The 2013 Formula 1 season moves into round 14 of 19 at the troubled circuit in Yeongam, South Korea.
Triple world champion Sebastian Vettel has a dominant championship lead going into the weekend and will be looking to wrap up the series at the earliest possible opportunity.
But bad weather is forecast for the weekend—even the outside possibility of a cyclone hitting—which could make racing topsy-turvy.
Practice sessions for the race took place on Friday and Saturday ahead of qualifying, with the race set for Sunday.
Here are the results from the practice and qualifying sessions, slide by slide.
Bleacher Report Race Weekend Essentials
Your comprehensive Korean GP preview by Neil James.
Key storylines to watch at Yeongam by Scott Mitchell.
Looking at the race weekend odds.
Sebstain Vettel was once again the dominant driver, taking pole position for the Korean Grand Prix as he bids for a fourth straight GP win on Sunday.
Again his first run was decisive, and one lap was good enough to assure top spot.
Mark Webber was the first man out on track, the Australian running in the knowledge that his hitchhiking in Singapore would see him drop 10 places down the grid.
Webber's time was good enough to beat both Mercedes drivers on their first run, but Vettel pulled out a quarter of a second's advantage.
In Singapore Red Bull decided that the German's first run was good enough to claim pole—but he headed back out a second time at Yeongam.
Nico Rosberg led the top drivers out on their final tour, but failed to improve his time. Webber followed straight into the pits without setting a time, allowing Lewis Hamilton to nip in front of him.
It meant that Vettel could abort his final lap and saunter into the pits after bagging the 42nd pole position of his career.
His closest rival in the title race will again have considerable ground to make up: Fernando Alonso was the best of the rest in sixth place, leading the drivers who only made one run in Q3. It did seem as if he was in a different race from the German.
Vettel can afford to abort final flying lap with pole in bag. Hamilton P2 for tomorrow's Korean GP. Alonso back in 6th. Needs a typhoon— Tom Cary (@tomcary_tel) October 5, 2013
The Top 10:
- Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
- Mark Webber (Red Bull)*
- Romain Grosjean (Lotus)
- Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
- Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
- Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
- Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber)
- Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber)
- Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)
*10-place grid penalty to be applied
Here are the full session times from the pit lane (you can also see them on the Eurosport website):
Sebastian Vettel set the final leading mark ahead of the top 10 shootout with a strong showing in Q2 at Yeongam.
It was a sedate start to the session—the first times were not set until almost halfway through.
Fernando Alonso was an early pace-setter until the two Mercedes blew him out of the water, both drivers more than four-tenths of a second clear of the Ferrari.
Red Bull again left it late, this time on the super soft tyres. But Vettel swept in to the lead by a quarter of a second, with Mark Webber slotting into third.
Attention then turned to Kimi Raikkonen, hovering precariously above the elimination zone. He upped his time just enough to grab P8—and that was enough to condemn the two McLarens to another frustrating early elimination.
They were both within eight-tenths of Vettel's leading mark, but it was not enough in a tightly-packed field.
Eliminated from Q2:
- 11. Sergio Perez (McLaren)
- 12. Jenson Button (McLaren)
- 13. Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso)
- 14. Adrian Sutil (Force India)
- 15. Paul di Resta (Force India)
- 16. Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso)
Kimi Raikkonen went fastest in Q1 after a largely uneventful opening part of qualifying.
There was no sign of the rain that had been threatening earlier in the weekend, and qualifying took place under clear skies.
With no surprises overhead there looked like being none on the tarmac as Mercedes, Ferrari and Raikkonen eased into the top five spots on medium tyres.
The Red Bulls, as has become a recent habit, left it late to run on an empty track, and slotted in safely enough towards the front of the field, as did Romain Grosjean with two minutes of the session remaining.
Apart from Red Bull, most teams went out again on the super soft tyres to make marginal improvements on the
In the end, for all the jostling, it was the usual suspects who were eliminated, with the two Marussias and Caterhams joined by the duo from Williams.
Eliminated from Q1
- 17: Valtteri Bottas (Williams)
- 18. Pastor Maldonado (Williams)
- 19. Charles Pic (Caterham)
- 20. Guido van der Garde (Caterham)
- 21. Jules Bianchi (Marussia)
- 22. Max Chilton (Marussia)
Sebastian Vettel topped his first session of the weekend as Red Bull claimed a one-two in free practice three in South Korea.
It was a strong display from the Austrian team, although Lewis Hamilton, who set the fastest times on Friday, was blocked on his run on the super-soft tyres and was accordingly denied a chance of showing his true pace.
Hamilton did go quickest of all the drivers on the harder tyres, and looks in good shape to challenge the Red Bulls for pole position at least.
Behind Red Bull and Mercedes, Ferrari and Lotus were fighting it out, with Fernando Alonso leading the four cars for fifth position at Yeongam.
Here are the session times (you can see them in full on the Eurosport website):
Lewis Hamilton upset the form book by beating Sebastian Vettel to top the timesheets in Free Practice 2.
The Red Bull driver has usually been the quickest through FP2 in recent Grands Prix, but here he was a tenth of a second behind the Mercedes.
Hamilton's long-run pace also held up well in a race run toward the end of the session, which will give him some encouragement for the weekend.
The field was much tighter in time terms during the session than it had been in the morning—six drivers were within a second of Hamilton's leading time.
Just a touch further adrift was Kimi Raikkonen in eighth, able to get through a full session's practice despite a heavy crash late in FP1.
Here are the times from the session—you can also find full details on the Eurosport website:
Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in FP1 ahead of the Korean Grand Prix, but the session was notable for a big crash for Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen late on.
The Finn walked away from the incident, but his car appeared to have suffered considerable damage.
Another driver to have a frustrating morning was Felipe Massa—he suffered a puncture and could not set a lap time until the final quarter of an hour.
It was emblematic of another sedate session as 15 minutes elapsed before a time was set.
Most of the leading drivers completed around 20 laps as they reacquainted themselves with Yeongam.
Here are the session times—you can also find them in full on the Eurosport website.