Red Bulls lock out India grid

2012-10-27 11:47

GREAT NOIDA, India - Formula 1 championship leader Sebastian Vettel roared to pole position for the 2012 Indian F1 GP on Saturday as Red Bull celebrated a third qualifying 1-2 in a row.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, Vettel's closest challenger and six points behind the 25-year-old German with four races remaining including Sunday's, will start fifth at the Buddh International Circuit.


A grinning Vettel said: "All in all it's been a great weekend so far. No problems with the car. The boys have been pushing extremely hard.

"You know the races these days, you know that a lot of things can happen, I don't think that means a lot," he added of his advantage over Alonso.

Vettel won from pole in the inaugural Indian race in 2011 and he made qualifying look comfortable again on a hot and hazy afternoon at the track south of Delhi, chalking up his fifth pole of the season and 35th of his career and beating Webber by 0.044sec.

The double World champion completed only 13 laps to Alonso's 21 and Hamilton's 23 and, unless some misfortune stops his momentum, he can be expected to run away with his fourth successive win on Sunday.

He was joined on the front row by Australian team mate Mark Webber, who might have snatched pole for the second race in a row but for a mistake on Turn 3. It was the first time Red Bull had managed a hat trick of front rows.

Webber said: "On the last corner I got a little on the Astroturf on the exit and didn't have cleanest run to the line but I'm driving the car. I was surprised to end up second, to be honest."

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, their championship hopes all but over, qualified third and fourth respectively with the top three teams lining up in pairs.

Hamilton said: "We weren't quick enough to be ahead of these guys but we can definitely challenge them in the race. Our race pace is just as good as them."

Alonso will line up alongside Brazilian team mate Felipe Massa on the third row.

Finland's Kimi Raikkonen, who is third overall but 48 points behind Vettel, qualified seventh for Lotus at a circuit on which the 2007 champion has yet to race.

Narain Karthikeyan, the only Indian in the race, will start on the back row for stragglers HRT. His time was just 0.001sec slower than Spanish team mate Pedro de la Rosa, however.
Qualifying times 
1 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 1min25.283
2 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull 1min25.327
3 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 1min25.544
4 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min25.659
5 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1min25.773
6 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 1min25.857
7 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus 1min26.236
8 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber 1min26.360
9 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams 1min26.713
10 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes
11 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 1min26.136
12 Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India 1min26.241 13 Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams 1min26.331
14 Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes 1min26.574
15 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso 1min26.777 16 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India 1min26.989
17 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber 1min27.219
18 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso 1min27.525
19 Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham 1min28.756
20 Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham 1min29.500
21 Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia 1min29.613
22 Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT 1:min30.592
23 Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT 1min30.593
24 Charles Pic (France) Marussia 1min30.662

Third practice session results
Second practice session results
First practice session results

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