October 5th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Sebastian Vettel took his second Korean Grand Prix pole position, his third pole in succession and sixth of 2013, setting the fastest lap time in the final part of qualfiying at the Korea International Circuit today. Lewis Hamilton was second fastest for Mercedes, followed by the second Red Bull of Mark Webber.
Vettel was, ominously, not quite as smooth on his pole position lap as we've come to expect. There were a few points in the lap where he seemed to give some time away, suggesting that he could have gone even faster.
Mark Webber will start the race 13th after qualifying third today - he has a 10-place grid penalty for receiving three reprimands from the stewards during the season. Webber's penalty will promote Romain Grosjean to third on the grid, a very strong starting positition for the Frenchman. Grosjean set the fourth-fastest time, ahead of the second Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.
Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa qualified 6th and 7th for Ferrari. Once again, the Ferrari just did not have the pace to challenge at the front, although Alonso was very quick in the first sector of the lap. His pace in a straight line suggests that Ferrari have gone for a setup on Alonso's car that is designed for overtaking in a dry race. Alonso and Massa will start the race fifth and sixth, benefitting from Webber's grid penalty.
Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez put both Saubers in the top ten for the first time this season - previously Hulkenberg had featured in Q3 a few times and Gutierrez made his first appearance in the top ten at the last round in Singapore, but at no point before today had both drivers taken part in the final part of qualifying.
Hulkenberg set the fastest first sector time of all so far this weekend, a 34.3 second sector. But the Sauber did not have the pace around the rest of the lap to challenge at the front and Hulkenberg and Gutierrez qualified 8th and 9th respectively. They will start the race 7th and 8th due to Mark Webber's grid penalty.
Kimi Raikkonen has struggled to match his team-mate, Romain Grosjean, all weekend, and that struggle continued in qualifying. Raikkonen was the slowest driver in Q3 and qualified tenth, well off the pace of Sebastian Vettel. He will start the Korean Grand Prix ninth tomorrow.
Sergio Perez qualified 11th, but will start the race tenth after Webber's grid penalty is applied. Perez will be in the fortunate position of being able to choose the tyres on which he will start the race, as he did not take part in Q3. He has the choice of using a fresh set of option tyres, which could give him an advantage in the run down to turn 1, or he could start on the medium tyres, which would allow him to run a longer first stint and then put the quicker option tyres on at a later stage of the race when his fuel load is lower.
Full results from qualifying:
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:38.683||1:37.569||1:37.202||13|
|3||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:39.138||1:37.840||1:37.464||13|
|14||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:38.988||1:38.431||15|
|15||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:39.185||1:38.718||15|
|20||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:40.871||6|
|Q1 107% Time||1:45.224|