BUDAPEST, July 30, 2011 (AFP) - Sebastian Vettel claimed his eighth pole position of the year on Saturday when he topped the times for Red Bull during qualifying for Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.
On a warm, overcast days, the 24-year-old German clocked a best time of one minute 19.815 seconds, edging out Briton Lewis Hamilton of McLaren by 0.1secs in the final seconds of the session. Jenson Button in the other McLaren was
It is the German's eighth pole position of the year and 23rd of his career. "Yes baby, that's what I'm talking about," shouted Vettel who, despite leading the title-race by 77 points, had looked off the pace during free practice on Friday.
Vettel explained that his revived pace was down to his team breaking curfew and working through the night to improve his car.
"After yesterday, when these boys [Hamilton and Button] were a little bit quicker than us, it seems we have done the right thing and I am a lot more comfortable this morning," he said.
"We changed a lot on the car overnight. The boys were working pretty hard and the boys didn't get much sleep but a result like this today is the best way to say thanks. "I have the confidence back and I am feeling comfortable in the car. I am looking forward to tomorrow."
Hamilton, champion in 2008, insisted he was happy with his performance despite losing out on pole. "It's a good achievement for us, We knew we had good pace," he said. "Today they [Red Bull] seemed to pick up a little pace, but for me and Jenson to be in the first two rows is a good job and I think we can pick up some good points tomorrow.
Fellow Briton Button, who has struggled during qualifying in recent races, said he was glad to be starting nearer the front.
"I'm pretty happy with that," he said, "It's nice to be positioned well and hopefully we can challenge Red Bull tomorrow."
Ferrari driver Brazilian Felipe Massa was fourth fastest, out-pacing his team-mate Spaniard Fernando Alonso, fifth, for the first time this season.
Australian Mark Webber wound up sixth in the second Red Bull and admitted he was nowhere near matching Vettel's pace.
"Bizarre really," he said. "There's no way I could do that lap time."
Germans Nico Rosberg of Mercedes, Force India driver Adrian Sutil and Michael Schumacher in the second Mercedes took positions 7 to 9 and Sauber driver Mexican Sergio Perez was tenth.
With temperatures reaching 23 degrees, the drivers were able to warm up their tyres more quickly than anticipated and were forced to post flying lap times with heavy fuel loads. After a tense opening mini-session in Q1, Hamilton topped the times but out went Swiss Sebastien Buemi of Toro Rosso in 18th along with the three newer teams.
However, Buemi will serve a five place grid penalty and start in 23rd position. That meant places 18 to 22 were filled by Lotus drivers Finn Heikki Kovalainen and Italian Jarno Trulli, Virgin driver German Timo Glock, Hispania drivers Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi and Australian rookie Daniel Ricciardo.
Belgian Jerome D'Ambrosio of Virgin will start in 24th place. Alonso topped the times in Q2 which saw Force India driver Briton Paul Di Resta eliminated in 11th place ahead of Russian Vitaly Petrov of Renault.
Japanese Kamui Kobayashi of Sauber was 12th quickest followed by German Nick Heidfeld in the second Renault.
Brazilian veteran Rubens Barrichello of Williams was 15th ahead of Spaniard Jaime Alguesuari in the other Toro Rosso and Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado in the second Williams.
The Hungarian Grand Prix is the 11th round in the 19-race calendar. Vettel leads the drivers' championship with 216 points ahead of Webber on 139, and Hamilton on 134. In the constructors' championship, Red Bull lead with 355 ahead of McLaren
on 243 and Ferrari on 192.
Below are the qualifying times:
2011 HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX QUALIFICATION RESULTS PO. NO. TEAM Q3 Q2 Q1 LAPS 1 1 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:19.815 1:21.095 1:21.740 14 2 3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:19.978 1:21.105 1:21.636 12 3 4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:20.024 1:20.578 1:22.038 15 4 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:20.350 1:21.099 1:22.130 15 5 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:20.365 1:20.262 1:21.578 15 6 2 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:20.474 1:20.890 1:22.208 16 7 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:21.098 1:21.243 1:22.996 12 8 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:21.445 1:22.000 1:22.237 19 9 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:21.907 1:21.852 1:22.876 17 10 17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari No time 1:22.157 1:23.067 16 11 15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:22.256 1:22.976 13 12 10 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:22.284 1:23.070 14 13 16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:22.435 1:23.278 16 14 9 Nick Heidfeld Renault 1:22.470 1:23.024 14 15 11 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:22.684 1:23.075 16 16 19 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 1:22.979 1:23.285 10 17 12 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1:33.698 1:23.847 9 18 18 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:24.070 9 19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1:24.362 8 20 21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1:24.534 7 21 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:26.294 10 22 23 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1:26.323 11 23 22 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1:26.479 11 24 25 Jerome d'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1:26.510 8 Q1 107% Time 1:27:288