Vettel navigates new map to another pole

German defies change in engine rules to assert his superiority with Hamilton forced into third

Oh dear! Just when their rivals hoped that Red Bull's dominant RB7 might have been emasculated by new rules regarding engine mapping, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber stamped their authority on qualifying yet again to keep McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault behind them.

After their first runs in the crucial Q3 session which decides the top 10 on the grid, Lewis Hamilton raised hopes at McLaren with the second fastest time, but he did not improve on a subsequent run and Webber did.

Vettel had already set the pace, of course, needing only one hot lap to earn his seventh pole position of the season with a lap of 1min 36.975sec, to Hamilton's 1:37.380. Then Webber came riding out of the sunset with 1:37.163, and the game was over.

"There was a lot of talk beforehand," Vettel said with his schoolboyish smirk in reference to the new rule that teams must run the same engine map in the race as in qualifying. "Everyone will lose out something, and people expected us to lose out more, and that's where I disagreed. I didn't think that we would. So it's very good for us to be on the front row. It's always tough here because there are so many corners – 25 – and to get every single one right is very difficult. To get the perfect lap is very tough but I was happy with mine."

So was Webber, who came back from not being at all happy with his car in the first session and then a brake imbalance problem after his first run in the third. "We changed what we could in quallie, thank God, because after Q1 I was worried," he admitted.

"We were still a bit out of bed at the start of Q3, with a bit of a brake balance issue, but the boys did a good job recovering me. The last corner in particular here is very challenging, and it's easy to run out of talent in it, but I was very lucky there on my best lap, got out of there nicely and it helped get me on the front row. It wasn't easy but that was a pretty good lap and it was nice to go quicker. A great day for the team on the back of all the talk."

Hamilton might have been pushed off the front row, but he still believes that McLaren can get the job done this afternoon.

"I'm excited to be in the fight; we can win from this position," he said. "Of course, we'll need a bit of luck with the strategy and the pitstops, but our guys are on great form. You've got to be fortunate and maximise absolutely everything to get ahead of the Red Bulls – and, hopefully, that can happen tomorrow.

"I tried to push a little harder on my final lap, but it's a very fine line between being too greedy and getting it just right. And, unfortunately, I locked up into Turn One and that's where I lost time and bailed out.

"The team did a great job as always. The guys back at the factory have been working as hard as ever to bring updates to the track. They're pushed to the limit, but they are delivering, so I'm very thankful for everything they're doing. Our race pace has been pretty good over the past three races and we should be fast tomorrow too."

Valencia is a tough little track, however, as Vettel explained. "It's a street circuit but has quite long straights," he said, "so it's going to be important to have enough of a gap to avoid getting passed when other drivers use their DRS rear wing. We'll see, but at the moment it's not clear how many stops we'll have and how efficient the overtaking will be, but it's a long race."

Local hero Fernando Alonso, like Hamilton, failed to improve on his first effort, so 1:37.454 left him fourth as his Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa jumped Jenson Button for fifth, improving to 1:37.535 on his second run. The Englishman also improved, fractionally, from 1:37.675 to 1:37.645, but it was not enough to keep him ahead of the Brazilian.

"Sixth position is a bit frustrating because the car felt pretty good in Q2," the hero of the Canadian GP confessed, "and I didn't have to push it too much. So I don't know why that changed for Q3. I had quite a bit of oversteer and I couldn't get enough rear grip or traction, particularly in the first two sectors. And that was something I wasn't expecting. Maybe in this heat, the balance didn't work quite as well as it did this morning due to the higher track temperatures."

Grid

1. S Vettel (Ger) Red Bull 1min 36.975sec, 2. M Webber (Aus) Red Bull 1:37.163, 3. L Hamilton (GB) McLaren 1:37.380, 4. F Alonso (Spa) Ferrari 1:37.454, 5. F Massa (Bra) Ferrari 1:37.535, 6. J Button (GB) McLaren 1:37.645, 7. N Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes 1:38.231, 8. M Schumacher (Ger) Mercedes 1:38.240, 9. N Heidfeld (Ger) Renault No Time, 10. A Sutil (Ger) Force India No Time, 11. V Petrov (Rus) Renault 1:39.068, 12. P di Resta (GB) Force India 1:39.422, 13. R Barrichello (Bra) Williams 1:39.489, 14. K Kobayashi (Jpn) Sauber-Ferrari 1:39.525, 15. P Maldonado (Ven) Williams 1:39.645, 16. S Perez (Mex) Sauber-Ferrari 1:39.657, 17. S Buemi (Swi) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:39.711, 18. J Alguersuari (Spa) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:40.232, 19. H Kovalainen (Fin) Lotus F1 1:41.664, 20. J Trulli (Ita) Lotus F1 1:42.234, 21. T Glock (Ger) Virgin Racing 1:42.553, 22. V Liuzzi (Ita) HRT-F1 1:43.584, 23. J D'Ambrosio (Bel) Virgin Racing 1:43.735, 24. N Karthikeyan (Ind) HRT-F1 1:44.363

Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
peoplePamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
News
newsChester Zoo have revealed their newest members
Sport
sportLeague Managers' Association had described Malky Mackay texts as 'friendly banter'
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
tvSpielberg involved in bringing his 2002 film to the small screen
News
peopleCareer spanned 70 years, including work with Holocaust survivors
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape