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Vettel grabs another pole for Red Bull

Last updated on: June 25, 2011 20:43 IST

Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel chalked up his seventh pole position in eight races this season as Red Bull swept the front row in qualifying for the European Grand Prix on Saturday.

Australian teammate Mark Webber was second fastest with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton third and sharing the second row with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, racing in front of his home crowd.

Red Bull have now taken nine poles in a row dating back to the end of last year, the first team to do so since McLaren in 1998.

Pole sitter Sebastian Vettel (centre) second placed Mark Webber (left) and third placed Lewis Hamilton celebrate after qualifying for the European Formula One Grand Prix in Valencia, Spain on SaturdayTheir continued dominance seemed to make a mockery of suggestions that the champions could suffer from a clampdown by the governing body on the use of engine electronics and exhaust gases to influence performance.

"People expect us to lose more than others but that's where I disagree," grinned the 23-year-old German, who will be chasing his sixth win of the year around the Mediterranean port city's streets.

Vettel's fastest lap of one minute 36.975 seconds was the fastest ever in Valencia and made the pole a foregone conclusion with minutes still to run on a bright and breezy afternoon.

"I think, mate, we've said it enough. We've come here and we didn't expect any different," said Webber, whose sole pole of the season so far came in Barcelona in May when Red Bull also swept the front row, of the rule change.

"Some other teams spoke a lot about it, maybe even some people in our team spoke a bit that maybe technically are not completely on top of things, but in the end we've just got on with our job, basically."

Webber's time was 0.188 slower than his team mate's, with Hamilton's best effort a 1:37.380.

Brazilian Felipe Massa qualified fifth for Ferrari with McLaren's Jenson Button, the winner in Canada two weeks ago, lining up sixth.

"It's not very good. The car felt pretty good in Q2 (the second phase) but then in Q3 I had massive oversteer. I don't know why but I just couldn't get any rear grip," said 2009 world champion Button.

"The car was great this morning in practice but with the heat maybe our balance isn't working because of the track temperature. I just didn't expect it. It's not great but we'll still have a good race."

The second phase was red flagged and halted for four minutes after Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado's Williams was left stranded on the track with what looked like an engine failure with seven minutes and 59 seconds remaining.

Photograph: Getty Images

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