|Button and Hamilton will be hot on Vettel's heels in Hungary for what looks set to be a close battle [GALLO/GETTY]
Rivals have struggled to keep Sebastian Vettel off pole this season, and this was once again the case at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Saturday.
Vettel reminded his Formula One colleagues that Red Bull were still the team to beat in the championship after taking his seventh pole of the season.
The F1 leader's crew worked tirelessly through the night on his car and the payoff was immediate as he stormed to a leading time of 1 minute, 19.815 seconds around the Hungaroring circuit on his last flying lap.
McLaren took advantage of mixed weather conditions to qualify second and third as Lewis Hamilton was within two-tenths of the German leader in front of team-mate Jenson Button.
"Yes baby, this is what I'm talking about"
A pumped-up Sebastian Vettel
Ferrari driver Felipe Massa will be happy with his fastest lap after finishing fourth on the grid and more importantly in front of team-mate Fernando Alonso in fifth for the first time in 2011.
Meanwhile Mark Webber will start a disappointing sixth for Red Bull after conceding he couldn't match the speed of Sebastian Vettel.
"Yes baby, this is what I'm talking about!" Vettel screamed with trademark effervescence on his car radio after rebounding from a fourth place finish at the German GP.
Red Bull have dictated qualifying so far this season, with the team starting all 11 races from the front.
Pulling an all-nighter
With the track temperature dropping, the changing weather conditions played into McLaren's favour at the Hungaroring, which is normally one of the calendar's hottest races.
But the defending F1 champion left little doubt as to why he's got a whopping 77-point lead in the championship as he flew around the circuit on his last lap to edge Hamilton, who led for most of the final 10-minute session.
"We changed a lot on the car overnight and the boys were working very hard and didn't get much sleep. This is the best way to say thank you,'' said Vettel, who is looking for his seventh win of the season and first in three races.
"I've got the confidence back."
Which might just be a bit too soon for his closest rivals.
Vettel, who also led the morning practice, leads Webber in the standings while Hamilton trails by 82 points, four better than Alonso. Button is fifth,107 points behind.
Hamilton led both of Friday's practices and rebounded from Saturday's morning session when his car experienced brake problems. However, the British driver who's still pumped up after his win in Germany last weekend was pipped to the post by an equally revved-up Vettel.
"It's a great achievement for us. I think we can get some real nice points from here," said Hamilton, who is looking for his third win in five starts in Budapest.
Mixed weather is also expected Sunday, which could give McLaren an extra boost.
The British team have a great chance of getting both their drivers on the podium with a reassuring record at the circuit. McLaren have won three of the past four races at the Hungaroring.
"When you're that close to the front you've got to go for victory," said Button, who will start his 200th race at the site of his first victory in 2006.
The Hungarian Grand Prix looks set to be a cracker with McLaren and Ferrari confident after recent wins and leader Vettel keenly aware of the chasing pack who are desperate to close the gap.