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LIVE COMMENTARY: 2013 INDIAN GRAND PRIX - QUALIFYING
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: Qualifying
By Geoff Creighton, Charles Bradley and Scott Mitchell
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
08:15 Hello and welcome back to AUTOSPORT Live for coverage of the qualifying hour for the 2013 Indian Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel's imperious form at the Buddh International Circuit continued earlier in practice, as he again set the pace. Ominously for Red Bull's rivals, Mark Webber backed up his team-mate with the second fastest time.

Vettel completes Indian GP practice sweep

Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg led the chase in the third practice session, though the former was still 0.8s shy of the man he has tried, and all-but-failed, to deny a fourth straight world title.

Romain Grosjean's strong form in India continued with the fifth fastest time, ahead of Felipe Massa and the impressive Paul di Resta.

Completing the top 10 were Nico Rosberg, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton - the latter disappointed after his first flying lap on soft tyres was interrupted by Grosjean.

08:17 The weather remains fine and dry south of New Delhi, with much of the haze that delayed final practice having burned away in the sunshine.

Another warm day at the circuit, with temperatures up to 30 Celsius.

08:20 Here's how the qualifying battle stands ahead of the grid decider:
Qualifying head-to-head

Vettel        14 - 1      Webber
Alonso         9 - 6      Massa
Button         9 - 6      Perez
Raikkonen      9 - 6      Grosjean
Rosberg        5 - 10     Hamilton
Hulkenberg    14 - 1      Gutierrez
Di Resta       8 - 7      Sutil
Maldonado      7 - 8      Bottas
Vergne         4 - 11     Ricciardo
Pic           10 - 5      Van der Garde
Bianchi       13 - 2      Chilton
08:23 Track temperature is at 39 Celsius this afternoon, with the ambient at the predicted 30c.

08:24 A step softer for Pirelli on the tyre allocation here this year and that is giving the teams something to think about.

While the medium rubber looks like a perfect race tyre - potentially able to go a substantial distance on Sunday - the soft compound is giving all kinds of problems, even to the runaway title leaders Red Bull.

Heavy graining of the softs over a run is delivering terrible race pace, something that will only be worse at the start of the race when the cars are at their heaviest.

With the soft delivering a quick initial time in qualifying trim, leading outfits will be reluctant to compromise on pace in Q3. But that set of softs won't go far into the race on Sunday, meaning we could see some tyre gambles in the fight for pole.

08:25 Five minutes to the start of qualifying in India.

08:28 There were reports of fan attendance being the lowest so far in India, but those present are making the most of it. Plenty of smiles and waves.

08:29 No sign of the haze that caused third practice to be shortened. Also no sign of an early run from Sebastian Vettel.

0 min: That's because the German's only just sauntered into his Red Bull garage. Plenty of frontrunning drivers look fairly chilled at the moment.

0 min: Green light and away we go with Q1 at Buddh.

1 min: Gutierrez is the first man on track in his Sauber. He's on medium compound for an initial exploration.

1 min: Van der Garde is told: “Wind direction has changed, so it’s a tail wind on the back straight.”

2 min: Rosberg's out early, on the medium tyre as expected.

2 min: Sutil emerges in the Force India for an early exploration onto the circuit. His team-mate di Resta swiftly joins him.

3 min: Button is on track now as Gutierrez kicks off a flying lap.

3 min: 1m27.529s is the first marker from Gutierrez.

3 min: Rosberg continues onto a second lap, rather than peeling into the pits. Is an early time imminent from the Mercedes driver?

4 min: Rosberg's team-mate Hamilton, and Daniel Ricciardo, join in the early fun.

4 min: Jean-Eric Vergne joins his Toro Rosso team-mate on the circuit.

5 min: More drivers heading out now, with mainly the medium rubber fitted for the moment.

5 min: Hamilton is told the expected cut-off time in Q1 is “26.5”. He's also told to "work the fronts harder".

6 min: Rosberg gets on the board in third, with a slow 1m45.785s. Sutil is also unspectacular with a 1m32.452s.

6 min: Hulkenberg slots in second behind his team-mate's initial benchmark.

6 min: di Resta goes fourth on a 1m36.748s.

7 min: Chilton is just 1.5 seconds off the early pace, having used soft tyres already.

7 min: Rosberg goes quickest, a 1m26.622s. Team-mate Hamilton is second on a 1m27.262s.

7 min: Sutil then improves to third on a 1m27.287s. He was quickest of anyone in the first sector.

7 min: Massa is warned that di Resta in front of him “must have mucked up” as he’s backed off.

7 min: Leading outfits will need decent times to make it out of this session on medium tyres, with softs giving a decent performance boost here.

7 min: Now di Resta splits the Mercedes, and is second on a 1m27.193s.

8 min: Massa is now fifth in his Ferrari, with Button sixth for McLaren.

8 min: Raikkonen pings up to second fastest in 1m26.817s but he didn't get through the final corner very well.

9 min: Bottas goes purple in the middle sector but his time's only good enough for 17th, it's a 1m28.494s.

9 min: Hulkenberg enjoys the medium rubber on his Sauber, going third fastest.

10 min: Perez with an understeering McLaren still has some speed on medium compound, going fastest in 1m26.533s.

10 min: The two Williams' and Toro Rossos are the slowest of the regular midfield teams on the medium tyre.

10 min: Rosberg asks what the expected cut-off is, and it told “-0.1 from where you are.”

10 min: Rosberg duly reclaims top spot on a 1m26.252s.

11 min: Grosjean is kicking off a run now, while Alonso remains in the Ferrari garage.

11 min: Sutil and di Resta are now eighth and ninth on 1m27.136s and .193s respectively.

11 min: Perez, now P3, reports “The rear of the car was a bit nervous in the high speed.” He’s told to “go up on the diff switches”.

11 min: Massa improves his sixth-place time despite leaving the track quite considerably.

12 min: Improvements from the Williams duo. Bottas goes 10th on a 1m27.153s, Maldonado 13th on a 1m27.260s.

12 min: Alonso is away now with soft tyres reportedly on his Ferrari.

13 min: Soft compound for Gutierrez now and he tops the times in 1m26.057s.

13 min: Alonso does have softs on his Ferrari and that suggests he likes the gamble of medium rubber for the start tomorrow.

14 min: Vettel and Webber emerge from the pits, Vettel has the medium tyre fitted but it looks like Webber's straight onto softs.

14 min: Button comes in sixth on medium rubber, while that leading time for Gutierrez will worry the big teams.

15 min: Alonso is the fastest man in the first sector and surely will spring to the top with his first effort on the rapid but fragile soft rubber.

15 min: 1m25.934s for Alonso on softs. P1, but only just from Gutierrez.

16 min: Vettel jumps up to second, on a 1m25.943s - on the medium tyre, just 0.009s behind the Ferrari.

16 min: Raikkonen rolls out on soft rubber as the threat of an upset builds.

17 min: Soft rubber for Hulkenberg now and he's the fastest man in the first sector.

17 min: Webber is third, slower than his team-mate despite being on the better tyre, so that's a sensible run to a 1m25.955s from the Aussie.

17 min: Quick pit work at McLaren and Button is away again on soft tyres.

17 min: Soft tyres for Sutil, Ricciardo, Bottas, di Resta, Vergne and Maldonado.

17 min: Seventh for Hulkenberg on that soft tyre effort.

17 min: Sutil goes fifth on his run, 1m26.164s.

18 min: Massa remains in the Ferrari garage and is tumbling down the order.

18 min: di Resta goes quickest! 1m25.908s.

18 min: Massa heads out, with soft rubber. He's 14th and really needs a fast lap now.

18 min: Hamilton and Rosberg are out, and on the soft tyres. Understandable, they are 12th and eighth respectively.

19 min: Grosjean is the only man on medium compound, other than Vettel, and he may be under threat from the soft-shot midfield.

19 min: Raikkonen is now fastest on softs, 1m25.819s.

19 min: Rosberg jumps to second on a 1m25.833s, but team-mate Hamilton is flying...

20 min: ...And Hamilton goes quickest. 1m25.802s. But it's brief.

20 min: 12th now and falling for Grosjean, who can't find any more on his medium tyres.

20 min: That's the flag on Q1.

08:50 Bottas is now on the bubble, and gets dumped into 17th! But he's on a personal best.

08:50 Massa is right on the bubble now and this lap needs to be good.

08:50 Grosjean is down to 15th, this could end badly for Lotus...

08:51 Webber goes fastest: 1m25.665s.

08:51 Massa is on course to escape and that's going to bin Grosjean!

08:51 Ricciardo goes second, on a 1m25.673s, but gets bumped to third swiftly.

08:51 Massa springs up to fourth and through.

08:51 Grosjean rues “I got traffic.”

08:51 Bottas hauls himsefl up to 16th, 1m26.178s, but team-mate Maldonado is out in 18th.

08:51 Grosjean is eliminated as a disastrous tyre gamble fails for Lotus.

08:52 When told he's out in Q1, Grosjean replies: "No way!"

08:52 Meanwhile, Button topped that segment in 1m25.574s.

08:53 These drivers are eliminated at the end of Q1, with a 1m26.178s making it through:

17) Grosjean 1m26.577s
18) Maldonado 1m26.842s
19) Bianchi 1m26.970s
20) van der Garde 1m27.105s
21) Pic 1m27.487s
22) Chilton 1m28.138s

08:54 Grosjean was the only driver other than Vettel to stick on medium tyres. A wobble on his flying lap compounded that session-ending decision.

08:55 Maldonado ended the session six-tenths behind rookie team-mate Bottas, with a scruffy lap only just getting him ahead of Bianchi's Marussia.

08:55 Fascinating strategy picture here, with teams forced onto the soft rubber by a rapidly improving timesheet.

08:55 That leaves outfits with only two soft sets left per driver, with little life left in the rubber already blown in Q1.

0 min: Time for Q2...

0 min: Concern in the Ferrari pits, with reports of radio problems for Alonso.

0 min: That's not ideal today, with good communication needed to avoid the kind of mistakes that have sunk Grosjean.

1 min: Raikkonen is off out early in the only remaining Lotus. He's on used softs.

1 min: Vettel's in the car, and looks very assured. Come Q3, it is difficult to look past him for pole.

2 min: Strategists will hope that the drivers can still find enough in this first set of soft tyres, unless they plan to use medium rubber in Q3.

2 min: Sutil emerges on a set of used softs.

2 min: Used softs for Alonso as well and he's on track.

3 min: di Resta and the two Toro Rossos are out swiftly on what look like used soft tyres.

3 min: Vergne and Ricciardo are in fact on new soft tyres.

4 min: "Blandos usados," that is for Ferrari, which seems a popular choice for the field here.

4 min: Used softs for the two Mercedes', however.

4 min: 1m26.279s is the first time from Raikkonen.

5 min: Alonso takes over at the top with an early best of 1m25.546s.

5 min: Sutil crosses the line but it's a slow trio of sectors and it's only a 1m36.641s. Safe to assume the Force India will improve quickly.

5 min: Massa comes around to take over second fastest in these early banking laps.

6 min: Ricciardo's new softs yield a 1m26.444s, which is underwhelming. He's fifth.

6 min: di Resta is third on his run on used softs, on a 1m26.122s.

6 min: Button is on track now, having topped a session for the first time this year in Q1.

7 min: Sutil improves to 1m26.230s, and Vergne splits the Force Indias with a 1m26.184s on his new rubber.

7 min: Rosberg quickest: 1m25.337s. Hamilton is second, 0.158s back.

7 min: Hulkenberg again complains his Sauber is “too understeery on the prime.”

7 min: Ricciardo is straight back into the pits after that sluggish run on new rubber.

8 min: Bottas, on used softs, goes sixth - a 1m26.134s for the Williams driver.

8 min: Rosberg and Hamilton come into the pits. Both are under the expected 1m25.5s cut-off.

8 min: Button jumps up to second fastest, just a tenth off the Mercedes pace.

9 min: Webber is out on the softs he scrubbed in during Q1.

9 min: Perez comes around in sixth fastest.

9 min: Alonso is told the gaps around him but appears to have radio issues: “I keep talking, not sure if you can hear me,” says his engineer Andrea Stella.

9 min: Vettel is out and, as he did not use any in the first part of qualifying, this will be a presumably ominous effort on softs.

10 min: It would seem Ricciardo's initial effort was in fact on mediums - which would explain it being very unspectacular.

11 min: Raikkonen is underway and no gambles from Lotus now, he's on fresh softs.

11 min: Button, in P2, is told: “Fair to say that’s a stunning time on a used set. But we're going to prepare the car for another run on a used set of options.”

11 min: Webber runs wide at Turn 9 on his flier - but he's quickest of anyone in sector two...

11 min: Fresh soft for Alonso as well.

11 min: Webber goes quickest. 1m25.097s, and you would expect Vettel to be in the 1m24s. He's up in sector one.

12 min: Vettel blitzes his team-mate, and goes fastest of anyone on a 1m24.568s.

12 min: Vergne (11th), Sutil (12th) and Ricciardo (14th) are out and on soft tyres.

13 min: Raikkonen flashes past in 1m25.191s to go third, illustrating the benefit of new rubber.

13 min: All cars on track now, flat out time.

14 min: Alonso goes second fastest with a 1m24.885s, three tenths off Vettel's flyer.

14 min: Hamilton is told the expected cut-off is “25.25”.

14 min: Webber backed off on his last run, and is going again. He fails to improve.

15 min: Flag out but all to play for here as the laps conclude.

09:12 Massa is told: “Kimi’s got a problem, he’s very slow.”

09:12 Ricciardo jumps to eighth on a 1m25.519s.

09:12 Hulkenberg makes it up to sixth in his Sauber.

09:12 Rosberg improves his time, it's a 1m25.304s and he's fifth.

09:12 Sutil only managed 12th, a 1m25.740s. He's out.

09:13 Perez comes around and grabs seventh.

09:13 Massa makes the cut for now, eighth.

09:13 Hamilton is 10th but on a personal best.

09:13 Button comes in ninth, which might just be enough.

09:13 di Resta falls short in 12th but beats his team-mate.

09:14 Hamilton jumps to fifth with a 1m25.259s right at the end.

09:15 A 1m25.458s for Button makes it through, while these drivers are out:

11) Ricciardo 1m25.519s
12) di Resta 1m25.711s
13) Sutil 1m25.740s
14) Vergne 1m25.798s
15) Bottas 1m26.134s
16) Gutierrez 1m26.336s

09:15 Webber is pouring over a data sheet in the car in the garage as others stream back into the pits.

09:15 Underwhelming session from Bottas after showing well early on. He failed to improve on his final flying lap.

09:16 Ricciardo was two-tenths shy of making it into Q3. He can have no quarrels, it was a solid lap to beat his team-mate but almost 0.3s.

09:16 Hulkenberg complains of his car's handling: “Still at Turn 1 quite understeery, car not really turning.”

09:17 Gutierrez will, however, be very disappointed. His recent upturn in form takes a bit of a kick, 16th and a full second slower than Hulkenberg.

09:18 Reset time for the leading outfits now, with a difficult strategy choice to be made now.

09:18 Pole will surely be secured on soft rubber, but those tyres will need to be changed early in the race tomorrow.

09:18 Look out for those not expecting to clinch the front couple of rows setting up for a start on medium rubber.

09:18 Bottas explains of failing to improve on his final Q2 lap: “The front temps were not high enough for the timed lap. The rear was there, but the front wasn’t. It was a good lap for the balance that we had.”

09:19 Only Vettel has two fresh sets of softs available, with his challengers forced to bank a time on used rubber if they want two runs.

0 min: The battle for pole is on in India.

0 min: Webber is straight to the end of the pitlane and is first out on track.

0 min: Medium compound for Alonso as he sets off to bank a time.

0 min: Medium tyres for Webber, as Vettel waits patiently in the pits.

1 min: This at least gives Ferrari a measure of where the medium tyre pace will be before a final decision on tyres for the final run.

1 min: Now Vettel comes out of the pits, and it looks like new soft tyres.

2 min: Rosberg and Hamilton are out and plan on setting their bankers of used softs.

2 min: Button joins in with the obvious choice of medium rubber there.

2 min: Vettel is told: “I’m sending you out in front of Mark, who is on primes, he’s going to be pushing hard, obviously.”

2 min: Perez is trying used softs on his McLaren for this run.

3 min: Webber's first lap isn't going to set the world alight, as he's moved aside to let Alonso through.

3 min: Indeed, Webber's time is a 1m37.849s.

4 min: Alonso has the early benchmark at 1m25.826s.

4 min: Vettel goes fastest, 1m24.119s. So close! But that's hugely impressive. That's a new qualifying lap record.

5 min: Webber comes through a second down on his team-mate on the medium tyres. 1m25.215s from the Aussie.

5 min: Hamilton is told: “We were delayed getting out of the garage.”

6 min: Rosberg and Hamilton opted not to set a lap, but get themselves above anyone who chooses not to post a time.

6 min: Webber is told of his time on mediums: “That was a very good lap.”

6 min: Big talk now on the walls up and down the pitlane, tyres for the first stint verses grid postion...

6 min: Vettel's back in and is being wheeled into the garage. Will be he go back out? It's unlikely. But a 1m23s lap must be an appealing prospect.

7 min: Soft tyres for Raikkonen and he's onto a flying lap.

7 min: New soft tyres fitted onto each Mercedes. They are going for grid position.

7 min: McLaren play the medium tyre card, that's a wise move.

8 min: Soft tyres for Hulkenberg, as Massa goes for the fragile rubber too.

8 min: Raikkonen clocks 1m25.248s and can't beat Webber's harder tyre P2.

8 min: Rosberg and Hamilton are fully wound up for their flying laps now. Let's see what they've got.

8 min: Alonso has gone for the medium tyre gamble.

9 min: Vettel has returned to the track - and it looks like another brand new set of softs. Bizarre, but they clearly feel it is worth using another set.

10 min: Flag out, game not yet over, behind Vettel that is...

10 min: Rosberg and Hamilton jump into second and third. 1m24.871s and 1m24.941s respectively.

09:30 Perez pips Button to take seventh and eighth for the moment.

09:31 Massa springs up to fifth with the benefit of soft rubber.

09:31 Webber can't get back ahead of the two Mercedes on the medium tyre.

09:31 Sebastian Vettel takes pole for the Indian Grand Prix!

09:31 Vettel's not pushing on this lap now, so that's a heat cycle put through a new set of softs for the start tomorrow.

09:31 Alonso pips the McLarens to take eighth on mediums.

09:32 Replays show Vettel actually pushed too hard on that flier, clipped a kerb and ran wide. No worry - that's three races in India, and three pole positions.

09:33 Vettel will have to use the tyres he set his fastest lap on. Those tyres on the botched run will be scrubbed for the race instead.

09:33 Behind Vettel, that was good work from the two Mercedes, while Webber will be satisfied with fourth on the mediums.

09:34 Vettel says: “Yes guys, yes. We did what we had to. Great job, the car was fantastic.”

09:34 Massa, Raikkonen and Hulkenberg all used the softer tyre, with Alonso, Perez and Button rounding out the top 10 on the mediums.

09:34 Oooh, controversy here? Hamilton is asked: “Just confirm it was a Red Bull in the way, Vettel not Webber?” He replies: “Yeah.”

09:35 Hamilton is told Mercedes "will look into it."

09:35 As expected, though, Vettel proves unassailable. He starts the Indian Grand Prix from pole - join us tomorrow to find out what happens.

  OVERVIEW QUALIFYING  
Session length: 60 minutes
  CURRENT WEATHER
Mist clearing High Temp: 30°C / 86°F
Track: Dry
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Friday 25 Oct Start GMT
 Friday practice one 04:25
 Friday practice two 08:25
Saturday 26 Oct
 Saturday practice 05:25
 Qualifying 08:15
Sunday 27 Oct
 The Indian Grand Prix 09:00