

    (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Getty Images

    If you’re a hardcore NASCAR fan, even if your favorite driver has been eliminated for the remainder of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, you’re probably asking a very poignant question: Now what?

  3. Ryan Newman’s car found to be too low in rear, could lead to penalties

    Oct 19, 2014, 7:43 PM EDT

    GEICO 500 - Practice Getty Images

    Newman finished fifth in today’s race at Talladega and entered the Eliminator Round of the Chase with a 27-point cushion over the cutoff.

  4. Winless wonders: Ryan Newman, Matt Kenseth break into Eliminator Round

    Oct 19, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT

    Hollywood Casino 400 - Practice Getty Images

    While they’re still missing a checkered flag, Newman and Kenseth are doing what they have to do.

  5. Uncanny: Powerful Hendrick Motorsports goes from four to just one team left in Chase

    Oct 19, 2014, 6:33 PM EDT

    (AP Photo/John Bazemore) AP

    Hendrick Motorsports began Sunday at Talladega with four teams still in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. But its race day ended with three of those four eliminated from advancing to the next round, and veteran Jeff Gordon left as the lone HMS to move on.

  6. Dale Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne eliminated from Chase

    Oct 19, 2014, 6:01 PM EDT

    (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt) AP

    Defending Sprint Cup champ Jimmie Johnson, teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne, and Kyle Busch were all eliminated from advancing in the Chase Sunday at Talladega.

  7. Brad Keselowski wins at Talladega on 2nd G-W-C attempt, advances in Chase

    Oct 19, 2014, 5:46 PM EDT

    Geico 500 Getty Images

    One week after being part of the post-race controversy in Charlotte, Keselowski gets the victory he needed to keep his season going.

  8. Late wreck knocks Dale Jr. out of Chase advancement

    Oct 19, 2014, 5:35 PM EDT

    (Todd Warshaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s dream of his first Sprint Cup championship this season ended in a nightmare two laps from the end of Sunday’s Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

  9. UPDATED: Chase contender Kyle Busch back on track after Lap 102 crash (VIDEO)

    Oct 19, 2014, 4:47 PM EDT

    (Photo: Nick Laham/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Busch had been up 26 points over the Chase cutoff going into today’s race.

  10. Faced with must-win scenarios, Earnhardt, Johnson lead halfway at Talladega

    Oct 19, 2014, 3:55 PM EDT

    (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt) AP

    Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson – in must-win situations – have been among the top performers in Sunday’s Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

  11. Keselowski falls back after taking side damage in Lap 60 incident

    Oct 19, 2014, 3:27 PM EDT

    GEICO 500 - Practice Getty Images

    Keselowski one of several drivers needing a win today at Talladega.

  12. New book celebrates 50-year history of NHRA’s World Finals

    Oct 19, 2014, 2:59 PM EDT

    (Photo courtesy NHRA) (Photo courtesy NHRA)

    When it comes to the NHRA, there’s only one Pomona. And now there’s a new book to commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the season-ending NHRA World Finals.

  13. Surprising revelation: Dale Jr. admits he coasted earlier in his career — ‘I just rested on my legacy and last name’

    Oct 19, 2014, 2:22 PM EDT

    (Brian Lawdermilk, Getty Images) Getty Images

    In one of the most candid interviews of his career, Dale Earnhardt Jr. admitted that he hasn’t always been as determined and focused on success as he is now.

  14. WSR and DTM paddocks send their support to Jules Bianchi

    Oct 19, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    © Renault Sport © Renault Sport

    The motorsport world continues to send its support to Bianchi and his family two weeks on from his accident in Japan.

  15. Richard Petty Motorsports returning to former home base

    Oct 19, 2014, 1:12 PM EDT

    (AP Photo/Mel Evans) AP

    One day after it was revealed that Richard Petty Motorsports will have to find a new base for its racing operations, the legendary Hall of Famer’s teams are going home in a sense.

  16. Button thankful for support amid uncertain F1 future

    Oct 19, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Monaco - Previews Getty Images

    McLaren driver takes to Twitter to thanks his fans for their support.

  17. With nothing left to do but win, Dale Earnhardt Jr. faces Talladega with optimism

    Oct 19, 2014, 12:15 PM EDT

    GEICO 500 - Practice Getty Images

    Junior: “We’re going to go out there and try to accomplish that goal and give it all we’ve got.”

  18. Max Verstappen finishes FIA F3 season in third place

    Oct 19, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    Belgium F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Esteban Ocon champion as the FIA F3 European Championship season comes to an end at Hockenheim in Germany.

  19. Report: Kubica still dreaming of Formula 1 comeback

    Oct 19, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    AUTO-RALLY-WORLD-WRC Getty Images

    Former F1 driver will consider his options for 2015 over the winter.

  20. Leaving Red Bull could be the making of Sebastian Vettel

    Oct 19, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-RUS Getty Images

    They named him “Baby Schumi” back in 2008, and the moniker is becoming all the more relevant as he prepares for life with Ferrari in 2015.

Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. B. Keselowski (2017)
  2. K. Busch (1783)
  3. J. McMurray (1415)
  4. T. Stewart (1273)
  5. J. Gordon (1236)