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Indian GP: Sebastian Vettel flies to pole ahead of Nico Rosberg

Sebastian Vettel, Indian Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel produced one of his most commanding qualifying performances of an already-dominant 2013 Formula 1 campaign to take Indian Grand Prix pole.

The Red Bull driver, who is poised to clinch a fourth straight world championship this weekend, was 1.7 seconds faster than his rivals when he first put in the 1m24.119s that became pole.

That statistic was skewed by the fact that all those out on that stage were using medium tyres whereas Vettel was on softs.

But even the soft-shod Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were seven tenths off Vettel as they took second and third.

The shock of qualifying was Romain Grosjean's Q1 exit.

The man who fought for victory at Suzuka a fortnight ago will be fighting to get through the field at Buddh having chosen to use medium tyres in Q1.

Vettel was the only other man who went for that strategy, but while he had no problem getting through in 11th, Grosjean could only manage 17th.

Mark Webber used mediums successfully in Q3 to take fourth on the grid. He was 0.928s slower than Red Bull team-mate Vettel, but 0.8s and four places ahead of next-best medium user Fernando Alonso.

The Spaniard's Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa took fifth, followed by Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg for Lotus and Sauber respectively.

McLaren used mediums for both its drivers as Sergio Perez and Jenson Button completed the top 10.

There were no surprises in Q2, with the Toro Rossos and Force India intermingling on rows six and seven, ahead of Valtteri Bottas's Williams and Esteban Gutierrez's Sauber.

Pastor Maldonado joined Grosjean among the Q1 departures, and was only 0.128s clear of Jules Bianchi's Marussia and 0.265s ahead of Giedo van der Garde's Caterham.

Pos Driver                Team                 Time          Gap   
 1. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m24.119s
 2. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m24.871s  +0.752s
 3. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes             1m24.941s  +0.822s
 4. Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m25.047s  +0.928s
 5. Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m25.201s  +1.082s
 6. Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault        1m25.248s  +1.129s
 7. Nico Hulkenberg       Sauber-Ferrari       1m25.334s  +1.215s
 8. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m25.826s  +1.707s
 9. Sergio Perez          McLaren-Mercedes     1m26.153s  +2.034s
10. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m26.487s  +2.368s
Q2 cut-off time: 1m25.458s                                    Gap **
11. Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m25.519s  +0.951s
12. Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m25.711s  +1.143s
13. Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes 1m25.740s  +1.172s
14. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m25.798s  +1.230s
15. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Renault     1m26.134s  +1.566s
16. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari       1m26.336s  +1.768s
Q1 cut-off time: 1m26.178s                                    Gap *
17. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault        1m26.577s  +1.003s
18. Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault     1m26.842s  +1.268s
19. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Cosworth    1m26.970s  +1.396s
20. Giedo van der Garde   Caterham-Renault     1m27.105s  +1.531s
21. Charles Pic           Caterham-Renault     1m27.487s  +1.913s
22. Max Chilton           Marussia-Cosworth    1m28.138s  +2.564s


107% time: 1m31.564s
* Gap to quickest in Q1
** Gap to quickest in Q2


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