Greater Noida: Favourite to win his fourth race in a row, German driver Sebastian Vettel sounded cautious on the eve of Indian Grand Prix on Sunday, saying things could change on the race day. “I am very happy to be on pole for the race but the actual race could always be different,” said the Red Bull hero.
Excerpts from what the top 5 on the grid had to say
Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull): First of all it was a tight session in the qualifiers, especially in the end. I committed a mistake in Turn Four and had to abort the lap, so that was not as per the plan. Before that obviously we had quite a good qualifying session, so we decided to go for another run
We had only one set of tyres left. Fortunately, I got the lap together and was very happy.
Being on pole is the best possible position to start. But there’s a hard race coming up tomorrow (Sunday). I think we had a bit of a surprise on Friday in terms of long runs as everyone was quite competitive and tyres seemed to last reasonably well. I am very happy to win the qualifying sessions but the actual race could always be different.
Mark Webber (Red Bull): It was great for us today (Saturday). We put in a lot of effort to make sure we had a great car to get as high up the grid as possible. It was very, very close between Seb (Vettel) and I, both of us only had one run in Q3, Seb made a mistake in his first lap and I couldn’t get the tyre prep right for the second run, but that’s how it was.
Lewis Hamilton (McLaren): I’m very satisfied that I’ll be starting from the second row. This is one of the best circuits we race on and I definitely think third position gives us a chance to fight for victory. Even if I’d had a perfect qualifying lap, I think I’d only have found another tenth. I reckon I got everything out of the car, particularly on my final run in Q3; the middle and last sectors were particularly strong.
Jenson Button (McLaren): Fourth isn’t a bad place to be starting tomorrow (Sunday). We struggled a little to get the Options [tyres] working, particularly in the first lap. So I went for a different strategy from most other drivers, carrying out a three-lap run. The longer run really worked out for me in Q2, in fact, but I didn’t quite have the right balance in Q3; I had a bit more understeer, as the circuit had gripped-up more than we had anticipated. Overall, as a team, we should be reasonably happy with what we achieved today.
Fernando Alonso (Ferrari): This is an interesting circuit. After the longest straight, there’s a combination of high-speed corners which are very nice to drive. Today (Saturday) the track was still very dirty, which is usually the case at new tracks those aren’t used very often. Tomorrow (Sunday), when it will deliver more grip, it will be even more fun.