Sebastian Vettel has admitted he surprised himself with his pace during qualifying
German blitzed field to claim pole position by six-tenths of a second
By Pete Gill and William Esler
Last Updated: 23/11/13 8:36pm
In conditions that, in theory, ought to have nullified Red Bull's aerodynamic advantage, the sobering reality for the rest of the field was that both of the two laps set by Vettel after bolting on the intermediate tyres at the end of a rain-delayed Qualifying Three session were sufficient to take pole by over half a second.
"It was a big surprise," Vettel said after the session. "There was a lot of rain after Q2, and once we got out, I was surprised at how much of the water had gone and I got straight onto the intermediates. I was able then to get a very, very good lap in straight away and then tried to beat that to beat that with the second one and was very close. So with both my laps I was very happy and surprised by the margin."
With the downforce-dominated middle sector remaining treacherous, Vettel was in a class of his own through the twisty infield. Nevertheless, he does not feel that that is where Red Bull are strongest.
"Not necessarily, I think we have been strong in every sector, so it is the combination of all three," he told Sky Sports F1.
"I think the last sector probably stood out a bit more as our strong sector, but then again it is fairly short - only half as long as the middle sector - so as long as we were amongst the top guys in sector two, we had a good chance."
It was the World Champion's ninth pole of the season and leaves him perfectly placed to claim what would be a record-breaking ninth consecutive victory.
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner was full of praise for his driver's performance and told Sky Sports F1 after the session that the extent of Vettel's superiority was a testament to the hard work both Vettel and the engineers had put in during practice.
"He was really impressive in that last session and to produce two laps that were over half a second clear of the rest of the field in such tricky conditions, what more can you say," Horner said.
"Obviously it was been wet all the way through the sessions and he has been looking hard at his driving - whether it is the lines or what he is doing out on track - to get the best out of himself, to get the best out of the car. He has put that all together today and to come up with the margin of pole position that he has today is impressive.
"I wish it was just as easy as turning up and being quick! Of course you have to work at it, each track has different characteristics and obviously the conditions have been very variable here so the team both trackside and back at the factory in Milton Keynes have done a great job in tuning the car to these conditions and then Sebastian has done his bit which he does so well."