GP d’India, prove sabato–26/10/2013
Indian GP: Sebastian Vettel flies to pole ahead of Nico Rosberg
Sebastian Vettel produced one of his most commanding qualifying performances of an already-dominant 2013 Formula 1 campaign to take Indian Grand Prix pole.
The Red Bull driver, who is poised to clinch a fourth straight world championship this weekend, was 1.7 seconds faster than his rivals when he first put in the 1m24.119s that became pole.
That statistic was skewed by the fact that all those out on that stage were using medium tyres whereas Vettel was on softs.
But even the soft-shod Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were seven tenths off Vettel as they took second and third.
The shock of qualifying was Romain Grosjean’s Q1 exit.
The man who fought for victory at Suzuka a fortnight ago will be fighting to get through the field at Buddh having chosen to use medium tyres in Q1.
Vettel was the only other man who went for that strategy, but while he had no problem getting through in 11th, Grosjean could only manage 17th.
Mark Webber used mediums successfully in Q3 to take fourth on the grid. He was 0.928s slower than Red Bull team-mate Vettel, but 0.8s and four places ahead of next-best medium user Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard’s Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa took fifth, followed by Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg for Lotus and Sauber respectively.
McLaren used mediums for both its drivers as Sergio Perez and Jenson Button completed the top 10.
There were no surprises in Q2, with the Toro Rossos and Force India intermingling on rows six and seven, ahead of Valtteri Bottas’s Williams and Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber.
Pastor Maldonado joined Grosjean among the Q1 departures, and was only 0.128s clear of Jules Bianchi’s Marussia and 0.265s ahead of Giedo van der Garde’s Caterham.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m24.119s 2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m24.871s +0.752s 3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m24.941s +0.822s 4. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m25.047s +0.928s 5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m25.201s +1.082s 6. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m25.248s +1.129s 7. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m25.334s +1.215s 8. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m25.826s +1.707s 9. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m26.153s +2.034s 10. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m26.487s +2.368s Q2 cut-off time: 1m25.458s Gap ** 11. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m25.519s +0.951s 12. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m25.711s +1.143s 13. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m25.740s +1.172s 14. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m25.798s +1.230s 15. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m26.134s +1.566s 16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m26.336s +1.768s Q1 cut-off time: 1m26.178s Gap * 17. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m26.577s +1.003s 18. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m26.842s +1.268s 19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m26.970s +1.396s 20. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m27.105s +1.531s 21. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m27.487s +1.913s 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m28.138s +2.564s 107% time: 1m31.564s
* Gap to quickest in Q1
** Gap to quickest in Q2
Indian GP: Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull complete practice sweep
Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull remained untouchable in Indian Grand Prix practice, the Formula 1 world champion leading team-mate Mark Webber in a shortened final session ahead of qualifying.
Vettel, quickest in both of Friday’s sessions, needed just one lap on the softer tyres to elevate himself to first place with a time of 1m25.332s. He then focused on longer runs with the soft rubber, which he seemed to struggle on as the blistering issues continued.
The German driver did not even complete a run using the harder compound.
Webber finished second, but over 0.5 seconds behind his team-mate, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso the first of the non-Red Bull drivers in third, albeit over seven tenths off Vettel.
Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg showed strong pace once more, the Sauber driver finishing in fourth ahead of Lotus’s Romain Grosjean, who completed the top five.
The start of the session was initially delayed by 15 minutes because of visibility problems.
Race control announced a further 15-minute delay moments later, only to then shorten that to five minutes, with the session finally getting underway 20 minutes later than scheduled and the running restricted to 40 minutes.
The decision to shorten the session meant the action was frantic from the start, with most drivers taking to the track right away.
Webber was the initial pacesetter in the Red Bull before Felipe Massa and then team-mate Alonso moved to the top of the times, before the Australian driver regained the top spot moments later.
Twelve minutes in, it was McLaren’s Sergio Perez who went quickest by just 0.044s as the top four were covered by less than a tenth of a second.
Alonso then regained first place before Vettel completed his first soft-tyre run with a time that was over 1.5s quicker than anybody else and also the best lap of the weekend so far, a 1m25.332s.
Webber also tried the soft tyres before the halfway point, but the Australian was over half a second off his team-mate’s pace.
Red Bull, struggling with the degradation of the soft tyres this weekend, seemed to focus mainly on solutions to extend the life of the rubber.
Despite everyone trying the soft tyres as the session progress, no one could get close to Vettel’s time.
The only significant incident of the session involved Hulkenberg hitting one of his Sauber mechanics when returning to the pits. The mechanic took a tumble but got up on his own and seemed to suffer no serious injuries.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m25.332s 16 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m25.892s +0.560s 14 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m26.105s +0.773s 19 4. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m26.306s +0.974s 17 5. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m26.350s +1.018s 16 6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m26.435s +1.103s 20 7. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m26.438s +1.106s 15 8. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m26.441s +1.109s 19 9. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m26.489s +1.157s 15 10. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m26.557s +1.225s 17 11. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m26.635s +1.303s 14 12. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m26.641s +1.309s 13 13. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m26.737s +1.405s 13 14. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m26.847s +1.515s 17 15. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m26.876s +1.544s 17 16. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m26.883s +1.551s 15 17. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m27.259s +1.927s 18 18. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m27.941s +2.609s 18 19. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m28.019s +2.687s 15 20. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m28.498s +3.166s 16 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m29.094s +3.762s 11 22. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m29.169s +3.837s 13