F1 2013 Indian Grand Prix: Hamilton battles for podium result

PUBLISHED: 22:38 26 October 2013 | UPDATED: 11:51 27 October 2013

Lewis Hamilton on track during qualifying for the 2013 Indian Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

Lewis Hamilton on track during qualifying for the 2013 Indian Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

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FORMULA 1 driver Lewis Hamilton battles for a podium finish in the 2013 Indian Grand Prix after qualifying on the second row.

Lewis Hamilton, pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg after claiming the top three positions respectively in qualifying for the 2013 Indian Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz] Lewis Hamilton, pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg after claiming the top three positions respectively in qualifying for the 2013 Indian Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

Nico Rosberg and Hertfordshire-born F1 racer Lewis Hamilton qualified in second and third places this afternoon for the third Indian Grand Prix.

Hamilton, 28, will start from P3, his third consecutive top three start and his 12th of the season.

Both Silver Arrows drivers used the same tyre strategy, running used option, then new option in Q3, to split the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel, who took pole, and Mark Webber, who qualified fourth.

Hamilton, the 2008 F1 world champion, was happy to secure a place on the front two rows – and ahead of Webber’s Red Bull.

2013 Indian Grand Prix

Qualifying result: (top 10 only):

1 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)

2 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)

3 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

4 Mark Webber (Red Bull)

5 Felipe Massa (Ferrari)

6 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)

7 Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber)

8 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)

9 Sergio Perez (McLaren)

10 Jenson Button (McLaren)

“I’m pleased with third place today [Saturday] as it’s been a tough weekend to get the car set up and squeeze as much performance as possible from it,” said Hamilton, who was watched by his family from Tewin.

“The team have done a great job to make progress since Friday and I’m delighted for everyone to see both Nico and I in the top three today.”

Hamilton clocked 1m 24.941s in Q3 to secure his second row spot behind pole-sitter Vettel and Silver Arrows colleague Rosberg.

“It was a good lap although I lost maybe a little bit of time at the last corner,” said Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg racing around the Buddh International Circuit, scene of the 2013 Indian Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg racing around the Buddh International Circuit, scene of the 2013 Indian Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

Among the top ten, four drivers – Webber, Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and Sergio Perez – qualified on prime tyres and six on options, with strategy likely to mix things up on the track during Sunday’s race.

Hamilton added: “Of course, tomorrow [Sunday] is what counts and the race will be difficult with the different strategies and tyre choices.

“We’ll hope for a good start, get rid of the softs early and then focus on pushing as hard as we can on the primes.”

Rosberg took the team’s 15th front row start of the season – and his sixth – with P2 at the Buddh International Circuit near New Delhi.

Indian Grand Prix facts

* Race distance: 60 laps (191.100 miles/307.249km)

* Start time: 15:00 (local)/09:30 (GMT)

* Circuit length: 3.185 miles/5.125km

* 2012 winner: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull RB8) 60 laps in 1hr 31m10.744s (202.184km/h)

* 2012 pole: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull RB8) 1m25.283s (216.339km/h)

* Lap record: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull RB7) 1m27.249s (211.463km/h)

The German Mercedes star said: “We have tried a lot of different things in the practice sessions this weekend to try and find an extra one or two tenths and I found a good set-up with my guys, so I’m happy with our work so far.

“I just wanted to qualify ‘best of the rest’ today [ie behind Vettel], so I’m really happy with second place and starting on the front row.

“The race will be tough against Mark [Webber] tomorrow, though, as he has the quicker car and is on a different strategy, but we’ll give it our all.”

Rosberg added: “For our team, the most important thing is to score as many points as possible so we can secure second place in the Constructors’ Championship at the end of the year.”

Nico Rosberg ahead of Lewis Hamilton in qualifying for the 2013 Indian Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]Nico Rosberg ahead of Lewis Hamilton in qualifying for the 2013 Indian Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

Mercedes F1 chief Ross Brawn felt second and third on the grid was the best the team could have hoped for from qualifying, given Vettel’s supremacy.

“It built to a nice crescendo in Q3 and we made the right moves, managed things well and put in our best laps at just the right time having saved a new set of option tyres for the end of Q3,” said Brawn.

“Obviously, we are committed to starting on the option tyre with both cars but we have them in good positions and can be pleased with that achievement this afternoon.”

The Buddh International Circuit is one of seven race tracks on this year’s Formula 1 calendar to have been designed by Hermann Tilke.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes garage ahead of the 2013 Indian Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes garage ahead of the 2013 Indian Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

It is located in the province of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, near to the country’s second largest city, New Delhi.

The track provides a significant technical challenge to the teams. A high top speed is vital along the undulating back straight, but there’s also the need for good traction out of the circuit’s four second-gear corners and high-speed stability through Turn 10, a banked double-apex right-hander that has a minimum speed of 250km/h.

The circuit’s varying topography adds to its driving challenge. More than four million cubic tonnes of earth were moved during the construction phase, with the result that the track rises 14 metres between Turns One and Three alone. Several corners have blind entries as a result.

As with many of Tilke’s new circuits, the asphalt at the Buddh International Circuit is very smooth. Tyre degradation is minimal as a result, which is why most drivers were able to complete last year’s 60-lap race with only one pit stop.

On getting the car dialled in for the Buddh circuit, Brawn added: “It’s been a pretty tough weekend getting the car set-up right so far and the engineers and drivers have together done a thoroughly good job.

“Now we need to finish that job with a strong race tomorrow.”

Team director Toto Wolff added: “Second place with Nico and third with Lewis are satisfying positions after a pretty challenging weekend so far.

“It’s fair to say that we probably wouldn’t have been quite so high up the grid if everybody had run the option tyre in Q3, but equally we would not have been far off.

“The engineering team has done a good job to dial the car into the circuit, which continued to ramp up strongly during the qualifying session.”

Looking ahead to Round 16 of the 2013 Formula One World Championship, Wolff added: “The mix of strategies in the top 10 will make for an interesting race tomorrow, which could only unfold at the very end.”

In the two Indian Grands Prix so far, Sebastian Vettel has led every one of the 120 racing laps and won both from pole. He will be looking to complete a hat-trick of victories on Sunday to clinch a fourth successive world title in style.

McLaren star Jenson Button finished second in the inaugural Indian Grand Prix in 2011 and he set the fastest lap in last year’s race.

The 2013 Grand Prix of India starts at 9.30am UK time.


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