Vettel upbeat despite qualifying fourth at Interlagos

Sao Paulo: Formula 1 drivers` championship leader Sebastian Vettel has played down the importance of his fourth place on the grid for Sunday`s season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.

McLaren`s Lewis Hamilton took pole position at Interlagos Saturday with a time of 1:12.458 minutes, eclipsing teammate Jenson Button by just 0.055 seconds, reports Xinhua.

Vettel`s Red Bull teammate Mark Webber clinched third on the grid with a lap of 1:12.581 ahead of Vettel, who posted 1:12.760.

The German was heartened by championship contender Fernando Alonso`s eighth-place in his Ferrari.

"It`s not a disaster. Maybe it`s not the best position that we could have gotten but still we can be quite happy," Vettel said.

"I think there are more people behind us than in front of us. If we were 24th, then that would be disappointing, but I`m happy with fourth and there`s plenty of opportunities for tomorrow in terms of tactics."

Vettel needs only to finish fourth or better to become the sport`s youngest three-time champion at 25.

Racing in front of his home crowd, Ferrari`s Felipe Massa qualified fifth-fastest with 1:12.987. His teammate Alonso, who is second in the drivers` standings, 13 points behind Vettel, did his title hopes no favour with a fastest time of just 1:13.253.

Hamilton, who secured the 2008 championship at Interlagos, will be driving his last race with McLaren before joining Mercedes next season.

"I think we put ourselves in a really good position and we are just going to do the best that we can from here, working together as a team," said Hamilton, who won the United States Grand Prix last week.

German legend Michael Schumacher, preparing for his final race before retiring for a second time, will start 14th.


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