Webber Leads Red Bull Front Row At Yeongnam

After Sebastian Vettel’s domination of the weekend in Japan, the German was widely tipped to start the race from the front in Korea. He starts from the front row but it is his team-mate Mark Webber who will head the grid for the third Korean Grand Prix.

Webber started from pole at Monaco despite not setting the fastest time of the session, as the man who did, Michael Schumacher, had a grid-drop penalty. This makes it his first proper pole of the season, although it is his second officially. His 11th career pole gives him a good chance of taking the win, but being so far being in a championship which his team-mate Sebastian Vettel has a strong chance of winning means he will need to fight all the way.

He said upon securing pole that the team were optimistic of a good session having improved the car performance further and that his lap was almost perfect as he goes for his third win of the season after race victories in Monaco and Britain.

“Apart from that it worked well because I got [Turns] 11 and 12 absolutely as good as I could, so you take the rough with the smooth. But it was a tight session for all of us – scrubbed tyres, new tyres, Fernando [Alonso] did a reasonable lap on the scrubbed.

“That is the way it is with the Pirellis, things can move around quite a bit.”

“I think off the back of Suzuka we improved the car a bit,” he added. “You never get ahead of yourself, but we were optimistic after that, though we knew it wouldn’t be a given.

“We have a handy car and the guys are working very, very hard, no question. That hard work is paying off but we’ll keep focused on ourselves and keep pushing the laptimes down.”

Vettel could not improve on his final qualifying run

Sebastian Vettel was not the happiest of drivers after he and his engineer had a sharp exchange on the pit radio regarding the Ferrari of Felipe Massa possibly getting in Vettel’s way. Vettel denied Massa blocked him deliberately but that it had affected his final lap, but was pleased nonetheless.

“I don’t want to blame it on Felipe because I thought he was coming in,” said Vettel. “He stayed out so I had to back off, and the second lap was not good enough.”

He added: “I don’t like all these discussions. We had a lot of them lately, these things happen.

“It is not Felipe’s fault. I should have known earlier. If anything it was my mistake. I am not a fan of blaming anyone or anything for the result.

“I am happy with the result in the end.”

Hamilton is cautiously optimistic of a good race

Lewis Hamilton was fortunate not to drop out of qualifying in Q1 as the team decided to sit tight and remain in their garage while their rivals minus Vettel all stayed out on track. Lining up third on the grid, he is unsure of whether he will have a strong race after he struggled to setup he car to his liking during practice, but takes hope from his team-mate’s practice pace.

“It was quite a shocking session,” Hamilton conceded. “I didn’t get a lap in and did quite a poor job when the tyres weren’t there temperature-wise.

“I had a bit traffic and locked up. Very poor and I’m lucky I got through.”

“I didn’t do a long run yesterday, – didn’t have great session in P2,” said Hamilton.

“Jenson did a great job and had a competitive long run, so I hope I am able to do the same tomorrow.”

Alonso is confident of finishing well in the race

Fernando Alonso is hopeful of having a good race starting from fourth and believes that while Ferrari may not be the quickest car, they are the strongest team overall.

“I am reasonably confident to do a good race, if I don’t crash, normally they are good for us,” he said. “Yesterday [in practice] we were good with the race pace.

“In the race there are many factors. In qualifying it’s only about the quickest car to get pole position, in the race it’s not only about the fastest car.

“You need to have a good strategy, good tyres, good pitstops, good start… there are many things that can be involved and with those, in general, I think we are the strongest team. And thanks to these strengths we are leading the championship.

“So we need to use our good points, hide a little bit our weakness – which maybe is qualifying – and today I think we did a good qualifying and we need to use our strong point now tomorrow.”

Swiss team Sauber are not enjoying one of their best weekends

Sauber had a change of qualifying fortunes as both drivers start the race outside of the top ten, in Japan they both started from inside the top 5. Sergio Perez lamented his race chances and said small points is his best realistic hope.

“Will it be a mega day tomorrow? No,” explained Perez. “I think we can be in the points but I am not very optimistic to be honest. We can do some points and that is my target tomorrow. But not to score good points.”

Button wasn’t smiling after ending qualifying in 11th

Jenson Button endured a tough session as he missed out on Q3 and will start from 11th, as the end of Q2 was marred by yellow flags which rendered drivers unable to set faster laptimes due to it being against yellow flag rules. Button had looked strong in Friday practice but is worried such speed will be to no avail as he starts from the busy midfield.

“I locked up, ran wide, and had to go down to first gear,” he said.

“So I got to that sector [on the next run] thinking there was a couple of tenths there and should have easily been through.

“But it wasn’t to be due to the yellow flags.”

“My long runs were very good yesterday. But it’s disappointing to be so far back,” he said.

“The race pace was really good yesterday. I think we were the quickest.

“That’s why it’s even tougher to be starting where we are.”

Korean GP Grid

Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m37.242s
2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m37.316s + 0.074
3. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m37.469s + 0.227
4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m37.534s + 0.292
5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m37.625s + 0.383
6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m37.884s + 0.642
7. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m37.934s + 0.692
8. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m38.266s + 1.024
9. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m38.361s + 1.119
10. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m38.513s + 1.271
11. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m38.441s + 0.674
12. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.460s + 0.693
13. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.594s + 0.827
14. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m38.643s + 0.876
15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m38.725s + 0.958
16. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.084s + 1.317
17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.340s + 1.573
18. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m39.443s + 1.235
19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m40.207s + 1.999
20. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m40.333s + 2.125
21. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m41.317s + 3.109
22. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m41.371s + 3.163
23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m42.881s + 4.673
24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth no time


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