McLaren’s Hamilton and Button seal second row

The fiery Red Bulls sealed the front row of the starting grid for Indian Grand Prix on Sunday as Sebastian Vettel (1:25.283s) and Mark Webber (1:25.327s) belted out the two best timings in the flying laps of the qualifiers on Saturday afternoon.

The defending champion, who won his fifth pole position of the season and the 36th of his career, did not have a smooth run in Q3 though, as he swerved away from his racing line on Turn 4 after a terrible oversteer and locked his front wheels. But as they say, resilience defines a true champion.

Vettel promptly aborted his lap and returned to the pits for a fresh set of tyres. And when he got out, the German seemed to be running on hot wheels. What one saw thereafter was raw, blistering pace as Vettel whipped up his pole position-winning time.

The Red Bull driver, however, was quite modest about his performance in Q3.

“Fortunately, I got the lap together and was very happy with the lap itself.

“Here and there potentially could have been a bit faster, especially Turn 4, because this time I was making sure I was not locking up the fronts. But yeah, all in all, it has been a great weekend so far,” said Vettel.

The McLaren drivers, Lewis Hamilton (1:25.544s) and Jenson Button (1:25.659s), weren’t far behind as they occupied the second row.

Despite his car not being as swift as the Red Bulls, Hamilton had no complaints.

Hamilton satisfied

He was quite satisfied with third position on the starting grid.

“Yeah, I am absolutely happy. To have us on the second row — I mean we are not quick enough to be ahead of these guys (Vettel and Webber) — but we can definitely challenge them in the race,” said Hamilton.

It was a disappointing day for both Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, who once again struggled to keep his car on the track at least on two occasions today — once in the morning free practice and then in Q3. The Ferraris filled up the third row on the grid with Alonso fifth fastest in Q3.

“We tried to get the most of what we had, but there was no way we could be ahead of the Red Bulls and McLarens.

“But in the end, fifth place is not so bad, because we could have ended up further down the grid,” Alonso said.

With Alonso off his back literally, Vettel should be able to breathe easy on Sunday when the cars take up their positions on the starting grid.

The German’s reputation for being a tough cookie when starting from the front is very well known in the F1 circuit.

Two of his last three successive victories have come after starting from the front row.

So, will it be different here at the Buddh International Circuit?

The top five grids:

First row: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) and Mark Webber; Second row: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) and Jenson Button (McLaren); Third row: Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) and Felipe Massa (Ferrari); Fourth row: Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) and Sergio Perez (Sauber); Fifth row: Pastor Maldonado (Williams) and Nico Rosberg (Mercedes).

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