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Page last updated at 06:24 GMT, Saturday, 23 October 2010 07:24 UK

Sebastian Vettel takes pole for Red Bull at Korean Grand Prix

Korean Grand Prix, Yeongam, 22-24 October
Race: Sunday 0600-0915 on BBC One, Red Button, online and Radio 5 live
Full coverage times

Sebastian Vettel

Highlights - Korean Grand Prix qualifying

By Richard Rae

Sebastian Vettel took pole position ahead of team-mate Mark Webber as Red Bull closed out the front row in qualifying for the Korean Grand Prix.

Vettel's time of 1.35.585 was just 0.07 seconds faster than Webber.

Third fastest was Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton alongside him on the second row.

Nico Rosberg was fifth fastest for Mercedes, Ferrari's Felipe Massa sixth, with Hamilton's team-mate Jenson Button a disappointing seventh.

It is Red Bull's second successive front row and Vettel's ninth pole of a remarkable season for the team.

Top three drivers: Korean GP qualifying

Korean GP qualifying - Top three drivers

Alonso had looked to have secured pole with a lap of 1.35.766, but both Vettel and Webber delivered with their second and final flying laps to send a clear message to their championship rivals.

"It was a very good achievement from all of us because yesterday was not smooth running," said a delighted Vettel, who is 14 points behind his team-mate in the drivers' world championship.

Webber will be starting from the dirtier side of an already dusty track, but said he was pleased to be on the front row.

"It would have been nice to get pole, but it's a good place to start the race," said the Australian.

"Fernando will be pretty solid off the line, for sure. But that's not going to make or break the world championship."

Hamilton, who was almost half a second slower than Vettel, was downcast after having appeared to be competitive throughout practice. But he was also fortunate to avoid major damage after almost hitting a wall on entering the pit lane.

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton mystified by fourth spot

"I don't know where the time slipped away in qualifying, but we're still in with a fighting chance, I still feel we're competitive," Hamilton insisted.

Alonso said third represented Ferrari's 'maximum potential' in qualifying.

"In a way that is good news because qualifying is not our strong point, so we are in good shape for the race," said the Spaniard, who is level on points with Vettel. "We must take care for the weather and make sure we finish the race."

Button complained of being unable to get his tyres up to optimum operating temperature throughout qualifying, which took place in overcast but dry conditions, with much of the attention focused on the condition of the Yeongam track.

How Hamilton has lost ground

With tyre degradation also a factor, especially on the softer 'option' tyres, all the leading teams went in to Q1 using harder 'prime' tyres. Hamilton was fastest, followed by Vettel, Alonso, Webber, Massa and Renault's Robert Kubica.

Those to go out were Hispania drivers Bruno Senna and Sakon Yamamoto, Virgin's Lucas di Grassi, Heikki Kovalainen of Lotus, Timo Glock of Virgin, Kovalainen's team-mate Jarno Trulli and surprisingly, Vitantonio Liuzzi of Force India.

Hamilton stayed on the prime tyres for his first flying lap in Q2, as did Button and both Red Bull drivers, but Ferrari immediately sent out Felipe Massa on the options. When Alonso switched to the options he went fastest, but once all the drivers switched it was Webber and Vettel who finished the second session fastest, ahead of Hamilton.

Rubens Barrichello made it through to final qualifying, but the Williams driver was angry after complaining of being blocked by the Mercedes driven by his old nemesis Michael Schumacher. Schumacher also made it through to Q3.

Stewards issued Schumacher with a reprimand for the incident.

Those to go out at the end of Q2 were Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari, Vitaly Petrov of Renault, Adrian Sutil in the second Force India, Sauber's Nick Heidfeld and Kamui Kobayashi, and Nico Hulkenberg of Williams.

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see also
McLaren pair 'must win all races'
23 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Schumacher reprimanded for block
23 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Korean GP qualifying photos
23 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Korean GP qualifying as it happened
23 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Kubica on top in final practice
23 Oct 10 |  Formula 1

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