Red Bull delighted with lockout
Team hoping to capitalise on grid slots on race day
By William Esler. Last Updated: October 13, 2012 10:03am
Red Bull were delighted by their second front-row lockout in as many weeks after Mark Webber topped the timesheets from Sebastian Vettel in Korea.
The result puts the Milton Keynes-based team in a formidable position to extend their lead in the Constructors' Championship as they go in search of their third straight title.
After seeing one of his cars eliminated at turn one in Japan, Team Principal Christian Horner knows it is important the team capitalise on their grid slots in Sunday's race.
"It was a very strong qualifying," Horner told Sky Sports F1.
"A great, great lap by Mark right at the end and the pair separated by half a tenth. It's a front row lockout for the second week in succession and we need to make it count in the race.
"Mark strung together a perfect lap at the end. He didn't run on the softer tyres this morning but made up for that this afternoon. It was very, very close and tight with Sebastian - he dropped a little bit of time on his last lap at turn three, but nonetheless it is great to have the both on the front row ahead of their main rivals."
Whilst Red Bull have consistently been the team to beat over a single lap throughout the Korean GP weekend, McLaren and Ferrari looked closer to the World Champions over the longer runs. Horner, however, is not unduly worried.
"I think the drivers were pretty happy with the long runs yesterday and we had a bit of data to look over last night and refine the cars ahead of qualifying so hopefully we should be in pretty good shape in the race.
"It is important we get the most of the weekend we can which means the guys beating all the other guys behind them. We need to make sure we make a good start and get through the first lap cleanly and not get involved in any incidents or anyone else's incidents and then make sure we get the strategy right and all the other factors, but it is the best place to be starting."
For Webber, the result was his best qualifying performance of the year - having inherited pole in Monaco courtesy of a penalty for Michael Schumacher - and the Australian was happy to string a lap together when it mattered.
"I think Monaco was by default, but yes first one on track," Webber said.
"I'm very happy to get the job done and get the pole position. It was a reasonable lap and we did it when it counted and that is what matters in qualifying. The last few events have been tricky for me but I am really happy to start on pole. Tomorrow is the main day and it is looking good to get a strong result.
"I think off the back of Suzuka we felt we had improved the car quite a bit but you never get ahead of yourself. After Valencia we thought we had a good car but after that it was not that easy for us, so we knew coming here it was not going to be a given.
"But we have a very handy car that is for sure, the guys have been working very hard and there is no doubt the hard work is paying off."
Vettel was moderately pleased with second, but felt he could have been on pole had he not got too close to Felipe Massa ahead of his final timed lap.
"Overall I think we can be very happy with the result," the World Champion said.
"We had a good start to qualifying in Q1 and Q2 and a good first run in Q3, but the last run I don't want to blame it on Felipe, I thought he was coming in, but in the last sector he was right in front of me which is not ideal ahead of your timed lap.
"The second lap was not good enough, lost a little bit in the middle sector, which seemed to be ok all weekend but I wasn't able to go with it. Second is a very good place to start from. We have a very long straight right away so you never know."