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Korea 2010 - Qualifying highlights - Following the first driver to take F1 pole position in Yeongam

Published by Christine

Vettel is a blur as he exits the pitlane in Korea
Credit: Paul Gilham/Getty Images

The track surface was still the main talking point when qualifying began, and it wasn't unusual to see drivers still managing to run wide and kick up plenty of dust, messing up their tyres in the protest. It didn't seem to affect the running too much - there were no major surprise drop-outs, or unexpectedly fast cars.

Red Bull have locked out the front row, and it looks like Vettel will hold the position - he can start well, he likes to lead, and Webber has the dirty side of the grid. Further back, Alonso and Hamilton are waiting to see if they can pick up any pieces.

Here's how Free Practice 2 in Korea played out.

As it happened: 2010 Korea - Qualifying

  • 05:31

    Hello, welcome, it's qualifying for the Korean Grand Prix!

  • 05:32

    Let's get right down to business. I hope you are joining us in the live comments:

  • 05:33

    The dashboard is your best bet though: You can see comments, FBFB, and Twitter all in one tab.

  • 05:34

    BBC streaming here: and fab updates from Autosport here:

  • 05:36

    F1 live timing here:

  • 05:37

    Now, onto the good stuff. Things to note before qualifying - Petrov will take a five place grid drop from wherever he qualifies due to the incident in Japan.

  • 05:37

    Webber has changed his engine, which means he's got fresh power, but is on the last of his engines before a penalty would kick in.

  • 05:39

    Earlier today, Kubica took the top spot in Free Practice 3 after some surprising speed towards the end of the session.

  • 05:39

    Hamilton, Alonso and Webber were close behind. Vettel was far down in a worrying 16th place.

  • 05:40

    The Korean track had some minor adjustments overnight, particularly to Turn 16. However, the additions are already falling apart a little bit.

  • 05:40

    Notably, the problem with the pit entrance has been solved for now by saying drivers do not have to adhere to the white line going in.

  • 05:41

    Despite his low position earlier today, in the battle for pole positions, Vettel does pretty well.

    Pole Positions
    1Sebastian Vettel8
    Mark Webber5
    3Fernando Alonso2
    4Lewis Hamilton1
  • 05:43

    TweetTweet from @H_Kovalainen: 3rd session done, no problems, guys going quite fast around me this time so need to raise the fighting level this afternoon! #fb

  • 05:44

    A feature with Button on the BBC sees the McLaren driver suggest getting pole position is not completely crucial as there are so many overtaking opportunities around the circuit. Phew!

  • 05:48
    Fastest Session Times
    Free Practice 1Hamilton
    Free Practice 2Webber1:37.942
    Free Practice 3Kubica1:37.354
  • 05:51

    Under ten minutes until qualifying begins now.

  • 05:53

    TweetTweet from @TheFifthDriver: If you're up early in Europe, it looks like quali could be a classic! Follow us LIVE here - The Race 1.1b

  • 05:55

    TweetTweet from @MikeGascoyne: 5 mins to go before qualifying, should be a really interesting session throughout the grid. Overcast but dry

  • 05:57



    Wind Speed2.7mps
  • 05:59

    It's nice to see a few more fans in the grandstands now.

  • 06:00

    Green flagQualifying session 1 begins.

  • 06:00

    Kovalainen heads out first.

  • 06:02

    Lots of other cars head out as well, eight still to go.

  • 06:02

    Heikki starts his first flying lap. Getting into the action nice and early, I approve.

  • 06:03

    TweetTweet from @autosportlive: Traffic is expected to be a problem in this segment, with a queue through the tight walled section likely to cause some anger.

  • 06:04

    Heikki sets the first laptime - 1:45.450. Three seconds slower than his final FP3 time.

  • 06:05

    Schumacher pushes into the 1:40s, as the times come flooding in.

  • 06:06

    The driver with the most space in front of him is Senna, who's got almost the entire of one of those long straights before he would meet any traffic.

  • 06:07

    Button and Kubica are yet to leave the garage, whilst the Red Bulls are about to set their first time.

  • 06:08

    Hamilton drops the time into the 1:38s, and is immediately pushed down by Hulkenberg. Odd.

  • 06:09

    Glock, Kovalainen and Senna return to the pitlane.

  • 06:10

    Alonso posts a 1:37.395 - we are almost at our fastest time so far at this track.

  • 06:11

    Replays show Glock spinning a lovely 360 and continuing onwards.

  • 06:11

    TweetTweet from @alexjsnell: Timo back in the garage and advising that tyres are taking one lap to get up to temp #F1

  • 06:12

    Button and Kubica both leave the garage to set their first times of the session.

  • 06:13

    Hamilton improves to a 1:37.113 - fastest time of the weekend. Question is, how low can we go?

  • 06:15

    Towards the back of the grid, it is Kubica who is the non-new team sitting in the drop zone, but he has no time as yet. If not him, it is Heidfeld who is struggling.

  • 06:16

    Senna is on a hot lap, and Kubica closes up behind him, not rushing to get by. Or not able. I'm favouring the former.

  • 06:17

    Top six drivers all pit - they are happy they're through to Q2.

  • 06:17

    Kubica finally has a time, sitting just above his teammate in 11th. Therefore, it is Heidfeld for now in the drop zone.

  • 06:17

    He is on a lap though.

  • 06:18

    I take back what I just said, Alonso has left the pits again - probably not for another hot lap though.

  • 06:18

    Heidfeld improves to 11th, dropping Liuzzi down to 18th.

  • 06:19

    Just over one minute to go.

  • 06:19

    TweetTweet from @tonyfernandes: jarno put in a good lap. 1.41.490. just ahead of glock. heikki improving. hopefully no traffic for him

  • 06:20

    Liuzzi improves to 15th, dropping his teammate Sutil downwards.

  • 06:20

    Chequered flagQualifying session 1 ends.

  • 06:21

    Sutil hauls himself up and it is... oh, it's Liuzzi again down in 18th.

  • 06:21

    Both Toro Rossos are through to Q2. Good news for them.

  • 06:24
    Q1 Drop Zone
    Tonio Liuzzi
    Force India
    19Jarno Trulli
    20Timo Glock
    Virgin Racing
    21Heikki Kovalainen
    22Lucas di Grassi
    Virgin Racing
    23Sakon Yamamoto
    24Bruno Senna
  • 06:24

    Yamamoto finally manages to outqualify his teammate, for the first time since he climbed in the car.

    Qualifying Battle
    HRTQualified Ahead
    Sakon Yamamoto1
    Bruno Senna5
  • 06:27

    Interview with Liuzzi: "We're suffering a high problem of graining. In the morning we had a puncture, so we didn't try out the option tyres, and we didn't expect this much graining. Will be a big problem for tomorrow's race, but will make it more exciting and we'll see what happens."

  • 06:27

    Green flagQualifying session 2 begins.

  • 06:27

    Alguersuari leads the way for about the millionth time this weekend.

  • 06:28

    Lots of drivers pile out on track to join him, with just both Saubers remaining in the garage.

  • 06:29

    RadioTeam radio from Button: "Can I get a new helmet? This one hasn't got any tear-offs left."

  • 06:31
    Top Speeds
    Sector 1Hamilton250kph
    Sector 2Vettel200kph
    Sector 3Kubica293kph
    Speed TrapRosberg320kph
  • 06:31

    Vettel has the early lead - a 1:37.224. Hulkenberg puts in some fast early laps too. He must be trying to impress someone.

  • 06:32

    Less than ten minutes to go, neither Sauber has left the garage yet.

  • 06:33

    Sutil returns to the pitlane.

  • 06:33

    Vettel and Webber make it a (no doubt temporary) Red Bull 1-2. Times into the 1:36s now.

  • 06:34

    Massa is doing well, fourth fastest, but he has bolted on the option tyres already.

  • 06:35

    Heidfeld looks read to go out now - Kobayashi will likely follow soon as everyone else is in the garage. A nice, quiet track for them to get to work.

  • 06:36

    At this halfway stage, aside from the Saubers, the drop-zone contains Buemi, Sutil, Alguersuari, Hulkenberg and Petrov.

  • 06:37

    Sutil, Alonso and Kubica hit the track again. Maybe not so quiet for the Sauber boys.

  • 06:38

    Three minutes to go, and all drivers are out on track now.

  • 06:40

    Webber runs wide at turn 1, but no damage done. Alonso sets a new fastest time - 1:36.287.

  • 06:41

    Heidfeld has improved to 13th, but still in the drop zone. Kobayashi goes a bit higher, up to 11th, not enough to get him through.

  • 06:41

    Petrov has a big spin, manages to continue, but has wrecked his tyres and is unlikely now to go through.

  • 06:42

    Chequered flagQualifying session 2 ends.

  • 06:43

    Massa popped up to P1, then Vettel beat him and then Webber beat them both - 1:36.039.

  • 06:45
    Q2 Drop Zone
    11Nico Hulkenberg
    12Kamui KobayashiSauber
    13Nick HeidfeldSauber
    14Adrian SutilForce India
    15Vitaly Petrov *
    16Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso
    17Sebastien BuemiToro Rosso

    * Petrov gets that five place grid drop, so he will start 20th, barring no other penalties.

  • 06:47

    The top ten shoot out will feature both Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes drivers, plus Kubica and Barrichello.

  • 06:48

    A mini analysis of Q2.

    Field Spread
    1stMark Webber
    17thSebastien Buemi1:38.594
  • 06:49

    Interview with Hulkenberg: "The long straights and all the big braking areas definitely provide overtaking opportunities, so from P11, the good thing is we can choose the tyre we start on. Just need to work on a good strategy for the race."

  • 06:49

    Green flagQualifying session 3 begins.

  • 06:50

    Webber heads out first, Hamilton and Button close behind him.

  • 06:50

    TweetTweet from @InsideFerrari: Now in Q3 Felipe has only one set of new soft tyres while Fernando has two available

  • 06:51

    Just Massa and both Mercedes drivers remain in the garage.

  • 06:53

    Webber sets the first time of the session, but is immediately pushed down by Hamilton, who in turn is knocked down by Alonso - 1:35.927.

  • 06:54

    Massa leaves the garage, just as Vettel pops into second place.

  • 06:55

    I blinked and half the session has past already.

  • 06:55

    Button has a big wobble, runs wide and kicks up some serious dust. That won't help his chances.

  • 06:56

    Replays show Hamilton having a big scare coming into the pitlane, he missed the entrance completely and narrowly missed the barriers on the other side.

  • 06:56

    The Mercedes guys head out on track just as everyone returns to the garage.

  • 06:56

    After a quick tyre change, Webber is back out for his final run.

  • 06:58

    Vettel is the last to leave the pitlane, and will likely only have time for one lap.

  • 06:59

    One minute to go.

  • 06:59

    Massa pits.

  • 06:59

    Webber takes a corner slightly to wide, only a small plume of dust there.

  • 07:00

    Webber goes second fastest, as Alonso improves on his own pole position time.

  • 07:00

    Chequered flagQualifying session 3 ends.

  • 07:03
    Q3 Top Ten
    1Sebastian Vettel
    Red Bull
    2Mark WebberRed Bull
    3Fernando AlonsoFerrari
    4Lewis HamiltonMcLaren
    5Nico Rosberg
    6Felipe MassaFerrari
    7Jenson ButtonMcLaren
    8Robert KubicaRenault
    9Michael SchumacherMercedes
    10Rubens BarrichelloWilliams
  • 07:03

    TweetTweet from @eddstrawF1: Vettel's 14th F1 pole position. 19th= in the all-time list with Ascari, Hunt, Peterson & Barrichello.

  • 07:04

    Rosberg has done an impressive job to beat both Massa and Button for 5th place.

  • 07:05

    Webber must be disappointed - second is the worst place. Not quite pole, and on the dirty side of the grid.

  • 07:06

    Neither Alonso nor Webber look particularly impressed as they head towards the press conference.

  • 07:13

    Press conference quotes - Vettel: "With so little running yesterday and this morning, the difference was basically to get into the rhythm. Some corners here are quite difficult to understand how they work. There's a lot of things to understand.

    "As usual, when it comes to corners, we know our car is good, when it comes to straights we are trying our best."

  • 07:14

    Press conference quotes - Webber: "It would have been nice to get pole but in the end it's still a good position to start the race with. Quali went to plan today, I would say, pretty close to perfect but not quite.

    "Fernando will be pretty solid off the line but it's not make or break for the world championship, so we'll just do the best we can. It's still a good position."

  • 07:16

    Press conference quotes - Alonso: "In Q3, we knew that we had a little possibility. Not too much but when we arrive at the crucial moment, Red Bull is normally pushing a bit more and being a bit quicker than everybody. I think P3, I think is our maximum potential today. Normally, qualifying is not our strongest point of the weekend but here it seems we are quite close to the Red Bull so it's looking good for tomorrow.

    "We need to see the forecasts, there are some doubts about the rain possibility. There are five contenders at the moment, maybe tomorrow not all five will finish the race. We can't be one of those, we need to keep scoring points every race."

  • 07:17
    Battle For Pole
  • 07:18

    It has swung in Red Bull's direction once more, then and Webber is in a good(ish) position to keep his championship lead in tact. All his rivals are close around him, though, so it's not going to be an easy race.

  • 07:19

    As the man himself said, any one of the drivers could not make it to the finish tomorrow, and no one wants to be the first to blink and crash out of the Korean GP.

  • 07:19

    If there's any rain tomorrow, as the forecasts are now suggesting, it's going to be even more chaotic than it might otherwise be.

  • 07:20

    I hope you are going to join me back here so we can watch the race together! See you then.

All content in the series Korea 2010