Sebastian Vettel secured his 13th pole position of the season. After setting the time his engineer told him, “Prost, 13. Senna, 13. Vettel, 13.” Vettel beat his own pole position time at the end of Q3, with a fast 1:24.178 lap on the new Buddh International Circuit. This is also the 16th pole position of the year for Red Bull Racing.
There are so many grid penalties for this race. Besides Vitaly Petrov’s penalty from last race, and the penalties for driving fast through the yellow flags for Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez, three more drivers have penalties. Narain Karthikeyan was given one for “impeding” (being slow) during qualifying, and Daniel Ricciardo and Timo Glock changed gearboxes.
Timo Glock also managed to not even set a time within the 107% rule in Q1, so he’ll be the one actually starting last. Q1, as always, knocked out the typical slow three teams plus somebody else. Of course “somebody else” was always going to get to move up a bit: Kamui Kobayashi starts higher thanks to his teammate Sergio Perez’s penalty.
Actual list of drivers knocked out in Q1 (18-24): Kobayashi, Kovalainen, Trulli, Karthikeyan, Ricciardo, D’Ambrosio, Glock
Actual grid for spots 18-24: Kovalainen, Trulli, Perez, D’Ambrosio, Ricciardo, Karthikeyan, Glock
In Q2, Toro Rosso showed their power as Renault continued to struggle. While Vitaly Petrov was fastest during Q1, he was knocked out this time. Both Williams cars were also knocked out, along with Paul di Resta.
Once again, Q3 turns dull with drivers saving tires: that would be both Toro Rosso cars and Adrian Sutil. This is incredibly boring for the fans, and either something needs to change with tires or penalties start getting awarded. You don’t want to run in Q3? Then you get to start like you were knocked out in Q2.
Anyway. Sebastian Vettel set a fast lap, which was good enough after Lewis Hamilton could not set a better one. That was not enough, as Vettel went fastest again, perhaps to give everyone a show with only 7 cars being out on track.
Felipe Massa’s front suspension broke over a curb towards the end of the session, leading him to call for changes to the curb. He will start sixth.
Because of Hamilton’s penalty, it will be a Red Bull 1-2, with Lewis starting 5th after his penalty.
This is the first time ever that all four Red Bull-owned cars are starting in the top 10. Owning an energy drink company and buying some racing teams truly pays off.
Provisional grid below the cut. This is the actual grid for tomorrow, complete with everybody’s penalties and not the one from qualifying. » Continue reading “Indian Grand Prix Qualifying: Lucky Number 13″