Monthly Archives: October 2012

Ricciardo and Vergne to stay at Toro Rosso for 2013

Both Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne have been confirmed to stay at the Toro Rosso team until the end of the 2013 season.

Ricciardo has recently impressed with 3 points-scoring positions in a row, while Vergne has a 3-point lead over his teammate. The two drivers were competing with several young drivers for 2013 drives, most notably Antonio Felix de Costa.

However, with today’s confirmation, both drivers will continue on for a second year with Red Bull’s junior team. Team principal Franz Tost today stated:

"Both drivers have done a good job this season. Daniel joined us with a few Grands 
Prix under his belt and so his feedback and experience was particularly useful while 
Jean-Eric got up to speed, often having to deal with tracks he had never seen before.

Since the summer break, both drivers have scored more points and everyone in the team 
has been impressed with their maturity in terms of working with the engineers and 
their racecraft on track. We will be doing our best in the next few months, to produce 
a 2013 car which will allow them to demonstrate their talent."

 

2013 driver market: October update

We’re 3 races away from the end of the 2012 season, and the 2013 driver market speculation is already in full swing, with many midfield teams inundated with driver applicants for next season.

Lewis Hamilton’s move to Mercedes has calmed the market at the front of the grid, but further back it’s a very different story.

Here’s a look at who has confirmed who – and who I think will be racing next season:

Red Bull Racing

1) Sebastian Vettel – Confirmed

2) Mark Webber – Confirmed

McLaren

3) Jenson Button – Confirmed

4) Sergio Perez – Confirmed

Ferrari

5) Fernando Alonso – Confirmed

6) Felipe Massa – Confirmed

Mercedes

7) Lewis Hamilton – Confirmed

8) Nico Rosberg – Confirmed

Lotus

9) Kimi Raikkonen – Confirmed

10) TBC

Probable drivers: Romain Grosjean, Paul di Resta, Heikki Kovalainen, Luiz Razia

My guess: Romain Grosjean

Force India

11) TBC

12) TBC

Probable drivers: Paul di Resta, Adrian Sutil, Jaime Alguersuari, Sebastien Buemi, Kamui Kobayashi, Robin Frijns, Jules Bianchi, Daniel Ricciardo, Heikki Kovalainen, Charles Pic, Davide Valsecchi

My guess: Paul di Resta and Heikki Kovalainen

Sauber

14) Nico Hulkenberg – Confirmed

15) TBC

Probable drivers: Kamui Kobayashi, Robin Frijns, Davide Valsecchi, Paul di Resta, Romain Grosjean, Charles Pic, Jules Bianchi, Jaime Alguersuari, Adrian Sutil, Esteban Gutierrez

My guess: Esteban Gutierrez

Toro Rosso

16) TBC

17) TBC

Probable drivers: Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne, Jaime Alguersuari, Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley, Antonio Felix de Costa

My guess: Daniel Ricciardo and Antonio Felix de Costa

Williams

18) TBC

19) TBC

Probable drivers: Pastor Maldonado, Bruno Senna, Davide Valsecchi, Adrian Sutil, Jaime Alguersuari, Charles Pic, Kamui Kobayashi, Heikki Kovalainen

My guess: Pastor Maldonado and Jaime Alguersuari

Caterham

20) TBC

21) TBC

Probable drivers: Heikki Kovalainen, Vitaly Petrov, Giedo van der Garde, Charles Pic, Daniel Ricciardo, Davide Valsecchi, Robin Frijns, Sam Bird, Antonio Felix de Costa

My guess: Giedo van der Garde and Robin Frijns

HRT

22) Pedro de la Rosa – Confirmed

23) TBC

Probable drivers: Narain Karthikeyan, Luiz Razia, Ma Qing Hua, Dani Clos, Brendon Hartley, Neel Jani, any obscure pay driver

My guess: Ma Qing Hua

Marussia

24) TBC

25) TBC

Probable drivers: Timo Glock, Charles Pic, Jerome D’Ambrosio, Max Chilton, Sam Bird, Kevin Magnussen, Oliver Turvey

My guess: Max Chilton and Timo Glock

Nico Hulkenberg to join Sauber in 2013

After the departure of Sergio Perez to McLaren, the Sauber team have confirmed that Nico Hulkenberg is to join the squad in 2013.

This is the third team that Hulkenberg will race for within three years of Grand Prix racing. He was ditched by Williams after the 2010 season in place for a pay driver, then spent a year in the wilderness, as reserve driver for Force India. He moved up to second driver for the team in 2012.

The highlight of Hulkenberg’s career so far has been his shock pole position in Brazil 2010. He was upped his game in the second half of this season, with a 4th placed finish in Belgium, and three points-scoring finishes in a row up to and including India.

The young German has signed a 1-year contract with the team. Sauber stated that they would confirm Hulkenberg’s teammate at a later stage.

This move has intensified the battle for the second Sauber drive. Kamui Kobayashi’s position is under serious threat, with Robert Frijns , Jules Bianchi, Jaime Alguersuari and Adrian Sutil all gunning for a place on the grid next year.

Vettel dominates, Alonso minimizes damage in India

Sebastian Vettel has taken a 4th victory in a row at the Indian Grand Prix, while Fernando Alonso did everything he could to keep the championship in sight.

The Red Bull took yet another emphatic win, but teammate Mark Webber was forced to fend off Alonso and Lewis Hamilton during the race. After a disappointing show by Kimi Raikkonen, the title battle is now surely down between two drivers. Here is what happened:

At the start, the Red Bulls held first and second, while Fernando Alonso put the McLarens under intense pressure. Going three abreast on the main straight, Alonso found his way past Jenson Button for 4th place.

On lap 4, the Ferrari eased past the second McLaren, by which time the Red Bulls were long gone. Michael Schumacher limped back to the pits with a right rear puncture.

It became clear that Button was unable to keep up with the frontrunners, as teammate Hamilton had no issues overtaking him.

Further back, Sergio Perez fell into the clutches of Nico Hulkenberg in the battle for 8th and 9th. Despite having DRS, Hulkenberg was unable to get past the Sauber, with Sergio successfully defending his position down the straight.

However, a few laps later, the Force India found its way past. Perez reacted, being the first to pit on lap 15. After his stop, he attempted a late out-braking move on Daniel Ricciardo, but overshot turn 4. A later pass attempt on the Toro Rosso resulted in a broken front wing and puncture.

The two Williams drivers were in combat, with Bruno Senna sneakily finding his way past Pastor Maldonado. The Brazilian soon found himself getting into the top 10, catching Nico Rosberg out at turn 4.

Kimi Raikkonen spent the first half of the race stuck behind Felipe Massa, the Lotus struggling from a low 7th gear. He emerged ahead of the Ferrari after his stop, but an easy use of DRS placed Felipe ahead once again.

Pastor Maldonado tried to get past Sergio Perez, but sliced across the Sauber, giving himself a puncture, and damaging Perez’s front wing. Pastor crawled back to the pits, holding up leader Sebastian Vettel in the process.

After the only set of stops, Fernando Alonso was finally able to close up to the back of Mark Webber, but the Red Bull was just about able to keep the gap above 1 second, meaning Fernando couldn’t activate DRS.

A brake failure for Pedro de la Rosa’s HRT speared him into the barriers at turn 4, but no safety car was deployed. However, the yellow flags was enough for Alonso to close the gap to Webber, and with 12 laps to go out-braked him to take 2nd place from the Red Bull.

The slowness of the Red Bull was confirmed as a KERS failure, and Lewis Hamilton was quickly informed of the issue. The McLaren began pulling a second per lap out of Webber’s lead, and was all over the Red Bull with a few laps to go.

Sebastian Vettel was informed of a possible issue of his car, as his undertray began sparking against the ground, but it wasn’t enough to spoil Red Bull’s party. Vettel took the chequered flag with 9 seconds to Alonso, while Webber successfully defended against Hamilton until the end.

Jenson Button took the fastest lap on the final lap in 5th, while Kimi Raikkonen’s title hopes are completely over after finishing 7th.

Third Red Bull lockout in a row in India

Sebastian Vettel has taken a closely contended pole position for the Indian Grand Prix, once again leading teammate Mark Webber.

Championship contender Fernando Alonso could only manage 5th, while the McLarens pose a challenge to Webber, with Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button 3rd and 4th.

Q1

The Force Indias were out on track first, pleasing the local fans.

Hulkenberg and Di Resta took control of the session for the initial few minutes, until they were unseated by Felipe Massa. Interestingly, the Brazilian assisted Fernando Alonso in getting a slipstream down the main straight, but Alonso still did not catch up to his teammate’s time.

The Williams car proved to have huge potential, as Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna went ahead of everyone else, until Sebastian Vettel finally set a time, a 1:26.621, which was comfortably faster than all other drivers.

A spin for Massa ruined any chances of retaking the lead. Vettel improved on his time by 0.3 seconds, while Mark Webber could only manage 3rd.

The only battle to avoid 18th place was between the Toro Rossos, with Jean-Eric Vergne once again being knocked out of Q1. A spin into the gravel trap ended Heikki Kovalainen’s session early.

Drivers knocked out of Q1:

18) Jean-Eric Vergne – 1:27.525

19) Vitaly Petrov  – 1:28.756

20) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:29.500

21) Timo Glock – 1:29.613

22) Pedro de la Rosa – 1:30.592

23) Narain Karthikeyan – 1:30.593

24) Charles Pic – 1:30.662

Q2

The midfield teams shared top spot for a while, until Lewis Hamilton went on top.

The Red Bulls soon stamped their authority on the field, with Vettel and Webber being the first to set 1:25s.

Hamilton was set to improve further, but understeered at turn 6 and ran onto the grass. Eventually, he and Button retook 3rd and 4th, but still couldn’t catch the Red Bulls.

Despite encountering traffic, Kimi Raikkonen still got into the top 10. However, fast times from Maldonado and Hulkenberg put him under additional pressure, and forced him to set another lap.

Felipe Massa was set for another embarassing Q2 exit, but just saved face with a 10th place.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

10)

11) Romain Grosjean – 1:26.136

12) Nico Hulkenberg – 1:26.241

13) Bruno Senna – 1:26.331

14) Michael Schumacher – 1:26.571

15) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:26.777

16) Paul di Resta – 1:26.989

17) Kamui Kobayashi – 1:27.219

Q3

Fernando Alonso was first up, setting a 1:25.773. Surprisingly, Vettel made a mistake on his first lap, running wide at turns 6 and 7.

Mark Webber got ahead of the Ferrari by 0.4 seconds, while Lewis Hamilton struggled on his opening laps. After ruining his first set of tyres, Vettel pitted earlier than his rivals.

Kimi Raikkonen was unable to make an impact, while Button was 4 tenths off Webber’s time. Vettel’s next lap was a better one, putting him on top by 0.05 seconds.

After poor opening sectors on the last lap, both Red Bulls opted to pit, putting them at risk from other drivers. However, the Ferraris didn’t have enough pace to challenge, while the McLarens could only manage 3rd and 4th, with Hamilton pipping Button.

Kimi Raikkonen’s championship hopes continued to slip away, with a poor 7th place. Despite the front row lockout, the Red Bulls were not as dominant as feared, so the battle for the championship is still open.

An amateur’s guide to photography and taking F1 photos

This year’s British Grand Prix was my first ever live Formula 1 race, and a chance to see how I could fare with some half-decent photographic equipment in my hands.

I was fairly happy with the photos I took, but in no way did they compare to proper professional photos. Still, it was a seriously fun experience, and I thought that I’d write a relatively basic guide to shooting F1 cars for enthusiasts.

Disclaimer

Like I said, I’m only an amateur/enthusiast photographer, so don’t take this article as absolutely essential guide – there’s thousands of better motorsports photographers out there.

My personal favourite F1 photographers are Keith Sutton and Jamey Price. If you wanted a more complete F1 photography guide, take a look at their shots for inspiration.

Camera gear

It’s fairly basic, but also essential that you know your gear before heading off.

For newcomers or general amateurs, a basic point-and-shoot is all you’ll need or want. The most important thing is that it’s easy to understand and use, as well as having some decent shooting quality. My personal preference is the Canon Powershot G series, but they’re a bit pricey. A Panasonic Lumix DMC is good as well.

However, bear in mind that point-and-shoots will lack in quality, especially when zoomed in. If you’re looking for sharp images, then you should move on to DSLRs.

A low-end DSLR will set you back around €400+ for the body only, then you have to look for a suitable lens. If you want to spend less, take a look at a used Canon 450D or equivalent. Personally, I use a Nikon D3100, which is fine, but not particularly sharp.

The more important aspect is the lens you’ll be using. The general consensus is that your telephoto lens’ focal length should exceed 200mm at the very least. I used a Sigma 70-300mm (€150), and that was plenty to get close-ups while sitting in the stands.

Newcomers may be confused at to why some telephotos like mine only cost €150, while there are 70-200mm lenses on sale for over €1000. For advanced users, focal length isn’t the main issue – it’s low f-stops (aperture) and maximum sharpness. I’ll get into this technical aspect later.

Still, my main piece advice for amateurs and budding enthusiasts is the same – bring more memory cards and batteries than you can handle. You’ll want to take as many pictures as possible, and to have your camera run out of space/battery in the middle of the day isn’t something you want to experience.

Practice, practice, practice

I’ve been practicing photography for over 2 years now, and I still can’t exploit the full potential of a low-end DSLR. This is something you’ll want to minimize before heading to a race, as you need to know exacyly how your camera is going to perform.

The best move you can do is practice using your camera as much as possible, even if it’s a point-and-shoot. Having spent a lot of my time shooting badly-lit local gigs, I was caught out with the amount of light available at the race weekend, and it showed in my Friday photos.

Taking pictures of moving objects is a good way to get used to the camera. While doing this, it’s best to fiddle around with a few options on your camera’s manual mode setting, namely ISO, shutter speed and f-stop (aperture).

ISO is a dead acronym, formerly used to describe how sensitive a reel of photo film would be to light. The higher the ISO, the brighter the picture, but at the expense of “grainy” images. In bright daylight, grain isn’t as noticable, but if it rains or gets darker, you’ll notice fairly quickly how your images deteriorate. With digital cameras, ISO now refers to how sensitive the actual camera sensor (in the camera body) will be.

Shutter speed refers to how long the lens shutter stays open. If the light is good, you’ll be shooting F1 cars at 1/200th of a second and quicker. If your picture is too bright, increase shutter speed (eg, to 1/320th), and if it’s too dark, slow it down, to say 1/100th of a second.

The third factor is, to me, is the trickiest – the F-stop. The f-stop, or aperture, refers to how much light is taken in by the camera while the shutter is open. If you are running a high f-stop (eg. f/8), your images will have less light, but the focus is sharper, and more of the photo frame will be in focus. A lower f-stop (f/2.8) will allow for much brighter pictures, but it will be trickier to get the subject into focus.

Applying technical knowledge into photos

If you’re new to the photographic experience, you should probably skip this one – it’s best to master the basics first.

Utilising the shutter speed, f-stop and ISO of a camera will help you perfect a photograph – far better than the camera’s auto mode. However, in order to make your photos stand out from the crowd, you may want to get a little artistic.

If you’re used to your camera, and have a decent lens, you should be able to get a nice stable, sharp shot of an F1 car, disregarding composition of the picture. But, many of your shots will end up looking the same this way.

My favourite F1 photos are of the car in perfect focus, but the background blurred perfectly, to give the viewer a true experience of the sheer speed. Technically, this is quite difficult for beginners and sometimes intermediates, because you’ll have to apply technical knowledge of the camera in a different manner.

To blur your shots, select a much slower shutter speed (eg. 1/25th), and raise your f-stop accordingly to balance out the light. When taking the shot, you’ll have to pan the camera with the moving target, keeping the car in the exact same spot in the frame at all times. I struggle to master this technique, but if you can pull it off, it makes for a very nice shot indeed.

Photo composition

This section is much more broad, since all good photographers express their photos differently.

If you’re happy that you can get the light balance correct in a photo, and can make different types of shots using different techniques, then you can move on to composition.

However, how you line up your shot, and how you execute it, is completely up to you. Personally, I try to get as low as possible, to make the F1 car appear more important and intimidating, but this is nearly impossible from the middle of a grandstand.

Taking a general admission space at an F1 race is also another way to go, but then you’re restricted to a certain style of shot, so you’ll have to keep moving around to keep your shots interesting.

The high-end F1 photographers are the ones to look to for the best composition inspiration. Putting the F1 car out of focus, or at the edge of the shot, can make for some stunning pictures, but this is best left to the experts.

At the end of the day, composition is best learned with experience – learn the basics, shoot the types of pictures that you enjoy, and go from there.

Other advice

  • Don’t spend all of the weekend behind the camera – enjoy the view and the noise!
  • Try to take pictures of the atmosphere as well, it makes it much more enjoyable looking back
  • Try to review your photos in the evenings, and see what makes a good photo.
  • Increased work brings rewards in photography. Try different things and see how your work improves
  • Better gear does not equal better photos. If you don’t 100% know why you need the new Canon 1DX, you don’t need it.

About me

I shot the 2012 British Grand Prix on a Nikon D3100, a 50mm and 70-300mm, and lots and lots of SD cards.

My half-decent shots from the weekend are available here.

New Jersey race to be postponed to 2014 – Ecclestone

Next year’s planned Grand Prix of America, set to take place in New Jersey, has been offset until the 2014 season, according to Bernie Ecclestone.

The track, which features a stunning view of the Manhattan island, was rumoured to be behind schedule, but nevertheless Ecclestone has been unusually quick in pulling it off the 2013 calendar. Today he stated:

"They've run out of time. There's all sorts of things...and they didn't quite think 
it all through. They've had a wake-up call but the wake-up call came too late.

They couldn't get everything ready in time - that's the bottom line."

The main issues were believed to be with repairing roads and obtaining permits for the track. Bernie had hinted at this issue months ago, when he noted that the race organisers had not complied with the terms and conditions of the race contract.

If the New Jersey track is indeed completed for 2014, it will join the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi as the two new races for that season. The United States Grand Prix, located in Austin, is still set to go ahead at the end of this season.

Massa retained by Ferrari until end of 2013

After an impressive performance last weekend that saw him take his first podium in 2 years, Felipe Massa has signed on with Ferrari for one additional year.

An extremely brief team announcement read as follows:

Scuderia Ferrari announces that it has renewed its contract with the driver Felipe 
Massa to the end of the 2013 race season. The Scuderia’s driver line-up for next year 
is therefore made up of Fernando Alonso and the aforementioned Felipe Massa."

Rumours have continued to circulate that Sebastian Vettel is poised to join the team in 2014, but president Luca di Montezemelo has recently rubbished those claims.

2013 will be Massa’s 8th year at the team, having joined at the start of the 2006 season alongside Michael Schumacher.

Vettel survives tyre scare to win in Korea

Sebastian Vettel has taken his third victory in a row at the Korean Grand Prix. It wasn’t easy sailing all the way though, as both Red Bulls incurred serious tyre degradation near the end of the race. After crawling the last few laps, Vettel eventually led home teammate Mark Webber, with Fernando Alonso taking 3rd place, losing control of the world championship in the process.

Lewis Hamilton had a complete disaster of a race, while the Toro Rossos took an impressive double points finish. Here is what happened:

At the start, Vettel slided past Webber into the first corner, while Fernando Alonso put huge pressure on the Red Bulls. Jenson Button’s race only lasted two corners, being taken out by Kamui Kobayashi in the braking zone at the end of the straight, ending the McLaren’s race.

Sergio Perez made good progress, benefiting from the Kobayashi carnage to move up to 9th. However, up front, Sebastian began to sail away at the front, having dispatched of his rivals with ease.

The two Toro Rossos began to tussle amongst themselves, being held up by Pastor Maldonado. After asking for team orders, Daniel Ricciardo still benefited when Maldonado ran wide, allowing both himself and Jean-Eric Vergne through.

Unsurprisingly, a drive-through penalty was the order of the day for Kobayashi, after causing two retirements on the first lap.

The stranded Mercedes of Roseberg caused some pain for the stewards, causing double-waved yellows to be out for 10 laps while the car was cleared. Afterwards, DRS was finally enabled, allowing several drivers to make passing moves the following lap.

Nico Hulkenberg was clearly unhappy with the balance of his Force India, struggling to keep 7th from Romain Grosjean and Perez.

Lewis Hamilton was the first of the frontrunners to pit, taking on the soft tyre. On the same lap, both Hulkenberg and Grosjean also pitted, the Force India just about keeping its position.

After the first set of stops, there was no change up front, but Fernando Alonso was hard-pushed to hold off Sergio Perez, who hadn’t pitted. Hamilton swiftly got involved in the battle, and regained 4th from the Sauber. Perez began to slide down the order, and by lap 18 was down to 6th place.

Lewis’ pace was quickly shattered, as he reported a huge loss of downforce from his car. Going several seconds a lap slower, he was easy pickings for Felipe Massa, dropping down to 5th position. Kimi Raikkonen tried a move, but the McLaren held firm. Several entertaining laps ensued, with the Lotus trying every type of overtake, but Lewis impressively held his position.

However, he opted to bring his second stop forward, releasing Raikkonen into 5th.

The second round of stops was similarly fruitless for Alonso, failing to make any progress to Webber in front. Despite a mistake from Vettel on his in lap, he emerged comfortably in front of his teammate.

Just out of the points, Paul di Resta made a move on Michael Schumacher for 11th. Sergio Perez, whose disastrous first stint put him out of contention for big points, began to challenge the Mercedes.

Further ahead, Nico Hulkenberg put an excellent move on Lewis Hamilton, who then was forced to hold off Romain Grosjean. A bad day got much worse for McLaren, after they informed Lewis that he would have to stop for a third time.

After his third stop, Hamilton emerged in 10th place. He put a move on Jean-Eric Vergne for 9th, but the Toro Rosso impressively held the former world champion off.

8th-placed Daniel Ricciardo had an off at the braking zone at turn 3, and within several laps had been reeled in by Vergne and Hamilton. He relectantly allowed teammate Jean-Eric through, but was able to hold off Hamilton until the end. He was assisted, though, by a bizarre incident, where a large piece of astroturf lodged itself in Lewis’ sidepod, and forced him to slow down.

The Red Bull drivers were warned to conserve their front right tyres, but were reassured that they could make it to the end of the race. In the closing laps, there were some worried faces on the Red Bull pit wall, but Vettel managed to crawl around the track to take his third victory in a row.

Alonso was unable to catch Webber in the end, while Massa did well to take 4th ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. Hamilton finished 10th, with his championship ambitions well and truly over.

Webber pips Vettel in Red Bull Korean qualifying lockout

Mark Webber caused a minor surprise, beating teammate Sebastian Vettel to pole position for the Korean Grand Prix.

Championship contenders Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso will line up 3rd and 4th, setting us up for an exciting race tomorrow. Jenson Button didn’t make it through to Q3, while Mercedes showed signs of improvement, with both cars getting through to Q3. Here is what happened:

Q1

With the track still dusty off-line, times were still relatively slow. Fernando Alonso’s first flying lap, a 1:39.543, was enough to put him on top.

Continuing on from his good form in Japan, Felipe Massa improved on his teammate’s time by half a second. Narain Karthikeyan had a huge spin at turn 3, “losing the brakes completely” in the braking zone, but was able to move his car out of the way.

Lewis Hamilton struggled with brake locking, but took 3rd after several attempts. After dominating Saturday morning practice, Vettel again set the standard, with a 1:38.2.

Teammate Webber could only manage to get within 2 tenths of the sister Red Bull. The Saubers showed much less pace than last week in Suzuka, and like Williams were forced to expend a set of super-softs to get both drivers into Q2.

Incredibly, despite dropping as low as 16th place, Lewis Hamilton opted not to set another lap time, just scraping through to Q2 alongside Fernando Alonso.

Drivers knocked out of Q1:

18) Bruno Senna – 1:39.443

19) Vitaly Petrov – 1:40.207

20) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:40.333

21) Charles Pic – 1:41.317

22) Timo Glock – 1:41.371

23) Pedro de la Rosa – 1:42.881

Narain Karthikeyan – N/A

Q2

The two Sauber drivers left the pits first on scrubbed supers-softs. A 1:38.901 for Perez and 1:38.594 for Kobayashi briefly put them on top, until Mark Webber went 0.3 seconds faster.

Fernando Alonso was the first driver to get into the 1:37s, but he was instantly beaten by Sebastian Vettel. After a complete lack of pace in Q1, Lewis Hamilton got close to pipping Vettel, but lost several tenths in the final sector.

In the final few minutes, all drivers but Vettel went back on track. However, many fast laps were ruined after Jean-Eric Vergne caused double-waves yellows in the final sector, pulling over to the side of the track.

Amazingly, Jenson Button only took 11th place, losing out on Q3 by 0.005 seconds.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Jenson Button – 1:38.441

12) Sergio Perez – 1:38.460

13) Kamui Kobayashi – 1:38.594

14) Paul di Resta – 1:38.643

15) Pastor Maldonado – 1:38.725

16) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:39.084

17) Jean-Eric Vergne – 1:39.340

Q3

Despite the light going green at the end of the pit lane, the Mercedes drivers opted to hold at pit exit for half a minute, to improve track position.

Fernando Alonso was first up, setting a 1:37.667, 4 tenths faster than Felipe Massa. Mark Webber got very close to Alonso, while Vettel quickly slashed the fastest time by 0.35 seconds.

Lewis Hamilton was nowhere in comparison, again locking up his front left and ruining his lap. Nico Hulkenberg pitted after his out lap, opting not to set a fast time on his first run.

All 10 drivers decided to go out on track for the final few minutes. Mark Webber was up first, pipping Vettel’s time by 0.074 seconds. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg lost huge amounts of time in the final sector, while Fernando Alonso could only manage 4th position.

After Vettel failed to improve on his last lap, pole position was confirmed for Webber, while championship contenders Hamilton and Alonso line up 3rd and 4th, right behind Sebastian Vettel.

Kimi Raikkonen was a quiet 5th, with Felipe Massa 6th. Nico Hulkenberg decided to set a time at the end of the session, lining up behind  Romain Grosjean. The two Mercedes drivers made it into Q3, but could only manage 9th and 10th.

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