Vettel storms to 3rd consecutive pole in India

Greater Noida, Oct 26 (IANS) Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel put together an impressive lap in qualifying to clinch pole position for the third consecutive year at the Formula 1 Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) here Saturday.

The German driver, who won the last two editions of the Indian race, put together a brilliant one minute and 24.119-second lap ahead of Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton who will start second and third respectively Sunday.

Championship leader Vettel now looks set to clinch the driver's title. He needs to finish fifth or above in the race, irrespective of where second placed Fernando Alonso of Ferrari finishes.

Three-time World Champion Vettel was a full 0.752 seconds ahead of Rosberg who will line-up alongside the former on the front row of the grid after putting together a 1:24.871 lap while Hamilton came third with 1.24.941.

The rest of the field had to be content in the one minute and 25-second bracket with Vettel's teammate Mark Webber bagging fourth position on the grid.

But the Australian might have something up his sleeve with a different tyre strategy starting on mediums, unlike the top three who will start on soft compound tyres.

Felipe Massa brought out his Ferrari with four minutes remaining in Q3 and put up a good lap to outperform his two-time World Champion teammate Alonso who could only manage eighth. But Alonso has been a good starter throughout the season.

Lotus' 2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen and Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg will start sixth and seventh, respectively, while the two McLarens of Sergio Perez and 2009 World Champion Jenson Button complete the top-10.

The two Force India's of Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil will start 12th and 13th in their home race and will try to get into the top 10 to score some points.

Earlier in the qualifying session, the only surprise exclusion was that of Lotus' Romain Grosjean who abandoned his lap in Q1 thinking he would easily make it into Q2 with his earlier laptime.

His gamble on the slower medium tyres did not pay off and the French driver will start 17th.

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