It was a hazy afternoon in India at the circuit that may as well be renamed Sebastian Vettel International Circuit, New Delhi. Why? To be fair there have only been two previous Indian Grands Prix, but Vettel has won both races from pole and led every single one of the laps of those two races.

And tomorrow’s Grand Prix is looking no different…

Vettel celebrates pole position with his biggest 'fan'
Vettel celebrates pole position with his biggest ‘fan’

Q1 – “We f***ed up massively, P17”

Nico Rosberg was the early pace-setter of the first qualifying session. Vettel, Webber and Alonso left things to the dying moments of Q1 to make their move. Alonso came out on soft tyres and set an impressive lap.  Vettel, who else?, went 2nd quickest on a set of medium (aka slower) tyres (and only marginally slower than Alonso on the quicker soft tyres…)

Paul Di Resta, with barely a couple of minutes to go in the session, was in the drop zone until he pulled out a blinder of a lap as the track conditions continued to improve. But the track improved to such an extent that it caught out Suzuka-success Romain Grosjean who had only set a lap on the medium compound tyres and was unceremoniously shunted to P17 (the top of the drop zone) at the end of the session. Let’s see what the Lotus team said over the radio to Grosjean:

To GRO, “We f***ed up massively, P17”

GRO, “No way”


Drop zone for Q1:  Romain Grosjean (!?!), Pastor Maldonado, Jules Bianchi, Giedo van der Garde, Charles Pic, Max Chilton.

Q2 – Forced-Out India

What can I say? Man alive Vettel is quick! His first lap of qualifying on the soft tyres was over half a second quicker than the rest of the field. I think we know who wants to be named World Champion tomorrow… *

It wasn’t an ideal grid line up for the home race of the Force India team as Di Resta and Sutil couldn’t quite make it into Q3 and start 12th and 13th respectively.

Drop zone for Q2: Daniel Ricciardo, Paul Di Resta, Adrian Sutil, Jean-Eric Vergne, Valtteri Bottas, Esteban Gutierrez.

Q3 – And the pole sitter for India is … you guessed it! 

It wasn’t exactly a showstopper (more korma than jalfrezi), but after Vettel’s performances in Q1 and Q2 it was hardly going to go any other way. This is his circuit.

But with Grosjean down in 17th and a lot of split strategies we’ve got a promising race lined up for tomorrow (and we’ll undoubtedly be crowning a certain person 2013 World Champion).

* In case you missed it, check out Vettel reliving his childhood days spent in front of the Nintendo playing Super Mario Kart by clicking here!


Provisional grid

Pos Driver                Team                 Time          Gap  

1. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m24.119s

2. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m24.871s  +0.752s

3. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes             1m24.941s  +0.822s

4. Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m25.047s  +0.928s

5. Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m25.201s  +1.082s

6. Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault        1m25.248s  +1.129s

7. Nico Hulkenberg       Sauber-Ferrari       1m25.334s  +1.215s

8. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m25.826s  +1.707s

9. Sergio Perez          McLaren-Mercedes     1m26.153s  +2.034s

10. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m26.487s  +2.368s

Q2 cut-off time: 1m25.458s                                   Gap

11. Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m25.519s  +0.951s

12. Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m25.711s  +1.143s

13. Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes 1m25.740s  +1.172s

14. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m25.798s  +1.230s

15. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Renault     1m26.134s  +1.566s

16. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari       1m26.336s  +1.768s

Q1 cut-off time: 1m26.178s                                    Gap

17. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault        1m26.577s  +1.003s

18. Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault     1m26.842s  +1.268s

19. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Cosworth    1m26.970s  +1.396s

20. Giedo van der Garde   Caterham-Renault     1m27.105s  +1.531s

21. Charles Pic           Caterham-Renault     1m27.487s  +1.913s

22. Max Chilton           Marussia-Cosworth    1m28.138s  +2.564s