If you’re going to be trackside at the Indian GP today, or even if you’re following this at home on your television sets, you need to know who is at the front of the grid. And it’s no surprise, if you’ve been following this season closely, that it is the man who’s already won the 2011 world championship.
Sebastian Vettel put in some blisteringly quick laps in qualifying and claimed pole position for the first ever Indian GP. And it was a special pole position too, for the German. He equalled Formula 1 legend, Juan Manuel Fangio’s record for the same. It was Vettel’s 13th pole of the season and the 28th of his career.
Second-fastest was McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton. But since Hamilton got a three-place grid penalty for ignoring yellow flags during the practice session on Friday, he will only start the race in fifth place. This means the front of the grid, before the five red lights go out, will be all Red Bull. Mark Webber, who clocked the third fastest time, moves up to second on the grid. Ferrari driver, Fernando Alonso starts the race in third place, with Jenson Button fourth. So there’s reason to cheer for McLaren and Ferrari fans too.
If you’re curious about the fate of the tricolour during the Indian GP, rest assured that things are looking good. Adrian Sutil put Force India eighth on the grid, while Paul di Resta will start 13th. As for Narain Karthikeyan – the only Indian driver on the grid will start the race dead last. On track, Narain clocked the 22nd fastest time. But stewards then deemed that the Indian driver impeded the qualifying lap of seven-time world champion, Michael Schumacher, for which he received a 5-place grid penalty.
What do we expect from tomorrow’s race? Plenty of action for sure – the circuit is wide enough for overtaking aplenty, dust across the track means cars might slide too, and there’s the all important pitlane exit. It’s close to the first corner, so if drivers aren’t careful, there’s a good chance that there might be a few collisions there.
Hold on tight, then, as the five red lights go out at the Buddh International Circuit for the first ever Indian GP.