The prospects of a close race in Korea appear to have improved after Friday practice in which there was little to choose between Red Bull and Mercedes.
Lewis Hamilton was quickest in both sessions. In the second Sebastian Vettel was unable to beat his time despite doing his run on super-soft tyres later in the session, with the benefit of a cleaner and grippier track.
“It will be close with Mercedes,” said Vettel after finishing practice just over a tenth shy of Hamilton. “Of course we?óÔé¼Ôäóre not sure what others were doing with their fuel loads today, but it seems close ahead of tomorrow?óÔé¼Ôäós qualifying.”
The sector times indicate both drivers may be able to find more time from their cars: Vettel lost over a quarter of a second to Mark Webber in the middle of the lap and Hamilton lost over a tenth to Nico Rosberg in the final sector.
Come the race, Vettel also know he will not have the potential advantage of his team mate starting close by, due to Webber’s ten-place penalty. This likely explains the difference between their straight-line speeds: it would make sense for Webber to be using a set-up with less drag for a better straight-line speed to improve his chances of overtaking – as he did in China after qualifying poorly.
“We need to have a car which can be strong in the first sector so we can get some overtaking done,” said Webber afterwards.
Even so Rosberg, who started from the front row in Singapore, is not underestimating the difficulty of taking the fight to their rivals. “Generally it seems that we had a good day but Red Bull is always very hard to beat,” he said.
“My only concern after the long runs was graining on the front tyres, which is something we need to work on tonight and watch out for.”
Team mate Hamilton, who took pole position at this track in 2011, appears to be revelling in the Mercedes’ handling. He was particularly quick through the middle sector with its succession of switchback corners, not unlike the Hungaroring where he scored his only win of the year so far.
While Mercedes and Red Bull are likely to be the pole position contenders, behind them Ferrari and Lotus need to make good on their performance over a race stint. Raikkonen said his car is strongest on long runs, as we’ve seen at other races this year.
As in Singapore, teams have the medium and super-soft tyres this weekend. But the performance gap between the two tyres is not the two seconds seen at Singapore – it’s a second at most.
And as Fernando Alonso pointed out, the super-soft tyre has other drawbacks: “The difference between the two compounds is not as evident as in Singapore, but the super-soft definitely has a very high degradation and we will have to see how much the track surface improvement will affect its behaviour.”
Here’s all the data from Friday practice for the Korean Grand Prix.
Longest stint comparison
This chart shows all the drivers’ lap times (in seconds) during their longest unbroken stint:
|Paul di Resta||106.121||105.892||106.415||106.717||106.488||109.367||105.995|
|Giedo van der Garde||109.715||110.34||109.319||108.944||109.516||109.043||109.671||108.672||108.525||108.245||108.411||108.282||108.043||108.398|
Sector times and ultimate lap times
|Pos||No.||Driver||Car||S1||S2||S3||Ultimate||Gap||Deficit to best|
|1||10||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||34.988 (10)||43.169 (1)||20.516 (3)||1’38.673||0.000|
|2||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||34.686 (1)||43.668 (6)||20.427 (2)||1’38.781||0.108||0.000|
|3||9||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||34.946 (9)||43.452 (3)||20.399 (1)||1’38.797||0.124||0.000|
|4||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||34.791 (3)||43.428 (2)||20.625 (5)||1’38.844||0.171||0.000|
|5||4||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||34.906 (6)||43.487 (4)||20.721 (6)||1’39.114||0.441||0.000|
|6||8||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault||35.177 (14)||43.487 (4)||20.562 (4)||1’39.226||0.553||0.000|
|7||3||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||34.995 (11)||43.703 (7)||20.746 (7)||1’39.444||0.771||0.000|
|8||5||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||35.001 (12)||43.815 (9)||20.831 (9)||1’39.647||0.974||0.127|
|9||7||Kimi Raikkonen||Lotus-Renault||35.188 (15)||43.804 (8)||20.765 (8)||1’39.757||1.084||0.000|
|10||6||Sergio Perez||McLaren-Mercedes||34.933 (8)||44.022 (11)||20.840 (10)||1’39.795||1.122||0.357|
|11||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||35.082 (13)||43.900 (10)||21.024 (14)||1’40.006||1.333||0.000|
|12||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||34.900 (5)||44.032 (12)||21.075 (15)||1’40.007||1.334||0.000|
|13||11||Nico Hulkenberg||Sauber-Ferrari||34.891 (4)||44.247 (16)||20.958 (12)||1’40.096||1.423||0.114|
|14||12||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber-Ferrari||34.916 (7)||44.183 (14)||21.012 (13)||1’40.111||1.438||0.075|
|15||18||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||35.222 (16)||44.116 (13)||20.888 (11)||1’40.226||1.553||0.220|
|16||19||Daniel Ricciardo||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||34.772 (2)||44.294 (17)||21.202 (16)||1’40.268||1.595||0.284|
|17||16||Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Renault||35.313 (18)||44.199 (15)||21.345 (18)||1’40.857||2.184||0.260|
|18||17||Valtteri Bottas||Williams-Renault||35.276 (17)||44.450 (18)||21.228 (17)||1’40.954||2.281||0.335|
|19||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||35.551 (19)||45.085 (19)||21.516 (19)||1’42.152||3.479||0.309|
|20||20||Charles Pic||Caterham-Renault||35.632 (21)||45.147 (20)||21.797 (21)||1’42.576||3.903||0.222|
|21||22||Jules Bianchi||Marussia-Cosworth||35.557 (20)||45.438 (21)||21.829 (22)||1’42.824||4.151||0.284|
|22||23||Max Chilton||Marussia-Cosworth||35.725 (22)||45.468 (22)||21.768 (20)||1’42.961||4.288||0.480|
Complete practice times
|2||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1’39.667||1’38.781||50|
|4||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||1’39.816||1’38.844||54|
|10||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1’41.432||1’40.006||52|
|11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1’40.007||34|
|15||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1’41.924||1’40.446||49|
|16||Daniel Ricciardo||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1’42.043||1’40.552||44|
|19||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1’43.883||1’42.461||55|
|21||James Calado||Force India-Mercedes||1’43.008||21|
|#||Driver||Car||Engine||Max speed (kph)||Gap|
|1||19||Daniel Ricciardo||Toro Rosso||Ferrari||320.8|
|2||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull||Renault||320.2||0.6|
|5||18||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||Ferrari||317.9||2.9|
|9||14||Paul di Resta||Force India||Mercedes||316.9||3.9|
|10||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India||Mercedes||316.3||4.5|
|19||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||Renault||312.1||8.7|
|20||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham||Renault||311.6||9.2|
2013 Korean Grand Prix
- Hulkenberg takes second Driver of the Weekend win
- Hectic Korean Grand Prix gets above average rating
- “We punched above our weight” – Hulkenberg
- 2013 Korean Grand Prix team radio transcript
- 2013 Korean Grand Prix fans’ video gallery
Image ?é?® Mercedes/Hoch Zwei, Red Bull/Getty
28 comments on “Vettel expects more pressure from Mercedes in Korea”
Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
4th October 2013, 15:14
I don’t see why Vettel faces any pressure, he has practically won this world championship, all he has to do is bring the car home in the point s for the next couple of races. Mercedes and Ferrari will battle for 2nd.
4th October 2013, 15:33
I think Mercedes can possibly take it to Vettel in the race. They have a quick car over a long run, so I don’t see why not?
But I think the most exciting thing right now is the battle for 2nd in the WCC between Mercedes and Ferrari.
Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
4th October 2013, 15:41
“I think Mercedes can possibly take it to Vettel in the race. They have a quick car over a long run, so I donâ€™t see why not”
I mean’t in the WCC.
4th October 2013, 15:45
Yeah not that I get ‘excited’ over the WCC race, but certainly Mercedes has done better this year so far than I had expected. I had them as being a strong 4th place team, as I thought Ferrari and Lotus would both be closer to the Red Bulls, those 3 hogging the top 3 points paying positions on average, leaving Mercedes a bit on the outside looking in. I also thought Mac would be robbing more points in the mix by now too. But Ferrari haven’t been as close to RBR as I hoped, and Lotus has surprised me at their failing do be stronger, so Mercedes sits fighting for a strong third, or maybe a weak second in the WCC come the end of the season, as much due to Ferrari and Lotus’s weaknesses, and Mac’s absence, as to their own strengths, which have certainly lacked as often as they have been present.
Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)
4th October 2013, 16:53
@full-throttle-f1 I did not say he was ‘under pressure’ in terms of the championship, but so far it looks like Mercedes can put him under pressure in the race.
4th October 2013, 17:18
If FA can’t then he at least will be hoping you are right, Keith, and that LH can. FA will be hoping someone, anyone, pressures SV into a costly mistake, if he himself can’t.
4th October 2013, 15:20
Shows how wrong Hamilton was a couple PC days ago talking about Redbull being on the gas 20m before any other car and also shows just how great vettel was at Singapore. Mercedes aren’t far behind Redbull, they are very close, they just don’t have the vettel factor.
4th October 2013, 15:34
It’s just Friday. LH’s comments from the other day may well still hold true. I’d love it if a Mercedes was able to pressure SV in the closing laps on Sunday, but I’m not holding my breath for it. And ultimately it’s not LH that SV needs to worry about anyway, not that he really needs to worry about anyone.
4th October 2013, 16:24
I thinkt that, per the context, that traction was very important in a street track like singapore. RBR’s traction superiority, in low as well as mid-speed, is a well-known fact over the past several seasons. People have talked about ride height schenanigns, bendy wings, etc. Whatever the reasons, traction, they has it.
Nigel Bates (@nigel1)
4th October 2013, 19:26
Actually, Renault have spilled the beans – Mercedes just don’t have the right engine mapping:
Clearly the system works better at Singapore than it does at Mokpo.
4th October 2013, 20:14
Very interesting read…thanks for that.
4th October 2013, 21:56
Very interesting article, thank you for sharing!!
4th October 2013, 22:10
A bit of speculation in there but I think logically it proceeds well by looking at the rake. The rake that RBR runs is powerful evidence that they have a way of using exhaust that other’s can’t. Everyone would run lots of rake if they could, say, drop a rubber skirt around the diffuser in the back. Newey does this with hot air. Whether they are doing this via “four-cylinder” mode, assymetrial firing patterns, or whatever, is not clear.
Jon Sandor (@jonsan)
4th October 2013, 15:44
Pole time here last year was 1:37.242 and Hamilton went 1’38.673. Which means everybody has a lot more in hand, since if it stays dry the pole time this year will likely by in the 1:36 range.
4th October 2013, 16:00
Does that mean he’ll be just 1 second faster per lap instead of 2? The pressure! :P
4th October 2013, 16:26
Looking forward to F1 at its best. Two of the best qualifiers ever to be in the sport, in different, but closely matched cars. Let’s hope it pans out to a good Q3.
Also, it’s fun to see how Hamilton and Rosberg go back and forth in having the edge. They really push each other. Also, good to see that through the season this closness has not resulted in conflict. This is really the only top team with such parity in skills. A shame they are not both fighting for a WDC.
4th October 2013, 16:34
Hamilton fastest again! Seems Vettel was right about the RBR’s traction control not being as effective here! :P.
Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
4th October 2013, 16:56
Sebs TC didn’t work as they accidently fitted Webber’s TC :-)
4th October 2013, 19:49
As long as they didn’t fit Webber’s clutch/KERS, Seb should be okay =)
4th October 2013, 17:44
Im a brit but Max you need to resign to get beat by 3 tenths when your teammate missed P1 says it all really. How they got rid of Glock easily their best driver in that teams history ill never know? Â£Â£Â£Â£Â£Â£Â£
Force Maikel (@force-maikel)
4th October 2013, 20:48
That’s a no-brainer, Daddy Chilton bought some stock from the team and therefore Maxie got to replace the sponsorless Glock and probably will drive next year. If Bianchi moves to a bigger team in 2015 the other Chilton will probably take his place I guess.
Force Maikel (@force-maikel)
4th October 2013, 20:46
Vettel I think is trying a bit of metal warfare here, having just seen reruns of FP2 and FP1, I really think Red Bull was probably a bit higher on fuel to make the opposition think they actually have a chance.
Force Maikel (@force-maikel)
4th October 2013, 20:49
4th October 2013, 22:42
No, Red Bull have a tendency to bluff in practice. They bluffed in Australia and Hungary, both races where they seemed dominant in practice, but performed rather poorly in the race.
It’s Mercedes who tend to sandbag in practice. Few expected them to get pole position in Bahrain, Spain, Germany, Hungary or Belgium, yet they still pulled it out of the bag.
Max Jacobson (@vettel1)
4th October 2013, 21:22
(referring to this article) I think criticising the other teams is a bit unfair, absolutely. But then, who can blame him after all the stick his team’s been getting of late. I love this comment though – I think that’s brilliant! :D
That was brilliant Vettel – you can dislike him absolutely, but you can’t say he doesn’t have a personality!
Michael Brown (@)
4th October 2013, 21:49
He’s a great guy off the track, but some dislike his comments when he’s racing (like in Austin last year).
4th October 2013, 22:08
It might have sounded like complaining, but after all he said what most F1 supporters are saying about DRS. :P Without DRS, Hamilton wouldn’t have been able to pass him in that race.
5th October 2013, 1:03
Vet wasn’t complaining about DRS in Austin. He was yelling about Karthikeyan in the HRT not getting out of the way quickly enough in S1. He believed he lost the position because of that.
I think Hamilton may have win the race anyway. His pace was slightly better, albeit not by much, and he was more determined.
Comments are closed.