Brilliant Vettel races to pole position

Motor sport Indian Grand Prix

Brilliant Vettel races to pole position

The Red Bulls began their charge in Japan, and it does not look like anyone can contain their surge in India.

Once again, Sebastian Vettel led the Milton Keynes outfit from the front as the German and his team-mate Mark Webber booked the first two spots on the starting grid on Saturday for the second edition of the Indian Grand Prix.

Vettel had won the inaugural edition of the India GP at the Buddh International Circuit and it won’t be much of surprise if he goes on to lift the crown this year as well.
After warding off stiff challenges from the rest of the field, Vettel claimed his fifth pole of the season and the 35th career pole with the best lap time of 1 minute and 25.283 seconds.

While the German, Webber and even McLaren’s Hamilton, who will be third on the grid for Sunday’s race, would be satisfied with their performances, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso would have a lot on his mind after finishing a lowly fifth. Vettel, who won the previous three races, leads Alonso in the drivers’ championship by a mere six points with four races to go in the calendar. The overall title to either of these drivers, who already have two titles each, would mean the crowning of the youngest triple champion in the history of Formula One.

“We tried to get most out of what we had, but there was no way we could be ahead of the Red Bulls and the McLarens,” said a disappointed Alonso after his session.

During the qualifying session, which was witnessed by a healthy crowd, the 25-year-old Vettel, who led in all three free practice sessions, made the most of his car’s road grip to clock up some good times. He was surprisingly laidback in the opening sector of the track but got progressively quicker in sector two and was especially fast in the final sector, shaving fractions before flying past the start-finish line.

He, however, did not clock the day’s fastest time from the speed he derived from the car on the straight. It had more to do with how he threw his car’s weight around the corners and kicked-off from there on.

Vettel too had his share of issues though. As most of the cars slid around the new circuit, Vettel looked in control but in the first lap of the final session, he missed the apex and cut through the run off before re-entering the track. He checked into his garage for a brief stop and when he returned to the track, he looked better than he was all day.
“I locked my front-right (tyre) into turn four,” said Vettel of the incident. “I think I was a bit too greedy under braking and it didn’t come back, so I didn’t stop locking and I went a bit straight.”

As far as the rest of the drivers go, Hamilton’s team-mate at McLaren -- Jenson Button -- put on a solid run late in the day to finish fourth, while Ferrari’s under fire Felipe Massa seemed to lack pace on the straights and the corners to finish sixth. Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, who was backed by most of the crowd, was clearly off the pace, but one can only hope for him to get better under different circumstances in the race.

Come Sunday, it will be interesting to see if technical head Adrian Newey’s latest update, which has helped Red Bull rule the roost in the past three races, help to extend Vettel’s lead on the table with a win.   That may sound like what is bound to happen, but with Alonso lurching not too far behind, Webber eyeing another win and Hamilton looking to help his struggling team, things are going to get very interesting over the course of 60 laps.

Indian GP qualifying

Driver    Team        Time           
1. Sebastian Vettel (Germany)    RedBull               1:25.283
2. Mark Webber (Australia)    RedBull               1:25.327
3. Lewis Hamilton (Britain)    McLaren               1:25.544
4. Jenson Button (Britain)    McLaren               1:25.659
5. Fernando Alonso (Spain)    Ferrari               1:25.773
6. Felipe Massa (Brazil)    Ferrari               1:25.857
7. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland)    Lotus               1:26.236
8. Sergio Perez (Mexico)    Sauber               1:26.360
9. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela)    Williams               1:26.713
10. Nico Rosberg (Germany)    Mercedes               DNS

Other results: 11. Romain Grosjean (Lotus, 1:26.136 ); 12. Nico Huelkenberg (Force India, 1:26.241); 13. Bruno Senna (Williams, 1:26.331); 14. Michael Schumacher (Mercedes, 1:26.574); 15. Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso, 1:26.777); 16. Paul Di Resta (Force India, 1:26.989); 17. Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber, 1:27.219); 18. Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso, 1:27.525); 19. Vitaly Petrov (Caterham, 1:28.756); 20. Heikki Kovalainen (Caterham, 1:29.500); 21. Timo Glock (Marussia, 1:29.613); 22. Pedro de la Rosa (HRT, 1:30.592); 23. Narain Karthikeyan (HRT, 1:30.593); 24. Charles Pic (Marussia, 1:30.662).

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