VALENCIA, Spain, June 25, 2011 (AFP) - German world champion Sebastian Vettel will start from pole position in Sunday's Formula One European Grand Prix after the Red Bull driver was fastest in qualifying here on Saturday.
The 23-year-old German, who is the runaway leader of this year's drivers' championship, was the only man to clock a lap in less than one minute and 37 seconds as he outpaced his team-mate Australian Mark Webber to take his 22nd pole spot.
Webber is the only other driver in this year's eight qualifying sessions to have claimed a pole position start and he did so on Saturday with a big push on his second run in the top-ten shootout.
Vettel made clear he could carry this boost to his confidence into Sunday's race to erase the disappointment of his last-lap mistake - costing him victory - in Canada two weeks ago.
"It's a very good day for us," he said. "Both cars on the front row is just what we wanted because it is very tough here. There are 25 corners and it is a long race so we need to be there.
"This has been a great result for us - just what we wanted and what we need for tomorrow. It is so difficult to get the perfect lap here."
Webber said that he couldn't wait for the race to get underway. "That was pretty good. There are so many corners here. It would be great to put it all together in one perfect lap, but that's not easy," said the
34-year-old Australian. "That said, I am really looking forward to this race."
Webber's final lap charge lifted him up the grid to the front row leaving Briton Lewis Hamilton of McLaren in third ahead of two-times champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari back in fourth place ahead of his team-mate Brazilian Felipe Massa.
Hamilton's McLaren team-mate and fellow-Briton Jenson Button was sixth ahead of Germans Nico Rosberg and his Mercedes team-mate seven-times champion Michael Schumacher, Nick Heidfeld of Renault and Adrian Sutil of Force India.
Hamilton and Button had differing feelings after the session."I wasn't expecting to be so high up the grid as this, after practice, so I am definitely satisfied," said Hamilton, who has had a frustrating season thusfar being hauled in front of the stewards on several occasions.
"The guys did a great job to analyse the data and an amazing job with the car. My first lap was not too bad and I tried to improve on the next one, but then I just had to bail out."
Button, by contrast, was deflated having come into this weekend on the back of a stunning win in Canada.
"It's not very good. The car felt pretty good in Q2 but then in Q3, I had massive over-steer. I don't know why, but I just couldn't get any rear grip. It's not great but we'll still have a good race."
Here are the "pole position" results:
|2011 EUROPEAN GRAND PRIX QUALIFICATION RESULTS|
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:36.975||1:37.305||1:39.116||15|
|2||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull||1:37.163||1:38.058||1:39.956||19|
|10||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India||1:14.085||1:39.034||1:39.329||14|
|12||15||Paul di Resta||Force India||1:39.422||1:39.852||16|
|17||18||Sebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso||1:39.711||1:39.679||8|
|18||19||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso||1:40.232||5|
|Q1 107% Time 1:45.301|