Sebastian Vettel secured pole position for Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix with another dramatic, late and perfectly judged lap for Red Bull in a closely contested qualifying session in Shanghai. The 22-year-old German clocked a best lap of one minute and 34.558 seconds in the final seconds to outpace his rival and Red Bull teammate Mark Webber.
It was Vettel’s third pole in four races this year and the eighth pole of his career as the Red Bull team delivered their third successive front row lockout and fourth straight pole.
Webber had snatched the fastest lap time with barely a minute remaining when, in a final flurry of activity, both McLaren drivers made bids to take pole but failed before Vettel recorded his flawless final lap.
This left the Red Bulls on the front row ahead of two-times world champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso for Ferrari and German Nico Rosberg in the leading Mercedes.
Defending world champion Briton Jenson Button and his McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 champion qualified in fifth and sixth positions.
Chandhok gets penalty
India’s Karun Chandhok has been given a five-place grid penalty for the race after the Hispania Racing Team broke a seal on his gearbox following Friday practice.
The 26-year-old must take a penalty as the team opened the gearbox to work on it without an FIA official in attendance, which is a breach of regulations.
The penalty is unlikely to affect the rookie driver, who was 24th and last after Saturday morning practice.
Meanwhile, Hispania have named Japan’s Sakon Yamamoto as their test and reserve driver for the remainder of the season. The 27-year-old competed in 14 Grands Prix for Super Aguri and Spyker in 2006 and 2007.