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Qualifying - Vettel flies to Korean pole for Red Bull 23 Oct 2010

Qualifying parc ferme top three (L to R): Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing, second; Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing, pole position; Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari, third.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Korean Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Saturday, 23 October 2010 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W01. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Korean Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Saturday, 23 October 2010 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F10. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Korean Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Saturday, 23 October 2010 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F10 follows Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB6 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F10 out of the pits.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Korean Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Saturday, 23 October 2010 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Lotus T127.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Korean Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Saturday, 23 October 2010

We expected a fabulous fight for pole position after Saturday morning’s practice, and the inaugural Korean Grand Prix qualifying session did not disappoint as Red Bull duo Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber vaulted ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso at the very last moment to wrap up the front row of the grid.

Alonso had set the pace on his first run, and then a second run of 1m 35.766s seemed to have settled the issue in Ferrari’s favour. But then Vettel slammed his RB6 round in 1m 35.585s to snatch pole position away, and seconds later a third lap by Webber saw the Australian demote the Spaniard with 1m 35.659s.

McLaren didn’t quite have the pace to compete in this frenetic battle, and after one error which sent him into the pit lane, Lewis Hamilton had to be content with fourth place for McLaren with 1m 36.062s to complete row two.

Nico Rosberg confirmed Mercedes GP’s resurgence as he took fifth place with 1m 36.535s, and he will share the third row with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, who got there on the strength of his 1m 36.571s first run. Jenson Button never looked comfortable throughout qualifying and was seventh in the other McLaren on 1m 36.731s, and will share row four with Robert Kubica, who took his Renault round in 1m 36.824s.

Michael Schumacher was ninth on 1m 36.950s in the second Mercedes, with Rubens Barrichello 10th for Williams on 1m 36.998s.

The times really tumbled in Q2 as Webber and Vettel set the pace with 1m 36.039s and 1m 36.074s respectively. Further back, Nico Hulkenberg just lost out on Q3 with 1m 37.620s in the second Williams but just kept ahead of the BMW Saubers of Kamui Kobayashi and Nick Heidfeld, which lapped in 1m 37.643s and 1m 37.715s respectively.

Adrian Sutil took his Force India to 14th with 1m 37.783s, closely followed by Renault’s Vitaly Petrov on 1m 37.799s. The Russian had a half spin, and in any case gets a five-place grid penalty because of his shunt at the start in Suzuka, so he drops to 20th on the grid. Jaime Alguersuari continued to head Toro Rosso team mate Sebastien Buemi, with 1m 37.853s to the Swiss driver’s 1m 38.594s.

Q1 saw Hamilton fastest in 1m 37.113s from Vettel and Alonso on 1m 37.123s and 1m 37.144s apiece, and weeded out the expected runners apart from Tonio Liuzzi. The Italian looked quick all through Friday but his VJM03 lost some pace this morning. On his final run in Q1 he set a time only two-tenths of a second off fastest man Hamilton in Sector One, but failed to improve sufficiently in Sectors Two and Three to move up. His 1m 38.955s left him in a disappointed 18th place, behind even the Toro Rossos.

Jarno Trulli really got going for Lotus to set the best new team time with 1m 40.521s, but again spinner Timo Glock kept him honest as he lapped his Virgin in 1m 40.748s. Heikki Kovalainen was 21st in the second Lotus with 1m 41.768s, comfortably ahead of Lucas di Grassi’s Virgin. The Brazilian posted 1m 42.325s, which left him only just ahead of the HRTs, with Sakon Yamamoto on 1m 42.444s and Bruno Senna on 1m 43.283s.

With Petrov’s penalty taken into account, Alguersuari starts 15th from Buemi, Liuzzi, Trulli and Glock, leaving the Russian 20th on the grid.

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