Vettel resists Webber for pole in Austin

2013 United States Grand Prix qualifying

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Sebastian Vettel took his eighth pole position of the year in qualifying for the United States Grand Prix – but his team mate made him work for it.

Vettel was second behind Mark Webber in the dying moments of Q3 but took back the time he’d lost in the last sector to deny Webber his second pole position in a row.


A warm track and blustery wind threw several drivers off their stride at the beginning of qualifying. And some of those who were able to master the conditions were then undone by the additional problem of traffic.

Romain Grosjean was one of several drivers to complain about being held up but he at least managed to claim a place in Q2. Pastor Maldonado was not so lucky after being held up by several drivers during the session.

Another driver who struggled in traffic was Adrian Sutil, who complained about his track position as he began his final run. He caught a Marussia at the end of his lap and was unable to do another time as he picked up a right-front puncture.

Sutil and Maldonado therefore joined the Caterhams and Marussias in failing to progress to Q2.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

17Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’39.250
18Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’39.351
19Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1’40.491
20Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth1’40.528
21Charles PicCaterham-Renault1’40.596
22Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth1’41.401


Vettel had done the minimum three laps to gain a place in Q2 and only had to do the same to reach the final ten. Webber needed just two laps more to secure his spot in the top-ten shoot-out.

Neither Ferrari had looked particularly quick in Q1 but Fernando Alonso pulled a rapid lap out of the bag to reach Q3, leaving Felipe Massa behind.

But the most surprising elimination of Q2 was Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes, which ended the session 14th fastest as Rosberg grappled with the W04’s handling.

And while one Williams had gone out in the first part of qualifying the other – belonging to Valtteri Bottas – reached Q3 for only the second time this year.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’38.131
12Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’38.139
13Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’38.217
14Nico RosbergMercedes1’38.364
15Felipe MassaFerrari1’38.592
16Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’38.696


In theory ten drivers were in competition for pole position but really there were only two drivers in it – each wielding a Red Bull RB9. And to begin with it was Webber who took the initiative, Vettel unable to match his pace on their first runs.

Webber maintained the upper hand initially as the pair returned to the track for their final attempts. Despite a couple of mistakes at the end of the lap he lowered his time again.

But that slight error gave Vettel the opportunity he needed. A clean run through the end of the lap saw him deny Webber pole position by one tenth of a second.

Grosjean had been unhappy with his Lotus’s handling at the beginning of Q3 but claimed ‘best of the rest’ behind the Red Bulls – although the deficit was in excess of eight tenths of a second.

Nico Hulkenberg claimed a second-row qualifying position for the second time this year, bumping Lewis Hamilton and Alonso back to row three.

Kimi Raikkonen may be absent but nonetheless there are two Finnish drivers in the top ten – his replacement Heikki Kovalainen, eighth for Lotus, and Bottas who took ninth for Williams.

Top ten in Q3

1Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’36.338
2Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’36.441
3Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’37.155
4Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari1’37.296
5Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’37.345
6Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’37.376
7Sergio PerezMcLaren1’37.452
8Heikki KovalainenLotus-Renault1’37.715
9Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1’37.836
10Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’38.034

2013 United States Grand Prix

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Image © Red Bull/Getty

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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58 comments on “Vettel resists Webber for pole in Austin”

  1. which gearbox will be opened to promote Alonso into P5 :D

    1. LOL …I was thinking about the same. It is the first anniversary of that disgusting act……

      Good for Massa, at least he is off the hook now.

      1. hopefully vettel’s

        1. I doubt you’d want that. If Vettel wins from 6th on the grid, it’s another excuse you can’t use against him anymore.

          1. XD Well played.

  2. This is qualifying results are actually very good for my predictions! Top five for the race are in the top 6 in qualifying.

    Great effort from Bottas and, yet again, Hulkenberg.

    Red Bull are just in a whole different dimension. It’ll be thrilling to see if Vettel can win an eighth race in a row!

    1. @toiago I predicted VET-WEB-HAM-HULK-GRO :P

      Watch out, @vettel1 !

    2. Same here. I predicted VET, WEB, GRO, HAM, HULK :)

    3. @fer-no65 @svfan

      If I remember correctly, I had VET-GRO-WEB-HULK-HAM. Let’s see if any of us guessed it right!

  3. Maldonado and Rosberg’s interviews were quite entertaining.. :P

    1. what did Rosberg said?

  4. Keith could you check Webber’s sector times in his best Q3 lap? If you sum them up it yields a pole time of 1:36.213 so he should be in pole!!
    VET 26.241 38.573 31.524 = 1:36.338
    WEB 26.091 38.507 31.615 = 1:36.213 and not 1:36.441!!!

    1. oh thanks god i am not the only one who saw this

    2. Pole is the complete lap, not your best sectors from different laps.

      1. Lol, I was wondering why did he even bothered to count.

      2. Lol are u serious how silly.

        1. @danclapp – Do you have a different definition for what a pole lap should be?

      3. You’re right… I’ve replayed the end of Q3 in the F1 2013 Android app and Webber did a 31.8 on the third sector. So the timing monitor is really counterintuitive because it doesn’t show the sectors of the best lap, just the best sectors of that driver in the whole session which I think is useless.

        1. Here’s a shot of the official timing monitor via @InsideFerrari

    3. No need for checking IMO, these sector times are their best ones set in Q3, not necessarily on the same lap.

    4. @thynaks As others have pointed out, Webber did not necessarily set those sector times on the same lap, or even in the same phase of qualifying.

      But that does show he missed a clear chance to put his car on pole.

  5. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    16th November 2013, 19:35

    Lotus can’t decide if picking Hulkenberg (p4) or Maldonado (p.18)… hard decision?
    I also noted Perez is much better than Button.

    1. I was thinkg the same about Perez, now they are even in Quali. I think Button have been worst than Perez, and is even more dissapointing because he is a WDC and the “leader” of the team

      1. Worst? Why? Because Button has done bad in a couple of races? The last time I checked, Button is above the points table, and is the first McLaren (truck) driver behind Ferrari, Lotus, Mercedes and Red Bull. I think that pretty much count as a team leader.

      2. You are clutching at straws to suggest that Perez has been better than Button this year although I admit Button has been poor in qualifying in the last few races.

        Today I was literally shouting profanities at the screen after watching Button fail to make Q3 for the second race in succession and I’m glad he was so despondent about his performance in his post race interviews. Like he said this isn’t the first time his pace has just dissapeared from P3 going into qualifying.

        Several other drivers were suffering similarly today at various stages, most notably including Rosberg, Massa and Maldonado who were also creamed by their teammates in qualifying. Hulkenberg and Alonso were both suffering until the latter part of Q2. Hamilton and Rosberg also both blamed tyres for their unexpectedly low qualifying positions.

        Still, I was watching some of Button’s onboards and it looked like he was cruising on fast laps at times today, other than an occasional minor lockup of an inside front. He’s super smooth and extremely accurate but frankly I’d like to see a bit more aggression in his driving on Saturdays, especially on days like today. His driving was too clinical and safe for my liking today and it pissed me off on this occasion.

        Maybe the current tyres don’t suit his driving style. So adapt! Only a few days ago in interviews Button was saying he thinks 2014 will be good for drivers who adapt their driving style and claimed he is definitely willing to do that. So whats the deal? It seems like when the Pirelli tyres have peaky performance in a narrow operating window Button tends to fade off the radar. Evidently the peaky tyre performance this year at COTA has caught out a several other car/driver combinations but frankly there are other drivers out there putting in strong qualifying performances and guess who that group includes today? You guessed it…Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton.

        Buttons woeful Mclaren this year surely hasn’t helped with his qualifying issues but I’m fed up with seeing it now. It’s really frustrating at times to be a Button supporter because he consistently delivers strong race performances on Sunday but all to often fluffs it on Saturday without apparently always pushing himself and his car to the limit. I want to witness aggression; those occasional small mistakes in the practice sessions building up to qualifying which demonstrate that he is actually pushing the car to the limits. I want to see a willingness to haggle performance out of the car instead of his performance fading away just because the track temperature has changed a few degrees since FP3 or because he got held up for a few seconds on his warmup lap or because he put 2 turns too much front wing into the car or…you get the picture.

    2. after the latest statements from maldonado about the team, im not too surprised that after a pretty balanced season from the 2, that bottas is that far ahead of maldonado…and hulkenburg by default. Me thinks lotus will be privy to the ‘effect’ too ( alonso’s drop off in qualy after ferrari signed kimi is a notable mention too:)

  6. Really amazing to see Sauber’s turnaround, and what Hulkenberg is able to do with it. Hopefully he can maintain the excellent pace he’s been achieving through the race.

    Also… looks like Hamilton’s new chassis hasn’t paid off too much.

    1. Clearly Merc are struggling Ham 5th Ros 14th, Ham did well, no?

      1. Yeah I think Hamilton did a solid job. Its been very close between him and Rosberg all year but Rosberg was nowhere today.

        1. Do you think Rosberg has noticed that he has a “new” chassis as well?


  7. Did Maldonado accuse his team of tampering with “pressures”?

    1. indeed he did.

    2. @david-a
      The gap between Maldonado and Bottas was unusually large today, so clearly something was probably wrong with PM’s car. Still, plotting a conspiracy theory against your own team isn’t exactly bright, though something I would expect from Pastor.

      1. Nick Jarvis (@)
        16th November 2013, 23:29

        I think a large part of it was due to his lockup. His car looks like it was hobbling around on his hotlap.

        Also, does anyone else think Sutil received a front right puncture?

    3. He sure did. Settings or tyre pressures – I was to stunned when I saw that, to remember which :-) Nice job by Claire Williams to defuse the situation, although I suspect the calm internal team atmosphere she referred to might be slightly less calm at the moment…

      1. so what would you do if you noticed your tyre pressures werent set correctly? I would set them myself I guess :)

    4. Stupid, stupid move from Maldonado.

      1. What was stupid about it can you imagine the reaction if Webber had said that?

  8. Why is Ferrari performing so dismally in qualification? What do you think guys is wrong with their setup?

  9. Adrian Sutil mentioned in an interview that he suffered from a brake disk failure – was it really a puncture as mentioned in the article or was he misinformed?

    1. @rez0 I believe he had a brake failure which in turn caused a puncture. I don’t think it made any difference in the end: his “fast” lap was the previous tour.

  10. I have a feeling WEB was hoping VET would take that title earlier in the season…
    Clearly, after the drivers title is secured for VET, WEB seems to have upped his game – I mean, these days he is able to almost fight for pole now and VET seems to have to do three perfect sectors in order to be ahead of him!
    Maybe now even those mysterious start/engine/whatnot problems that used to haunt WEBs side of the garage are “fixed”.

    1. Three perfect sectors? Vettel completely screwed up first two sectors(lots of missed brake points and apexes) and still got pole… It was really poor lap in general.

      1. “lots of missed brake points and apexes”

        I did not look at the onboard photage…so cannot really comment on your statement. If true however – that VET had “lots of missed brake points and apexes” on the deciding Q3 run – and still managed to be (1) on pole AND (2) more than 8 tenths ahead of the closest none-redbull-car, then really what should be on the podium is that car, not VET.

        1. DO you even know that Wind is making things hard for drivers in Both S1 and S2? Jumping on things even you don’t know whats happening on track.

          1. Not sure what you are talking about/suggesting?? The wind is also on VETs and WEBs side (and against all the other drivers)? Is that it?

          2. Which is why SV was not in Q3 oh wait he was on ?

      2. Have you been listening to Lewis Hamilton again? Maybe you should educate yourself about Formula One, and racing in general: there is not one perfect line. If a driver consistently drives different lines, he’s not “missing lots of brake points and apexes”, he’s driving a line which he believes is faster.

      3. Can you tell me how many apexes SV missed ?

  11. I thought it was a shame Webber had a messy final sector to his final lap, as his first two sectors were great. In my view, he is also redeeming himself a little after a generally disappointing season with his qualifying performances of late. In terms of raw pace, he can still match Vettel on occasion which is no mean feat given Vettel’s stature and form.

    Still, it would be nice if he could snatch a win before the end of his career. In all of his previous seasons partnering Vettel, Sebastian had always been better, but there had always been something to cheer about for Webber, too. In 2009, he occasionally beat Vettel, most notably for his first win at the Nurburgring. in 2010 Vettel was generally a bit faster but Mark was usually not far away, and that must have been his best season of his career. 2011 was a bit of a disaster, but at least he ended the season with a win (yes, Vettel had a gearbox issue). In 2012 he started the season very strong with two very good wins by Silverstone.

    Only this season has he been unable to make it onto the top step of the podium. Tomorrow is a good opportunity, though. Hard tyres and a one-stop race, if he gets ahead of his team mate by the first turn (ok, that is not massively realistic), the race is his to lose.

  12. Jenson Button performance today was shocking. Perez qualified in 7th!

    1. perez>looking for a drive? close to home?

      1. @me262 Button> slow, lazy?

  13. Grosjean is delivering so often lately I’m starting to take it for granted. Hope he keeps it up next year.

    1. Nick Jarvis (@)
      16th November 2013, 23:33

      If it weren’t for Red Bull, he’d definitely have won a handful of races this year. He’s a 10th up on the next man down, and he’s almost flawless right now. I have a feeling Lotus will be really fast next year… bloody hope so.

  14. In my opinion, the post was said in jest. Besides, as someone posted, it really did happen so I don’t understand why you easily took offence and labeled it “classless”. There was no attack on Alonso whatever.

    1. Argh. This was in reply to someone’s post saying Vettel’s supporters are classless. For some strange reason, that post is gone, and I have no idea how to delete my previous post. Sorry.

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