• Korean Grand Prix - Qualifying

Vettel beats Hamilton to pole position in Korea

ESPN Staff
October 5, 2013
Sebastian Vettel took his third pole in a row in Korea © Sutton Images
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Sebastian Vettel took his third pole position in a row by beating Lewis Hamilton by 0.2s to the fastest time in qualifying for the Korean Grand Prix.

Mercedes took the fight to Red Bull but couldn't quite find the pace needed to upset Vettel's seemingly unstoppable charge to his fourth world title. In the end the championship leader did not need to complete his second timed lap in Q3 to secure pole. Hamilton, ahead of Vettel on the track, improved on his second lap but it was not enough to snatch pole.

Mark Webber was third fastest but will drop to 13th once his ten-place grid penalty is applied for the three reprimands he has accrued this season. That will promote Romain Grosjean to third on the grid, giving the Lotus driver a good chance to make the most of his car's race pace on Sunday. Nico Rosberg will be disappointed with fifth on the grid after failing to match the pace of team-mate Hamilton all weekend.

Fernando Alonso was 0.8s off Vettel's pace, but such is Ferrari's one-lap performance deficit to the Red Bulls that he probably could not have hoped for much more than his sixth place on the grid. Felipe Massa was 0.2s further back and will start seventh on the grid ahead of good performances from both Sauber drivers in eighth and ninth.

After struggling with the balance of his car all weekend, Kimi Raikkonen endured another lacklustre qualifying session to line up tenth. He clearly made a mistake on his flying lap - unseen by the TV cameras - as his time was 0.7s off his own effort in Q2, which would have been enough for seventh on the grid had he managed to repeat it in Q3.

The two McLarens just missed out on making Q3 by less than a tenth of the second, with Jenson Button saying "we got screwed by one of the Lotuses on the last lap". The Toro Rossos and Force Indias also dropped out, with Daniel Ricciardo and Adrian Sutil both out-qualifying their respective team-mates by 0.3s.

The Williamses of Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas dropped out in the first session along with the Caterhams and Marussias. Di Resta came perilously close to joining them after coming up behind Jules Bianchi in the final sector of his lap, but managed to sneak through in 16th place regardless.