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…
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!
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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