Mark Webber shows his Aussie Grit to claim pole in Korea

Mark Webber claimed his first pole position of the season (on merit), setting his pole time without setting a single purple sector in his lap. The Aussie took pole by just 0.074 seconds from Sebastian Vettel, the German claiming that his lap was compromised by Felipe Massa at the end of his warm up lap. Lewis Hamilton put his McLaren on the second row behind Vettel on the grid and alongside championship leader Fernando Alonso, who qualified his Ferrari on the second row only 0.292 second behind pole sitter, Webber; Ferrari seem to have some extra pace this weekend!

In Q1; Lewis Hamilton played a dangerous game, setting an early fast lap and sitting out the remainder of the first segment; coming close to being knocked out in Q1, finishing the segment in 17th place. The Briton’s blushes were saved by Williams call to abort Bruno Senna’s lap; I guess that the Brazilian wasn’t fast enough to make the cut so the team elected to save the tyres. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso also had a troubled Q1; only managing a time good enough for 16th using a set of super-soft tyres. Senna joined the the usual suspects exiting Qualifying in Q1; who qualified two by two, Caterham’s Petrov and Kovalainen, Marussia’s Pic and Glock and HRT’s de la Rosa and Karthikeyan. Although Charles Pic will take a ten place grid drop for using a ninth engine.

Q2 saw less drama for the frontrunners although Jenson Button did exit qualifying in the second segment of qualifying after a lock up and lifting for yellow flags after Daniel Ricciardo pulled his STR off the road near the end of the lap with a seeming gearbox issue. There was some suspicion that the two Lotus drivers didn’t lift off as both drivers set personal best sectors during the yellow flag zone, I haven’t heard anything about this being investigated so I guess they are safe and Button will start from 11th. Both Alonso and Hamilton were much improved; finishing the second segment of qualifying in second and third respectively behind Red Bull’s Vettel. Perez, Kobayashi, di Resta, Maldonado, Ricciardo and Vergne all joined Button on the sidelines.

Q3 started very oddly; the two Mercedes leaving their garages first and sitting at the end of the pitlane, making everyone go around them so they could make practice starts. But moving on; after five minutes of the session, Sebastian Vettel sat in provisional pole with Alonso 0.351 and Webber 0.424 seconds behind. But all this was turned around; Webber jumping from third to pole as team mate Vettel had no answer to the Aussie’s lap while Hamilton slotted into third ahead of Alonso!

Top 10 Starting Grid for the Korean Grand Prix:

1. Mark Webber (Red Bull)
2. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
3. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
4. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)
6. Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
7. Romain Grosjean (Lotus)
8. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India)
9. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
10. Michael Schumacher (Mercedes)

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