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Last Minute Storming Laps from the Red Bulls Lock out Korea's First Front Row

Patrick AllenAnalyst IOctober 23, 2010

YEONGAM GUN, SOUTH KOREA - OCTOBER 23:  Pole sitter Sebastian Vettel (C) of Germany and Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme with second placed Mark Webber (L) of Australia and Red Bull Racing and third placed Fernando Alonso (R) of Spain and Ferrari following qualifying for the Korean Formula One Grand Prix at the Korea International Circuit on October 23, 2010 in Yeongam-gun, South Korea.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

 

Well it was a fantastic achievement for South Korea to get the circuit ready in time, and whilst it was great to see so many supporters, I think many more experienced F1 fans will have found today’s session rather uniform and predictable.

Qualifying One

The green light opened proceedings and Kovalainen set the first time of 1:45:450. What followed was pretty much what has happened in every race to date. The fastest cars were, well, fast. The middle ranking teams flirted with the drop out zone, and the new teams found themselves going backwards from their first times.

As expected, Ferrari and Red Bull were fast but most of the attention was on McLaren. Korea was billed as a promising track for McLaren and whilst this was looking to be correct for Hamilton, Button was really struggling.

I suppose it was relatively interesting watching a battle between the Force Indias and Heidfeld to stay in qually, but in the end it was poor old Liuzzi who yet again found himself down and out with the new teams.

Q1 Top Three:

Hamilton

Vettel

Alonso

Out:

Liuzzi, Trulli, Glock, Kovalainen, di Grassi, Yamamoto, Senna

Qualifying Two

I’m afraid there wasn’t much to write about in Q2 either. Jenson Button made every legal change allowed to his car (differential, tyre and wing settings). These changes certainly didn’t give Button his perfect car, but it no longer looked as if an embarrassing Q2 exit was on the cards.

The big shock in Q2 was the speed of the Red Bulls and Ferraris when compared to McLaren. Sure, Hamilton had looked fast in Q1, but in Q2 the faster McLaren fell away as Red Bull and in particular Ferrari sped into the distance.

As expected, Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, and Kubica all made it through comfortably. This only left one place for the rest of the pack and it was going to go to a Williams driver. Hulkenberg did his best, but a mistake on his last lap meant that Barrichello was able to make it as the last man into Q3.

Q3 Top Three

Webber

Vettel

Massa

 

Out

Hulkenberg, Kobayashi, Heidfeld, Sutil, Petrov, Alguersuari, Buemi

Qualifying Three

By now it looked as if the shoot out would be between the Ferraris and the Red Bulls. Round one certainly went to Ferrari.

Webber was out first but could only manage a 1:36:917. Meanwhile, Alonso was flying and blitzed through to pole with a 1:35:927!

Vettel, Hamilton and Massa looked OK, but didn’t really challenge Alonso on their first attempts.

The second run was certainly more exciting. Alonso went faster still and looked to have pole in the bag, but Vettel and Webber were both still out and racing. It looked as if Vettel was the only man to beat the Ferrari and he did. However, no doubt Alonso will have been even more disappointed to see Webber cross the line in P2.

So qualifying promised excitement from McLaren and initially looked as if it would provide a Ferrari upset. Yet ultimately it delivered something that we have become far too familiar with; a late Red Bull push locking out the front row.

Am I really upset about this? Of course not! That last push from the Red Bulls gave qualifying a much needed adrenaline boost and the prospect of a fantastic race with Alonso behind the Red Bulls and Kubica in amongst the title competitors.

I really hope Korea gets the GP it deserves tomorrow. I really like the story of the country working hard to finish the track just in time and the whole feel of this race and the Indian GP is, to me, completely different to the ‘throw money at it’ attitude of Abu Dhabi and frankly Singapore.

I predict a great race tomorrow… Bring it on!

1 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:35.585

2 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:35.659

3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:35.766

4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:36.062

5 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:36.535

6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:36.571

7 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:36.731

8 Robert Kubica Renault 1:36.824

9 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:36.950

10 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:36.998

11 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:37.620

12 Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1:37.643

13 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1:37.715

14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:37.783

15 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:37.799

16 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 1:37.853

17 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:38.594

18 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:38.955

19 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:40.521

20 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:40.748

21 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:41.768

22 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:42.325

23 Sakon Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1:42.444

24 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1:43.283

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