Qualifying in India: it’s Red Bull on the front row

Well, there you go. Could it be any more clear when they line up like they will tomorrow morning; two RB8s, two MP4-27s, two F2012s? Red Bull is faster than you McLaren, faster than you Fernando. If anyone out there thinks this year’s titles are going anywhere else than Milton Keynes, please let us know below. But to us, it’s clear; at the point at which it is reasonable to expect each and every team has got the best out of its car, Red Bull have a car that’s two-three tenths quicker than McLaren, half second quicker than Ferrari. Ho hum.

So they start like this; VET, WEB on the front row for the third race on the trot. Then HAM and BUT together, and ALO and MAS together. All very tidy, all very graphic. Then RAI, PER, MAL and ROS, but it’s those front three rows that are fascinating us on the Sunday Lunchtime Sofa.

Red Bull started the year with a car that wasn’t the fastest, not even close. That hadn’t happened in three years, and it clearly threw Sebastian Vettel who spent the first half of the season — especially having lost that certain win in Valencia — showing us the sulky side of his usually sunny personality. This, we are told by the Sunday Afternoon Club’s German friend, did not make him a popular boy at home and that only made it worse. So by the time Mark Webber won his second race of the season at Silverstone in July it looked like he was the one to challenge this year. What happened there?

And then McLaren. Yeah, yeah… we know; you lot think we are too pro-McLaren here but we really are not, and to prove it we once again ask how it is that McLaren are effectively out of the championship with four races to go, a championship they should have been controlling by now, their only worry being the potential in-fighting between its drivers? The MP4-27 was the best solution to the rules and the tyres available way back at race one. We are at race 17 now, and it’s gone backwards. McLaren, self-appointed kings of in-season development have blown it. Again.

Ferrari? We know the story. Fernando Alonso’s talent kept that car up there while others stumbled around in the dark of Pirelli’s 2012 compounds. As soon as they saw the light, Ferrari were in trouble. Especially with a one-man team. Felipe Massa was once again more competitive today, less than a tenth behind Alonso, but really is he good enough to drive one of the six best cars in F1?

The seventh, Kimi Raikonen’s Lotus, has been a mystery all season; always promising, never quite delivering. No wonder there is apparently gossip in the paddock that it’s up for sale. To Proton apparently, for which read DRB-Hircom, who have decided it makes sense to join together under one corporate structure the road and (licenced) racing arms of Lotus, if only to irritate Dany Bahar maybe.

Plenty of other gossip in the paddock too, though little of it about who drives what next year unless that driver comes with a briefcase full of folding. F1 it seems is suffering a big dose of not being able to afford itself. And just at the moment its CEO has sent out signals he’s looking for a way out. You wouldn’t leave F1 when it needs you most would you Bernie?

Anyhow, forget that for now. Gary Anderson is telling us the tyres have looked pretty indestructible today and so tomorrow’s race should be about pace and not strategy. Not, we fear, that will make any difference to the outcome.

The race starts at 9.30 on Sky. 14.05 on the Beeb. And don’t forget to put your clocks back tonight if you’re in the UK…

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Why is Seb blocking his ear in the top picture :P
I do hope tomorrow won’t be a snoozefest… If Ferrari can’t win, McLaren should. C’mon guys!
Btw, is team Force India also up for sale?

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qualifying: predictable, predictable, predictable. race: predictable, predictable, predictable. mclaren have had the fastest car, ferrari have the best driver and red bull are a mile ahead of everyone else. snoozefest is here unfortunately dudes.you can even predict who is going to be where in midfield and at the back and midfield was the only unpredictable part of the grid and that is williams force india sauber toro rosso and this season mercedes

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I like Red Bull but they’re quickly becoming the Ferrari of 10yrs ago. With a super fast car in a different league to all other cars and winning everytime making the racing very boring…

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I’m of the opinion now that red bull is unstoppable, well done Seb for what’s almost certainly a triple crown, let’s hope for a 2013 season more like the start of this years.

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Ps, and congrats for Fernando’s battle with Red Bull’s engineers, t’was a valiant fight

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Did everybody forget the beginning of the season?

the first how many races always a different winner?

RBR nowhere, totally behind at the beginning of the season, with a number of mechanical failures and DNF?

Now they seams to be leading in terms of speed since last race, in India again.

@Af Disagree that it´s comparable to the Ferrari dominance which was untouchable. This one is not.

If Vettel gets a DNF tomorrow – Alonso is leading again comfortable. Lets see what will happen tomorrow

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cymrostig: so i guess erando is fighting red bull of foot? no team, no car, just himself running around fist fighting red bulls company ..

please think n dont fall into the bs of mind games and media hype

fernando cries about everything

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its crazy how these dudes who say they f1 fans all be hatin on the one dude who put in that work, he breakin records and you people be hatin on him, no body liked senna when he was alive and now you peeps hatin on vettel … lieing talking about the ar and the hamilton or alanso is better when you know darn wel the dude is on top, vettel aint british so you people hate on him, crazy folk

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WSHH: why would you type in your american accent, is the done to be funny or what?

strange but i agree with your point.

Lewis is looking strong and his race pace was stronger than RBR in p2. Starting from 3rd if Vettel does not get a good start, we all know Webber is a poor starter so he wont be a problem, Lewis can win this one.

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Just a few a things I want to point out:

First off, I wonder how much of RBR’s successes are from the driver as much as they are from the car itself. ‘Cause to be quite honest, Vettel wasn’t much good in the beginning of the season because the car wasn’t the best out there. This comes as a great contrast with people like Alonso and Raikonen, who made the most of their cars gave out some of the most consistent results I’ve seen this season.

Secondly, I think this season is pretty much over unless something dramatic happens to one of the RB8s. The ones that still stand a bit of a chance are Hamilton and Alonso, one for having the most powerful car on the track and talent and the other having the awesome talent.

Forgive me for the bias, I just don’t think RBR deserve the title…

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I think Vettel did just quite fine early on when he was struggling with the car. When Lewis, Alanso or any other driver is struggling with their car the way Vettel was they dont do any better so what is your point? McLaren has a strong car and started as the outright fastest, Ferrari was not the best but had strong racing pace better than Red Bull had.

Vettel is as good a talent as any other driver, only reason anyone say otherwise is because they are biased.

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Without a great performing car, then the driver is useless. You can put a driver into a piece of crap car and if the car doesn’t have the power to run fast, then the driver can’t do a thing with it. You do have to be a professional at what you do and having a good car only makes it possible.

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Considering Vettel is such an average driver it is interesting that Ferrari desperately want him for the 2014 season. More to the point Vettel would only last 4 races at Ferrari because he would not heed to team orders. Instead of “Vettel you are leading do not risk a fastest lap with worn tires”. We would hear “Vettel, Alonso is faster than you do you understand?”, “No he isn’t”.

There is always the possibility that Vettel would make the move and win a championship with Ferrari before Alonso does. Then we would have 2007 all over again.

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Congrats to:

Alonso and Vettel

not too much exciting race – but chapeaux for Fernando – he is squeezing every last drop out of the red lemon, driving with a knife between his teeth, relentless!

I know I know – Vettel only won because of the superior car..that´s what 70% will write anyway.

How much % was the car? The driver?

Faultless drive – commanding performance!

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Silly comments about it being the car and how great the RBR is. Ferrari has fast car and is not sower in race pace than the RB8, watch the race with an unbiased eye. Vettels ability to push and aggressively use the car on heavy fuel is superb opening the gap so quickly. Alanso did well and no he is not driving turd, its a very competitive car, maybe not quite the qualifier the RB8 is.

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Mclaren had great pace n lite fuel load, too bad they were not closer to the front at the closing stages.

RedBull race pace was no better than anyone else, they are setup for qualifying speed i suspect.

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well done Alonso, doing the best he can
with an interior car.

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