MX23RW : Saturday, September 22 05:48:50

Live Commentary: Indian Grand Prix qualifying - as it happened

Live Commentary: Indian GP quali - as it happened
© PA Photos
Live text coverage of qualifying for Sunday's Indian Grand Prix in New Delhi, courtesy of Sports Mole.

Sebastian Vettel went into qualifying for the Indian Grand Prix in fine form having won the last three races and topped all the timesheets in practice at the New Delhi circuit.

The reigning two-time world champion converted this into yet another pole position this morning, with Red Bull teammate Mark Webber joining him on the front row.

The McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button make up the second row, while Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa of Ferrari are fifth and sixth.

Read how qualifying unfolded in our minute-by minute live commentary below.

9.16amMorning all! I hate to say it but Vettel is looking irresistible at the moment.

9.20amLast year Vettel won the inaugural version of this race with a dominant performance in India's capital.

9.22amIt's not just Vettel who's cleaning up at the moment. The team as a whole are yet again on course for a constructors' title and lead Ferrari by a whopping 77 points going into this race. A Red Bull one-two could virtually tie up the crown with three races still to go after this.

9.23amFollowing tomorrow's race, Formula 1 goes to Abu Dhabi next week before a return to the United States in three weeks in Austin before the finale in Brazil on November 25.

9.25amFive minutes until qualifying begins

9.26amFor those that are unfamiliar with F1 qualifying, here's how it will work this morning...

9.26amFirst we have a 20-minute session, called Q1, involving all 24 cars. The slowest seven around the 3.1 mile circuit are eliminated and start tomorrow's race from their positions.

9.27amNext is a 15-minute 'Q2' session that will see a further seven knocked out and they also start the race from their position in this session.

9.28amFinally it's a 10-minute pole-position shootout, Q3, where the quickest 10 cars from Q2 fight it out for the front of the grid.

9.29amIn the upcoming Q1 session expect the six drivers of the 'new' teams - HRT, Marussia and Caterham - to go out alongside one man from the other, bigger names.

9.30amQ1 is underway!

9.30amScottish driver Paul di Resta of Force India is wasting no time. He's the first man out on track.

9.33amThere's plenty of cars struggling at the moment as Perez and Raikkonen both struggle to stay in control.

9.34amHulkenburg is the fastest man out there at the moment thanks to a 1:27.766.

9.36amLooks like something is wrong with Grosjean's car. He's slowed right down and has even taken his hands off the wheel.

9.37amFerrari's Massa is now top of the tree with a 1:27.082.

9.38amSurprisingly, Ferrari number one Alonso can only go fourth-quickest before Perez goes to the front. He's the first man under 1:27.

9.40amThe McLaren of Hamilton has just begun his first 'hot' lap. Should be an easy progression to Q2 for Lewis.

9.41amMassa ousts Senna at the top but the Brazilian is not there for long as Maldonado goes fastest with a 1:26.904.

9.42amHamilton, who was the fastest man in the opening sector, can only go eighth-fastest. He'll need to go again. Eight minutes of the session left.

9.43amSPIN! Massa twirls on entry into the final corner and that's his tyre(s) ruined.

9.43amBoth Ferraris are struggling to find grip at the moment and the penultimate and last corner are proving especially tricky for the drivers.

9.44amPredictably, Vettel leaps to the top of the timesheet with a 1:26.621 as Hamilton yet again flies around the opening sector.

9.46amVettel goes even quicker and he's nearly half a second quicker than everyone else. Wow.

9.47amVettel's teammate Webber goes third. Hamilton is second.

9.47amJust three minutes left of Q1.

9.47amAt the moment the six drivers of the less-favoured teams are in the bottom seven with Toro Rosso's Vergne.

9.49amVergne gets inside the top 17 to push his teammate Ricciardo into the bottom seven.

9.50amUp at the front it's the predictable quintet of Vettel, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Webber and Alonso.

9.51amRicciardo does well to move up to 12th and that means that Vergne will be eliminated with the HRTs, Marussias and Caterhams.

9.52amKovalainen has spun out and that's the car beached in the gravel.

9.53amQ1 has finished.

9.54amThese are the seven drivers eliminated (in the order they'll start the race tomorrow): 18 Vergne 19 Petrov 20 Kovalainen 21 Glock 22 De La Rosa 23 Karthikeyan 24 Pic

9.55amNo real surprises in that opening session then. Q2 is coming up imminently.

9.57amThe rapid Maldonado shot to the top right at the end of the session on the softer tyres.

9.57amQ2 is underway.

9.58am15 minutes of pacesetting coming up then before the final pole-position shootout.

9.59amSauber's Kobayashi will be the first to set a time in this session.

10.01amKobayashi, Di Resta and Senna all cross the line within a few seconds of each other and it's the latter who's quickest with a 1:26.826.

10.02amHamilton goes to the front but he's shown up by Vettel. The German looks impossible to beat as he crosses the line in 1:25.435.

10.03amWebber and Rosberg are the only other men under 1:26.

10.04amEight minutes of Q2 remaining.

10.04amMcLaren's Button is the only man yet to set a time in this session. Where are you JB?

10.06amHamilton is flying in the first sector but has to abandon his latest lap as he cut the corner in the middle.

10.07amHere comes Button, at last...

10.07amThe Englishman goes sixth-fastest, just behind his teammate.

10.09amSenna goes sixth as Raikkonen is in danger of an early exit in ninth.

10.11amIt's a frantic finish to Q2, who is going to get into the top 10 shootout?

10.13amSchumacher's out.

10.13amAs is Grosjean.

10.14amThe home favourites of Force India both failed to get into the top 10 as well. Hulkenburg will start 12th, while Di Resta is down in 16th.

10.15amHere are the seven knocked out in that session: 11 Grosjean 12 Hulkenburg 13 Senna 14 Schumacher 15 Ricciardo 16 Di Resta 17 Kobayashi

10.16amDi Resta tells Sky Sports F1 that that's the worst he's driven all year. This is the first time in 10 races that neither of the Force Indias has got into Q3.

10.17amUp at the front, Vettel was the quickest man (shock!), with Button registering second thanks to a quick lap right at the death.

10.18amThe 10-minute top 10 shootout is coming up shortly and it's hard to look past Vettel for pole position.

10.19amThe 10 drivers who will contest for pole are: Vettel, Button, Webber, Hamilton, Alonso, Rosberg, Maldonado, Perez, Raikkonen, Massa.

10.19amNo real surprises then but you have to say well done to Perez, who is in the top 10 while teammate Kobayashi is down in 17th.

10.20amQ3 is underway!

10.20amHamilton is wasting no time, he's straight out on track to set a time.

10.22amHamilton begins his lap. Can the Englishman combine a quick first sector with a solid second and third to get in the mix?

10.23amStrange, Hamilton backed off in that lap and he'll have to have another go.

10.24amAlonso moves to the front with a 1:25.773.

10.24amListen to this, Vettel has just made an error in qualifying. Really. The German is usually so efficient in this pacesetting format but he gets the backend out and completely misses the apex. His teammate Webber goes fastest with a 1:25.327.

10.26amWebber, Alonso and Hamilton are the only men to have set a time so far. The rest are readying to go out for one, or maybe two, hot laps. Just four minutes of the session left.

10.27amPerez is the next to set a time but he's not troubling the frontrunners.

10.28amButton goes second but he's a long way, in F1 terms, off the time of Webber.

10.29amVettel goes fastest with a 1:25.283. Still a minute of quali left.

10.30amIt's going to be a frenetic finish! Who will grab pole? Or will Vettel not be beaten?

10.30amVettel's in the pit! He won't set another time.

10.31amIt's a Red Bull lock-out for the third race in a row!


10.33amThe German is all smiles and his teammate Webber joins him on the front row. The McLarens of Hamilton and Button make up the second row.

10.34amHere's the top 10: 1 Vettel 2 Button 3 Hamilton 4 Button 5 Alonso 6 Massa 7 Raikkonen 8 Perez 9 Maldonado 10 Rosberg

10.35amSo, we've got a Red Bull front row, McLaren second row and Ferrari third row.

10.37amWe're so used to seeing it but the Red Bull car is on song right now. Have they got the race pace to see out the win tomorrow?

10.39amFerrari principal Stefano Domenicali says that "we will see tomorrow" after a fairly disappointing quali performance.

10.40amClick here to read our report on qualifying this morning.

10.41amThanks for joining Sports Mole this morning, we'll be back at 9am tomorrow for live coverage of the race. Join us then.

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