Sebastian Vettel saw off heavy rain as well as a forty minute delay to seize the 45th pole position of his career during qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Vettel’s lap time of 1:26.479, set on the blue side walled wet Pirelli tyres during the much delayed final period of qualifying, secured the four times champion his ninth pole position of the season – the eight consecutive pole position for Red Bull – six tenths faster than Nico Rosberg in second, who had stared for Mercedes on Friday and Fernando Alonso, who was third.
The start of the third and final part of qualifying was pushed back forty minutes as the rain fell harder than it had all weekend, with all ten drivers involved making the move to the wet Pirelli tyres, having completed the first two knock-out sessions on the intermediate rubber.
Vettel led the initial runs on the wets at the start of the final ten minute session, before the crossover point arrived, which saw all ten drivers make the switch to the intermediates, with lap times tumbling as the track began to dry out.
It was during this frantic final few minutes that Vettel produced his lap of 1:26.479, a time six tenths faster than Nico Rosberg in the first of the Mercedes, who ended the session as the Red Bull man’s closest challenger.
Fernando Alonso secured third for Ferrari and will be joined on the second row by Lewis Hamilton, while Mark Webber ended his final qualifying session in Formula One in fifth, ahead of Romain Grosjean’s Lotus.
The two Toro Rosso’s impressed on their way to seventh and eighth, Daniel Ricciardo once again ahead of his team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne, while Felipe Massa and Nico Hulkenberg rounded out the top 10 for Ferrari and Sauber respectively.
Heikki Kovalainen just missed out on a spot in the final part of qualifying in 11th and will start alongside Paul di Resta, with Valtteri Bottas directly behind him in the Williams.
McLaren suffered the humiliation of a double Q2 knockout with Sergio Perez and Jenson Button mired down in 14th and 15th, Perez marginally quicker than his soon to be ex-team-mate, despite an accident in the closing moments of the second part of qualifying for the Mexican.
Adrian Sutil will start tomorrow’s race in 16th for Force India, ahead of Pastor Maldonado and Esteban Gutierrez who were the two names to join the usual suspects in being eliminated in the first part of qualifying.
Charles Pic was the best of the Caterham’s in 19th, ahead of his team-mate Giedo van der Garde and the two Marussia’s of Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton who will share the back row of the grid for Sunday’s race.
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