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Qualifying analysis - Red Bull rule roost but for how long? 27 Oct 2012

Timo Glock (GER) Marussia F1 Team MR01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying, Saturday, 27 October 2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying, Saturday, 27 October 2012 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27 with camera cover still on.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying, Saturday, 27 October 2012 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying, Saturday, 27 October 2012 A Lotus E20 under wraps in the garage.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying, Saturday, 27 October 2012 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber C31.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying, Saturday, 27 October 2012 Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams FW34.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying, Saturday, 27 October 2012 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying, Saturday, 27 October 2012 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India F1 VJM05.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying, Saturday, 27 October 2012 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR7.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying, Saturday, 27 October 2012 Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Caterham CT01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying, Saturday, 27 October 2012 Timo Glock (GER) Marussia F1 Team MR01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying, Saturday, 27 October 2012 Pedro De La Rosa (ESP) HRT Formula One Team HRT F112.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying, Saturday, 27 October 2012 Pirelli tyres.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice, Friday, 26 October 2012

Red Bull continued to dominate qualifying and wrapped up the front row yet again in India on Saturday. But it was closer with McLaren than expected and Ferrari weren’t too far behind. More importantly, all three teams have very similar race pace, so it could be a much closer contest than qualifying suggested. We take a look at how all the runners performed…

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 25.283s, P1
Mark Webber, 1m 25.327s, P2

Vettel spoiled his first run by locking a brake and getting into a slide, but made amends on his second run to take pole narrowly from Webber, who said that his second run was spoiled by traffic. Vettel, in particular, once again described his RB8 as ‘fantastic’.

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 25.544s, P3
Jenson Button, 1m 25.659s, P4

Hamilton said he was very happy with third place, which is what he had expected to be the best position that McLaren could realistically achieve. Button had been having problems getting the soft tyres warmed up so went for a three-lap run. That worked, but understeer spoiled his chances of doing better than fourth. Both feel they have the race pace to run with the Red Bulls on Sunday.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, 1m 25.773s, P5
Felipe Massa, 1m 25,857s, P6

A half-second gap to Red Bull wasn’t what Ferrari wanted, nor was McLaren’s pace which kept them off the second row. Alonso said that in such circumstances fifth was okay, especially as the slightest mistake could have put him even further back. Massa was well stoked up for one of his best qualifying performances of the year, but thought he could have been higher than sixth without a small mistake in Turn Six. Ferrari expect to have very competitive race pace, however.

Lotus
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 26.236s, P7
Romain Grosjean, 1m 26.136s, P11

Both drivers said that, contrary to their expectations, their E20s lacked grip. Raikkonen in particular said that he had expected something better and was thus disappointed, while Grosjean made mistakes which cost him a chance of Q3.

Sauber
Sergio Perez, 1m 26.360s, P8
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 27.219s, P17

Perez was very happy with eighth. He said he got the perfect lap in Q2, but not quite in Q3. Kobayashi went out with fuel for only one lap and then fell foul of a mistake in set-up which put the brake balance out. He thus lost his second chance, when he would have had a set of fresh tyres.

Williams
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 26.713s, P9
Bruno Senna, 1m 26.331s, P13

Williams achieved the upturn in performance they had believed to be possible here. Maldonado demonstrated that with a very late fastest time in Q1 but later made a mistake on the final corner of his final lap in Q3 which cost him places. Senna looked very strong in FP3, but a mistake on his final lap in Q2 cost him his Q3 chance.

Mercedes
Nico Rosberg, No time
Michael Schumacher, 1m 26.574s, P14

Rosberg said he didn’t run in Q3 in expectation of a tough race on tyres, in contrast to what many others were saying. Schumacher said that he was puzzled not to be able to match his FP3 times, and that he just couldn’t get the option tyre into the right working window and therefore lacked grip.

Force India
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 26.241s, P12
Paul di Resta, 1m 26.989s, P16

Hulkenberg said he’d expected to make it through to Q3, especially as his better Q2 lap was mistake free, but accepted that that was as fast as the Force India could go. Di Resta said the balance of his car sapped his confidence, and prompted some minor but time-costly mistakes.

Toro Rosso
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 26.777s, P15
Jean-Eric Vergne, 1m 27.525s, P18

Ricciardo said his Q2 runs were a bit scrappy but wasn’t too disappointed with 15th place. After running a different set-up to his team mate on Friday, Vergne said it was like starting with a clean sheet of paper running the Australian’s settings on Saturday, and was disappointed to miss out on Q2 by fractions of a second.

Caterham
Vitaly Petrov, 1m 28.756s, P19
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 29.500s, P20

Petrov and Kovalainen were happier with their CT01s than of late, and the Russian said he was satisfied with what he achieved. Kovalainen said he had traffic on his first run, then complained that more traffic later on was responsible for him losing the front end and spinning into the gravel on his second run.

Marussia
Timo Glock, 1m 29.613s, P21
Charles Pic, 1m 30.662s, P24

Glock struggled with balance problems, and was thus encouraged to be so close to Kovalainen, who also had the advantage of KERS. Pic struggled on the soft tyre on his second run, after going well on the hard on his first.

HRT
Pedro de la Rosa, 1m 30.592s, P22
Narain Karthikeyan, 1m 30.593s, P23

The two HRT drivers ended up separated by a thousandth of a second. Karthikeyan was fractionally behind in his homeland and said he would have been faster without a mistake on his second run and with less traffic. De la Rosa said his first run was fine, but that on better tyres he also encountered traffic on his second.

Pirelli
Tyre wear is not expected to be a factor here, with Pirelli’s hard and soft rubber, and there is even the possibility that an adventurous midfield team might plump for a single-stop strategy. The tyre supplier believes the softs could be as much as a second quicker than the hard so strategy will be vital.

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