Vettel powers to pole

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Vettel powers to pole

Defending world champion Sebastian Vettel completed a third successive Red Bull front row lockout on Saturday when he took pole position for Sunday’s Indian Grand Prix ahead of his team-mate Mark Webber.

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Published: Sun 28 Oct 2012, 11:12 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 8:29 AM

The 25-year-old German, who is seeking to become the youngest triple champion in F1 history, made an error on his first flying lap in the top-ten shootout but responded with a second effort in one minute 25.283 seconds to grab pole.

It was his fifth pole of the season and the 35th of his remarkable career, but achieved without quite the luxurious advantage that he had appeared to enjoy through his domination of all three free practice sessions beforehand.

He said: “It was a tight session, especially having made a mistake on my first run on Turn Four. All in all it has been a great weekend so far. The boys have been pushing very hard.

“We have to keep pushing - there are a lot of races to go. The best chance to do well is to focus on every single step. We’re look forward to the race. I’m happy to be on pole but there’s a hard race coming up tomorrow.”

His Australian partner Webber did his utmost to match him, but could only deliver 1:25.327 and took second as Red Bull proved they have the overall pace to start as clear favourites. “It wasn’t the smoothest (flying lap) for (Sebastian) and also for me,” said Webber.

“On the last corner I got a little on the Astroturf on the exit and didn’t have the cleanest run to line, but I’m driving the car.

“It was a pretty tight run thing between Seb and I. The McLarens were doing a very slow out-laps, and I had no grip in the first sector. I was surprised to end up in second.”

He added: “So far so good, today it’s job done and tomorrow we’ll wake up and it’ll be a new day.”

Rivals McLaren did their best to break the Red Bull monopoly - Vettel has also won the last three races to move six points clear at the top of the drivers’ title race - but they ended up third and fourth.

Briton Lewis Hamilton took third late in the session to jump ahead of his team-mate and compatriot Jenson Button on the grid with the two Ferraris of Spaniard Fernando Alonso and Brazilian Felipe Massa taking fifth and sixth places on the third row.

Hamilton said: “I’m happy with third. The team have done a great job this weekend, although we weren’t quick enough to be ahead of these guys (Red Bull) today. But our race pace is just as quick as these guys.”

Alonso, leader for a long period of the season, is now six points behind Vettel and with four races remaining needs to deliver a strong result in Sunday’s race at the Buddh International Circuit, if not a victory, to stay in serious contention.

Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus qualified seventh ahead of Sergio Perez of Sauber, Pastor Maldonado of Williams and Nico Rosberg who was 10th for Mercedes. — AFP

Starting lineup


1. S Vettel, Germany, Red Bull

2. Mark Webber, Australia, Red Bull

3. Lewis Hamilton, Britain, McLaren

4. Jenson Button, Britain, McLaren

5. Fernando Alonso, Spain, Ferrari

6. Felipe Massa, Brazil, Ferrari

7. Kimi Raikkonen, Finland, Lotus

8. Sergio Perez, Mexico, Sauber

9. P Maldonado, Venezuela, Williams

10. N Rosberg, Germany, Mercedes

11. Romain Grosjean, France, Lotus

12. N Hulkenberg, Germany, Force India

13. Bruno Senna, Brazil, Williams

14. M Schumacher, Germany, Mercedes

15. D Ricciardo, Australia, Toro Rosso

16. P di Resta, Britain, Force India

17. Kamui Kobayashi, Japan, Sauber

18. J-Eric Vergne, France, Toro Rosso

19. Vitaly Petrov, Russia, Caterham

20. H Kovalainen, Finland, Caterham

21. Timo Glock, Germany, Marussia

22. Pedro de la Rosa, Spain, HRT

23. Narain Karthikeyan, India, HRT

24. Charles Pic, France, Maruissia

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