Sebastian Vettel was the dominant force in the lead up to Qualifying, but in the end, it was as a scruffy final sector from his team-mate that gifted Vettel his forty-fourth career pole position. Webber appeared to be the fastest car on the track, before losing his half-second lead with wheel spin out of the straight and a trip off track at turn 19. Vettel, on the other hand, took full advantage and nailed the final sector to trump his team-mate by one tenth of a second.
The Red Bulls were incredibly close but Romain Grosjean was over seven-tenths shy of the front-row pairing, an ominous sign ahead of tomorrow’s Grand Prix. Nico Hulkenberg recovered from an early session discomfort as the team changed his brakes pre-Qualifying without telling him to take fourth on the grid. Hamilton was perhaps further down the grid than one would have thought, while Alonso, on the other hand, was much faster than he had been all weekend, pulling a sixth place out of the bag. Sergio Perez ran circles around his team-mate Button and will start seventh on the grid, ahead of the Finnish duo of Heikki Kovalainen and Valtteri Bottas, both of whom have been incredibly strong all weekend. Esteban Gutierrez was tenth for Sauber, pleasing the Mexican crowd by ensuring that both Mexicans were in the top ten.
Daniel Ricciardo was the best of the rest, followed closely by Paul di Resta for Force India. Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg were both well off the pace of their team-mates, the two men taking thirteenth and fourteenth for tomorrow’s Grand Prix. Felipe Massa was a disappointing fifteenth for Ferrari on the first weekend after announcing his move to Williams, while the out-going Williams driver, Pastor Maldonado accused the team of tampering with his car following his eighteenth place in Qualifying. Jean-Eric Vergne was sixteenth for Toro Rosso while Adrian Sutil suffered a brakes failure at the end of Q1 which prevented him from progressing to Q2, and forced him to pull over in the closing seconds.
Giedo van der Garde was the best of the back-markers for Caterham, with Jules Bianchi right behind his rival. Charles Pic qualified twenty-first but will start twenty-second due to a five place penalty as a result of a gearbox change. However, Chilton is under investigation and may also be handed a penalty for holding impeding Adrian Sutil. This would mean that everyone would start as they qualified.
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