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Vettel gets 'Ole!' shot in Brazil

2013-11-24 06:35

MAKING HIS POINT AGAIN : Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel (centre) shows his usual finger after taking his ninth pole of the 2013 season in Brazil. With him are Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso (left) who will start third and Mercedes Nico Rosberg who wi

Camila Moreira

SAO PAULO, Brazil - Red Bull's quadruple Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel stormed to pole for the season-ending Brazilian Formula 1 GP after a rain-hit qualifying session at Interlagos on Saturday.

The 26-year-old German, more than ever in a class of his own, made his 45th career pole - and ninth of the season - look all too easy as he swept around the rain-soaked track in 1min26.479.

Nico Rosberg joined his compatriot on the front row for Mercedes but the 0.623sec gulf between them told the real story.


Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, after a jubilant Vettel had celebrated with a cheer of 'Ole, ole' over the team radio: "He was really impressive in that last session. To produce two laps that were more than a half-second clear of the rest of the field in such tricky conditions... what more can you say?"

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso equalled his best start position of the season with third next to Vettel's Australian team mate Mark Webber, preparing for his F1 farewell before heading off to race Porsche sports cars.

Webber, who had topped the time sheets in a meaningless final practice with most drivers conserving tyres, was more than a second off Vettel's pace while Alonso said a mistake had cost him eight-tenths.

"I went off at Turn 4. I was very late and missed the corner," he explained, saying second would have been possible but not pole.

Vettel, who clinched his fourth title in a row in India in October, is now perfectly placed to claim a record ninth successive win in a single season on Sunday. It would also be his 13th of the season, equalling Michael Schumacher's 2004 record with Ferrari.


Vettel, along with the others who made it through to the last 10, had to wait 45 minutes in the garages to complete the session due to the incessant rain and standing water on the track delaying the final phase.

He said: "I was so happy after the quali, especially Q3," he told reporters. "It took a long time for us to get out, there was a lot of rain after Q2... we had to wait. If there's too much water on the track, the risk of aquaplaning is too high.

"I was surprised by the margin. When I was told I was very happy, I even mixed up Spanish and Portuguese and was on the radio saying 'ole, ole'. I don't know the expression in Portuguese - maybe someone can tell me and maybe I'll have another chance on Sunday."

Lewis Hamilton qualified fifth for Mercedes, Frenchman Romain Grosjean sixth for Lotus.

Mercedes, Ferrari and Lotus are fighting for second place in the Constructors' championship and the status and significant financial rewards the position brings with it. Mercedes is 15 points clear of Ferrari, Lotus a further 18 behind.


Brazilian Felipe Massa will start his last race for Ferrari in ninth place and sounded frustrated while  talking to reporters after the session. "I can't be satisfied. I couldn't get a great lap. I hope I can have a great race, let's put everything in the race," he said. "It's a very special race to me, definitely I will be emotional tomorrow."

McLaren's dismal season continued with neither Jenson Button nor Sergio Perez making the top 10 shoot-out. Mexican Perez crashing his car heavily into the wall at the end of the second part.

"I just tried to risk everything I could and it just ended up badly," said Perez. "I think the crash looked bigger than it was. The hit was not that big."

If the team fails to take at least fourth on Sunday it will be its worst season since it first raced in 1966.

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