Yeongam: German Sebastian Vettel led a Red Bull lockout of the front row after qualifying at the inaugural Korean Grand Prix at the new Yeongam circuit on Saturday.
The 23-year-old German recorded his ninth pole of the 2010 season with a lap of 1min 35.585secs, edging teammate and world championship leader Mark Webber of Australia by 0.074secs in a thrilling hour-long session.
Vettel’s pole is the 14th of his career, and the front-row one-two is Red Bull’s eighth of the season.
Spaniard Fernando Alonso was third for Ferrari, two-tenths of a second slower than Vettel, while Britain’s Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) was fourth.
The third row will be shared by German Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) and Brazilian Felipe Massa of Ferrari, while defending world champion Jenson Button struggled to get on the pace of his title rivals, qualifying seventh for McLaren, 1.2secs off Vettel’s front-running time.
Poland’s Robert Kubica, who topped morning practice for Renault, finished eighth, while Germany’s nine-time world champion Michael Schumacher of Mercedes and Brazilian veteran Rubens Barrichello (Williams) rounded out the top 10.
With races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi to follow the maiden Grand Prix in Korea, Webber leads the championship on 220 points, with Alonso and Vettel both on 206.
Sunday’s race will be held over 55 laps of the 5.621-km circuit.