Qualifying - Vettel on pole for inaugural Indian race 29 Oct 2011
Lewis Hamiltons three-place grid penalty came back to haunt him in qualifying for the Indian Grand Prix. The 2008 champion was right on Sebastian Vettels tail after their first runs in Q3, the German lapping in 1m 24.437s in the Red Bull, the Englishman 1m 24.474s in the McLaren.
But while there was no point in the latter pushing harder on a second run, as Mark Webber was not going to improve his own third fastest 1m 24.508s, Vettel went out again and trimmed down to 1m 24.178s to secure his 13th pole position of the year.
Behind the top three, Fernando Alonso had to be content with fourth place on 1m 24.519s, while McLarens Jenson Button was in the process of pushing Felipe Massa down a place with 1m 24.950s at the very moment when the Brazilian was spearing off the track as his Ferraris right-front suspension broke after he had clobbered a kerb. He had to rely on 1m 25.122s for his sixth place.
Nico Rosberg was seventh for Mercedes on 1m 25.451s, as Force Indias Adrian Sutil, Toro Rossos Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari took the remaining top-10 places but didnt set times.
Vettel had shredded the weekends fastest time with 1m 24.657s in Q2, with Hamilton next up on 1m 25.019s and Alonso on 1m 25.158s.
Renault caught a tough break when Vitaly Petrov actually lapped in 1m 26.319s, the same time as Jaime Alguersuari had done for Toro Rosso, but the Spaniard did it first which meant that the Russian did not make it through to Q3.
Behind him was Michael Schumacher, suffering vibrations on his Mercedes as he lapped in 1m 26.337s, then came a disappointed Paul di Resta whod been ahead of Force India team mate Sutil until their final runs when he failed to improve on 1m 26.503s which left him 13th as the German took P8. Pastor Maldonado was 14th for Williams with 1m 26.537s, ahead of Renaults Bruno Senna on 1m 26.651s, Rubens Barrichello in the other Williams on 1m 27.247s and Saubers Sergio Perez on 1m 27.562s.
The big talk of Q1 was whether McLarens Jenson Button might miss out as he was struggling for grip and down in 16th place until the very last lap when he jumped up to third behind surprise fastest man Petrov and Vettel.
Kamui Kobayashi had looked good for a while but never got things together and his 1m 27.876s made him the first faller in 18th place. Heikki Kovalainen took charge at Lotus to take 19th from Jarno Trulli, 1m 28.565s to 1m 28.752s. Then came the HRTs, as Daniel Ricciardo just kept ahead of local hero Narain Karthikeyan who continued to do an excellent job. The Australian lapped in 1m 30.216s, the Indian 1m 30.238s.
Behind them, Jerome DAmbrosio was 23rd for Virgin on 1m 30.866s as team mate Timo Glock could not better 1m 34.046s after mechanical trouble. That left him outside the 107 percent time of 1m 32.222s, so he will be allowed to race at the stewards' discretion.
There are grid place drops to consider, however. Hamilton and Perez drop three apiece, Petrov, Ricciardo and Karthikeyan five, the Russian for his indiscretion in Korea, the Australian for a gearbox change and the Indian for blocking Schumacher during Q1. Thus the starting order will be: Vettel, Webber; Alonso, Button; Hamilton, Massa; Rosberg, Sutil; Buemi, Alguersuari; Schumacher, di Resta; Maldonado, Senna; Barrichello, Petrov; Kobayashi, Kovalainen; Trulli, Perez; D'Ambrosio, Ricciardo; Karthikeyan, Glock.
For tickets and travel to 2011 Formula One races, click here.
For Formula One and F1 team merchandise, click here.