Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel will be the leading man once again after pipping his rivals to the post to secure pole position for tomorrow’s FIA Formula One 2013 Grand Prix and this makes it his sixth of the season.
The reigning World Champion cruised back into the pits after completing his final flying lap while the rest of the top 10 finished their laps.
Vettel’s team mate, Mark Webber may have qualified in third place, but his position on the grid for the race tomorrow will change when his 10 place grid penalty is taken into account from the Singapore Grand Prix two weeks ago. The Australian received his third reprimand of the season from the stewards, which meant that he would drop down the grid by 10 places no matter where he finished in today’s qualifying session so he will begin the race from 13th place.
Webber’s misfortune will lead to Lotus Renault driver, Romain Grosjean’s gain. The French man qualified in fourth place but will be promoted into third place as a result of Webber moving down the field.
Hamilton’s team mate, Nico Rosberg also showed good form in qualifying but he did not match the pace of the Englishman when it mattered most in the final seconds of Q3. The German still got ahead of half of the top 10 though to secure fifth place for himself. Rosberg will be another driver to benefit from Webber’s penalty which will see him move up into fourth place to start the race.
At the tail end of the top 10 there were a couple of surprises in the form of the Sauber drivers. Nico Hulkenberg comes first in the line-up of the two drivers after he qualified in eighth place, but his Mexican team mate did equally well with his performance in qualifying as a whole and finished Q3 in ninth place. The Sauber duo’s positions will improve further when they are placed into seventh and eighth position for the race tomorrow.
Grosjean’s team mate, Kimi Raikkonen seems to be struggling for the second consecutive race weekend, after it was reported that the Finnish driver is currently suffering with a bad back which appears to be taking its toll on his performance when he takes to the track. Raikkonen did make it through to Q3 though and the all-important top 10 shootout, which saw him pick up the 10th and final spot at the end of it. Raikkonen will start from ninth place when the race gets underway after the grid is changed round.
Beyond the top 10 qualifying positions there were a few casualties which saw some usual front runners fall at the end of Q2. This includes the Force India drivers, Adrian Sutil and Paul Di Resta. McLaren’s Jenson Button and Sergio Perez also missed out on a place in Q3.
Perez will be the one to benefit the most out of the two though due to Webber’s penalty. Perez will take up 10th position on the grid tomorrow, which will place him in a potential point scoring position, but there is no guarantee the Mexican will remain there with his team mate starting on the row behind him. There will also be Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo to consider and Webber as he moves towards the front of the field like many others will be keen to do.
Vettel will be one driver in particular hoping that history will not repeat itself at the Yeongam circuit, as the pole sitter previously to date as never gone on to win the race. Vettel will not only have this thought to contend with, but there is also the matter of those behind him and the misplaced grid to consider as many drivers aim to be ahead of their rivals and in a top 10 point scoring position at the end of the race.