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GP Week : Issue 193
Going into Qualifying in India, all the talk was of the durability, or lack of it, of the weekend’s ‘soft’ tyre. In some cases, it seemed likely that the Option tyre would be past its logical best after as little as five laps! Ultimately, this would result in some widely varying strategies – firstly to get into the all-important Q3, then to make the call on which rubber to run in that session and thus start the race with. Grosjean, or rather Lotus, was the first to blink – and get it wrong. It’s happened to others before, but Romain’s ‘Medium’ tyre time wasn’t good enough to get into Q2 – the team caught out as many of the mid-field contenders chose to go with the Soft option. A shattered Grosjean would start 17th. Everyone went ‘Soft’ in Q2 and so there were no surprises – that would come in Q3. Most interestingly, Red Bull ended up splitting its strategy. Knopwing that Vettel would qualify on Softs (and thus most likely get pole), Webber went the other way, opting to potentially forego a front row start in order to start the race on the Mediums (and hopefully end up in front of an early- stopping team-mate). It actually worked better than expected. Vettekl nailed pole with his first run on the Softs. The Mercedes duo tried to match him, on Softs, but fell a good seven-tenths short. Then came the second Red Bull, impressively just over a second away from Vettel’s time, and first on Mediums, cutting it by a further couple of tenths on a second lap. Massa, Raikkonen and Hulkenberg followed, all on Softs, with Alonso, Perez and Button playing the long-game, and opting to qualify as best they could on the Mediums. The grid-mix promised a fascinating race, especially if, as expected, the Softs were going to have such a limited life. And as a result, some intriguing strategies would emerge ... On the following pages, TRenT PRiCe takes a closer look at the incidents that shaped the 2013 indian Grand Prix, from Massa’s podium near-miss to Perez’s strong performance and beyond... QUALIFYING 1. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 1m24.119s 2. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1m24.871s 3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1m24.941s 4. Mark Webber (Red Bull) 1m25.047s 5. Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 1m25.201s 6. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) 1m25.248s 7. Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber) 1m25.3344s 8. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 1m25.826s 9. Sergio Perez (McLaren) 1m26.153s 10. Jenson Button (McLaren) 1m26.487s 11. Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) 1m25.519s 12. Paul di Resta (Force India) 1m25.711s 13. Adrian Sutil (Force India) 1m25.740s 14. Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) 1m25.798s 15. Valtteri Bottas (Williams) 1m26.134s 16. Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber) 1m26.336s 17. Romain Grosjean (Lotus) 1m26.577s 18. Pastor Maldonado (Williams) 1m26.842s 19. Jules Bianchi (Marussia) 1m26.970s 20. Giedo v d Garde (Caterham) 1m27.105s 21. Charles Pic (Caterham) 1m27.487s 22. Max Chilton (Marussia) 1m28.138s STRATEGY MIX THE GRID 28 GPWEEK.com // 28 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> INDIA