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Vettel takes pole in India

NEWS STORY
27/10/2012

Ahead of today's qualifying session the air temperature is 30 degrees C, while the track temperature is 38 degrees.

This morning, as was the case in both of yesterday's sessions, Sebastian Vettel set the pace. Surprisingly, the German didn't set the track alight once he switched to softs at the very end of the session but this is probably because he had all the data he needed rather than a chink on the armour.

While Jenson Button and Mark Webber both improved on the softer rubber, Lewis Hamilton appeared lacklustre, with the Ferraris also worryingly off the pace.

Biggest surprise this morning was that of Bruno Senna, who was up there on both compounds. Then again, the Brazilian is one of a number of drivers yet to secure a seat for next season, therefore there is some added motivation.

Mathematically a number of drivers can still win the title even though many of us see it as a straight fight between Vettel and Fernando Alonso. Should the Ferraris not have anything in reserve this bodes well for the championship as the German, who has won the last three races, could secure the title long before Brazil.

That said, one couldn't help but feel that that there was a little gamesmanship at work this morning. Indeed, there were times when it felt we were watching a game of Poker, some drivers appearing none too keen to show their hands. Or is that wishful thinking?

As ever, we expect the usual suspects - Caterham, Marussia and HRT - to fall at the first hurdle, but who will join them? Based on this morning's 'evidence' that could be Kobayashi or one of the Toro Rossos however, as we know from experience, the slightest slip, the merest strategic error, could see one of the big guns join them.

Tyre options are hard and soft with the gap said to be around 0.6 to 1s a lap. Tyre wear isn't a problem here therefore Pirelli is expecting some drivers to opt for just one stop tomorrow. The track is constantly evolving and consequently Pirelli says we can expect the times to get quicker as each phase reaches its conclusion.

Di Resta gets the session underway, the Scot admitting his disappointment not to have secured a "top drive" for next season, no doubt referring to the seats at McLaren and Mercedes.

He is joined by teammate Hulkenberg and a whole host of others including Schumacher, Rosberg and Raikkonen. Only the HRT duo are on the softer rubber.

Di Resta posts 28.786 while Hulkenberg crosses the line at 30.202. Raikkonen subsequently splits the pair with a 30.148.

As Perez posts 28.282, Rosberg is already complaining about understeer. The German also has a problem with his rear tyre temperatures.

Next time around Hulkenberg goes quickest (27.766), as all but the Red Bulls and McLarens are on track.

Massa goes quickest in S1 as Grosjean gets out of shape in T9. Massa maintains the pace in S2 crossing the line to go quickest (27.082) with the Finn slipping in a 27.237 to go second.

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