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Vettel takes Toro Rosso's first pole

September 13, 2008 19:27 IST
Last Updated: September 13, 2008 20:05 IST

Germany's [Images] Sebastian Vettel seized his and Toro Rosso's first Formula One pole position on Saturday in an astonishing Italian Grand Prix qualifying that wrong-footed the title favourites.

With the rain teeming down and visibility limited at the fastest circuit on the calendar, the 21-year-old became the youngest driver to qualify on pole since the championship started in 1950.

Vettel, dubbed 'Baby Schumi' by the German media as their next big hope since the retirement of seven times world champion Michael Schumacher [Images], timed his lap to perfection while Ferrari [Images] and McLaren were caught out by the weather and their tyre choices.

McLaren's overall leader Lewis Hamilton [Images] was the big casualty of an afternoon that ripped up the form book, the 23-year-old Briton leaving it late in deteriorating conditions to qualify only 15th.

Ferrari's world champion Kimi Raikkonen [Images] was one place ahead of him.

Ferrari's Brazilian Felipe Massa [Images], just two points behind Hamilton with five races remaining, will start his team's home race on Sunday in sixth place.

McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen [Images] joined Vettel on the front row with Red Bull's Australian Mark Webber [Images] just behind with Toro Rosso's French driver Sebastien Bourdais.

Vettel, whose Ferrari-powered team are only eighth in the championship, was as stunned as anyone by what he had achieved.

"What can I say? It was my dream one day to drive a Formula One car. My target was to fight for poles and race wins but today I didn't expect it," he said.

"It's a great result for us, a great success. I'm very happy as you can imagine," added the driver, who will move to Red Bull's main team at the end of the season to replace the retiring David Coulthard.

Germany's Nico Rosberg qualified fifth for Williams and starts alongside Massa, who has rarely looked convincing in wet conditions.

Toyota's Italian Jarno Trulli secured seventh place on the grid with Renault's double world champion Fernando Alonso [Images] eighth.

Poland's Robert Kubica [Images], third in the championship for BMW-Sauber also came unstuck in the rain and will start 11th.

Ferrari-powered Force India entered new territory with Italian Giancarlo Fisichella taking the team into the second stage of qualifying for the first time.

Fisichella, whose third place with Renault in 2005 makes him still the last Italian driver to stand on the race podium at Monza, lapped quicker than both Hamilton and Raikkonen and will start 12th.

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Formula One: The Complete Coverage

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