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GP Week : Issue 171
Back-to-back wins for Vettel meant he retained the momentum as Formula One arrived in Korea. The team was quick again in practice and a software glitch in FP3 didn’t prevent Webber from getting the better of his team-mate in qualifying; he grabbed pole, but Vettel did enough to secure a second consecutive front-row lock-out for RBR. A sluggish start for Webber allowed Vettel to take the initiative and build a comfortable lead, which he controlled for the duration. Webber never challenged but held second to round out an RBR one-two. Mercedes made small tweaks to the W03 following Suzuka but seemed to lose pace towards the end of long runs. Despite being quick along the straights in sector one, the Silver Arrows started from the tail end of the top ten. Nico Rosberg pulled aside on lap two after being punted by Kobayashi under braking for the Turn 3 hairpin, while Schumacher didn’t have the pace to threaten the top ten; he came home in a disappointing 12th place after losing out to Force India’s Di Resta towards the end. McLaren brought a raft of updates to Yeongam in an attempt to stay in touch with Red Bull. Hamilton went quickest on a green track in FP1 and was baffled by a lack of performance in second practice. Hamilton posed the biggest threat to RBR by going third in Q3. However, high tyre degradation due to a rear anti-roll bar failure forced him onto a three-stopper, which sent him backwards to tenth place. Button qualified 11th and his race only lasted until Turn 3 on the opening lap when he was clipped by Kobayashi’s Sauber. Lotus trialled a new Coanda-style exhaust package in free practice and, while the upgrade was far from optimised, chose to keep it on Raikkonen’s car. The Finn was underwhelmed by the updates but qualified fifth to split the Ferraris, while team-mate Grosjean lined-up seventh. Raikkonen held position in the race, taking more solid points to retain third in the drivers’ standings. Grosjean, on the other hand, lost ground at the start but fought his way back up to seventh following a prolonged tussle with Force India’s Hulkenburg and Hamilton in an ailing McLaren. The F2012 seemed to be well-balanced from the outset of the Korean Grand Prix weekend. Alonso wrung his Ferrari’s neck at the start of qualifying but barely scraped through to Q2. The Spaniard was back in play thereafter and went fourth fastest with Massa sixth. Another lightning start from Alonso saw him snatch third from Hamilton at Turn 1 and, while team-mate Massa was notably quicker in the latter stages and was perhaps capable of challenging Webber for second, the Brazilian held station in fourth – Ferrari now lies second in the constructors’ table. Hulkenburg featured in the top-ten shootout and lined-up eighth. The young German found himself in a drawn-out battle with Grosjean; a shrewd move around the outside of the Lotus driver and Hamilton’s troubled McLaren at Turn 4 on lap 40 assured him of sixth place. Di Resta could only manage 14th in qualifying after using a fresh set of Options just to get out of Q1. The Scot was embroiled in a fight with Schumacher’s Mercedes for much of the race and eventually used his DRS to snatch 12th from the seven-time world champion. Red Bull Mercedes McLaren Lotus Ferrari Force India TEAM-BY-TEAM: KOREAN GRAND PRIX 34 GPWEEK.com // 34 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> KOREA