It’s no surprise that Sebastian Vettel qualified on pole for tomorrow’s Indian Grand Prix; the real interest was in by how much he would make the cut.
The answer in the end was 0.7 over closest rivals Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, who elected to mirror the Red Bull man and run the yellow-walled softer Pirelli tyre – but Mark Webber, who was on the hard tyre, proved Red Bull’s pace by going 4th on ‘slower’ rubber, ahead of Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen who were on the soft compound.
Nico Hulkenberg put Sauber into the top ten again, and out-distanced hard tyre runners Alonso, Perez and Button. The McLaren duo had enjoyed a succesful showing throughout qualifying, with Button setting fastest time in Q1 and proceeding to go P2 in Q2 on a used set of options; but they made the strategic call and went with primes for the race which blunted their Q3 campaign.
Force India had a somewhat-expected muted qualifying at their home event, with Di Resta and Sutil lining up 12th and 13th behind Daniel Riccardo’s Toro Rosso, while Vergne, Bottas and Gutierrez locked out the remaining Q2 positions.
The big disappointment of the day was Romain Grosjean’s failure to escape Q1, after the Frenchman and his Lotus team chose not to run again on soft tyres as their rivals made the move. This was the wrong decision but, by the time it became apparent, it was too late to save his dwindling hopes of survival. P17, ahead of Maldonado, was his end reward.
Jules Bianchi gave Marussia another boost in their hopes of hanging on to 10th in the constructor’s title by out-qualifying both Caterhams, while Max Chilton brings up the rear of the grid.
CLASSIFICATION – QUALIFYING – INDIAN GRAND PRIX
|12||Di Resta||Force India||1:25:711|
|20||Van Der Garde||Caterham||1:27:105|