By Gordon Howard, AFP
YEONGAM, South Korea –Sebastian Vettel led a Red Bull lockout of the front row after qualifying at the inaugural Korean Grand Prix at the new Yeongam circuit on Saturday.
The 23-year-old German recorded his ninth pole of the 2010 season with a lap of 1 minute 35.585 seconds, edging teammate and world championship leader Mark Webber of Australia by 0.074 seconds in a thrilling hour-long session.
Vettel’s pole is the 14th of his career, and the front-row one-two is Red Bull’s eighth of the season.
The German said it has taken some time to become accustomed to the 5.621-kilometer circuit this weekend.
“Some corners here are quite tricky to understand the way they work, especially Turn 9, 10 and 11,” Vettel said. “It wasn’t easy, but as usual when it comes to corners, we know our car is very good. In a straight line, we’re doing our best, but there’s not much we can do, so we have to fight back in the corners.”
Webber, who qualified on the front row for the 12th time in 17 races this season, edged Vettel in the second knockout part of qualifying by three one-hundredths of a second. The 34-year-old lost out to his teammate in the final session after electing to run consecutive flying laps on the softer Bridgestone tire.
“I wasn’t that happy on the first timed lap, to be honest,” Webber said. “It was more comfortable for me to do two timed (laps), and it worked out OK. It was very close with Seb, and I got second on the grid, which is a lot better off than many other positions.
“It would have been nice to get pole, but it’s still a very good position to start the race and we can do very well from there. It was pretty close to perfect, but not quite.” Spaniard Fernando Alonso was third for Ferrari, a result he called the “maximum” for the Italian team.