Vettel ‘pats his horse’ to pole; Alonso fifth
Given the wild start to the 2012 Formula 1 season that saw seven winners in the first seven races, its a bit disappointing that it has come to the point that the post-qualifying press conference is more entertaining than the action out on track.
Indeed a question from a reporter who asked Vettel if he treated his car like a horse because of the way he 'patted' it in the Japanese Grand Prix seemed far more unexpected than the two-time defending world champion setting pole position by just 0.044 seconds over his Red Bull Racing teammate Mark Webber for the Indian Grand Prix in Greater Noida here, on Saturday.
"First of all, the car is not a horse, so sometimes you might lose oil or fuel," said Vettel in response. "But I think the smell is nicer than what a horse drops!"
All Vettel was dropping was the lap time around the Buddh International Circuit. However, his time of 1:25.283 was 1.018 seconds slower than the pole position time set last year.
Lewis Hamilton led the second row from McLaren teammate Jenson Button while the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa took the third row. "We're not quick enough to be ahead of these guys (Red Bull drivers)," said Hamilton matter of factly. "But I think our race pace was just as good as theirs through practice, so excited about that."
All three sessions featured drivers pushing beyond the limit of their cars and even Vettel got "too greedy" with his braking for turn six in Q3 that caused him to miss the apex and cut across the following turn seven.
Vettel's 35th career pole position puts him behind Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna on the all-time list of the most successful qualifiers in F1 history.
Michael Schumacher was the biggest scalp of the qualifying format as he was eliminated in Q2 and will now have to start from 14th on the grid for Sunday's race.
Narain Karthikeyan was just 0.001 seconds slower than HRT F1 teammate Pedro De La Rosa and will start from 23rd on the grid ahead of the Marussia F1 of Charles Pic.
"Overall I'm happy with the performance I showed in the qualifying session," said Karthikeyan. "My time was almost identical to Pedro's and we've got good pace so we can be satisfied.
"We will try to continue progressing to achieve a good result in front of my home crowd."