Vettel takes another pole, Webber 2nd
Sebastian Vettel took yet another pole position today, now for tomorrow's Indian GP. Lewis Hamilton set the second fastest time, but due to a penalty he will drop 3 places on the grid. This puts Webber in 2nd, Alonso third, Button 4th and then Hamilton starting from 5th place.
As the light at the pitlane gets green to start Q1, many drivers immediately take to the track, to such an extent that only the Sauber drivers have not completed a lap 6 minutes into the session.
After the first attempts, Alonso is ahead, Massa is second. Lewis Hamilton went very wide through turn 11 and 12, kicking up another cloud of dust. The circuit here is already very very dusty, but nonetheless the teams have found there is a lot more grip than they expected in these conditions.
With margins small, everybody goes out for a second run in the second half of the session. Hamilton by that time had a second attempt and topped the timesheet, ahead of Webber. Alonso though had none of that and re-set the quickest laptime.
In the closing stages the fight is on to go through to Q2, involving the Sauber, Williams and Force India cars. In the end though, Kobayashi found himself out and will start tomorrow from 18th place on the grid. Behind him will be Kovalainen, Trulli, Ricciardo, Karthikeyan, d'Ambrosio and Glock. The latter had a gearbox problem halfway through Q1 and had no chance to be competitive.
As Q2 kicks off, Alguersuari is the first man out, but Vettel soon puts the record straight and tops the timesheet 5 minutes after the green light.
4 minutes from the end, nobody improved Vettel, but Lewis Hamilton came closest and put his car into second place. Alonso is third, ahead of Webber, Button Massa, Rosberg and the early time of Alguersuari. Schumacher is 9th and Buemi 10th.
Sutil's lap then gets him up to 8th while Alguersuari gets into 10th. Schumacher at that time is still on track and when passing the finish line knows he is eliminated.
Out are therefore Petrov, Schumacher, Di Resta, Maldonado, Senna, Barrichello and Pérez. Apart from the 3 top teams, Rosberg made is through, along with Sutil and both Toro Rosso cars.
At the beginning of Q3, it's Lewis Hamilton who takes to the track first, closely followed by Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso. As those three men pass the finish line, Hamilton sets a 1:26.430, topped by Massa and then Alonso as well. The Spaniard though had a new set of soft tyres, whereas his teammate had a used set.
Hamilton continued for another attempt on the same tyres and improved on Alonso to take second as Sebastian Vettel had just put himself ahead. One minute later Webber gets into third.
Right at that time Button, Sutil, Rosberg and the Toro Rosso drivers take to the track as well.
Hamilton is the first to have a second go on a new set but he abandons his lap after a fairly moderate middle sector. Vettel then improves his own time to secure first while Felipe Massa ends up in the wall after breaking the front right suspension on a kerb.
Everybody behind him then had to pass through that yellow flag zone and could not improve their time. Jenson Button however still put in a fast time and moved into P5. Button though was the first man behind Massa and passed through the yellow flag zone while Massa was still sliding off the track. It seems unlikely the Brit will take a penalty for that.
Again, several drivers didn't set a laptime in Q3. Sutil, Buemi and Alguersuari will be 8th, 9th and 10th without a time in Q3.