Red Bull lock out front row in Indian Grand Prix qualifying

Championship leader Sebastian Vettel leads Mark Webber in a Red Bull 1 – 2 in qualifying for the Indian Grand Prix, followed two by two by McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa with just over 1/2 second separating the top six.

Qualifying 1 saw all the usual suspects from Caterham, Marrusia and HRT exit qualifying at the first hurdle; being joined by Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne, the Frenchman failing to make the cut by less than 0.1 seconds, Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi scraping through to Q2 as a result. Williams Pastor Maldonado finished the segment on top with a time of 1:26.048 while Felipe Massa continued his weekend of spins and Heikki Kovalainen beached his Caterham as the session came to a close.

In Qualifying 2, Vettel finished on top with a time of 1:25.435; just 300ths ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button while Romain Grosjean fell victim of the last minute reshuffle as Massa and Sergio Perez popped in times good enough to progress into the top 10 shootout. Nico Hulkenberg, Bruno Senna, Michael Schumacher, Daniel Ricciardo, Paul di Resta and Kamui Kobayashi joined Grosjean in sitting out the final Q3 session while Schumacher’s team mate Rosberg progressed to Q3 in sixth!

Qualifying 3 saw Lewis Hamilton going out early in an attempt to get a clean lap but a mistake meant that he set a time ten seconds off Alonso who set the benchmark with a time of 1:25.773, which was nowhere near good enough to be on the front two rows. Vettel took pole with a time of 1:25.283 at the second time to asking after making a mistake on his first flying lap and pitting for fresh rubber. Red Bull team mate Webber claimed second spot 0.044 seconds behind the German with McLaren duo Hamilton and Button a distant third and fourth more than 1/4 second behind.

In fifth and sixth were the Ferrari’s of Alonso and Massa; 1/2 second off the times of the Red Bull’s; the Spaniard must be seeing his title hopes evaporate before his eyes, sitting four places behind main title rival Vettel. Positions seventh through tenth were taken up by Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen, Sauber’s Sergio Perez, Williams’ Pastor Maldonado and Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg; the German electing to not run in Q3 to save a set of tyres for the race, which may pay dividends.

The Indian Grand Prix should be interesting if what the McLaren duo claim is true; both Hamilton and Button seem to think that they have as good or better race pace than the Red Bull’s while Alonso is traditionally fast starting and at this point has very little to lose by trying a banzai move into turn one to make up places; hopefully, more controlled than than Kobayashi two weeks ago.

Have Something To Say About This Post? Please Comment Below!