Oct 26, 2013, 5:39 AM EDT
Sebastian Vettel has secured his third consecutive pole position at the Indian Grand Prix following an incredible performance that saw him finish over three-quarters of a second clear of the rest of the field.
Vettel came into the weekend boasting a perfect record at Buddh International Circuit, and following his domination of practice, a similar performance in qualifying was far from surprising. Nevertheless, it was a titanic effort from the German driver as Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton failed to pose any serious threat, whilst Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso both opted for alternative strategies thus throwing away the opportunity to challenge the soon-to-be four time world champion.
Qualifying got underway in India in a quiet fashion as most drivers opted to wait before setting their first times due to the level of degradation. Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez was the first man to post a time, but his lap of 1:27.529 was around one second off the predicted ‘cut off’ time to get into the second session. Nico Rosberg was the first driver to come close to this theoretical time, going fastest whilst both Red Bulls remained in the pits in favor of a later run. When they did emerge, Vettel opted for the medium compound whilst Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso both elected for the softer tire to secure themselves a place in Q2. Alonso went fastest with his first timed lap, but Vettel was just 0.009 seconds slower despite the large pace difference between the compounds. Every other driver except Romain Grosjean opted to run on the soft tire, and this proved to be a costly call for Lotus as the Frenchman lost out to a final flurry of times to be eliminated in Q1. Pastor Maldonado also failed to make it through, joining both Caterhams and both Marussias in the dropzone, but Jules Bianchi finished just 0.128 seconds behind the Williams, suggesting that Marussia have made improvements of late.
Despite the obvious pace difference between the tires, Sauber opted to send Nico Hulkenberg out on the medium compound in order to make up for the time lost in FP3. However, the rest of the runners sensibly took to the soft tires with Fernando Alonso setting the first benchmark of 1:25.546 for the rest of the field, but both Mercedes drivers managed to topple the Ferrari after their first runs. Mark Webber ran very wide on his first lap but managed to go quickest, only for Vettel to beat his time by over half a second on his first soft-tire run of the day. Alonso split the Red Bulls with his final run as the rest of the field looked to get into the top ten, with McLaren running strongly to ease into the final session. However, Daniel Ricciardo was less fortunate to be eliminated in eleventh place ahead of the Force India pair of Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil, with Jean-Eric Vergne down in fourteenth. Valtteri Bottas also dropped out in P15 and Esteban Gutierrez’s good qualifying form came to an end as he finished down in sixteenth.
Q3 quickly became a question of strategy as the top ten drivers appeared to be unsure which tire to use as they would have to start on that compound in the race. Red Bull, Mercedes and McLaren all split their strategy, sending one driver out on each compound, but Vettel looked to continue his 100% pole record in India by going out on the soft tires. Alonso set the first benchmark on the medium tire only for Vettel to go 1.7 seconds quicker on the soft tire with Vettel joining him on the provisional front row. Kimi Raikkonen followed Vettel’s example but was over one second slower. Rosberg and Hamilton were the only drivers to come close on their soft tire runs, qualifying second and third respectively ahead of Webber on the medium compound. Felipe Massa produced a great performance to finish fifth ahead of Raikkonen and Hulkenberg who also qualified on the soft tire. Fernando Alonso, Sergio Perez and Jenson Button completed the top ten on the prime tire, hoping that their strategy will make up for their lack of pace in the race.
At the front though, there appears to be no stopping Sebastian Vettel, and it will take a remarkable performance to stop him from winning the race let alone recording the top five finish he needs to clinch his fourth title.
Aston Martin to have largest racing contingent yet in 2014; Bruno Senna to drive 24 Hours of Le Mans
Mar 12, 2014, 4:25 PM EDT
James Bond’s career is one that has been built upon endurance. That’s why it’s not surprising Bond’s favorite car manufacturer, Aston Martin, is expanding its sports car racing footprint in 2014, the 10th anniversary of its racing division.
Mar 12, 2014, 4:09 PM EDT
Second season for talented young Colombian driver in Indy Lights, with a new team.
WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 p.m. ET — Qualifying rules adjustments, Jeff Burton, Top 5 Moments in Bristol
Mar 12, 2014, 3:39 PM EDT
On today’s NASCAR America: *Breakdown of NASCAR’s new qualifying rules adjustments for Bristol race *Jeff Burton live from NBC Sports Charlotte studio, on excitement of racing in Bristol *Top 5 Moments in Bristol
Mar 12, 2014, 3:04 PM EDT
We all know Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights said that second is the first loser. And we also know all about start-and-park and go-or-go-home drivers, as well. But this takes losing – or shall we say, not finishing – to a whole other level (and no, this is NOT a trick question): Which former NASCAR champion holds the record for most last-place finishes in a career?
Mar 12, 2014, 1:56 PM EDT
The World Rallycross Championship (WRC) continues to bag big names to compete on its circuit in the 2014 racing season.
Mar 12, 2014, 1:28 PM EDT
Ken Block has nothing on Mike Ryan. When he wants to do a little drifting – or as most race fans call it, driftin’ — Ryan climbs into his 1,950 horsepower Detroit Diesel-powered Freightliner.
Mar 12, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
16-year-old shifts from open-wheel to prototype racing in 2014, under iconic Dyson banner.
Mar 12, 2014, 12:08 PM EDT
There’s nothing like racing in front of your hometown crowd to get a driver pumped up more than usual.
Mar 12, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT
Kevin Magnussen, Daniil Kvyat, Marcus Ericsson seek finishes first in Grand Prix debuts.
Mar 12, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
Minimal 2014 expectations for the team that took the 2013 Australian Grand Prix victory.
Mar 12, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT
Streaming, pre-race shows among the offerings from IMSA ahead of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Mar 12, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT
After brief career detour, Ryan Briscoe looks to deliver with another top-flight chance in IndyCar.
Mar 12, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT
One of IndyCar’s most improved 2013 drivers could advance even higher than fifth in points with a few more things turning around.
Mar 12, 2014, 8:47 AM EDT
Michael Schumacher’s manager says there are slight signs of improvement.
Mar 12, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
Third, fourth drivers for teams at Sebring add strength to 12-hour race field.
Mar 11, 2014, 9:45 PM EDT
Sports car racing meets “It’s a Wonderful Life.” With dinosaurs.
Mar 11, 2014, 9:18 PM EDT
NBCSN’s Leigh Diffey and Wally Dallenbach discuss the team’s quiet start to the 2014 Sprint Cup season.
Mar 11, 2014, 7:06 PM EDT
Cooling units are now allowed on pit road and cool-down laps on track are banned.
Mar 11, 2014, 5:48 PM EDT
All the notes and numbers to keep in mind going into Thunder Valley.
Mar 11, 2014, 4:50 PM EDT
Be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified for access to the Live Extra stream.
- You might be surprised: Which former NASCAR champ holds record for most career last-place finishes? 0
- Lotus to defend Australian GP crown on the back foot 1
- Manager: Schumacher showing “small, encouraging signs” 0
- After safety concerns, NASCAR announces changes to qualifying 2
- Red Bull’s Horner says Mercedes could lap field twice in Oz 1
- F1 on NBC Sports TV, streaming schedule for 2014 Australian Grand Prix (7)
- Chrysler orders nearly 100 pristine Dodge Vipers destroyed (7)
- NNS: Elliott’s car found too low, shock taken from Keselowski’s car (6)
- Report: F1 apparently headed for Azerbaijan in 2015 or 2016 (5)
- The Dos Equis guy will give NASCAR’s start your engines command in Las Vegas (5)