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You are here: Motorsport Formula 1 Webber beats Vettel to pole in battle of the Red Bulls in Korea

Webber beats Vettel to pole in battle of the Red Bulls in Korea

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webber_poleMark Webber achieved his second pole position of the season in qualifying for the Korean Grand Prix at Yeongam this afternoon. In a session dominated by teammate Sebastian Vettel, Webber sneaked ahead when it mattered in the dying seconds of Q3 to beat the German for the first time since Belgium.

Lewis Hamilton in McLaren was third with a strong lap to push Fernando Alonso's Ferrari to fourth. Kimi Raikkonen completed a top 5 populated by the top 5 championship contenders, a mouth-watering prospect for the race on Sunday.

Felipe Massa was a pacy 6th, but he will be wary of Romain Grosjean, who hasn't had the cleanest starts of late, in 7th. Force India's Nico Hulkenberg showed well to beat the Mercedes' of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher.

Jenson Button failed to make it into the top ten with a final lap hampered by yellow flags in Q2. He will however have a choice of tyres to start the race with and a greater flexibility with strategy.

Q1

The first qualifying session began in dry conditions, albeit in cooler temperatures than Friday afternoon. On a track where overtaking is difficult, grid position was crucial for the race.

Alonso went ahead initially, two tenths ahead of Pastor Maldonado's benchmark at top after a quiet start where not many cars went out.

Mid-way through the session Narain Karthikeyan lost the front brakes of his HRT to spin off the track as more cars joined the track. He was able to drive back to the pits, but did not set any further times. Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen had their time at the top as well, as Lewis Hamilton locked up at the first turn on his initial run.

The Red Bulls waited till late in the session to go out and Sebastian Vettel was immediately on the pace to lower the quickest time by a massive 4-tenths of a second, a 1:38.208 time ensuring he remained ahead for the rest of Q1.

At this point the midfield runners took on the faster super soft option tyres to guarantee safe passage to Q2. Among the frontrunners to also be compelled to use the super-softs were Alonso and Schumacher, who were 11th and 12th.

Hamilton, however did not elect to run the faster tyres and waited with bated breath in the pits as he tumbled all the way down to 17th, just on the cusp of elimination. Alonso could only manage a 16th on new rubber.

To be eliminated were Bruno Senna, and the three new teams. Charles Pic, who was 21st, moves to the back of the grid after a 10-place penalty for using a 9th engine for the season.

Out in Q1- 18. Senna, 19. Petrov, 20. Kovalainen, 21. Pic, 22. Glock, 23. de la Rosa, 24. Karthikeyan

Q2

Webber, Alonso, and Vettel took over the lead in quick succession in their first runs of Q2, with the German champion's lap measuring in at 1:37.767.

Hamilton went P3 despite another lockup at that first turn, while teammate Button also made a mistake and would have to head out again after only being P8. All cars came in following their first banker runs and began readying to go out for a last shot in the final 3 minutes.

In the last minute of shootout for the top 10 positions, Hulkenberg improved to P7, but the rest of the runners had to slow down in the middle sector after Daniel Ricciardo brought out the yellow flags after parking his Toro Rosso in the final sector with gearbox problems.

Raikkonen and Rosberg managed to improve to make it through, but the biggest loser in the session was Button who could only post a 11th fastest time, thanks to the yellow flag and an untidy lap.

Other drivers to be knocked out were the Saubers of Perez and Kobayashi, Paul di Resta's Force India, Maldonado, Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne.

Out in Q2- 11. Button, 12. Perez, 13. Kobayashi, 14. di Resta, 15. Maldonado, 16. Ricciardo, 17. Vergne

Q3

Through to the final 10 minute session were the two Red Bulls, Hamilton, the two Ferraris, both Mercedes' and Lotuses and Hulkenberg.

In the first run for the cars, Massa and Alonso went out in tandem, Alonso getting a tow on the straights to end up faster than the sister Ferrari. Vettel usurped the Spaniard's position on pole going three tenths faster, being significantly quick in the first sector where DRS use is crucial.

Hamilton had to swerve wildly around Schumacher in the pits who came out in his way to the exit. In the flurry of last laps to the chequered flag, Vettel was first across to improve his time by a tenth, but it was Australian Webber who had the last laugh to go past the start-finish line in a time of 1:37.242. He eclipsed Vettel by a mere 7 hundredths of a second.

Hamilton beat the Ferraris with a top lap to take third with 1:37.469, ahead of Alonso and Raikkonen in P4 and P5.

Top 10- 1. Webber, 2. Vettel, 3. Hamilton, 4. Alonso, 5. Raikkonen, 6. Massa, 7. Grosjean, 8. Hulkenberg, 9. Rosberg, 10. Schumacher

File Photograph Courtesy: Red Bull Racing