Sebastian Vettel translated his domination of Indian Grand Prix practice into another pole position as Red Bull again filled the front row in qualifying at Buddh.
An error at Turn 7 on his first Q3 run gave Vettel's rivals a tiny hint of potential vulnerability. But the world champion responded with a 1m25.283s at the second attempt to beat team-mate Mark Webber to the top spot. Webber's retaliation was then compromised by a mistake at Turn 3.
Vettel stayed out in case he had to defend his position, before abandoning the lap once it became clear he was out of reach.
His championship rival Fernando Alonso starts back in fifth. The McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button filled row two, pushing the Ferraris of Alonso and Felipe Massa down to row three.
Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus and Sergio Perez's Sauber will share row four.
Despite fearing that Williams lacked qualifying pace this weekend, Pastor Maldonado still made it into Q3 again and took ninth. Nico Rosberg also reached the pole shoot-out but did not set a time.
Several teams saw one of their drivers reach the top 10 while the other ended up in the midfield.
The second Lotus of Romain Grosjean was pushed outside the Q3 cut late on, leaving him 11th. Bruno Senna's promising start to Q2 did not translate into a top-10 appearance and his Williams fell to 13th, and Michael Schumacher was 0.6s off Mercedes team-mate Rosberg as he qualified 14th.
There were big intra-teams gaps for Force India and Sauber too, with 0.7s splitting Nico Hulkenberg in 12th and Paul di Resta in 16th, and Kamui Kobayashi a long way off emulating Perez's Q3 form in 17th.
Jean-Eric Vergne was again eliminated in Q1. Heikki Kovalainen spun into the gravel at the end of the opening segment, leaving his Caterham team-mate Vitaly Petrov free to lead the tail-end pack.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m25.283 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m25.327 + 0.044 3. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m25.544 + 0.261 4. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m25.659 + 0.376 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m25.773 + 0.490 6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m25.857 + 0.574 7. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m26.236 + 0.953 8. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m26.360 + 1.077 9. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m26.713 + 1.43010. Nico Rosberg Mercedes no time
Q2 cut-off time: 1m26.939s Gap **
11. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m26.136s + 0.701
12. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercede 1m26.241s + 0.806
13. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m26.331s + 0.896
14. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m26.574s + 1.139
15. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m26.777s + 1.342
16. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercede 1m26.989s + 1.554
17. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m27.219s + 1.784
Q1 cut-off time: 1m27.517s Gap *
18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m27.525s + 1.477
19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m28.756s + 2.708
20. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m29.500s + 3.452
21. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m29.613s + 3.565
22. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m30.592s + 4.544
23. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m30.593s + 4.545
24. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m30.662s + 4.614
107% time: 1m32.071s
* Gap to quickest in Q1
** Gap to quickest in Q2
Issue: 198 | Autocar India: February 2016
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