Welcome to SPEED’s Live Saturday blog from the Korea International Circuit in Yeongam-gun, South Korea. Keep it locked here for continuous coverage ahead of Sunday’s Korean Grand Prix.
Start Will Be Key To Beating Vettel, Says Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton says it’s going to be tough to beat Sebastian Vettel in Korea tomorrow – and the start will be crucial to his chances of outrunning the World Champion.
“It’s going to be very hard,” he said. “That’s what it seemed a couple of years ago, or the last couple of years, to follow a car that is that competitive. Most likely if he gets away in the first lap, that’s it, unless he has a problem. So I’ve got to try to get him before that. The start of the race is crucial.”
Regarding whether he had expected to have a shot a pole he said: “Well, we always hope – but we did as good a job as we could. I felt like I got the most out of the car and perhaps there’s always a little bit of room to improve but in general it’s been a good weekend so far, so I really hope that tomorrow we’re able to fight with them, you know? We’ll wait and see.
“I really don’t know what to expect tomorrow. I’m just going to be pushing as hard as I can to get past Sebastian and to put myself in the best position to fight. Hopefully long run pace is not so bad, so let’s hope that’s the case tomorrow.”
Webber Starts 13th With ‘Overtaking’ Set-Up
Mark Webber will start the Korean GP from 13th on the grid after his 10-place penalty dropped him down from third.
Webber aborted his last lap after making a mistake, missing the chance to challenge Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, the only drivers who outpaced him.
Webber has set his car up to improve his chances of being able to overtake on Sunday.
“We didn’t set the car up to be super slow in qualifying but we had to keep an eye on the race,” he said. “So it’s wing level, obviously ratios, a lot of little things which you try, to have a little bit more of a balanced view of the weekend because we know that I was going to be out of position.
“Irrespective of if I qualified on pole, I can’t qualify on pole by 10 places further ahead than pole because it doesn’t exist, so I knew I was going to be out of position, and I had to factor some of that in, so we have done. You would like your cake and eat it obviously, have all the downforce on the car for sectors two and three, and then have a super super top speed, but that’s not possible. In a Formula One car you need to compromise, which we have, and we’ll come to it tomorrow.”
Regarding the overall form of the car he said: “I think we certainly improved the car in some areas we wanted to focus on, compared to yesterday. But conditions were a bit different today as well – so you’ve also got to keep an eye on that. They’re going to be even more different tomorrow, so the long run in P2 might not be too relevant in the race tomorrow. But we’ve got all of our ducks lined up, and worked out what we needed to work on for the race, and we’ll see how it pays off tomorrow.”
Teams Agree On 2014 Test Schedule
The F1 teams have come up with a provisional test schedule for 2014 that includes two sessions in Europe and two in the Middle East.
Having agreed to four two-day tests, the teams had to wait for the race calendar to emerge before focussing on when the tests could be slotted in. They will now take place in Bahrain, Barcelona, Silverstone and Abu Dhabi – in each case on the Tuesday and Wednesday following the race weekend.
Logistically Bahrain is the most challenging as it follows the double header with the Malaysian race, making for a long trip for team members. Abu Dhabi however is a standalone race.
Bahrain is also hosting the second and third pre-season tests, ensuring that F1 folks will be spending a lot of time in the country next year.
Bianchi Gets Grid Penalty and Reprimand
Jules Bianchi was given a three-place grid penalty for impeding Paul Di Resta in Q1 in Korea – and the FIA stewards decided to throw in a reprimand for good measure.
The penalty only drops the Frenchman from 21st to 22nd, behind teammate Max Chilton, while his second reprimand of the year means that he is now at risk of an equally meaningless 10-place drop should he earn a third reprimand.
The stewards noted that the Marussia driver “was given a radio warning of the approach of car 14 (on a fast lap) but decided to stay on line to start his own lap. The Stewards consider that car 22 could safely have allowed car 14 to pass before starting his flying lap.”Formula 1, Jules Bianchi, Korean GP, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel