Defending drivers’ champion Sebastian Vettel is to start Sunday’s Korean Grand Prix from second in the grid, as he seeks to overtake the current standings’ leader, Fernando Alonso. Alonso qualified in fourth place.
Australia's Mark Webber took the pole position, something of a disappointment for Vettel, his German Red Bull teammate, who had dominated the practice sessions on the grid in Yeongam, South Korea.
Vettel had also been the fastest in qualifying, until he was held up by Ferrari driver Felipe Massa in his final lap.
"I don't want to blame it on Felipe," Vettel said. "I thought he was coming in [to the pits] and then in the last sector he was right in front of me so I had to back off. Not ideal when just starting a timed lap."
Webber took the pole in a time of one minute 37.242 seconds, just 0.074 seconds ahead of Vettel.
"Very, very happy to get the job done," said Webber, who is fifth in the drivers' standings and, mathematically at least, still in the hunt for the title.
Vettel, though, goes into Sunday's Formula One race within striking distance of Fernando Alonso, who saw his lead shrink to just four points after he crashed out at the first turn in Suzuka and Vettel cruised to victory at the Japanese Grand Prix.
The competition are well back, with Lotus Driver Kimi Raikonnen, who is third in the standings, trailing Alonso by 37 points, and fourth-placed Lewis Hamilton of McLaren 42 points behind. Hamilton and Raikonnen will start Sunday's race from third and fifth in the grid respectively.
pfd/jlw (dpa, Reuters, AFP)