YEONGAM, South Korea – Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel continued his brilliant run by beating Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton to claim the pole position for the Korean Grand Prix on Saturday at the Korea Int’l Circuit.
The world championship leader’s first run in Q3 yielded a lap of 1:37.202 and Hamilton was unable to get any closer than .218 of a second to the German, handing Vettel his sixth pole position of the season and the 42nd of his career.
The other Red Bull of Mark Webber was third quickest, but he will start 13th following the ten-place grid penalty he earned in Singapore for accumulating his third stewards’ reprimand of the season.
Vettel laid down the gauntlet on his first run in Q3 with a 1:37.202 ahead of Webber, Hamilton, Lotus’s Romain Grosjean and the other Mercedes of Nico Rosberg. On their second runs, Grosjean grabbed fourth whilst Rosberg failed to better his first run time of 1:37.679 and Webber aborted his final lap when he made a mistake. But Hamilton was as game as ever and trimmed down to 1:37.420s to take second place. The moment he realized he wouldn’t be beaten, Vettel backed off from his second run to save tires.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was sixth fastest at 1:38.038 with teammate Felipe Massa right with him at 1:38.223 but only just ahead of Nico Hulkenberg who impressed again for Sauber at 1:38.237. His teammate Esteban Gutierrez was also impressive with the ninth quickest lap at 1:38.405, whilst Raikkonen was tenth on 1m 38.822s.