Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mark Webber Takes First 2012 F1 Season Pole in Korea

Photo source: Pirelli Photo Service

Running hot in the Formula 1 series thanks to wins in Singapore and Japan, Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull-Renault has made up 35 points on Ferrari's Fernando Alonso. Entering the Korean Grand Prix, Vettel sits only 4 point back from the Spaniard Alonso creating meaningful 6-race run to the completion of the 2012 Formula 1 season.

The third time visiting the Korean International Circuit, race teams really only have one season of usable notes at the 5.615-kilometer track based on the inaugural grand prix being a rain-marred affair. It only only in the 2011 race that the Korean International Circuit high g corners and twisty characteristics gave the open wheel cars a true measure for competition. Still a bit of wild card for drivers and teams, the Korean Grand Prix could pose an interesting challenge with the narrowing world championship. Amusingly, the two previous winners of the Korean Formula 1 race is Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel.

Qualifying for the 2012 edition of the Korean Grand Prix take place at 22 degrees Celsius on a dry surface, Sebastian Vettel immediately asserted authority on the race course. Setting top time in the first and second round of time trials, the Q3 session allowed the two-time reigning Formula 1 champion to feel confident. As Vettel pegged a 1 minute, 37.316 second time on the scoreboard, the final instant of the 10-minute session would have the #1 Red Bull-Renault unseated from the top of the grid by the team car. Crossing the start-finish line with a 1 minute, 37.242 second lap, Mark Webber secured his first earned pole position in the 2012 Formula 1 season. Webber did start on pole at Monaco but only because fastest-driver in qualifying Michael Schumacher was demoted for a penalty.

With all Red Bull Racing front row, Lewis Hamilton grabbed the third spot for the start of the 55-lap Korean Grand Prix. Driving for McLaren-Mercedes through the end of the season, Hamilton and his teammate Jenson Button (starting 11th) are fighting for individual as well as team honours through the rest of 2012. In second place in the constructor's championship, McLaren F1 is 41 points behind Red Bull Racing and 20 points ahead of Ferrari. With a maximum of 43 points available in each of the remaining grand prix races, there is a lot of room for movement entering the Korean Grand Prix between the top teams.

Looking to be able to once again put distance on others in the driver's championship, Fernando Alonso starts 4th in the second row. The third row of Korean Grand Prix is occupied by the Lotus-Renault of Kimi Raikkonen alongside the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa. Romain Grosjean for the Lotus F1 Team and Nico Hulkenberg driving the Force India-Mercedes will sit in the fourth row on the grid ahead of the Mercedes GP squad. Nico Rosberg leads Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes GP team as thry round out the top-10 on the Formaul 1 grid for the Korean Grand Prix.

Losing brakes before he was able to log a qualifying lap in Q1, Narain Karthikeyan has been granted permission to start the Korean Grand Prix with his HRT-Cosworth securing a full 24-car field.

Formula 1
Korean Grand Prix
Starting Lineup

Pos # Car #/ Driver/ Constructor
1 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
2 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
3 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
4 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
5 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault
6 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari
7 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault
8 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes
9 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP
10 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP
11 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
12 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari
13 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari
14 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes
15 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault
16 16 Daniel Ricciardo Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari
17 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari
18 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault
19 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault
20 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault
21 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth
22 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT F1
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT F1
24 25 Charlie Pic Marussia-Cosworth

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