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News

Vettel gets shot at clinching third straight title

Sebastian Vettel will start pole at the US Grand Prix. The Red Bull driver can wrap up his third consecutive Formula One title on Sunday.

The German Vettel, Red Bull's championship leader, continued to smoke the competition at the US Grand Prix, clocking 1:35.657 on the new $400 million track (about 315 million euros) in final practice on Saturday.

In his penultimate start for McLaren, the Brit Lewis Hamilton came in at 1:35.766, missing out on depriving Vettel, competing in his 100th Grand Prix, of pole by a fraction of a second. The Australian Mark Webber, Vettel's Red Bull teammate, will start third after finishing 1:36.587.

Fernando Alonso, the only driver who can prevent Vettel's clinching a third straight title, finished ninth, at 1:37.3. The Ferrari driver will get a bump to eighth after the Lotus driver Romain Grosjean, fourth at 1:36.587, dropped five spots for changing a gearbox.

Vettel, who started the last race in Abu Dhabi from pit lane as punishment for a fuel irregularity, earned his sixth pole of the season on Saturday. Vettel leads Alonso by 10 points going into the season's second to last race and can clinch the drivers' championship if he scores 15 points more than the Spaniard on Sunday.

mkg/kms (AFP, Reuters, AP, dpa)