F1 Korea Quali Results & Full Report: Vettel, Webber Hold Off Alonso for Front Row


What Happens When Ferrari is So Close, but So Far Away

2:12am EST — Sebastian Vettel won yet another pole in the last moment, pipping session leader Fernando Alonso on his final run for the front row start. Mark Webber made it a Red Bull front row, relegating Alonso to starting third. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg completed the top five starters for the 2010 Korean Grand Prix. Jenson Button will start seventh after a generally uneventful qualifying session for the entire grid. As a reminder, Vitaly Petrov has a five-place grid penalty for causing a collision in Japan, dropping him from his fifteenth-place qualifying to start twentieth.

Robert Kubica was the fastest driver of the weekend in the final practice session Saturday morning before qualifying for the inaugural Korean Grand Prix, followed within one tenth of Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, and Mark Webber, with fifth fastest Nico Rosberg nearly three tenths slower than the pole. It was a generally uneventful session, with no times set until well into practice as the track was cooler and less grippy than it had been Friday afternoon. Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel were seventh and sixteenth fastest, respectively. Webber was the fastest driver for the second practice session at the Yeongam circuit, improving from his seventh fastest time in the first Friday practice session. He was followed by Alonso, Hamilton, Kubica, and Button as the fastest five. Final title contender Vettel was seventh fastest, just slower than Massa. The Ferrari duo improved, as has been their wont all season, from fifteenth and twelfth in the first session, respectively. Hamilton dropped from fastest in the first session, as Kubica did from second fastest. Button was fifth fastest in both as a fire in the rear of his car kept him from running during much of the second session, as rear changes did to Hamilton in the first session.

Q1:
Kovalainen was the first out in the twenty minute first third of qualifying, with half the field following him soon thereafter under the cloudy Korean sky. Nearly five minutes into Q1 and only the title contenders, Massa, and Kubica had not yet entered the fray. Kovalainen’s first time (1:45.450) was to fall quickly, as Petrov, then a number of drivers, as both Ferraris entered the circuit on the hard tire, according to Ferrari on Twitter. Five minutes in and Schumacher led Alguersuari, Kobayashi, Heidfeld, and Petrov as the fastest five. Hamilton was soon fastest on his first lap, then Hulkenberg, with Kobayashi slotting into second. Times fell and drivers shuffled their positions with Hamilton leading at about the halfway point. Massa, Rosberg, Hulkenberg, Koabyashi, Petrov, Alguersuari, Schumacher, Barrichello, and Buemi completedthe fastest ten. Trulli, di Grassi, Kovalainen, Yamamoto, Senna, Button, and Kubica were in the knockout zone, with the final two not having set a time.

Alonso was fastest with a 1:37.395 while just under nine minutes remained and the point was simply to continue on. Hamilton bettered the Spaniard’s time, by nearly .28s, with Vettel soon taking second. At the five minutes to go mark, Hamilton led Vettel, Alonso, Massa, Rosberg, Webber, Schumacher, Hulkenberg, Kobayashi, and Petrov as the top ten while Kubica and his lack of a time joined the new teams in the knockout zone. Button was only fourteenth fastest on his first fast lap, then moved up to tenth as Heidfeld joined the new teams. Kubica was eleventh fastest. Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso, Massa, and Rosberg (1-3rd, 4-6th) were the only drivers in the garage with three minutes left, then Webber joined them. Alonso was soon back out on another set of hard tires, according to Ferrari on Twitter. Liuzzi was in the knockout zone with a minute and a half left, with teammate Sutil just ahead, seventeenth fastest. The session ended with Hamilton fastest (1:37.113), Vettel, Alonso, Webber, Massa, Kkubica, Rosberg, Schumacher, Hulkenberg, and Button the fastest ten.

Drivers Knocked Out at the End of Q1:
18. Liuzzi 1:38.955
19. Trulli 1:40.521
20. Glock 1:40.748
21. Kovalainen 1:41.768
22. di Grassi 1:42.325
23. Yamamoto 1:42.444
24. Senna 1:43.283

Q2:
Alguersuari was the first out for the fifteen minutes of Q2, with Hulkenberg and Massa (on the soft tires), then a bevy of drivers following him. Less than two minutes later, only Heidfeld and Kobayashi had not left the garage. Five minutes in, Alonso led Vettel, Schumacher, Button, Hulkenberg, Alguersuari, Sutil, Buemi, and Kubica as the fastest ten. Webber, Petrov, Barrichello, Rosberg, Hamilton, and Heidfeld and Kobayashi without times were in the knockout zone. That would not last, as Webber slid into second fastest soon thereafter. Halfway through the session and most of the drivers were back into the garage. Heidfeld and Kobayashi, however, were taking advantage of clear track for their first fast laps.

Four mintes left had Vettel leading Webber, Alonso, Massa, and Hamilton as the fastest five. Button was in danger in ninth while Petrov, Hulkenberg, Alguersuari, Sutil, Buemi, and the two without times were in the knockout zone. Both Saubers were still there after their first lap while Alonso went fastest (1:36.287) on the softer tire. Button moved up to seventh as the seconds ticked down. Petrov was assured of being knocked out (and further back) with a spin. Vettel went fastest, then Webber as the checkered flag waved. At the end, the Australian stayed at the top with a 1:36.039, leading Vettel (by .035s), Massa, Hamilton, Alonso, Rosberg, Button, Schumacher, Kubica, and Barrichello as the fastest ten and the men who continue on to Q3.

Drivers Knocked Out at the End of Q2:
11. Hulkenberg 1:37.620
12. Kobayashi 1:37.643
13. Heidfeld 1:37.715
14. Sutil 1:37.783
15. Petrov 1:37.799
16. Alguersuari 1:37.853
17. Buemi 1:38.594

Q3:
Webber was first out for the ten minute Q3, followed by the McLaren duo, Alonso, Kubica, and Barrichello. Soon Vettel joined in as well. Alonso was fastest (1:35.927) with six minutes left, followed by Hamilton, Kubica, Webber, Button, and Barrichello as the only drivers with times at that time. Vettel’s first time (1:36.000) took him to second fastest as they all returned to the garage for final adjustments. Hamilton actually lost his rear end while returning to the pits, but he saved it and continued on. Alonso was soon back out, with just over three minutes left. Massa, Schumacher, and Rosberg were all on the circuit, working on their first and only runs in Q3.

Everyone was out with two minutes left as Massa went right to fourth fastest. No times were looking particularly faster with less than a minute. Massa returned to the garage, leaving his time to stand as Webber posted a personal best in sector 1, fastest of all in sector two, and ended his lap second fastest to Alonso. Vettel had a personal best in sector one, fastest in sector two, and pole on his final lap as Webber’s lap advanced him over Alonso to make another Red Bull front row start.

Final Qualifying Times for the 2010 Korean Grand Prix:
1. Vettel 1:35.585
2. Webber 1:35.659
3. Alonso 1:35.766
4. Hamilton 1:36.062
5. Rosberg 1:36.535
6. Massa 1:36.571
7. Button 1:36.731
8. Kubica 1:36. 824
9. Schumacher 1:36.950
10. Barrichello 1:36.998

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