Skip to content

Vettel beats the weather to secure pole for Brazilian GP

Nov 23, 2013, 12:46 PM EDT

Vettel 23-11 AP

Sebastian Vettel has scored his ninth pole position of the season at the Brazilian Grand Prix after a great display of wet weather driving to get the best out of his Red Bull car despite the tricky conditions.

Vettel’s final time of 1:26.479 saw him finish well ahead of Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso who finished in second and third place respectively, and the quadruple world champion looked at ease in the rain that caused the final stage of qualifying to be delayed by forty minutes.

Qualifying got underway with light rain falling and more due, but with a drier outlook for the race on Sunday, the teams had to set up their cars anticipating a dry race. With conditions thought to be worsening in Q1, a number of drivers went out early to post a time on the intermediate tire. Lewis Hamilton was the first to get out and post a time, and it immediately paid off as he went to the top of the timesheets ahead of Vettel and teammate Nico Rosberg. With the rain growing heavier, many drivers opted to pit and hope that conditions improved, but Mark Webber had to produce a good lap to get himself out of danger after lingering near the dropzone. Conditions soon meant that it was difficult to go quicker, leaving Jean-Eric Vergne and Esteban Gutierrez at risk of elimination. When conditions did begin to improve, only the drivers at risk ventured out in the final few minutes, and it soon became a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Vergne was able to improve to make it through to Q2, but Pastor Maldonado was less fortunate and was eliminated alongside Gutierrez and both Caterham and Marussia drivers.

Mercedes were quick out of the blocks once again in Q2 as Hamilton and Rosberg led the drivers away, but the rain made it hard to judge just when would be the best time to go out on track. Rosberg’s first time was four-tenths quicker than his teammate’s, but compatriot Sebastian Vettel soon resumed normal service to move up to top spot. Mark Webber went third-fastest with his first time only for Hamilton to take his place, and it soon became all about timing. With five minutes to go, some of the drivers pitted for a fresh set of intermediate tires and plotted their final assault. The track began to dry slightly and allowed for improvements as Romain Grosjean went fastest of all and Fernando Alonso moved up into third place. The battle to make it through to Q3 hotted up as both Toro Rossos improved but the rain of Interlagos got heavier once again to scupper any hopes those in the dropzone had of making it through to the top ten. As a result, Heikki Kovalainen and Valtteri Bottas joined both McLarens and both Force Indias in the dropzone, with Sergio Perez’s session ending in the wall after making a mistake at turn five.

Due to the conditions, Q3 was delayed by forty minutes before it was deemed safe to get the final part of qualifying underway. Once the drivers were able to get out, the wet tire was used by all initially and Mark Webber was the first to tackle the damp circuit. After the first set of times, Vettel led from Rosberg and Webber, but many of the drivers opted to head straight for the pits to take on intermediate tires. Romain Grosjean bailed from his wet lap to take on intermediates, and it paid off as he immediately went fastest with three minutes remaining. Mark Webber soon displaced the Frenchman, but Vettel charged through the spray to go over one second faster. Rosberg and Alonso exchanged times for P2, but ultimately the German driver came out on top. However, not even the weather could stop Sebastian Vettel who scored his ninth pole position of the season in Brazil, finishing a full six-tenths clear of the rest of the field.

Vettel will now be looking to continue this form on Sunday to clinch a record-equalling ninth consecutive win, but with Rosberg and Alonso – both of whom have proven themselves as adept wet weather drivers – looming large in his mirrors and the rain also set to interfere, the German driver may be forced to fight for the victory.

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.

Video from NASCAR America

Terry Labonte's milestone race
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. B. Keselowski (2018)
  2. K. Busch (1785)
  3. J. McMurray (1415)
  4. T. Stewart (1273)
  5. J. Gordon (1236)