Vettel takes pole in qualifying for Canadian Grand Prix with Hamilton in second
18:52 GMT, 9 June 2012
Sebastian Vettel superbly grabbed the 32nd pole position of his Formula One career and second in succession ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix.
Reigning world champion Vettel proved to be the class act in qualifying, crushing his rivals around Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in his Red Bull.
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton again lines up on the front row, but the 27-year-old found himself three tenths of a second adrift of Vettel's hot lap of a one minute 13.784secs.
No 1: Sebastian Vettel will start in pole position
The pole elevates Vettel up to fifth in the all-time standings, and he now stands alongside Nigel Mansell, with only Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna, Jim Clark and Alain Prost ahead of him, the latter duo with 33 poles.
Championship leader in Ferrari's Fernando Alonso starts third as he failed to pip Hamilton at the death, followed by the Red Bull of recent Monaco Grand Prix winner Mark Webber.
Mercedes' Nico Rosberg starts sixth ahead of Felipe Massa in his Ferrari and Lotus of Romain Grosjean, with Paul di Resta in his Force India a stunning eighth, equalling his second best grid slot of his F1 career.
In ninth and 10th are Mercedes' Schumacher and Jenson Button in his McLaren, the latter in the top 10 for the first time in three races, but continuing to struggle and on a circuit where he won in dramatic fashion a year ago.
Button narrowly had survived Q2, but only by eight thousandths of a second to Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi who will start 11th.
In the dying stages of the middle 15-minute session it appeared as if Williams' Pastor Maldonado would be the man to drop Button out of the top for the third consecutive race.
But after going fastest of all in the first sector, and pushing to the limit, he clipped the Wall of Champions coming out of the final turn, sending him into a 360 degree spin and only 17th.
Top three: Vettel with Fernando Alonso (left) and Lewis Hamilton (right)
Kimi Raikkonen's awful weekend to date continued as he could only grab 12th, comfortably behind team-mate Grosjean.
It was a similar situation for Force India's Nico Hulkenberg – who starts 13th, 0.109secs behind the Scot.
Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo lines up 15th, with Bruno Senna in his Williams 16th ahead of the unfortunate Maldonado.
In temperatures of 25 degrees centigrade, and under clear blue skies to assist all the cars, the initial 20 minutes was fairly straightforward.
There was, however, a bit of consternation from inside McLaren as they felt the need to strap on the faster supersoft tyres for a run to guarantee their place in Q2.
Such concerns proved unfounded as Heikki Kovalainen in 18th was comfortably slower than the time set by Hamilton and Button on the soft compound.
It means both drivers have now used an additional set of tyres for this weekend, which could have a knock-on effect for the race.
For Caterham, there was a success of sorts as both Kovalainen and team-mate Vitaly Petrov outqualified a Toro Rosso as Jean-Eric Vergne showed no pace on either tyre and will start 20th.
Below the Frenchman on the grid will be the HRTs of Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan in 21st and 24th sandwiching Marussia duo Timo Glock and Charles Pic.
Zoom: Vettel performed superbly
A smiling Vettel said: 'We've had a fantastic weekend. Yesterday was very smooth with no problems.
'We've learned some lessons of late because we've been quick on a Sunday, but not in qualifying.
'Yesterday it was important to have a clean run. We trust the car we have. We go with the circuit, and I was very comfortable.
'I found I was always able to get a bit quicker. I knew it would be tight here, but it seems we've been able to make a bigger difference.
'Obviously we've got it right in qualifying today, but I'm still only eight metres ahead of Lewis.'
Asked about the fact Red Bull have been to forced modify the hole in the floor of their car and the wheel hubs of late as they have both been deemed illegal by the FIA, Vettel said: 'It's not just a hole in the floor that makes all the difference.
Middle: Jenson Button will start from 10th
'Reading the newspapers you get that impression, but we never feared it would have a big impact on the car, and even without the hole I enjoyed qualifying.'
Hamilton found himself genuinely surprised to be starting on the front row for the fourth time this season.
'It was definitely harder for us today, working with the tyres, notably in P3 (final practice) and in qualifying trying to get the tyres to switch them on,' Vettel said.
'I managed to get through on a new set, so I'm very happy and surprised to see us on the front row, and we'll take it.'