The Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team scored a second consecutive one-two qualifying performance for the 2012 Korean Grand Prix. However, this time it was Australian Mark Webber at the head of the queue, from team mate and defending champion Sebastian Vettel.
Webber finished Q1 with a fast lap right at the end of the session, lapping the Yeongham circuit in 1:37.242 to Vettel's 1:37.316. McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, the pole position man at the Singapore Grand Prix, was third with 1:37.469 and championship leader Fernando Alonso was only a shade behind in his Ferrari, on 1:37.534.
The fact of Red Bull's dominance in the qualifying session should be taken with a pinch of salt. The top seven finishers were covered by less than seven-tenths of a second, down to Lotus' Romain Grosjean, who lapped in 1:37.934. Alonso's team mate, Felipe Massa, finished sixth with 1:37.884 and Grosjean's team mate (and former Ferrari world champion) Kimi Raikkonnen was fifth with 1:37.625.
The big surprises were the relative lack of pace from the Mercedes works team. Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher finished ninth and 10th respectively, over a second off Webber's final time. In fact, Schumacher's Q3 time of 1:38.513 was actually 0.077s slower than his Q2 effort. Sahara Force India's Nico Hulkenberg was the other top ten finisher; the German qualified eighth with 1:38.226.
The biggest surprise though was Hamilton's team mate, Jenson Button. The 2009 world champion was short of pace after Q2 and was eliminated with a time of 1:38.441. The Englishman will now start 11th on Sunday's grid. Behind him will come his 2013 team mate, Sergio Perez of Sauber; William's Kamui Kobayashi, Hulkenberg's team mate Paul di Resta and the second Williams of Pastor Maldonado.
Charles Pic of the Marussia-Cosworth team will face a ten place grid penalty for an unscheduled engine change. The Frenchman only managed to qualify 21st with 1:41.317 in Q1 but his demotion will mean his team mate, Timo Glock and the HRT-Cosworth pair of Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan will move up a place on the grid.
For a full timesheet, click here. The final race grid will be released by the FIA on the morning of the event.