Vettel continues pole run at India

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F1 Grand Prix, GP India, Buddh International Circuitin

Sebastian Vettel somewhat predictably took pole position for the Indian Grand Prix, ahead of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. Behind them will be Mark Webber who strategically chose to qualify on the harder tyre compound.

As the session kicks off, the early runners are clearly opting to set some time on the prime, doing a short sequence of flying laps. As times evolve, Rosberg emerges on top around the halfway point, ahead of Perez, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Button, Massa, Ricciardo, Sutil, Di Resta and Vergne.

Grosjean, Alonso and both Red Bulls have not set any time so far. They're all waiting for the right time.

8 minutes from the end Gutierrez is seemingly the first to set a time on the options. He immediately goes fastest, showing the soft tyre is a whole lot faster than the medium around Buddh Circuit. Around the same time, Alonso goes out on the softs, just like Webber while Vettel chooses the medium tyres for his run.

Alonso's lap is a 1:25.936 but Vettel soon after is only 0.009 seconds slower than him, notably on the mediums which are around one second slower. Grosjean is the only other man to run on the mediums in this phase.

After that the track gets extremely busy with everybody requiring a go on the option tyres. The result is a series of improvements that eventually sees Massa kick out Grosjean. The Frenchman was in the end only 1.002 seconds behind Button's best time of Q1, but the tyre choice eventually cost him a shot at a much better starting position.

With Grosjean 17th, eliminated after Q1 are also Maldonado, Bianchi, van der Garde, Pic and Chilton.

In Q2, Raikkonen is the first man out, immediately on the options. He is quickly followed by Alonso, Massa, Hulkenberg and Gutierrez.

During this session most drivers are apparently running two times with the option tyres. Red Bull is somewhat different as their cars are both doing just one run. Webber however ran very wide out of turn 13 on his flyer, but the team were given the all clear from Whiting.

No surprises this time at the end of Q2 with Ricciardo eliminated, along with Di Resta, Sutil, Vergne, Bottas and Gutierrez.

At the start of Q3, Button, Webber and Alonso emerge immediately on the medium tyre. Vettel on the other hand chose the softer options. Predictably, that is immediately worth the fastest lap so far in 1:24.119. In fact that is the lap record around this track.

Moments later Webber slots into second, posting a 1:25.215on the harder tyre.

6 minutes into the session and with just 4 to go, only three drivers have yet set a time. Hamilton and Rosberg both aborted their first runs.

The next man to cross the line is Raikkonen on softs, going 3rd fastest, still slower than Webber on the mediums. Rosberg then goes second on options, followed by Hamilton who gets third, also on options.

Button and Perez both chose the prime tyres and slot in behind Alonso. Massa however qualifies on the softer tyres and puts his car on 5th place.

Vettel, Alonso and Webber had another run in the closing stages but without position improvements.

Results

Pos.No.DriverTeamQ1Q2Q3Laps
11Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault1:25.9431:24.5681:24.11912
29Nico RosbergMercedes AMG1:25.8331:25.3041:24.87121
310Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:25.8021:25.2591:24.94120
42Mark WebberRed Bull Racing-Renault1:25.6651:25.0971:25.04717
54Felipe MassaFerrari1:25.7931:25.3891:25.20119
67Kimi RäikkönenLotus-Renault1:25.8191:25.1911:25.24818
711Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari1:25.8831:25.3391:25.33419
83Fernando AlonsoFerrari1:25.9341:24.8851:25.82615
96Sergio PerezMcLaren-Mercedes1:26.1071:25.3651:26.15321
105Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1:25.5741:25.4581:26.48723
1119Daniel RicciardoSTR-Ferrari1:25.6731:25.519-14
1214Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1:25.9081:25.711-15
1315Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1:26.1641:25.740-16
1418Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Ferrari1:26.1551:25.798-14
1517Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1:26.1781:26.134-15
1612Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1:26.0571:26.336-11
178Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1:26.577--7
1816Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1:26.842--9
1922Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth1:26.970--8
2021Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1:27.105--6
2120Charles PicCaterham-Renault1:27.487--7
2223Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth1:28.138--8