• European Grand Prix - Qualifying

Imperious Vettel takes Valencia pole

ESPN Staff
June 23, 2012

Sebastian Vettel took his third consecutive pole position in Valencia after a scintillating qualifying session for the European Grand Prix.

Just as it looked like any one of the top ten drivers could secure pole, Vettel delivered another imperious last lap to take pole by over 0.3s. Lewis Hamilton crossed the line behind him to take second position ahead of Pastor Maldonado who held provisional pole until late in the session.

The fancied Lotus cars line up fourth and fifth on the grid with Romain Grosjean ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. It had looked for much of the session as if either could challenge for pole but ultimately Vettel's lap left him clear of the field.

Nico Rosberg will start sixth after being unable to improve on his first run in Q3 which had held top spot early on. Kamui Kobayashi is seventh ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, Jenson Button and Paul di Resta - with both Force India's unable to match their Q2 times in the top ten shootout.

The second part of qualifying was immensely close as just 0.3s covered first to 13th positions. Grosjean went through with the quickest time, but Alonso dropped out in 11th place despite being only 0.218s off the best time and 0.004s slower than Kobayashi in 10th. Also unable to get through were Michael Schumacher in 12th and Felipe Massa in 13th. Heikki Kovalainen made Q2 for the second time this season and proceeded to outqualify Daniel Ricciardo for 16th place.

Webber had suffered from a lack of running during FP3 due to a brake issue and he was unable to recover in qualifying despite doing two flying laps on the soft tyre. Having missed out Webber then came under pressure from the Caterhams and Kovalainen jumped ahead of both him and Jean-Eric Vergne to get through. At the very back both HRTs outqualified the Marussia of Charles Pic.

Timo Glock missed the entire qualifying session having been unwell following FP3. A stomach bug had hampered Glock all weekend but he deteriorated after the final practice session and sat out qualifying on medical advice. A decision on whether he will race will be taken tomorrow.