Sebastian Vettel drove brilliantly to get out on top of the qualifying stages in India and set yet another lap record at the Buddh International Circuit with a time of 1m24.119s. The Red Bull driver, who really seems to love it here, was 1.7secs faster than the rest when switched from medium compound tyres to the soft compound in Q3. The Mercedes cars of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton managed to close the timing deficit on Sebastian after their own tyre switches, bringing the gap down to 0.752s and 0.822s respectively. Vettel’s teammate mark Webber, who was second behind the German throughout the practice sessions managed to clock fourth fastest on the medium tyre setup in Q3, slotting himself on the second row of the grid with a lap time of 1m25.047s.
After previously blitzing to the top of the time charts on all three free practice sessions at the BIC, the Vettel was one of few drivers who chose to drive out into Q1 on medium tyres. He safely made the Q2 cut off but not all drivers who opted for that strategy in qualifying were so successful. After a brilliant drive to third at Suzuka, Romain Grosjean appeared to be in contention for the top grid slots post some strong runs in practice, but he failed to make the Q2 cut after opting to start off on medium compound tyres. The Frenchman now lines-up alongside Pastor Maldonado in the Williams on row nine of the grid.
Fernando Alonso, who was second fastest to Vettel’s 1m24.568 by 0.317s in Q2, could only go eighth fastest in his Ferrari while teammate Felipe Massa managed to position himself a row ahead of the Spaniard – going fifth fastest. The Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg’s Sauber divides the two Ferraris.
The McLaren team were pleased to see both their cars making it to Q3 this time around, but Sergio Perez and Jenson Button were only able to bring their heavily revised Mclaren cars to round up the top ten grid slots at ninth and tenth position on the Indian circuit.
2013 Airtel India GP qualifying result
1. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault, 1m24.119s
2. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1m24.871s
3. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1m24.941s
4. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault, 1m25.047s
5. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1m25.201s
6. Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus-Renault, 1m25.248s
7. Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber-Ferrari, 1m25.334s
8. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 1m25.826s
9. Sergio Perez, McLaren-Mercedes, 1m26.153s
10. Jenson Button, McLaren-Mercedes, 1m26.487s
11. Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1m25.519s
12. Paul Di Resta, Force India-Mercedes, 1m25.711s
13. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes, 1m25.740s
14. Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1m25.798s
15. Valtteri Bottas, Williams-Renault, 1m26.134s
16. Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber-Ferrari, 1m26.336s
17. Romain Grosjean, Lotus-Renault, 1m26.577s
18. Pastor Maldonado, Williams-Renault, 1m26.842s
19. Jules Bianchi, Marussia-Cosworth, 1m26.970s
20. Giedo Van Der Garde, Caterham-Renault, 1m27.105s
21. Charles Pic, Caterham-Renault, 1m27.487s
22. Max Chilton, Marussia-Cosworth, 1m28.138s