• Korean Grand Prix - Qualifying

Hamilton secures McLaren's first pole of 2011

ESPNF1 Staff
October 15, 2011

Lewis Hamilton took McLaren's first pole position of the season, beating Sebastian Vettel to the top spot in Korea by 0.222s.

Jenson Button will start third on the grid ahead of Mark Webber in fourth, Felipe Massa in fifth and Fernando Alonso in sixth.

Hamilton carried McLaren's form through from the practice sessions, blitzing sector two, which would usually be Red Bull's stomping ground. Vettel ran him close, but lost a couple of tenths in the final two sectors and just nipped in ahead of the second McLaren of Button.

However, Red Bull and McLaren took different approaches to their tyre management with Red Bull deciding only to use super-soft tyres, leaving three fresh sets of softs for the race. Meanwhile, McLaren took the more conventional route of making it through Q1 on a set of softs and then seeing out Q2 and Q3 on super-softs.

Ferrari was never in the chase for pole, and for the second race in a row Massa outqualified Alonso to line-up ahead of his team-mate on the third row. Nico Rosberg took up Mercedes' usual space in seventh with Renault's Vitaly Petrov eighth and the two Force Indias in ninth and tenth. Paul di Resta will start ahead of Adrian Sutil by virtue of starting a flying lap, even though he did not finish it.

Michael Schumacher was the biggest name to drop out in Q2 and will start 12th, behind the Toro Rosso of Jaime Alguersuari. Sebastien Buemi will line up 13th with Kamui Kobayashi alongside, ahead of Bruno Senna, who has been struggling all weekend in the Renault, Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez.

Williams' Rubens Barrichello dropped out in Q1 alongside the usual suspects making up the final six places on the grid. Daniel Ricciardo failed to set a time after furious work on his car during the session by his HRT mechanics, and will have to hope the stewards let him start the race after he failed to set a time within 107% of the fastest Q1 time during practice.