Red Bulls beat Alonso to claim the front row (Korean Grand Prix qualifying)

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Korea, 2010

The circuit may be brand new but there’s nothing new about the front row of the grid: Sebastian Vettel leads another all-Red Bull front row.

The pair beat Fernando Alonso’s time in the dying moments of Q3 to grab the front row of the grid for the first Korean Grand Prix.


The first part of qualifying ended with the three fastest drivers – Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso – separated by just a few hundredths of a second.

The battle to escape the bottom seven was, as usual, contested mainly by the bottom three teams, of which Jarno Trulli was the fastest driver. Timo Glock took 20th behind him after a spin.

Nick Heidfeld was briefly in the bottom seven but improved his time by 2.5 seconds to grab a place in Q2.

That left the fight between the Force India and Toro Rosso drivers. It was Vitantonio Liuzzi who fell short, losing time in the final sector on his last run, condemning him to 18th.

Driver eliminated in Q1

18 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’38.955
19 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’40.521
20 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’40.748
21 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1’41.768
22 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1’42.325
23 Sakon Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1’42.444
24 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’43.283


Red Bull showed their hand in the second part of qualifying with Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel taking over at the top of the times.

But it remained very close – Webber just four hundredths of a second quicker than his team mate, with Felipe Massa’s Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren within a tenth of a second.

The Sauber pair only did one run during the session and neither made it through to Q3.

Vitaly Petrov spun and ended the session 15th – he will take a five-place grid penalty following his Suzuka crash and start 20th.

The two Toro Rossos were eliminated along with Adrian Sutil.

Nico H???lkenberg was the last driver to be knocked out, one tenth of a second slower than team mate Rubens Barrichello.

Driver eliminated in Q2

11 Nico H???lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’37.620
12 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’37.643
13 Nick Heidfeld Sauber-Ferrari 1’37.715
14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’37.783
15 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’37.799
16 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’37.853
17 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’38.594


Fernando Alonso led the way to begin with in qualifying after an astonishingly fast first sector time put him provisionally on pole position.

He improved on his second run but the Red Bulls left their final efforts as late as possible and beat his time to lock out the front row of the grid once again.

Having trailled his team mate in Q2, Vettel was a crucial seven hundredths of a second faster in Q3.

Hamilton could only manage fourth, three-tenths of a second slower than Alonso, after surviving a lurid slide on his way into the pits between laps.

A late improvement by Nico Rosberg knocked Massa back to sixth and left Button in seventh.

But Renault’s anticipated pace failed to materialise – Robert Kubica could only manage eighth.

Top ten in Q3

1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’35.585
2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’35.659
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’35.766
4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’36.062
5 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’36.535
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’36.571
7 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’36.731
8 Robert Kubica Renault 1’36.824
9 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’36.950
10 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’36.998

2010 Korean Grand Prix

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Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

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Keith Collantine
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135 comments on “Red Bulls beat Alonso to claim the front row (Korean Grand Prix qualifying)”

  1. Great qualifying, I think Alonso should be able to take Webber at the start since he is on the clean side.

    1. yeah there is a big chance webber will be intimidated by alonso n he’ll try to squeeze him n let sumone else pass both of them.

    2. I think Webber will be further down than that before T1. The dirty side + Webbers horrid starts wont do him any good.. Alonso will attack Vettel in T3.
      But in the speed trap from qualifying Vettel was couple of Km/h faster than both Ferraris and Webber so I don’t know what will happend.. I hope Vettel will hold his ground. And if he does, the rest of the field goes bye bye

      1. I honestly believe that Webber is having awful starts because Red Bull momentarily reduce his engine performance to favour vettel at the starts.

        1. They’re not allowed to manage the engine from the pit wall Ozzy, Webber would have to do that himself.

        2. I hope you’re not sincere. That’s the stupidest conspiracy theory to date.

        3. There is someting with the RPM setting for the start that can make or break a start.

          Remember how Barrichello was complaining last year about the team messing up his starts.

          They estimate the grip levels and set an RPM accordingly so the driver can drop the clutch without wheel spin or stalling.

          Perhaps they get it wrong when one driver is on the dirty side and the other on the clean side.

          1. yeah they set up the clutches and rpm and what not. And no matter what Webber is slow away most of the times. Not just from the line but he’s not good at the first lap in general it seems. At least the second half of this year.
            And I do think he will be more and more cautious on his first laps.. Until he’s no longer in the lead.. After that, I have no idea what he will do… He’s a pretty aggressive defender.. often over aggressive.. And that might be what will happen..

          2. Webber has never been a good starter. This isn’t a Red Bull thing, all through his F1 career he is usually slow off the line.

      2. Exactly.

        After T3 we might see ALO, VET, HAM, WEB/ROS, BUT, MAS

        I believe both VMM should gain places, and WEB & MAS will have a rough time

    3. Plus the Mclaren’s were several tenths faster through the first sector, more than enough to make up a place or two with a good tow. Should be a hectic first lap.

      1. the mercedes had a top speed that was even higher than the mclarens. i hate to say it but i think there will be a big smash at T3

  2. Disappointed by that qualifying for McLarens but overall it was very tense. I was really expecting Lewis on the front row. Anyway, I don’t think qualifying will mean much in the actual race. 60% chance of rain will wash away all that rubber laid down, Ferraris, McLarens have better race pace than RBR and Mercedes have a good engine.

    This can be anyone’s race.

    1. itz become a habit. they are always on pole.

      1. Younger Hamilton
        23rd October 2010, 8:17

        Yeah we all know its really messing up F1 we’re becoming sick of it now anyway its anyone’s race if it races even if it doesnt.

        1. $10 says you wouldn’t be complaining about it “messing up F1” if it was McLaren locking out front row most races.

          1. Actually, even tho tat wudve made me really happy, i wudve gotten bored if mclaren kept locking the front row.

        2. Yeah I’m sick of it. I would have been great to have Alonso or Lewis on pole.

  3. I think the difference in strategy for HRT was really interesting. While Senna opted to run the Monza Front/Rear Wing arrangement, Yamamoto ran the Singapore rig………..

    1. wasnt chandok supsd to drive in korea?

    2. When are people just going to admit that Yamamoto is at least as good as Senna—who was, by the way, comparable to Chandok? Senna has turned out to be the most overhyped driver to come in to the sport this year.

      1. MercedesBeanz
        23rd October 2010, 8:51

        Totally agree on Senna. He’s just there because he’s using his uncle’s surname.

        1. He isn’t having the best of seasons, Chandhok, Senna and Yamamoto appear to be pretty average at best at the moment.

          Senna did finish second in GP2 in 2008 so I wouldn’t say he is exclusively “using his uncles surname” only.

        2. But do you know for how long he wasn’t allowed to race? Others were racing go-karts for years when he started.

    3. thats hilarious. Methinks DaveW possibly didn’t get it.

  4. How many of the first 4 cars do you think will still be running after lap 1? :)

    1. What are you suggesting? That we’re going to have another RBR clash?

      1. I don’t think so. I think that ALO will try to take on WEB, and HAM will be right there trying to take on them. So, I’m just scared after the first lap any of WEB/ALO/HAM could be out. I hope not, but kind of scared of that!

        Specially since overtaking forces cars to drive through the dirty sides of the track, so overtaking is the best chance to spin…

        1. HAM is on the dirty side. So there is a good change he will be pipped.

          Then again, ALO has also been struggling with his starts lately.

          1. Front-rowers havent crashed in the start for a long time, so i believe all 4 will be running, but of course more action=more fun to watch :)

  5. great qualifying….enjoyed a lot……especially when redbulls blowed alonso in the dying times of q3,i nearly broke my laptop in excitement……..great guys….f1 forever….

  6. Barrichello claimed someone impeded him in Q2 on the radio. Channel 10 in Australia thought it was Vettel after their conversation at the weigh-in. I thought Brundle said it was Schumacher he was unhappy with though. Does anyone know? Is there a stewards inquiry/protest?

    1. It was Schumacher. The BBC coverage looked at this quite a lot and during the interviews with the press Schumy approached Barrichello to apologise or something, we didn’t hear what he said.

    2. Schumacher. Massive amount of blocking, as reported on the BBC post quali show. Schumacher did make a point of apologising in the media pen, and Rubens made a point of whinging about it afterwards anyway. :)

      1. MercedesBeanz
        23rd October 2010, 7:53

        Ruebens has not stopped whinging since 1998! he ought to stop playing victim all the time whenever he spots a camera! Frankly I think its a shame that he seems to be guaranteed a drive next year while new young drivers like Hulkenberg, Liuzzi and Petrov may have to leave the sport before they even they had a chance to develop :(

        1. Dunno what you’re on about here.

          Barrichello was clearly blocked and had every right to be upset about it.

          Secondly, he’s doing a really good job at Williams, regularly getting into Q3 and currently with more than twice the amount of points as his teammate.

        2. Liuzzi hasn’t had a chance to develop? He’s shown no improvement since his first drive back in about 2005. The guy is an absolute clown and deserves to lose his seat. He didn’t deserve to get a seat this year anyway.

          Barrichello is still very competitive and is showing a good number of drivers a clean set of heels, until his performances go south there is absolutely no reason for him to leave the sport.

          And if he was impeded by Schumacher he’s got a reason to be crabby. And if Schu apologised for it, its obvious that he was being impeded.

        3. Hülkenberg and Petrov I understand. Especially Hülkenberg who has done a really good job recently!
          But Liuzzi? Nothing good has come from his side since… ever? He’s terrible.

          1. MercedesBeanz
            23rd October 2010, 8:49

            Ok with Liuzzi, I maybe pushing it, although I think there is more to come from him. But its not just these examples, how many racing drivers outside of F1 who don’t have the money or the sponsorship are waiting for a vacant seat. I know its the nature of the sport, big money backing that is, but Reubens in my opinion is not that much of a talent that he should be around for so long, fresh young talent like Hulkenberg is exactly what teams like williams need; look at Kobayashi has done at Sauber!

          2. MercedesBeanz
            23rd October 2010, 8:51

            Not mention Chandouk of course

          3. MercedesBeanz, I don’t think Liuzzi is either good or fresh talent though. But yeah Barichello is pushing it a bit I think.. He should stop while he still has some form of speed left. He’s obviously still having a good time and does quite good sometimes. But yeah… There’s some really good young drivers who should get a chance!

        4. Liuzzi, really?
          The litmus test is this, if you changed the nationality of a driver to one with very little financial backing, would they still have their drive? I would say no for both Petrov and Liuzzi.

        5. I wonder how many people said Fangio should step aside and make room for younger drivers?

    3. I wouldn’t trust the Australian commentators – they’d say it was Vettel impeding someone even if Vettel had been the one to call it in. They want Webber to win, badly, and will do or say anyhting that they think will improve his chances.

      1. what is sad tho hulkerberg leavin n GP2 champion (fgot name) taking his seat probably cause he can get sum 15million dollars. F1 is more of a paid seat now! :P

      2. yeah, becuase EVERYONE takes notice of what Rust and Beattie have to say. Their opinions are held in quite high regard by …………………….. well I’m sure there might be someone.

        They’re absolute spanners.

        1. Well, that’s what I thought, but I wanted to be sure. The whole monkeys and typewriters thing lead me to believe they could be right this time.

      3. Sort of like what the BBC do for Lewis and Button!

    4. well, I just saw the Qualy again and at the weigh-in area Vettel runs towards Barrichello with a clear “I’m sorry face” (no sound)

  7. Great quals !
    Feel a bit disappointed for Kubica though.

    Very interesting grid for the head of championship.
    Vettel ahead of webber will make interesting the first turns between RedBulls, Alonso 3rd but on the clean side of the track for turn 1 and then he got speed advantage. And “straight speedy” Hamilton just behind all of them despite being on the dirty side.

    Can’t wait for the race to start.

    1. Kubica had problems with oversteering and balance, because of changed conditions beetwen training and qualifing sesion. Renault didnt figure it out – what was the main reason of unexplained car behaviour.

  8. Webber must be really hate starting on the dirty side of the grid again. I think Alonso should be able to jump him into turn 1, and whether Alonso can capitalise on S1 and jump Vettel, that remains to be seen. I think we are in for a stellar race tomorrow.

    1. But Webber has the inside line going into the first turn …

      1. The whole track is dirty… Webber isn’t know for great starts anyway. He needs a third, 4th or 5th to stay on top I think. If he pushes for a win and screws the pooch then he’s giving the WDC away.

  9. Can’t help but think, and then there were 4 (more likely 3, but I still believe Lewis has a shout ;) )

    1. I think you should wait till the end of the first corner before making that judgement.

      1. I think the last corner is the killer on this track :)

  10. Food for the conspiracy theorists :P
    Massa’s Q2 time: 1:36.169
    Massa’s Q3 time: 1:36.571

    1. For fans of the Mary Whitehouse Experience/Newman and Baddiel:

      “Oh no, what a personal disaster.”

    2. He used an extra set of options in Q2 (kind if dumb strategy IMHO), so he was short of them in Q3. But it’s curious nonetheless that he was the only driver to have a worse time in Q3 than in Q2 :)

  11. A shocking qualifying…looks like the Bulls are in for the title. Unbelievable performance all year. I really thought McLaren had at least the front row, Jense complained of the front tyres(big surprise of course)…Lewis says he got everything out of the chassis, will be an interesting race.
    Will Alonso try to squeeze Lewis on the inside?

    1. As soon as I heard “This weekend is all about the tyres” I thought “That’s the end of Massa and Button’s weekend, then.”

      1. How is it the end of Button’s weekend? He’s easier on his tyres than anyone else on the grid.

        1. I think he meant that Jense wont challenge any one up top, and may infact lose places based on his tyre issues and the need he has apparently to drive an absolutely perfect car in every sense of the word.

          1. Good point PM! I didn’t even think of that! :)