Sebastian Vettel took pole position for Sunday’s Indian Grand Prix in qualifying Saturday, helping the German in his hunt for a third consecutive title.
In a sign of the Red Bull team’s superior pace, Vettel starts alongside teammate Mark Webber on the front row after the Australian set a time 0.034 shy of Vettel’s fastest lap of 1 minute 25.283 seconds.
Vettel won last year’s race at the Buddh International Circuit and topped in all three practice sessions held Friday and Saturday.
Vettel’s closest challenger Fernando Alonso qualified fifth but will take fourth place on the grid.
The McLaren duo of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button qualified third and fourth, with Hamilton 0.261 seconds adrift of Vettel’s time.
Hamilton will start Sunday’s race sixth because of a three-place grid penalty handed out to him and Sauber’s Sergio Perez for failing to heed warning flags in practice Friday.
Alonso in fifth is joined by teammate Felipe Massa, who earlier struggled to reach the top-ten shootout after lackluster laps put him at risk of elimination in the second session.
Seventh goes to Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus, who is a distant third in the championship standings, while Perez qualified eighth for Sauber but will start 11th.
Williams’ Pastor Maldonado qualified ninth, with Nico Rosberg 10th for Mercedes.
After an uneventful first qualifying session, the second stint saw two big names fall as seven-time champion Michael Schumacher and Lotus driver Romain Grosjean missed the top-ten shootout.
For Grosjean, it was only the second time in 16 events this season that the Frenchman has qualified outside the top ten.
Further back, Russia’s Vitaly Petrov took 19th and outqualified teammate Heikki Kovalainen for the sixth time this season, and the third time in the last four races.
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