Vettel storms to pole for European GP
updated 11:35 AM EDT, Sat June 23, 2012
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel (right) stormed ahead of Lewis Hamilton to claim pole for Sunday's European Grand Prix.
- Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel secures third pole of the season at Valencia street circuit
- Championship leader Lewis Hamilton finishes second; Pastor Maldonado qualifies in third
- Disappointment for Mark Webber who will start Sunday's race in 19th
- Ferrari also struggle in qualifying with Spain's Fernando Alonso down in 11th
(CNN) -- Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel has claimed his third pole position of the season at Saturday's qualifying session for the European Grand Prix in Valencia, Spain.
The double world champion clocked a time of one minute 38.086 seconds, finishing comfortably ahead of current championship leader Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren.
Williams Renault driver Pastor Maldonado will start Sunday's race in third.
Vettel, who has taken the checkered flag at the last two European Grand Prix, was off the pace on the street circuit in Friday's practice session and during the early stages of qualifying.
But the German seized the initiative when it mattered, nailing a rapid lap as the clock ticked down in Q3.
We had one shot there at the end which turned out to be a very good lap
"We had one shot there at the end which turned out to be a very good lap. Q1 and Q2 were not to our liking," the 24-year-old said.
"We were struggling to find the balance we did have in practice. It was a good recovery. We had to put a second set of options in Q2. It was the right call because I don't think my first lap was good enough," Vettel added.
But there was disappointment for his teammate, Mark Webber, who will start Sunday's race down in a lowly 19th after failing to make it out of Q1.
Ferrari also had a qualifying session to forget with both Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa unable to make it out of Q2.
Alonso, winner at the Malaysian Grand Prix earlier this season, will start Sunday's race in 11th while Massa is two places further back in 13th. Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes GP will start in 12th.
Lotus's Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen finished fourth and fifth respectively, while McLaren's Jenson Button qualified in eighth place.
Part of complete coverage on
Track the new Formula One season as it progresses, circuit by circuit, race by race.
updated 9:24 AM EDT, Thu March 14, 2013
Can the new F1 season live up to last year's standards? Find out the need-to-know stories for 2013.
updated 7:48 AM EDT, Thu March 14, 2013
CNN looks ahead to the Australian Grand Prix, the first F1 race of the 2013 season.
updated 1:24 PM EST, Thu February 28, 2013
Adrian Sutil will be Force India's second driver for the 2013 Formula One season, pledging to make the most of his "second chance".
updated 8:52 PM EST, Fri March 1, 2013
Christmas Abbott, 5'3 and 115 pounds, is the first woman to join a NASCAR pit crew team.
updated 7:35 PM EST, Mon February 11, 2013
The first race in Melbourne is just around the corner and Formula 1 teams are gearing up for a season which promises to be as technical as it is tactical.
updated 7:19 AM EST, Fri March 1, 2013
When the new Formula 1 season gets underway in March, for the first time there will be a woman running a team's entire operations from track to boardroom.
updated 7:22 AM EST, Mon January 21, 2013
The Dakar Rally is one of the world's most dangerous motorsport races, and this year's edition has already been marred by tragic deaths.
updated 2:20 PM EST, Thu January 31, 2013
The famous circuit of Nurburgring is confirmed Thursday as the venue for the 2013 German Grand Prix after reaching a deal with F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone.
updated 10:36 AM EST, Tue November 27, 2012
It did not take very long for the inevitable question to be asked -- just how good a driver is Sebastian Vettel?
updated 9:49 AM EST, Thu January 24, 2013
Changes to tires will make Formula 1 racing faster with more overtaking in 2013, according to the sport's official tire supplier Pirelli.
updated 4:35 AM EST, Mon November 26, 2012
Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost, and contemporary pacesetters Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso were all contenders.
updated 8:32 AM EST, Fri November 23, 2012
Who is the greatest F1 driver of all time? Past and present drivers give their verdict on the contenders to CNN.
CNN has asked Formula One stars past and present, "Who is the best driver of all time?" Now we want to hear from you.
updated 4:48 AM EST, Tue November 20, 2012
A triumphant Lewis Hamilton called Sunday's United States Grand Prix the best race of 2012 but for many it was more important than that -- it was Formula One being reborn in the USA.
CNN's Ben Wyatt says Sebastian Vettel or Fernando Alonso will seal their place in F1 history in Brazil this weekend.
updated 2:41 PM EST, Sun November 25, 2012
The F1 title race will be fought over 20 races this season. Keep track of the latest standings in the drivers' and manufacturers' championships.
updated 10:20 AM EST, Fri November 16, 2012
Mario Andretti says the key to rekindling F1 in the U.S. is a buzzword that has been flying around Washington faster than a Ferrari -- stability.