Vettel takes pole in European Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel again destroyed the field in qualifying ahead of tomorrow's European Grand Prix as he clinched his seventh pole in eight races this season.

It is the 22nd pole of Vettel's career, and the ninth in a row for Red Bull stretching back to the end of last season.

In claiming all eight this season, it is the first time a team has managed such a feat since McLaren started 1998 with nine successive poles.

Reigning champion Vettel became the first driver to set a sub one minute 37-second lap witnessed at the Valencia Street Circuit.

Vettel posted a time of one minute 36.975 seconds, finishing 0.188secs ahead of Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber, who pipped Lewis Hamilton in his McLaren late on, leaving the Briton to start third.

Despite teams being forced to run the same engine mapping - without using tweaks to enhance performance - for qualifying as in the race, that mattered little to Red Bull.

Behind the leading trio will be Ferrari duo Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa in fourth and fifth, with Jenson Button sixth in his McLaren, finishing almost 0.7secs behind Vettel.

Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher line up seventh and eighth for Mercedes, with Renault's Nick Heidfeld ninth and Adrian Sutil 10th for Force India.

There were few surprises in a disrupted 15-minute second session in which Pastor Maldonado caused a red flag after his Williams ground to a halt on track.

The Venezuelan, who starts 15th, appeared to suffer an engine issue prior to stopping and bizarrely then parked his car in the middle of the circuit.

A four-minute delay followed whilst his car was retrieved, at which stage there were eight minutes of action remaining in Q2.

The top six drivers at that point in Vettel, Hamilton, Button, Alonso, Webber and Rosberg opted not to venture back out, knowing they had done enough.

In the closing stages Sutil dropped Vitaly Petrov down to 11th by a mere 0.034secs, with the Russian lining up in 11th ahead of Paul di Resta who finished 0.388secs behind his Force India team-mate.

Williams' Rubens Barrichello starts 13th, Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi 14th ahead of Maldonado, with the second Sauber of Sergio Perez occupying 16th on the grid, and Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi 17th.

For 21-year-old Mexican rookie Perez, he at least completed his first qualifying session since the Spanish Grand Prix.

Perez then crashed in qualifying in Monaco, suffering concussion, the effects of which ruled him out of the race a fortnight ago in Canada.

Prior to that Webber scraped into Q2 by just three tenths of a second, finishing 16th in the opening 20-minute session in which Jaime Alguersuari in his Toro Rosso was again the man to miss out.

The Australian stayed loyal to the harder medium compound tyres that are being used for the first time this season, whilst those around him all switched to the faster soft rubber in the closing minutes.

The gamble almost backfired on Webber, but it now means he has an extra set of soft tyres which will be critical for the race.

As for Alguersuari, it is the third successive race he has failed to make Q2, with the 21-year-old starting 18th on home soil.

Behind him will be the Lotus duo of Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli, followed by Virgin's Timo Glock and Vitantonio Liuzzi in his Hispania in 21st and 22nd.

On the final row of the grid will be Jerome D'Ambrosio for Virgin and Hispania's Narain Karthikeyan, who has propped up the timesheet all weekends, but survives the 107% cut-off by a full second.

Referring to the ban on engine mapping, last year's winner Vettel said: "There was a lot of talk going into this grand prix.

"There will also be a lot before the next grand prix (the British, when off-throttle blown diffusers are outlawed).

"People expected us to lose more than others, but that's where I disagree.

"Overall it's a very good day for us, very good to have the front row for our team.

"But it's always tough here, a tricky circuit, there are so many corners, and especially in qualifying to get every single corner right is very difficult.

"So to get the perfect lap is quite tough, but I was very happy with my first lap (in Q3)."

Webber hailed his lap as "pretty good", adding: "You've so many corners here and you try to put them all together perfectly, so I knew I had to put it all together on the last lap.

"In the end it's a great day for the team off the back of all the talk, and now we can look forward to tomorrow."

Hamilton was surprised at his third spot on the grid, adding: "This is definitely a good effort. I wasn't expecting to be so high up.

"After final practice we were struggling to switch on the tyres, so this is a great effort from the guys."

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Wayne Rooney warms up ahead of the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane
football
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
Danielle George is both science professor and presenter
people
News
i100
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

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015