Red Bull's Vettel takes pole for Indian GP
Updated: October 29, 2011, 06:21
Send to a friend
NEW DELHI(AP) Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel claimed pole position Saturday for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix, taking top spot on the grid for the 13th time to move within one of the all-time Formula One record.
Vettel's time of 1 minute, 24.178 seconds around Buddh International Circuit was three tenths of a second faster than McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who was second fastest but will drop to fifth because of a rules infringement in Friday practice.
"It's a new circuit, new track for all of us, which makes things tricky,'' Vettel said. "I'm extremely happy. It's an interesting race, a challenging circuit, so I am looking forward to tomorrow.''
Mark Webber was third fastest, making it an all-Red Bull front row for Sunday's race. Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was fourth and McLaren's Jenson Button was fifth.
Ferrari's Felipe Massa qualified sixth despite a heavy crash on the final lap, breaking his right-front suspension when going over a curb and skidding into a barrier.
That created an anti-climactic finish to qualifying with yellow flags waved around the site of the accident, preventing the top drivers from completing a second flying lap in their final stint.
Mercedes' Nico Rosberg, Force India's Adrian Sutil and Toro Rosso pair Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari completed the top 10. Seven-time champion Michael Schumacher will start from 12th after struggling with his car vibrating throughout qualifying.
Former British driver Nigel Mansell set the pole record of 14 in winning the world title in 1992, though there were fewer races then.
Vettel says he isn't motivated by the chance to break that record, nor equal Schumacher's mark of 13 race victories in a season. Vettel needs to win all three remaining races to achieve that feat.
However, such personal milestones are all that are left for Vettel to achieve this year, having already clinched back-to-back drivers' championships and spearheaded Red Bull's defense of the constructors' championship.
On Friday, Hamilton ignored yellow flags and was demoted but he said "overtaking should be easier here than in other places, so I am still optimistic about tomorrow.''