Vettel Takes Straightforward Pole in India


Sebastian Vettel - Photo Credit: Clive Mason/Getty Images
Sebastian Vettel - Photo Credit: Clive Mason/Getty Images

 

Sebastian Vettel will start the first Indian Grand Prix from pole position after another straightforward qualifying session for the double world champion.

Mark Webber will start the race alongside his Red Bull team-mate on the front row with Fernando Alonso third.

Lewis Hamilton actually qualified in second place, despite aborting his final flying lap in Q3, but has a three-place grid penalty hanging over him from yesterday morning's free practice session after stewards found him guilty of speeding under yellow flags. He will start fifth, just behind team-mate Jenson Button.

Felipe Massa, whose session ended in a gravel trap after breaking his Ferrari's suspension on a kerb, will start from sixth. Nico Rosberg and Adrian Sutil start seventh and eighth and Toro Rosso will be celebrating an excellent qualifying session after Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari finished in ninth and tenth position.

Kamui Kobayashi was the early casualty in Q1, managing only the eighteenth fastest time at this early stage. The two Team Lotus drivers will start the inaugural Indian Grand Prix just behind the Sauber driver from row 10.

Timo Glock completed only three laps before a gear box failure ended his session. The Virgin Racing driver set a lap time that was slower than the 107% time, but is expected to be allowed to race. Daniel Ricciardo, who qualified in P21, will start from the back of the field after being given a five-place grid penalty for a gear box change.

Jenson Button had a bit of a scare during Q1, and had to take to the track for a second time on a set of soft tyres. Meanwhile, Michael Schumacher was even closer to being knocked out, languishing in eighteen until he completed his final lap.

Vitaly Petrov was the fastest man during Q1, but his Renault was equipped with a set of the soft tyres for this lap, whereas Sebastian Vettel, who was second, used only the hard tyre.

Vettel was fastest in Q2, with a time of 1:24.657, a time 0.362 seconds faster than Hamilton, who set the second quickest lap. Alonso was third, Webber fourth and Button, who managed to get through this part of qualifying with just one run, was fifth.

Schumacher was in twelfth place as he completed his final lap but could not repeat the last-gasp heroics of Q1. Despite improving on his time, the seven-time world champion could not improve his position, and will start tomorrow's race from the sixth row.

Joining Schumacher in bowing out of qualifying was Vitaly Petrov in eleventh, Paul di Resta in thirteenth, then Pastor Maldonado, Bruno Senna, Rubens Barrichello and Sergio Perez. Petrov will be demoted five places for his collision with Schumacher at the last race in Korea, whilst Perez be dropped three places for ignoring yellow flags during FP1 yesterday. Toro Rosso got both drivers through into the top ten shoot out.

Vettel set the early pace in Q3 with a 1:24.437. Hamilton was second fastest after his first run, less than three hundredths of a second slower than the world champion. Mark Webber was third and Fernando Alonso was fourth.

Button elected to do just one run in Q3 after sacrificing a set of soft tyres early in the session, but it was not until his third complete lap that he actually started putting in a decent attempt. He qualified second, but will drop three places once his penalty from yesterday is applied.

Just as Sebastian Vettel was crossing the line to improve on his pole position time with a 1:24.178, Felipe Massa broke his suspension on one of the track side curves and was a passenger as he headed towards the barrier. The resulting yellow flags ruined the final attempts of every other driver, although it was unlikely that any of them would have beaten Vettel's time.