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Vettel wins record 15th pole at Brazilian GP

Updated: November 26, 2011, 13:10


Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany reacts after making the pole position at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday Nov. 26, 2011. The Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix will take place on Sunday. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

SAO PAULO(AP) Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel set the record for most poles in a season, capturing his 15th at the Brazilian Grand Prix on Saturday to break Nigel Mansell's 19-year record.

Vettel finished in 1 minute, 11.918 seconds at the 4.3-kilometer (2.6-mile) Interlagos track. The 24-year-old German drew level with Mansell after winning his 14th pole at the Abu Dhabi GP two weeks ago.

Vettel parked his car and extended his finger to show who was No. 1 again, his trademark celebration all year.

"This is really special, it's different from the other poles,'' Vettel said. "I'm enjoying the moment. All and all, I was pretty happy with my days on Saturdays (this season).

"I put everything in that last lap, it was very emotional when I crossed the line. It was all I had, I gave it all.''

Red Bull teammate Mark Webber was second in 1:12.099. Jenson Button of McLaren was second in 1:12.283, ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton and two-time world champion Fernando Alonso of Ferrari.

Vettel had been fastest in the final practice Saturday morning and also dominated qualifying, staying in front throughout the session.

Mansell set the record with Williams in a 16-race season in 1992, when he also won nine races to win his only F1 drivers' title. He failed to start from pole only at the Canadian GP and Hungarian GP that year. He had six consecutive poles to start the season and five straight to finish.

Vettel broke the record in 19 races. He failed to win the pole only in Spain, England, Germany and Korea. His worst starting position was third, in Germany.

"There is no secret, once we go to qualifying we all seem to enjoy it,'' Vettel said. "Qualifying is all about putting everything that you have and that the car has in one lap. It's like a rush, I really enjoy that.''

The German had been trying to avoid talking about the record, saying he wouldn't sacrifice his race performance to prioritize the car's setup for qualifying just to break Mansell's mark.

"There was quite some talk before this weekend about this particular record, the best thing was not to think about it,'' he said.

With the title already decided in favor of Vettel since the Japanese GP, virtually the only thing at stake in Brazil is the fight for second place, with Button, Alonso and Webber still with a chance to finish runner-up. Button has a 10-point lead over Alonso and an 18-point advantage over Webber.

"I feel we did the best in the car,'' Button said. "The setup was the best we were going to get it. I got everything out of it.''

Vettel dominated the season with 11 victories, but it was Hamilton who won the last race in Abu Dhabi after a tire failure forced Vettel to retire on the first lap.

Red Bull also has already won the constructors' championship, with McLaren finishing second and Ferrari third.

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