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Motorsport | Formula 1

Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull © MNI

Brazilian GP: Exclusive Qualifying Report



Sebastian Vettel's pole position at Interlagos has surpassed Nigel Mansell's 1992 record of 14 pole positions in a single season.

The newly-crowned 2011 world champion produced a scintillating lap of 1'11.918 - the only driver to go below the 72-second barrier.

In a Red Bull lockout of the front row, Mark Webber will start alongside his young team mate in Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix, the last race of the 2011 season.

The second row will be made up of the McLarens of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, followed by Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) and Nico Rosberg (Mercedes).

For a change, all three practice sessions at Interlagos was topped by a different driver - Webber on Friday morning, Hamilton in the afternoon and Vettel on Saturday morning.

As a result of Sao Paulo's unpredictable weather, most drivers went straight out onto the track as soon as the first session opened, only the two Ferraris and Schumacher remaining in their garages.

Hamilton posted the first flying lap, setting a 1'13.876 on the medium compound tyre, with the soft compound an option for Q3 if necessary. Webber's first effort was just three-hundredths slower followed by Button a tenth behind.

Vettel's first hot lap was a 1'13.687, setting up a duel between F1's fastest men between McLaren and Red Bull.

Michael Schumacher (Mercedes) was having difficulties, fighting to control his car and stop it from swopping ends. He went eighth fastest behind team mate Nico Rosberg.

Button was next to post the fastest time, going half a second quicker than Vettel, who was pushed down to third by Webber.

Sébastien Buemi (Toro Rosso-Ferrari), who managed only three laps in the morning practice, spun in Turn 10 but continued.

Rubens Barrichello (Williams-Cosworth), who grew up within hearing distance of Interlagos, and whose seat at Williams is under threat for next year, found some motivation from his home crowd to go a lot faster than usual, coming in ninth with three minutes of the session remaining.

Button finished on top in Q1, followed by Hamilton, Webber, Adrian Sutil (Force India-Mercedes) and Vettel.

First Session Drop-Outs

18 Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams 1'14.625
19 Heikki Kovalainen FIN Lotus 1'15.068
20 Jarno Trulli ITA Lotus 1'15.358
21 Vitantonio Liuzzi ITA Hispania 1'16.631
22 Daniel Ricciardo AUS Hispania 1'16.890
23 Jerome d'Ambrosio BEL Virgin 1'17.019
24 Timo Glock GER Virgin 1'17.060

As Q2 got under way, rain was reported to be on the way and the remaining 17 drivers were keen to get in an early banker lap in case of precipitation.

Sutil maintained his Q1 pace, posting a chart-topping 1'13.276 before being pushed down by Button and then Rosberg with a 1'12.569. By contrast, Schumacher was more than a second slower and down in 11th - in danger of not making the cut.

Vettel's 1'12.446 took him to the top of the list as Schumacher squeaked in with the tenth-fastest time.

Vettel finished Q2 in top, followed by Rosberg, Webber, Hamilton and Button.

Second Session Drop-Outs

11 Paul di Resta GBR Force India 1'13.584
12 Rubens Barrichello BRA Williams 1'13.801
13 Jaime Alguersuari ESP Toro Rosso 1'13.804
14 Sébastien Buemi SUI Toro Rosso 1'13.919
15 Vitaly Petrov RUS Renault 1'14.053
16 Kamui Kobayashi JAP Sauber 1'14.129
17 Sergio Perez MEX Sauber 1'14.182

With the threat of rain appearing to have lessened, only Rosberg and Hamilton went out at the beginning of the session. Rosberg posted a 1'13.159, but Vettel showed his hand with a 1'12.268 - the fastest time of the weekend so far.

After the first round of lapping, all the drivers returned to their pits to fit a new set of tyres for their final top-ten shoot-out.

With two minutes left, everyone went out for a last run.

Vettel set new fastest first and middle sector times for a stunning 1'11.918. Button went second but was bumped down by Webber, but returned to second again before the Australian bettered him once more, with Hamilton fourth.

2011 Brazilian F1 Grand Prix - Qualifying Times
Pos Driver Nat Team Time
1 Sebastian Vettel GER Red Bull 1'11.918
2 Mark Webber AUS Red Bull 1'12.099
3 Jenson Button GBR McLaren 1'12.283
4 Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren 1'12.480
5 Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari 1'12.591
6 Nico Rosberg GER Mercedes 1'13.050
7 Felipe Massa BRA Ferrari 1'13.068
8 Adrian Sutil GER Force India 1'13.298
9 Bruno Senna BRA Renault 1'13.761
10 Michael Schumacher GER Mercedes No Time
11 Paul di Resta GBR Force India 1'13.584
12 Rubens Barrichello BRA Williams 1'13.801
13 Jaime Alguersuari ESP Toro Rosso 1'13.804
14 Sébastien Buemi SUI Toro Rosso 1'13.919
15 Vitaly Petrov RUS Renault 1'14.053
16 Kamui Kobayashi JAP Sauber 1'14.129
17 Sergio Perez MEX Sauber 1'14.182
18 Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams 1'14.625
19 Heikki Kovalainen FIN Lotus 1'15.068
20 Jarno Trulli ITA Lotus 1'15.358
21 Vitantonio Liuzzi ITA Hispania 1'16.631
22 Daniel Ricciardo AUS Hispania 1'16.890
23 Jerome d'Ambrosio BEL Virgin 1'17.019
24 Timo Glock GER Virgin 1'17.060

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