• Korean Grand Prix - Qualifying

Vettel leads Red Bull front-row lockout in Korea

ESPNF1 Staff
October 23, 2010 « Kubica sets surprise pace in final practice | »

Red Bull secured a front-row lockout for the Korean Grand Prix, with Sebastian Vettel taking pole position ahead of championship leader and team-mate Mark Webber.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was just 0.181 off Vettel's time and lost out in the twisty final sector of the lap where the Red Bulls were peerless. However, Alonso and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who qualified fourth, were considerably faster in the first sector, suggesting they will be able to attack Vettel and Webber at the start.

Hamilton finished 0.5 seconds down on Vettel overall, as both McLarens struggled to maintain tyre temperature and failed to match the expectations they set in practice. Team-mate Button was seventh, behind Nico Rosberg and Felipe Massa on the grid, and will be relying on a good start to get into contention.

Crucial to the start will be the side of the grid the drivers are on. The left hand side, where 2nd place and all the even numbers start from, has hardly been used and is expected to offer very little grip as the drivers pull away.

Also starting on the left will be Robert Kubica, who qualified a slightly disappointing eighth after setting the pace in the final practice session. He will line up ahead of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, who have entered into another off-track dispute after the Mercedes blocked the Williams in Q2. The incident did not stop Barrichello making Q3 but may well be reviewed by the stewards and adds to the tension between the ex-Ferrari team-mates after Schumacher drove Barrichello towards the pit wall at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Nico Hulkenberg had the opportunity to take advantage of his team-mate Barrichello's misfortune, but failed to nail a good enough lap and ended up qualifying in 11th. Behind the Williams pair, the two Saubers will start 12th and 13th ahead of Adrian Sutil in 14th. Vitaly Petrov qualified 15th after spinning on his final soft-tyre attempt, but will start from 20th after his Japanese Grand Prix penalty has been factored into the results.

That will move Tonio Liuzzi up one place after he failed to make Q2 for the second race in a row. After a puncture in final practice he entered into the unknown in Q1 on soft tyres and pushed too hard in sectors one and two, leaving him struggling for grip with graining and costing him time in sector three.

Tyre management will be another crucial factor for the race with the low-grip surface working the Bridgestones particularly hard and resulting in high degradation. Depending on the condition of the track, some drivers may have to make two stops and starting on the hard tyres could be an advantage as by the time the track has rubbered in the softs will last longer.

At the very back of the grid, Jarno Trulli was the fastest driver from the new teams ahead of Virgin's Timo Glock. Heikki Kovalainen will start 21st ahead of Lucas di Grassi and Sakon Yamamoto qualified off the back of the grid for the first time this season, beating his HRT team-mate Bruno Senna by 0.8 seconds.