• Korean Grand Prix - Qualifying

Vettel primed for 'tight battle' with Mercedes

ESPN Staff
October 5, 2013 « Pirelli certain it will remain in F1 until 2018 | Webber's car set up for overtaking »
Sebastian Vettel took his third consecutive pole position in Korea © Getty Images
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Sebastian Vettel says it will continue to be "a tight battle" with Mercedes after he took pole position for the Korean Grand Prix.

After Lewis Hamilton was quickest in both Friday practice sessions, Vettel responded with the fastest time in FP3 and then took pole position ahead of Hamilton by 0.2s. However, with Mercedes looking strong in race trim as well on Friday, Vettel says he expects the challenge to continue in tomorrow's race.

"I think it was fairly close as we could see," Vettel said. "I had a very, very good lap in Q3 on my first attempt. I knew it would be tricky to beat that time for myself so I tried again but on the second run I caught Kimi on the warm-up lap and then I was a little bit too close. We didn't have that much time to drop back a bit further so it was not ideal, but fortunately the first lap was good enough.

"As expected, Mercedes was very strong. I think they feel very pretty comfortable in the middle sector so it's a tight battle. It's a bit of a surprise, this year we're very good in sector one which is mostly straights, so the car is pretty good through those two corners that we have in the first sector and it seems that it's competitive down the straights which is always helpful for the race; it's the easiest part of the track to make up time. In that regard I think we've got the balance right this weekend."

With a threat of rain for the race, Vettel said he wasn't concerned about a potentially wet grand prix.

"I don't really mind, it's not a disaster if it starts to rain. It's the same as usual; we have rain tyres in the garage. Obviously they're talking about heavy wind but to be honest since I arrived on Wednesday - when it was very windy - the wind seems to have died down. I think the typhoon has changed direction so I think tomorrow should be fine in terms of conditions whether it's dry or wet.

"If we get some of the rain from the typhoon isn't 100% clear at the moment but it doesn't matter. What is most important is that we did the job today and I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow."