Sebastian Vettel came to the fore in a thrilling qualifying session at Valencia this afternoon as the German returned to the very front of the grid to take his fourth pole position of the season and his first since April. Team-mate Mark Webber made it Red Bull’s fourth front row lock-out of the year, while mistakes by both McLaren drivers cost them the chance of challenging their rivals.
After the first round of runs, it was Webber who had set the fastest time on a 1m37.852s, over a tenth clear of Hamilton and Vettel. But once the serious work was to be done, Vettel just got the edge. The German was the first front-runner to set his grid time (1m37.587s), with Webber following soon after with his 1m37.662s, just three quarters of a tenth shy of his team-mate. Lewis Hamilton (1m37.969s) took third despite having to abort his final lap after a mistake, while home hero Fernando Alonso (1m38.075s) only managed fourth.