Red Bull's Vettel on pole for Chinese Grand Prix

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The Independent Online

Sebastian Vettel left it late to secure his third pole in four races for tomorrow's Chinese Grand Prix as Red Bull once again dominated qualifying.

The 22-year-old, who secured victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix two weeks ago, locked a time of one minute 34.558 seconds to edge out team-mate Mark Webber.



The Australian lines up second on the grid with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso taking third.





That no doubt completes a pleasing weekend for the Spaniard after he suffered his second engine failure in two weeks during first practice yesterday.

Vettel claimed his first victory for Red Bull at the Chinese Grand Prix last year - leading a one-two ahead of Webber - and with four of the last six pole sitters in Shanghai having gone on to win the race, he will be confident of his chances tomorrow.



"It was tough today," said Vettel.



"It was extremely difficult and I was struggling in the first sector especially."



Mercedes' Nico Rosberg starts from fourth with the young German having impressed during practice this weekend while the McLarens of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton enjoyed a trouble-free qualifying session to secure fifth and sixth respectively.



Hamilton had been fastest for much of qualifying but in the end the superior pace of the Red Bulls proved too much, although the 2008 champion can be confident of challenging for a podium after having to fight from towards the back in the last two races.



Drivers' championship leader Felipe Massa starts from seventh for Ferrari while Renault's Robert Kubica, Michael Schumacher of Mercedes and Force India's Adrian Sutil round out the top 10.



Rubens Barrichello, winner of the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix, was just denied a place in Q3 by Schumacher and consequently takes 11th on the grid for Williams.

Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari lines up in 12th while team-mate Sebastien Buemi, who was involved in a spectacular crash in first practice yesterday, takes 13th.



Vitaly Petrov crashed out of the final practice session earlier in the day and faced a race against time to get his Renault fixed for qualifying.



However, the necessary repair work was completed to enable him to take part and the Russian secured 14th on the grid.



Kamui Kobayashi starts from 15th with team-mate Pedro de la Rosa 17th and the Williams of rookie Nico Hulkenberg splitting the two Saubers.



There was a shock for Force India, though, as Tonio Liuzzi failed to progress from Q1 with his lap time of 1:37.161 only good enough for 18th.



Aside from that there were no other surprises at the back of the grid with the three new teams occupying the last six places.



Virgin Racing's Timo Glock starts from 19th with the Lotus duo of Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen in 20th and 21st respectively.



Glock's team-mate Lucas di Grassi secured 22nd on the grid with Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok lining up on the back row for Hispania.



A cold couple of days recently had raised some slight concerns over the track temperature for the weekend, but qualifying got under way in warm and dry conditions as Trulli was the first to make his way onto the circuit and clock a timed lap before the Ferraris of Massa and Alonso traded places at the top.

Hamilton, who had been fastest in the afternoon practice yesterday, recorded the fastest lap midway through Q1 and was then the first driver to dip below 1:35.000 to maintain his place at the top during Q2.



Rosberg was just short of the pace of the McLaren as he slotted into second before a quiet moment on the track ensued as the cars returned to the pits to prepare for their final runs.



When they re-emerged, Webber moved ahead of Rosberg while Barrichello appeared to have done enough to sneak into Q3 with his last run but was passed by Schumacher at the death.



Alonso climbed to the top of the order early in the final phase of qualifying but he was quickly relegated to second by Vettel.



With time running out, it had appeared Webber had done enough to take pole for the second successive race when he edged ahead of his team-mate but Vettel fought back on his last lap to give himself the ideal chance of claiming back-to-back wins tomorrow.









Qualifying results for tomorrow's Formula One Chinese Grand Prix at the 3.387-mile Shanghai International Circuit with driver, country, car, fastest lap time and laps completed:



1. Sebastian Vettel, Germany, Red Bull, 1 minute, 34.558 seconds, 21 laps.



2. Mark Webber, Australia, Red Bull, 1:34.806, 17.



3. Fernando Alonso, Spain, Ferrari, 1:34.913, 15.



4. Nico Rosberg, Germany, Mercedes, 1:34.923, 17.



5. Jenson Button, Britain, McLaren, 1:34.979, 17.



6. Lewis Hamilton, Britain, McLaren, 1:35.034, 13.



7. Felipe Massa, Brazil, Ferrari, 1:35.180, 19.



8. Robert Kubica, Poland, Renault, 1:35.364, 21.



9. Michael Schumacher, Germany, Mercedes, 1:35.646, 21.



10. Adrian Sutil, Germany, Force India, 1:35.963, 23.



Eliminated after 2nd session



11. Rubens Barrichello, Brazil, Williams, 1:35.748, 15.



12. Jaime Alguersuari, Spain, Toro Rosso, 1:36.047, 17.



13. Sebastien Buemi, Switzerland, Toro Rosso, 1:36.149, 17.



14. Vitaly Petrov, Russia, Renault, 1:36.311, 10.



15. Kamui Kobayashi, Japan, Sauber, 1:36.422, 16.



16. Nico Hulkenberg, Germany, Williams, 1:36.647, 14.



17. Pedro de la Rosa, Spain, Sauber, 1:37.020, 15.



Eliminated after 1st session



18. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Italy, Force India, 1:37.161, 9.



19. Timo Glock, Germany, Virgin, 1:39.278, 6.



20. Jarno Trulli, Italy, Lotus, 1:39.399, 9.



21. Heikki Kovalainen, Finland, Lotus, 1:39.250, 8.



22. Lucas di Grassi, Brazil, Virgin, 1:39.783, 6.



23. Bruno Senna, Brazil, Hispania, 1:40.469, 10.



24. Karun Chandhok, India, Hispania, 1:40.578.

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