WALL

 

Sebastian Vettel made it nine poles for the season with a storming drive in wet conditions to take first place on the grid for tomorrow’s Brazilian Grand Prix. Q3 was delayed because of the amount of standing water on the track, but the tricky conditions didn’t faze Vettel, who was six-tenths of a second quicker than his nearest challenger, Nico Rosberg.

Earlier in the session drivers had been using the intermediate tyres, but as the rain came down more heavily, race control delayed the start of the final part of qualifying. When the drivers finally took to the track, they emerged on wet tyres before changing back to the intermediates as the conditions improved. It was Romain Grosjean who made the decision first, and the Lotus driver took provisional pole when he switched tyres. However his team was soon beaten when the other drivers changed tyres too and made their flying laps on a track which was getting faster.

Vettel bested Grosjean’s time by 1.1 seconds, and was too fast for any of his rivals to challenge him for pole. Rosberg managed to snatch P2 ahead of Fernando Alonso, who put in an impressive drive to give him his best qualifying result since Bahrain. The Ferrari driver was followed by Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton, while Grosjean’s time saw him end up in P6.

The two Toro Rosso cars showed their capability in wet conditions, with Daniel Ricciardo and Jean Eric Vergne qualifying in P7 and P8 respectively, but it was another disappointing qualyfing for McLaren who went out in Q2. Sergio Perez managed to stay ahead of team mate Jenson Button in P14 despite spinning and crashing his car into the wall near the end of Q2.

Paul di Resta failed to reach Q3, but qualified in P12 ahead of team mate Adrian Sutil, who could only manage P16. Speaking after qualifying, di Resta said:- “”The wet conditions have made for a very difficult weekend so far and I was only able to complete very limited running in the build-up to qualifying. So we’ve pretty much stuck with the set-up we decided on before coming here, which will hopefully help us tomorrow if the conditions improve and we get a dry track. If it is dry there will be a lot of unknowns, especially with the tyres on a green track, and there’s the possibility that we can take advantage of that. If it’s wet then we are in a good position to race for points because our performance in the wet this weekend has been a step forward compared with earlier in the year. We will keep pushing and hopefully tomorrow we will be smiling after the race.”

Di Resta’s qualifying head-to-head sees him beating Sutil 12-7, but despite outqualifying and outscoring his team mate, his future in F1 is still uncertain. Rumours around the paddock have suggested a return to DTM, or even replacing cousin Dario Franchitti in IndyCar, but di Resta insists still he has no idea where he will end up after the season ends. The Scot will be hoping for a strong finish in tomorrow’s race to give him the best possible chance of retaining his place in Formula 1.

Full Qualifying Results

1 VETTEL 1:26.479

2 ROSBERG (+0.623)

3 ALONSO (+1.060)

4 WEBBER (+1.093)

5 HAMILTON (+1.198)

6 GROSJEAN (+1.258)

7 RICCIARDO (+1.573)

8 VERGNE (+1.602)

9 MASSA (+1.630)

10 HULKENBERG (+3.103)

11 KOVALAINEN (Q2)

12 DI RESTA (Q2)

13 BOTTAS (Q2)

14 PEREZ (Q2)

15 BUTTON (Q2)

16 SUTIL (Q2)

17 MALDONADO (Q3)

18 GUTIERREZ (Q3)

19 PIC (Q3)

20 VAN DER GARDE (Q3)

21 BIANCHI (Q3)

22 CHILTON (Q3)