Vettel claims sixth pole of the season

World champion Sebastian Vettel holds off Ferrari challenge to claim pole position at the Canadian Grand Prix.

    Vettel kept pole despite a twin Ferrari challenge from Massa, left, and Alonso, right [AFP]

    Formula One championship leader Sebastian Vettel notched up his sixth pole position out of seven at the Canadian Grand Prix on Saturday, maintaining Red Bull's complete dominance of the 2011 season so far.

    Vettel posted a fastest lap of 1 minute, 13.014 seconds, ensuring his 12th consecutive front row start.

    It was an improvement after the Red Bull driver crashed into the "Wall of Champions" during Friday's practice rounds.

    Vettel held off a persistent Ferrari challenge, finishing 0.185 seconds quicker than Fernando Alonso's Ferrari, followed by Alonso's teammate Felipe Massa and the other Red Bull car of Mark Webber, whose KERS speed boost failed.

    Quick fix

    "Thank you. Thanks for fixing the car on Friday after I stuffed it in the wall," shouted the 23-year-old German over the radio to his jubilant team as he returned to the pits.

    Grid positions

    1 S Vettel (GER) RedBull - Renault
    2 F Alonso (ESP) Ferrari
    3 F Massa (BRA) Ferrari
    4 M Webber (AUS) RedBull - Renault
    5 L Hamilton (GBR) McLaren
    6 N Rosberg (GER) Mercedes
    7 J Button (GBR) McLaren
    8 M Schumacher (GER) Mercedes
    9 N Heidfeld (GER) Renault
    10 V Petrov (RUS) Renault
    11 P Di Resta (GBR) Force India - Mercedes
    12 P Maldonado (VEN) Williams - Cosworth
    13 K Kobayashi (JAP) Sauber - Ferrari
    14 A Sutil (GER) Force India - Mercedes
    15 S Buemi (SUI) Toro Rosso - Ferrari
    16 R Barrichello (BRA) Williams - Cosworth
    17 P de la Rosa (ESP) Sauber - Ferrari
    18 J Alguersuari (ESP) Toro Rosso - Ferrari
    19 J Trulli (ITA) Lotus - Renault
    20 H Kovalainen (FIN) Lotus - Renault
    21 V Liuzzi (ITA) HRT - Cosworth
    22 T Glock (GER) Virgin - Cosworth
    23 N Karthikeyan (IND) HRT - Cosworth
    nq J d'Ambrosio (BEL) Virgin - Cosworth

    Briton Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 champion, took fifth ahead of German Nico Rosberg in a Mercedes.

    Vettel's pole was the 21st of his career and came on a circuit where Red Bull have never won, but where Hamilton claimed his maiden victory and won again last year.

    Hamilton's McLaren team-mate and fellow-Briton Jenson Button, champion in 2009, wound up seventh ahead of seven-time champion Michael Schumacher in his Mercedes.

    Another German Nick Heidfeld was ninth for Renault ahead of his team-mate Vitaly Petrov of Russia.

    "That's certainly not what we were expecting or hoping for here," said Button.

    "We just weren't able to get in among them, the Red Bulls and Ferraris, this time."


    After a bright hot day on Friday, the first qualifying period arrived in cooler conditions.

    The first mini-session threw up few surprises and was topped by Alonso ahead of Vettel with Massa third in the second Ferrari. Hamilton was fourth.

    Several drivers had close shaves with the walls and escaped as the session led to the elimination of the slowest bottom seven drivers at the end of the session.

    The temperature fell again, by one degree, before Q2 in which the lap times fell as the leading drivers began clocking times below one minute and 14 seconds led by the two Red Bull men and then both Ferraris and both McLarens, plus the speedy Rosberg.

    Massa ended up quickest this time and the top nine satisfied themselves with one run only, saving tyres for Q3 and the race.

    Vettel leads Hamilton in the drivers' championship by 58 points after six of this year's scheduled 19 races. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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