Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Interlagos, 2013

Vettel on pole again after rain interrupts qualifying

2013 Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying

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Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Interlagos, 2013Sebastian Vettel claimed his second pole position at Interlagos after rain interrupted qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Rain fell periodically during the session and a sustained downpour forced Q3 to be postponed by 40 minutes. Once it got going, the flying Vettel proved out of his rivals’ reach for the ninth time this year.

Nico Rosberg will join him on the front row of the grid while Fernando Alonso claimed third for Ferrari.


Qualifying began on a very damp track but with more rain threatening the drivers did not waste time getting started. Within moments of the pit exit light turning green all 22 drivers were circulating.

Lewis Hamilton was the first driver to get a lap in and those drivers like him who were able to set a time early on were best placed to get through.

Several drivers further back found themselves in traffic, including the Lotus duo. Romain Grosjean expressed his dissatisfaction at being held up by Max Chilton while team mate Heikki Kovalainen was delayed by both Caterhams.

Both made it through, however, as did Mark Webber after making a timely improved just as the weather began to worse. That lifted him out of the bottom six at Jean-Eric Vergne’s expense.

With the track conditions worsening most of the drivers headed for the pits apart from a handful who were facing the likely threat of elimination. Both Marussias returned to the track in an unsuccessful attempt to get off the back row.

The only driver who was able to escape the bottom six with his final effort was Vergne, who moved ahead of team mate Daniel Ricciardo. Pastor Maldonado and Esteban Gutierrez.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

17Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’27.367
18Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’27.445
19Charles PicCaterham-Renault1’27.843
20Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1’28.320
21Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth1’28.366
22Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth1’28.950


A similar situation unfolded at the start of second practice with all of the remaining 16 drivers quickly joining the track as the session began.

Nico Rosberg led the times initially but said he hadn’t got his tyres fully up to temperature. Moments later Vettel took the fastest time off him.

The rain held off for much of the session and as lap times fell drivers returned to the pits for fresh sets of intermediate tyres for their final efforts. Nico Hulkenberg, who had been last of the 16 runners, vaulted up into the top ten.

The two Toro Rosso drivers, who had only narrowly made it into Q2 to begin with, also claimed places in Q3. But Sergio Perez’s attempt to make it into the final ten on his last appearance for McLaren ended in disaster as the rain returned in the final minutes of Q2.

Perez ran wide onto the kerb at the exit of Subido do Lago and the MP4-28 snapped sideways. He struck the barrier on the inside of the circuit with both ends of his car, but climbed out unhurt as the session came to an end. That confirmed his elimination along with team mate Button on a disappointing day for McLaren.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Heikki KovalainenLotus-Renault1’27.456
12Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’27.798
13Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1’27.954
14Sergio PerezMcLaren1’28.269
15Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’28.308
16Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’28.586


The rain intensified while Perez’s car was being recovered, forcing the start of Q3 to be postponed several times. It eventually began 40 minutes later than planned on a track now sufficiently soaked for wet weather tyres to be necessary, for the first few laps at least.

After a single run on the wets, most of the drivers decided straight away that the track was now dry enough for intermediate tyres. Grosjean abandoned a lap which was on course to be quickest in order to make his switch to intermediates.

He went quickest after returning to the track but those who waited until later to run improved more quickly. The Lotus driver’s last run was only good enough for sixth.

Ferrari held their drivers in the pits between runs to give themselves the optimum running slots for their last two flying laps. It worked superbly for Alonso, though having gone second with his first run he dropped to third at the end, which nonetheless represented a significant improvement on his recent grid positions.

But no one had an answer for Vettel, who was immediately a full second ahead if his rivals – including team mate Webber – with his first attempt on intermediate tyres. Rosberg joined him on the front row, but the pair were separated by over six tenths of a second in the end.

Top ten in Q3

1Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’26.479
2Nico RosbergMercedes1’27.102
3Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’27.539
4Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’27.572
5Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’27.677
6Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’27.737
7Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’28.052
8Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’28.081
9Felipe MassaFerrari1’28.109
10Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari1’29.582

2013 Brazilian Grand Prix

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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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63 comments on “Vettel on pole again after rain interrupts qualifying”

  1. Simply the best

    1. Formula 1 is so unpredictable these days

      1. A Red Bull Racing 1, 3 in the V8 super cars. Is there anything they can’t win??

        1. Taste in drinks?

          1. HA! Thing is though I actually do like the drink…

  2. That was a superb job by Vettel. Any other pole sitter it would have been “how exciting”. Those two laps were exciting!!!

  3. I wonder if Alonso didn’t ran wide into turn 4, could he have taken Rosberg? I mean his final sector was purple.

    1. Is the same as wondering if Alonso could have won the championship if he didnĀ“t run wide TWICE into turn 4 in last year’s race…

      1. No. It wouldn’t have made a difference.

  4. True, Vettel is simply the best in the Redbull team, not so sure he’d be that great against a top team mate.

    1. If someone can beat Webber by such a margin, then how would he suddenly crumble & forget how to drive against someone slightly better?

      1. Because, Webber’s driving this year has been horrible. Seems he has completely checked out after the events in Malaysia. I honestly believe at least 15 out of current 22 drivers would have done better job this year than Mark. He is slow beyond belief and beyond any low of probability. Massa gets a lot of flak, and rightly so, but Webber deserves even more than that. He’s just so slow. No matter how much Vettel is maximizing his package, you can’t go beyond 100% and it seems to be that it’s Webber’s deficit that’s making most of the difference, since most of these guys are operating pretty much in between 98% and 100%.

        1. None of that actually answered my question. People don’t look at whoever lost between Senna/Prost and say “boy, he’s clearly just not that good”, because they maximised their packages, and were evenly matched, ahead in different areas. They were both “great” against each other, and capable of easily beating others.

          With Vettel maximising his package to a greater extent than all of his rivals, it is illogical to suggest the reigning champion wouldn’t be “great” against another top driver. You can only say he wouldn’t beat a top driver as easily as he is beating a slightly below top driver (which as I said, is pointing out the obvious) as Damon already clarified.

      2. And you honestly believe that Alonso is only slightly better? To say Webber as spent the same time as Vettel at Redbull he has performed terribly this year, even worse than Massa as against a Alonso!

        1. No, but your suggestion that Vettel wouldn’t be that great against a top team mate is to suggest that either a) Vettel would easily lose to a top teammate (i.e. not drive like a great), which is just nonsense, or b) that he wouldn’t beat a better driver as easily as he’s beaten Webber, which is only pointing out the obvious. That’s like asking if Alonso would look as good in that Ferrari with Hamilton or Vettel to contend with, instead of a non-threatening Massa.

          So what is it, Damon? Nonsense or pointing out the obvious?

          1. Pointing at the obvious obviously! I’m sure Vettel had no input in who became his team mate next year. Don’t worry Redbull won’t want to rock the boat and I can’t blame them, but if I was a driver I would want to go up against the best!

      3. webber hasnt got marko and matesizch behind him

        1. @me262 – What you’ve said is irrelevant. Since Webber simply isn’t as talented as his younger teammate, despite being a pretty good driver himself.

          1. His comment does have value, though, in that it adds to the growing collection of creative ways of spelling “Mateschitz.”

          2. kudos to webber for doing his best in the midst of marko/matezsicht chuckles. respect

          3. at least webber will have plenty of time to put a shmarko roll and mateschnitzel on the barby when he’s finished

        2. @aka_robyn: I have to say. I love your avatar. :D

          1. Thank you! :-)

      4. @Damon and Mercedes are the best of the traction control-less

    2. Damon – this “it’s all because of the car” – is just so 2011…

      Vettel yet again shows beyond any doubt his utter brilliance by basically doing the same in the WET – yet there are still those blinded by pure discontent that refuse to see things for what they are…

      I anticipate more cringeworthy attempts to justify just why Vettel just creams the lot of them.

      Walking on water indeed…

      1. You’re right there, it’s just like 2011 hahaha. Of course he’s driving well, most top drivers would with the car advantage he’s got.

        1. I hate to repeat myself: Where was Alonso at the beginning of this season when he had the race car advantage he’s got?

          Right, he never led the championship at any point.

          1. racing with broken front wings

        2. Alonso, Hamilton and Raikkonen have all made mistakes (some of them costly) and performances below their cars this season, while Vettel has been on top of his game and consistently flawless this season.

          This season, none of them would have triumphed over Vettel in the same car, if we carry over each personal performance for every race.

          1. @silence maybe inevitability kicks in when you find yourself 120 points behind in the championship?

          2. @me262 That doesn’t explain/justify the mistakes and underperfomances of the first half, when the difference was much, much less than that. They simply weren’t on the same league as him this season.

          3. @silence alonso yes, he probably would have lifted his game a bit if he had still been close in the 2nd half. But I’d say kimi was in vettel land for 3/4 of the season until he thew the towel in

      2. @psynrg is Vettel leading the pack by 3 seconds by the end of the first lap 2011 or 2013?

        1. Vettel is evolving all the time – this is all just the start of things…

          note. 2011 wasn’t chosen for any particular reason…

          1. vettel is above mortals and physics

    3. @damon red bull exactly did refuse to rock the boat – kimi was an obvious choice but vettel is scoring so many championship points these days they’re not worried with losing the constructors any time soon. Vettel – Ricciardo will be about as enticing as vettel-webber except for Daniel doing a better job on saturday only to blow it on sunday

  5. Half a second!
    I know timing is everything, except you gotta deliver. Boy, Vettel does.
    This is when ‘dominance’ is entertaining.

    1. @verstappen I predict Vettel will be 3 seconds ahead of 2nd by the first lap. You will then have 70 laps to enjoy dominance! I think im going to miss the ‘entertainment’ yet again..

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        23rd November 2013, 23:29

        Only if it’s dry… Which is unlikely.

        If it’s wet, then it will be much closer than that.

  6. Today a Red Bull pole was not a given, Damon…

    1. No, but it was almost guaranteed. Redbull just get everything right, weekend after weekend. They’ll take some stopping for years to come.

    2. When the Red Bull is so fast in the dry, why would it be slow in the wet? If you have a good car in the dry, you have a good car in the wet. Red Bull have a good car, they were always going to get pole with the margin they have over everyone else during the 2nd half of the season.

      1. @nick-uk

        If you have a good car in the dry, you have a good car in the wet.

        Not necessarily. Just like when you have a fast car on straights doesn’t mean you have a fast one on curves, the settings for wet are completely different. That’s why in wet races the order tends to shuffle, some times more significantly than others.

        1. It all comes to downforce I think. If your car can generate a lot of downforce in the dry, by default it will generate it in the wet. But ahh, “it’s going slower so it generates less”, I hear people saying. This is true, but it’s the same for everyone, everyone is going slower so they too have less downforce. Ultimately, the RB9 still generate more than the other teams and therefore can go faster.

          1. @nick-uk I love when people use the word “downforce”, they don’t even understand it to any practical level but still are able to formulate extensive theories about why A or B happen. I think it’s kinda cute.

          2. @silence Enlighten me…

            I know what downforce is. I get that my above explanation is simplistic but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Downforce is the aero effect of wind passing over wing elements and body parts that has the effect of pushing the car into the ground. It’s the oppossite of lift on a plane and a car that generates a lot of it will have a lot more grip and cornering ability that one that has less. If two identical cars are travelling a different speeds then the faster car will be producing more pounds/square inch of downforce than the slower one, due to the increased speed at which the air is passing over the bodywork. Aww how cute of me…

    3. Everyone knows motorsport is all about the driver. I’d say its 90% vettel 10% red bull

      1. today it actually was almost that…

  7. Fantastic job by Alonso, Riccardo and Hulkenberg. They have put their cars a notch higher than the position it deserve. Vettel sublime as usual. Om a different note, heard commentators on Fox Sports live say that Hulk has signed with Force India next season, while Maldonado with Lotus. I sincerely hope thats not true because Hulk deserves far a better car than Force India, while Maldonado deserves far lesser than Lotus. Hope money doesnt have the final say!

  8. Webber really sucks this year.

    1. Bit like Felipe Massa for the last 4.

      1. I wonder if that impact to his head did more than “meets the eye”.

        heh heh…

  9. It is true. And Sutil will stay at Force India, making it a “German” team, so it seems.
    I was disappointed by the Hulk today, at the end of it. Dan and Jev were really good, and so was Alonso. Massa was a disgrace, he is usually very fast at Interlagos, normally better than his team mate.
    Webber. Just not good enough.

    1. Yep, happy JEV made it into Q3, after almost failing to made it into Q2 ^^

  10. No need to delay the session. They should have ran with wets right away.

  11. I was very disappointed by the FIA’s decision to delay Q3. As soon as the session went green, drivers immediately reported they could go to inters. I understand that the FIA wants to guarantee the drivers’ safety and I’m sure everyone appreciates that, but this is going too far in my opinion. What is the point of wet tyres if the FIA doesn’t allow drivers to run in wet conditions?

    1. Indeed, they might just as well give drivers 6 sets of inters instead of 3 wets, 3 inters, then we would see much more running on a wet weekend. The wet tyre is brought out occasionally, but so rarely they might just as well make it official that it is deemed unsafe to run F1 cars in anything more than ‘intermediate conditions’.

  12. Nico Rosberg was forced to admit defeat in the F1 Movember ‘Tash ‘n’ Beard competition.

  13. On top of it all, it looked like Vettel was near the last one to set a fast lap before the rain picked up again. How do Red Bull do that?

  14. Amazing lap from Vettel, on league of its own, even in comparison to Webber on the same car. He simply nailed. Alonso very good too, mistake aside.

    Disappointed by Hamilton once again, and there are no chassis cracks to blame this time.

  15. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    23rd November 2013, 23:42

    Missed Q2 and Q3 because of the time difference (Midnight). But when looking at the data if it’s wet then the race should be a lot closer than people think. If it’s wet I don’t think Vettel will run away with it.

    The three drivers lining up behind Vettel are all extremely high calibre drivers in the wet and will keep Seb honest.

    1. I really don’t think Seb requires anything to keep him honest. He rarely puts a toe wrong.

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