Vettel seizes pole in Valencia

Reuters - Sat, 26 Jun 14:05:00 2010

Sebastian Vettel clinched pole position at the European Grand Prix in Valencia in an all Red Bull front row with team mate Mark Webber in second.

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The Australian held the ascendancy for most of Q3, only for his team mate Vettel to steal in and seal top spot with no driver able to muster a response.

Britain's championship leader Lewis Hamilton finished third fastest for McLaren, with Jenson Button down in seventh, while the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa in fourth and fifth spots respectively.

"People were talking at the last race (in Canada) that this would probably be a difficult venue for us. I think we've proved them wrong," said Vettel, who finished fourth in Montreal two weeks ago.

"It will be a tough battle tomorrow but I think we can win the race and score a lot of points for the team," added the 22-year-old, whose team are racing for the first time with a version of the 'F-duct' pioneered by McLaren that offers greater straight-line speed.

Vettel has now secured four poles this season but has failed to convert any of the previous three into wins, his sole victory coming from third place on the grid in Malaysia. Red Bull have had eight poles this year.

"I'm happy to be second to be honest, Seb was quicker," said Webber, who has qualified on the front row in the last eight races.

The two Red Bull drivers line up alongside each other for the first time since they collided in Turkey while heading for a one-two finish but both played down the possibility of locking horns again.

"We've been through this many times but I'm not afraid that something similar will happen," said Vettel, whose last pole was in China in April. "You can never say never but surely I think we have learned our bit."

Hamilton, who has been runner-up in the previous two races in Valencia, was surprised to be right behind the Red Bulls after locking up his rear wheels on his last flying lap.

"I feel so fortunate," said the Briton, whose car's race pace leaves him well-placed to challenge for a third win in a row. "We saw from practice that we were quite a long way behind.

"Initially going into qualifying the thought was that we have to get every ounce out of the car, every little bit we possibly can get and a little bit more just to gain that one more spot, if it means being from seventh to sixth," he added.

"I didn't feel that we would be this high up."

The McLaren driver is three points ahead of world champion team mate Button, with Webber third overall and a further three adrift. Vettel is fifth, 19 points off the lead with 11 races remaining.

Ferrari's Alonso will start his second home race of the year in fourth place, while Poland's Robert Kubica starts sixth for Renault.

Former champions Williams had both their cars in the top 10 for the first time since the Malaysian race in April. Germany's Nico Hulkenberg was eighth fastest and Brazilian team mate Rubens Barrichello, winner for Brawn last year, ninth.

Mercedes had an afternoon to forget despite bringing a major aerodynamic update to Valencia, with Germany's Nico Rosberg 12th and seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher struggling to qualify 15th.

Qualifying results:

1. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull-Renault 1 min 37.587 secs

2. Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull-Renault 1:37.662

3. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 1:37.969

4. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1:38.075

5. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 1:38.127

6. Robert Kubica (Poland) Renault 1:38.137

7. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1:38.210

8. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Williams-Cosworth 1:38.428

9. Rubens Barrichello (Brazil) Williams-Cosworth 1:38.428

10. Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Renault 1:38.523

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11. Sebastien Buemi (Switzerland) Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:38.586

12. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1:38.627

13. Adrian Sutil (Germany) Force India-Mercedes 1:38.851

14. Vitantonio Liuzzi (Italy) Force India-Mercedes 1:38.884

15. Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes 1:39.234

16. Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1:39.264

17. Jaime Alguersuari (Spain) Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:39.458

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18. Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1:39.343

19. Jarno Trulli (Italy) Lotus-Cosworth 1:40.658

20. Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Lotus-Cosworth 1:40.882

21. Lucas Di Grassi (Brazil) Virgin-Cosworth 1:42.086

22. Timo Glock (Germany) Virgin-Cosworth 1:42.140

23. Karun Chandhok (India) HRT-Cosworth 1:42.600

24. Bruno Senna (Brazil) HRT-Cosworth 1:42.851

Eurosport / Reuters

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