Lewis Hamilton has secured the first non-Red Bull pole position of the season, as he topped Sebastian Vettel by 0.222s around the South Korean GP track. Jenson Button will start from 3rd on the grid, ahead of the other Red Bull of Mark Webber.
The weather for qualifying is dry for a change, although not yet sunny at all. Some teams are still adjusting race set-up ahead of the start of Q1 as they had so little dry running earlier this weekend.
As the lights go green at the end of the pitlane, the HRT and Lotus Renault cars are the first out on track. Team Lotus meanwhile are awaiting a better moment, very different to their usual early showing.
Ricciardo though returned to the pits without setting a laptime as earlier car problems turn up again.
McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes all come out a few minutes later, setting a lap on the primes to get through to Q2. Red Bull though chose to take on a option tyres on both cars, eventually ending up in 7th and 8th. While they will surely go through to Q2, their tyre choice is at least strange.
Williams took a very strange qualifying strategy as well, deciding to send both cars out at the end of the session with just enough time for 3 times laps. Both set a flying lap before backing off through the second, and then putting another quick lap in after that. Barrichello though halted his attempt halfway through, allowing Maldonado to jump him on the timesheet and bump him out of Q1.
Knocked out are therefore Barrichello, Kovalainen, Trulli, Glock, D'Ambrosio, Liuzzi and Ricciardo (the latter not setting a laptime).
As Q2 gets underway 5 minutes later, Paul Di Resta is the first man on track, but many many cars choose to go out early with him to put in an early lap. That includes the McLarens, Ferraris and Red Bulls, this time around all fitted with the super soft option tyres.
Hamilton hits bulls-eye with his first lap and sets a 1:36.526. Vettel is closest to the McLaren, but still 0.7s off Hamilton and marginally faster than Webber, Button and Alonso.
With 5 minutes left and everybody back in the pits, Schumacher start his first flying lap and is the only man on track. Despite some vibration he start his lap, but ends up only in 9th.
At the closing stages, Adrian Sutil moves up to ninth, followed by Di Resta getting into 10th. Alguersuari also gets ahead of Schumacher in the final seconds, which results in Alguersuari, Schumacher, Buemi, Kobayashi, Senna, Maldonado and Pérez being out of qualifying now.
The Red Bulls ended up in second and third places in Q2 after both drivers completed 6 laps.
Just as in Q2, a lot of cars choose to go out early. Nico Rosberg is first to start his lap, then Hamilton, Massa, Alonso, Button, Webber and Vettel.
Hamilton's first lap again proves to be great, setting 1:36.130. The only man to come close is Vettel who is just 0.030s slower than the quickest McLaren. Mark Webber ends up in third, Button 4th, Alonso 5th, ahead of Massa, Rosberg and Petrov.
Sutil and Di Resta are positioned 9th and 10th according to their car numbers, but none of them seams eager to come out and set a laptime.
For the second attempt, Rosberg stays in the box while Force India brings out their cars, leaving us with 9 cars out on track in the final minutes.
Button's first sector is quickest of all, setting 34.1, a tenth up on his teammate. Hamilton though went quicker in S2 and in the end ended up with a 1:35.820, a time beaten by no one. Sebatian Vettel is second, 2 tenths off of Hamilton but still ahead of the second McLaren of Jenson Button. Webber is fourth, Massa yet again ahead of Alonso in 5th and 6th. Rosberg 7th, Petrov 8th, Di resta 9th and Sutil 10th.
|7||8||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||1:38.426||1:37.892||1:37.754||12|
|9||15||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:38.549||1:38.254||No time||16|
|10||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:38.789||1:38.219||No time||14|
|12||7||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG||1:38.502||1:38.354||-||9|
|DNQ||22||Daniel Ricciardo||HRT-Cosworth||No time||-||-||2|