15th pole of the season
The world champion took his Red Bull round in a superb 1m 11.918s. Just to rub it in, team mate Mark Webber kept McLaren off the front row with 1m 12.099s.
Jenson Button lapped his McLaren in 1m 12.283s for third, with Lewis Hamilton on 1m 12.480s for fourth and Fernando Alonso fifth on 1m 12.591s. It remains to be seen who might have compromised their set-ups ahead of the rain that is anticipated on Sunday afternoon.
Nico Rosberg put Mercedes sixth on the grid with 1m 13.050s, fractions ahead of Felipe Massa’s 1m 13.068s in the Ferrari, and Bruno Senna took ninth for Renault , making it two Brazilians in the top 10, with 1m 13.761s. Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher will start 10th, but did not record a time.
Vettel had begun turning up the wick with a bruising lap of 1m 12.466s to head Q2 from Rosberg on 1m 12.569s, but Force India’s Paul di Resta made two unsuccessful attempts to better 1m 13.584s and thus found himself 11th after a late improvement from Schumacher lifted the German veteran to 10th on 1m 13.571s.
Rubens Barrichello did a strong job for 12th in what could be his last qualifying performance, taking his Williams round in 1m 13.801s. Jaime Alguersuari was very little slower with 1m 13.804s, with Toro Rosso team mate Sebastien Buemi right behind him on 1m 13.919s. Renault’s Vitaly Petrov improved late on, but 1m 14.053s was only enough for 15th ahead of the Saubers, whose form slumped as Kamui Kobayashi lapped in 1m 14.129s and Sergio Perez in 1m 14.182s.
As the McLarens set the pace with Button in 1m 13.281s just ahead of Hamilton, Pastor Maldonado was the fastest of those who failed to get through Q1, taking his Williams round in 1m 14.625s compared to 17th-placed Kobayashi’s 1m 14.571s. Behind him, the Lotus drivers were close right up until the very last second of the session, with the verdict of 19th place going to Heikki Kovalainen with 1m 15.068s as Jarno Trulli came up with 1m 15.358s.
Tonio Liuzzi again spent a lot of the session in the pits, but outpaced HRT team mate Daniel Ricciardo for 21st place, 1m 16.631s to 1m 16.890s. That left the Virgins 23rd and 24th, with Jerome D’Ambrosio again topping team mate Timo Glock, 1m 17.019s to 1m 17.060s.
|8||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:13.480||1:13.261||1:13.298||23|
|10||7||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes||1:13.694||1:13.571||No time||18|
|11||15||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:13.733||1:13.584||17|
|19||20||Heikki Kovalainen||Team Lotus||1:15.068||11|
|20||21||Jarno Trulli||Team Lotus||1:15.358||14|
source: Formula One