Red Bull's Vettel takes British GP pole

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The Independent Online

Sebastian Vettel captured pole position today for the British Grand Prix, while Formula One championship leader Jenson Button will start from a season-worst sixth.

In his revamped Red Bull car, Vettel set the fastest lap time in qualifying for the third time this year, finishing in 1 minute 19.509 seconds, 0.347 ahead of Button's Brawn teammate Rubens Barrichello.

"It's been a fantastic weekend so far from beginning to end," Vettel said. "All the parts we have brought here seem to be working well, so we have made a good step forward.

"But when it comes to qualifying, there is tension there. You try to do your best, and you try to get a good feeling. In Q3 I had the lap of the weekend. From beginning to end it was very close to being perfect. I brought the lap to the checkered flag, and I was surprised by how quick I was at that stage, yet it was enough to get pole."

Mark Webber finished third as Red Bull continued a dominating weekend on the Silverstone circuit.

Webber blamed Kimi Raikkonen for holding him up on his final run.

"I don't know what the hell he was doing," Webber said. "He should have been on the right, but he was on the racing line. He basically didn't care, so that wrecked my run. Anyway, you do not want to listen to a shopping list of excuses."

In the drivers' standings, Button is 26 points ahead of Barrichello and leads Vettel by 32.

Button was almost 0.8 seconds behind Vettel, and the Briton will also have Toyota's Jarno Trulli and Kazuki Nakajima of Williams ahead of him on Sunday.

"I really struggled with low grip, especially in the last complex," said Button, who has won six of the season's first seven races. "I just felt like I was skating around. Qualifying was not fantastic — but that's the way it was."

Behind Button, the top 10 was completed by Nico Rosberg of Williams, Timo Glock of Toyota, Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari and Renault's Fernando Alonso.

Home fans were left disappointed early in qualifying when defending F1 champion Lewis Hamilton of McLaren, who won last year's race, failed to get out of the first session. He will start at the back from 19th.

"It's disappointing," Hamilton said. "I just don't have a good car."

Only Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi was slower than Hamilton.

Hamilton's hopes of completing a final lap ended when the first 20-minute qualifying run was stopped with 24 seconds to go when the red flag emerged.

Adrian Sutil lost control of his Force India car and rear-hit the protective barrier of tires. After being given the all-clear by medics, Sutil blamed the crash on his breaks.