Vettel Demonstrates Red Bull Dominance with Pole Position in India

Sebastian Vettel led a third-consecutive Red Bull front-row lock-out today in India, taking pole position from team-mate Mark Webber by 0.044 seconds.

Lewis Hamilton out-qualified team-mate Jenson Button as McLaren locked-out the second row and Fernando Alonso, who qualified fifth, has fellow Ferrari driver Felipe Massa to keep him company on the third row.

Kimi Räikkönen and Sergio Perez qualified seventh and eighth, and Pastor Maldonado, who was the fastest driver in Q1, was ninth. Nico Rosberg, who made it through to Q3 but did not take to the track, will start tenth.

Pole for Vettel was made all the more remarkable by the fact that he wasted his first flying lap. He lost the back-end of his car through Turn 7, and while he recovered to the pits without problems, only gave himself one shot at claiming pole position.

While Vettel was heading back to the garage for another set of tyres, Webber was out on track setting the pace. The Australian’s first flying lap of 1:25.327 was comfortably faster than the opening efforts of Alonso and Hamilton.

Button’s first effort, which came in just two minutes before the end of Q3, was good enough for second, but all eyes were on Vettel as he began his qualifying lap.

That first attempt was a 1:28.283, just fractionally faster than his team-mate’s first effort, and good enough for provisional pole position.

Vettel continued on to do a second qualifying lap, but could not find any more speed from his tyres, and headed back to the pits.

It did not matter though. Webber made a mistake on his second flying lap, and nobody else could beat the Red Bull on qualifying pace.

A closely fought Q2 saw Romain Grosjean, Nico Hulkenberg and Michael Schumacher bow out of qualifying after successful last-ditch efforts from the likes of Massa, Perez and Maldonado.

Grosjean qualified eleventh after a mistake on his qualifying lap and Hulkenberg finished twelfth. Bruno Senna showed promising pace in the early stages of Q2, but ultimately had to settle for thirteenth, just ahead of Schumacher.

Daniel Ricciardo, Paul di Resta and Kamui Kobayashi where the other drivers to miss out on Q3, and they will line up fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth tomorrow, barring grid penalties.

Ricciardo and Kobayashi were also lurking around those lowly positions towards the end of Q1, but it was Jean-Eric Vergne who, once again, failed to make it past the first stage of qualifying.

Felipe Massa had a huge spin and a slide exiting the penultimate corner of one of his Q1 flying laps, but kept his Ferrari out of the barriers and recovered to the pits.

Vitaly Petrov out-qualified Caterham team-mate Heikki Kovalainen to take P19, but Kovalainen’s misery was further compounded when he spectacularly lost control of his car on his final flying lap, beaching it in the gravel.

Timo Glock qualified in P21, and Pedro de la Rosa qualified alongside him on Row 11. Narain Karthikeyan managed to avoid qualifying last at his home grand prix – the ignominy of P24 went to Charles Pic.