Vettel takes pole in Abu Dhabi showdown

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The Independent Online

Sebastian Vettel today grabbed the most important pole position of his Formula One career ahead of tomorrow's season-ending showdown in Abu Dhabi.

The Red Bull star, needing to finish in the top two in tomorrow's race to have any chance of becoming the youngest world champion in F1 history, pipped McLaren's Lewis Hamilton by just 0.031secs.

It was Vettel's 10th pole this season, becoming only the seventh driver in the 60 years of F1 to claim double figures in a season - Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Mika Hakkinen, Jacques Villeneuve and Michael Schumacher the others.

It was also Red Bull's 15th pole of the year, equalling the F1 record set by Williams in 1992 and 1993 and McLaren in 1988 and 1989.

Behind the front row, championship leader Fernando Alonso starts third, a position good enough for him to clinch a third world title if the grid positions were to remain the same come the end of the 55 laps.

McLaren's Jenson Button starts fourth, with Mark Webber a lowly fifth in his Red Bull and in need of help tomorrow if he is to close the eight-point gap to Alonso and overhaul the Spaniard.