Sebastian Vettel takes Hungary pole

The defending Formula One champion leads Red Bull Racing to their 11th pole in 11 races this season, and 12th in a row.
It was the 23rd pole position of Sebastian Vettel's career.
It was the 23rd pole position of Sebastian Vettel's career.

BUDAPEST // Sebastian Vettel roared back to form on Saturday with pole position at the Hungarian Grand Prix after his Red Bull mechanics worked through the night to get his car up to speed.

The defending Formula One champion had failed to win the past two races but made sure Red Bull captured up their 11th pole in 11 races this season, and 12th in a row, with the eighth of this campaign and 23rd of his career.

Mark Webber, his Australian teammate, second in the championship but a massive 77 points behind the German, qualified in sixth place.

"I felt much more comfortable this morning," Vettel said. "I'm very pleased with the result, as we changed a lot on the car overnight. The boys were working pretty hard and didn't get much sleep. I've got the confidence back."

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who won in Germany this past Sunday when Red Bull's dominance from the first half of the season continued to ebb away, was quickest early on in the final session but had to settle for second on the grid after Vettel's flying last lap.

"Still, I think it is a great achievement for us. Today they seemed to pick up a bit of pace," said the Briton, twice a winner at the Hungaroring.

Jenson Button, Hamilton's teammate, was third on the grid for his 200th grand prix but Fernando Alonso, the double world champion, could only manage fifth for Ferrari behind Felipe Massa, his teammate.

Alonso, who was 30 on Friday, appeared to be heading for pole on his final lap but again lost time in the final sector. It was the first time this year that Massa had out-qualified the Spaniard.

Vettel also took pole in Budapest last year, when Webber won, but Red Bull had not been sounding confident in the run-up to this race after their recent mini-blip.

As fans filled the stands on the steep grassy bank next to the home straight, the usual suspects were knocked out in Q1 while Sergio Perez surprisingly beat Kamui Kobayashi, his Sauber teammate, in the second session and then qualified 10th.

Michael Schumacher, the seven-time champion, was just ahead of the Mexican rookie as Nico Rosberg, his Mercedes teammate, again out-qualified his German compatriot by taking seventh on the grid.

The sun had shone for the day's final practice where Vettel topped the time sheets. However the overcast conditions from Friday, when Hamilton was twice quickest, returned during qualifying.

The forecast for Sunday's race is mixed.

Published: July 31, 2011 04:00 AM

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