Vettel romps to Brazilian Grand Prix pole

The Red Bull Racing driver claims ninth pole of 2013 with dominant performance at wet Interlagos.

Sebastian Vettel racing his Red Bull Racing RB9 at Interlagos for the BRazilian Grand Prix 2013
Sebastian Vettel in action at Interlagos© Getty Images/Clive Mason

Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel claimed pole position for tomorrow’s Brazilian Grand Prix by a massive 0.623s from Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg at a damp Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo this afternoon.

It was the first time Vettel had topped a session all weekend, with the four-time world champion looking untouchable in Q3 in the tricky conditions.

“It’s great in these conditions to get it all right,” said Vettel after claiming his ninth pole position of the season. “We had very little practice and still got the car to where we wanted it to be in the end, so very happy.”

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso drove well to line-up in third, while Vettel’s team-mate Mark Webber will start his last ever Formula One race in fourth ahead of his move to sportscars next year.

Romain Grosjean racing his Lotus at Interlagos for the Brazilian Grand Prix 2013
Romain Grosjean was the first to switch to inters © Andrew Ferraro/Lotus F1 Team.

The third session of this afternoon’s qualifying had to be delayed due to the amount of standing water on the Interlagos track.

When the green light for Q3 was finally given, the drivers all headed out onto the circuit with Pirelli’s full-wet tyre on to analyse the conditions. But with the water clearing quickly, Lotus’ Romain Grosjean darted into the pits to change to the green-liveried intermediate tyre, swiftly followed by the nine other Q3 runners.

Grosjean, despite looking like a contender for pole earlier in the session after setting the fastest Q2 time, went on to finish in sixth behind the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton. The Toro Rosso duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne impressed to take seventh and eighth respectively, while local hero Felipe Massa will start his final race for Ferrari from ninth after a disappointing session, one place ahead of the Sauber of Nico Hulkenberg.

Amazingly, despite the rain-affected conditions, qualifying at Interlagos saw only one major incident, when the McLaren of Sergio Perez ran onto the wet kerb at Turn 5 and spun into the wall, ripping off the MP4-28’s front wing. The Mexican driver emerged unscathed from the incident.

Tomorrow’s race gets underway at 16.00GMT. Head to our dedicated event page for more features and reports.