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Page last updated at 13:26 GMT, Saturday, 20 June 2009 14:26 UK

Vettel on pole as Button stutters

Venue: Silverstone Dates: 19-21 June 2009 Coverage: Live coverage of Friday's practice sessions, Saturday qualifying and Sunday's race - which starts at 1300 BST - across BBC TV, radio and online platforms. Find full listings here

Sebastian Vettel

Highlights - Vettel grabs pole at Silverstone

By Chris Whyatt

Sebastian Vettel secured pole for the British Grand Prix in his updated Red Bull car as Brawn's championship leader Jenson Button struggled to land sixth.

Vettel edged Button's team-mate Rubens Barrichello into second and his own team-mate Mark Webber into third with a time of one minute 19.509 seconds.

Toyota's Jarno Trulli will start Sunday's Silverstone race in fourth ahead of Williams's Kazuki Nakajimi.

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton is 19th, the worst qualifying result of his career.

Button suffered the worst qualifying result of his season, complaining later about low grip through the last complex - "I felt like I was skating around" - and he starts on the third row with Williams driver Nico Rosberg in seventh and Toyota's Timo Glock in eighth.

BBC SPORT'S FUEL-ADJUSTED GRID (with projected race first pit stops*)
1 Vettel (lap 21)
2 Webber +0.597 (lap 18)
3 Barrichello +0.653 (lap 17)
4 Trulli +0.871 (lap 17)
5 Rosberg +1.022 (lap 19)
6 Button +1.086 (lap 16)
7 Nakajima +1.183 (lap 15)
8 Glock +1.202 (lap 18)
9 Raikkonen +1.391 (lap 16)
10 Alonso +1.657 (lap 16)
* Calculated on the weight of fuel left in cars after qualifying had finished

Vettel, Barrichello and Webber traded fastest laps in the high-pressure final qualifying session, but the German driver eventually came through quickest - although a disappointed Webber later claimed that he was held up by Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen on one of his last hot laps.

"Kimi - I don't know what he was doing, drinking some vodka or dreaming or something," said Webber.

"He should have been on the inside and he was on the racing line.

"He could not have done a better job to distract me. These laps have to be perfect and that broke my rhythm. But, hey, I'm not 10th, I'm third. There's a huge amount of positives."

Only three pole-sitters in the last 14 British GPs at Silverstone have gone on to win, meaning it does not prove as critically decisive as some other circuits on the calendar.

But Vettel - with one GP win to his name this season - will be heartened by his third pole of the season as his bids to rein in runaway leader Button, who has won the other six races of 2009.

And, after conceding a lead on the first lap in Turkey to eventual winner Button after starting in pole position, the 21-year-old is determined not to make the same mistake at Silverstone, to where more than 200,000 race fans are expected to flock his weekend.

"It was the lap of the weekend," said Vettel. "It was close to perfect.

"As a driver you always think there is a little bit here or there, but it went very well.

Sebastian Vettel

Vettel relieved to claim Silverstone pole

"I was surprised how quick I was at that stage. I can only say big compliments back to the guys in the garage. We are proving the car is working very well."

In securing a front row spot on the grid, Brazilian driver Barrichello out-qualified Button for only the second time this season.

"I'm very pleased with this," he said. "For me too, the lap in Q3 was the best of the weekend. We've found a good balance on a circuit that has always been quite good for me.

"I'm in the middle of them [the Red Bulls] and it's going to be hard to beat them, but that's what I'm here for."

After the fuel weight loads were published Webber was revealed to be running heavier than Barrichello, meaning, essentially, that Red Bull do possess the truest pace over the Silverstone circuit heading into the race.

For world champion Hamilton, winner of last year's British GP by more than a minute, starting 19th on the grid marks a continuation of his nightmare season in a McLaren car glaringly lacking in downforce.


"I did the best I could and was pushing as hard as I could with the car," the 24-year-old told BBC Sport.

"[But] we were dead slow."

The English driver was on a hot lap late on in the first qualifying session when the red flag came out to signal the introduction of a safety car after Force India's Adrian Sutil had careered into the barriers at high speed as he skidded off the track at Abbey because of brake problems.

But Hamilton insisted that did not impede his chances of getting through to the top 15, and admitted that his race weekend was effectively over.

"I gave it my all but I could not get much more out of it," he said.

"We'll keep pushing and fighting and hopefully put on a good show for the fans."

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton thanks fans for support (UK users only)

Sutil's crash, at around 170mph, will be a disappointment for Force India who had high hopes of securing their first points in F1 after a series of updates coming into the eighth race of the season.

The German driver walked away unhurt, and was then passed fit to race on Sunday after a precautionary medical check.

Starting in fifth represents a career-highest qualifying result for Japanese driver Nakajima and both Williams drivers are among the top 10 off the grid for the second time this season.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa was 11th after being squeezed out of qualifying session two, along with Hamilton's team-mate Heikki Kovalainen.

BMW Sauber's troublesome season continued and drivers Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld will start in 12th and 15th respectively.

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see also
British Grand Prix qualifying results
16 Jun 09 |  Results
British Grand Prix qualifying photos
20 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Button downbeat on victory chance
20 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Qualifying was a struggle - Button
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David Coulthard column
20 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Drivers' news conference in full
20 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
British GP qualifying as it happened
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Mosley confident of F1 resolution
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British GP is secure - Ecclestone
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British Grand Prix practice photos
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FIA to sue over breakaway attempt
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Formula 1 is 'finished' - Alonso
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Mosley stands firm in budget row
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Ferrari increase pressure on FIA
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Carmakers in F1 breakaway warning
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F1 teams granted entry for 2010
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F1 stars back teams in budget row
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Briatore calms F1 walk-out threat
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Ferrari stay firm over budget cap
31 May 09 |  Formula 1
Williams confirm F1 entry in 2010
25 May 09 |  Formula 1
In-depth interview - Max Mosley
15 May 09 |  Formula 1
Quit threat is no bluff - Ferrari
14 May 09 |  Formula 1
Toyota threaten pull-out from F1
10 May 09 |  Formula 1

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