Hamilton Ends Red Bull Monopoly on Pole Position in Korea


Lewis Hamilton - Photo Credit: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton - Photo Credit: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

 

Red Bull were denied pole position for the first time this season in Korea as Lewis Hamilton came out on top during qualifying in Yeongam today.

World champion Sebastian Vettel will start alongside the Brit on the front-row of the grid with Jenson Button in third.

Mark Webber will start fourth ahead of an all-Ferrari third row led by Felipe Massa. Nico Rosberg, Vitaly Petrov and Paul di Resta line up seventh eighth and ninth whilst Adrian Sutil, who did not leave the pits during Q3, rounds of the top ten of the Korean Grand Prix grid.

Rubens Barrichello was knocked out of qualifying during Q1 by Williams team-mate Pastor Maldonado, who just snuck through into Q2 on his final flying lap. Heikki Kovalainen led the usual suspects in the rest of the Q1 elimination line-up.

Red Bull baffled observers by going out of the pits on super-soft tyres – those normally saved for that final push for pole – during Q1, and then set only times that only put them P10 and P11 at the end of the twenty minute-opener. It is though that the team were doing some last minute race preparation.

Lewis Hamilton set the early pace during qualifying with a time of 1:37.525, half a second shy of the fastest time in FP3 early today, which was set by McLaren team-mate Jenson Button. The 2009 world champion was the second fastest driver in Q1.

Hamilton upped the stakes with his first flying lap of Q2, setting a time that was almost exactly a second faster than his Q1 attempt now that he too had the use of the faster super-soft tyres.

Michael Schumacher failed to get through into the final part of qualifying after Jaime Alguersuari put in a decent flying lap towards the end of Q2. It was not quite good enough though, as Alguersuari was then usurped by Paul di Resta, who went faster by six hundredths of a second. Sebastien Buemi, Kamui Kobayashi, Bruno Senna, Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez joined Schumacher and Alguersuari in bowing out of qualifying at this stage.

Hamilton was the first of the potential pole-sitters to set a flying lap, with a time of 1:36.130. Button, Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber all failed to beat that time with their first attempts, and so did Sebastian Vettel, who posted a time of 1:36.160.

After the checkered flag had fallen to signal the end of the qualifying, the top drivers came across the line for finish their final flying laps. Webber abandoned his lap just as Hamilton posted an impressive time of 1:35.820. Button went over the line with a 1:36.126 but that was beaten as Vettel crossed the line with a time of 1:36.042.