Korean Grand Prix live: Follow all the F1 action as Webber starts from pole
07:03 GMT, 14 October 2012
Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Formula 1 world championship as the race for the drivers' title heats up between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso heading into round 16. The Red Bull driver has taken the Spaniard's lead at the top of the table down to four points as the championship moves into the final five rounds starting with the Korean Grand Prix at Yeongam. Send me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or contact me on Twitter @Ripinho.
Korean Grand Prix
Sebastian Vettel leapfrogs Mark Webber to take the lead on the first lap.
Ferrari pair Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa pass Lewis Hamilton to move into third and fourth respectively.
Jenson Button retires after being hit by Kamui Kobayashi
Lap 33: From Sportsmail's Simon Cass:
'So with Webber dropping back and Alonso closing how much of a help can he be to his teammate Vettel in the drivers’ title. The reigning champion has now overtaken the Spaniard at top of the table.
'Hamilton being told he can get sixth if he makes it to the end without stopping. Might as well go bowling…'
Lap 32: And maybe it is two stops for Hamilton, as his team inform him he can make it to the end of the race without stopping. I will be surprised if he does the next 23 tours without a new set of tyres. McLaren inform him sixth is the target.
Lap 31: It's not just Hamilton complaining about his tyres. Even Vettel has tried to force through an early pit stop with his team – and he is hardly pushing out in front.
Lap 29: Webber has woken up finally to close Vettel's lead to eight seconds. Alonso is starting to fall off the back of the Red Bull…and into the clutches of team-mate Masaa. Interesting times.
Lap 28: Hamilton's pit stop puts him down in eighth behind Nico Hulkenberg and Romain Grosjean. It's worth noting the McLaren is nursing problems that are hurting the front end grip. It's a damage limitation job for Lewis.
Lap 27: Webber responds to the Alonso charge, by pulling out a 1.5 second lead over the Ferrari driver. Vettel is nine seconds clear of the former out in front.
Lap 26: Not now it's not. Hamilton pits around six laps earlier than expected and I imagine he has now moved on to a three stop strategy.
Lap 25: Third placed Alonso is right on Webber now – closing to within a second of the Red Bull driver. Hamilton and Raikkonen is the only fight on the track – but what a fight it is.
Lap 24: This time Raikkonen easily passes before the long straight, but Hamilton saves his KERS for the run down into the next corner and re passes the Finn on the inside. Superb driving from the 2008 world champion.
Lap 23: Hamilton is struggling desperately for front grip and is now under severe pressure from Raikkonen for fifth.
The Lotus driver tried to pass the Brit around the outside of turn three but Lewis is too wise to fall for that old chestnut – this seems inevitable though.
Lap 22: Vettel leads Webber by over seven seconds now, but Alonso is starting to home in on the Australian as he is closes the gap to two seconds.
Lap 21: And this time it doesn't take long for the Brazilian to pass Hamilton, as he uses the slipstream before the long straight to easily sweep past. Hamilton seems to be nursing some tyre issues judging by his concerned radio messages to his team.
Lap 20: But it's not the Ferrari driver in front Hamilton should be worrying about, it's the one behind with Massa, who once again has homed in on the McLaren star.
Lap 19: Vettel's lead is up to six seconds now with Alonso a further three back. Hamilton still has the Ferrari driver in his sights just a couple of seconds behind.
Sauber have cleared a space in their garage for Kobayashi to retire. That's probably just to prevent him getting into any more scraps today.
Lap 18: Now Raikkonen has passed Perez shortly after turn one, although the Mexican's tyres are looking finished now. One stop isn't going to work, Sergio.
Lap 17: In fact Perez looks to be going backwards now as Massa overtakes him for fifth. It's as you were before the pit window with Vettel comfortably leading Webber, Alonso and Hamilton.
Lap 16: Alonso and Vettel pit, with the former just feeding out in front of Perez.
The Ferrari driver is attacked by the Mexican before the long straight but manages to defend, before a close following Hamilton soon takes advantage to pass the Sauber driver for fourth place.
Lap 15: That looked a bit early, but the rest of the grid soon follows with Raikkonen, Massa and Webber following into the pits.
Lap 14: Hamilton's tyres are starting to grain so he pits for a new set of rubbers – he feeds in behind Sergio Perez.
Comfortable: Sebastian Vettel dominated the early stages of the race
Jenson Button spoke to Sky Sports:
'I was having good drag with Nico then there was a big bang on the right with Kamui
then flying past.
'It's poor driving with this being the pinnacle of motorsport. It's a long
race, it's not two corners long and some people need to learn that.'
Lap 12: From Sportsmail's Simon Cass;
'Some great three a breast racing right through the field on the twisty final sector, that was meant to be the street circuit section but they forgot to build the town…'
Lap 11: In fact Hamilton is in defence mode, with Felipe Massa's scarlet Ferrari probably dominating those McLaren mirrors.
Lap 10: The yellow flags are finally in but that hasn't aided overtaking. The Red Bulls are still comfortably in front, as Alonso also starts to edge clear of Hamilton.
Lap 9: Rosberg was also a victim of Kobayashi's carelessness at the start which aided his retirement and it's his stricken car on the outside of track that is causing the yellow flags. The stewards are making a bit of a mess trying to move it.
Lap 8: As Vettel sets the fastest lap, Kobayashi is handed a drive through penalty – no surprises there.
Lap 7: Track action is limited right now, and that is not being helped by DRS being disabled due to some debris on the track before the long straight. Around eight seconds separate the top six.
Lap 5: It's not just Hamilton keeping up with Alonso too, as Felipe Massa is also running a similar pace in fifth with Raikkonen just behind.
Lap 4: Little surprise to see this is developing into a battle of the Red Bulls.
Alonso cannot keep pace in his Ferrari and he has Hamilton in close company.
Interesting to note that in the top eight, the drivers starting on the dirty side of the grid all gained a place.
Webber is keeping in close contact with Vettel, while Nico Rosberg has
retired with what looks like an engine problem. Kobayashi pits after
smashing into Button's right front wheel.
It's happened again! Vettel pounces to overtake Webber at the first
corner, before holding him off going into the long straight.
Alonso at the same time overtook Hamilton but Button is out after being clumsily hit by Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi.
Over the radio to his McLaren team, a furious Button called the Japanese driver an idiot.
Moving up: Sebastian Vettel (right) overtakes team-mate Mark Webber to take the lead
Off they go on the parade lap, all eyes will be on the first four going
into that first corner. Will they stay in the same order
6.58: And a good morning to Sportsmail's Simon Cass, who sends us his musings from Korea:
'The race a the great white elephant of a track is upon us once more.
drivers parade saw them wave to the empty grandstands as they toured the
circuit on a low loader but the Governor of the province also toured
the press room insisting building on hotels and casinos near the track
would be beginning soon.
'I'm not holding my breath and I fear a 'love motel' will be my accommodation once more next year.
of the failure of this race to fire the imagination of the locals, the
grand prix promises to be a cracker if Ferrari and McLaren can translate
practice race pace into genuine speed for the next two hours.
a battle royal with Vettel, Webber, Alonso and Hamilton is in the
offing with a Button charge through the field for good measure.'
boss Eric Boullier has targeted a podium today from fifth and seventh
on the grid, but first Romain Grosjean might want to negotiate a first
corner without crashing into someone – the Frenchman starts behind his
team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen.
6.50: As you may gather by Webber's words, the track is bone dry and there doesn't look to be any sign of rain.
So conditions are looking good…or bad if you like the the way rain throws a splash of unpredictability.
6.45: Pole position man Mark Webber spoke to Sky Sports:
'The track looks good. Turns four, five and six are a bit dusty and we may need more front wing but overall it looks fine.'
6.41: This is the third Grand Prix at Yeongam and the previous two hit both ends of the entertainment spectrum.
The first in 2010 was won by Alonso after Vettel's dramatic retirement late on following a soaking wet start.
Once it eventually got going we saw Webber spin out so he will to avoid doing that again today.
2011 was dominated from start to
finish by Vettel who had already won the drivers' championship. It was a
race I believe Red Bull also clinched the constructors title but 2011
wasn't exactly a memorable season.
Hamilton was on the cusp of being eliminated in Q1, Jenson Button's
unfortunate timing with yellow flags saw him eliminated in Q2, so click here for a full recap on yesterday's qualifying session.
We've seen Vettel leapfrog his team-mate at the start many times before
and with Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso directly behind, it should
make for an interesting first lap – let alone first corner.
So it's a Red Bull driver on pole in a one-two again, but I don't think
many of us would have expected Mark Webber to be leading it this
The Australian pipped championship chasing Sebastian Vettel in qualifying yesterday, but can he stay there
Closing in: All the championship momentum is with second-placed driver Sebastian Vettel