Vettel storms to pole for European GP
June 23, 2012 -- Updated 1535 GMT (2335 HKT)
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel (right) stormed ahead of Lewis Hamilton to claim pole for Sunday's European Grand Prix.
- Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel secures third pole of the season at Valencia street circuit
- Championship leader Lewis Hamilton finishes second; Pastor Maldonado qualifies in third
- Disappointment for Mark Webber who will start Sunday's race in 19th
- Ferrari also struggle in qualifying with Spain's Fernando Alonso down in 11th
(CNN) -- Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel has claimed his third pole position of the season at Saturday's qualifying session for the European Grand Prix in Valencia, Spain.
The double world champion clocked a time of one minute 38.086 seconds, finishing comfortably ahead of current championship leader Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren.
Williams Renault driver Pastor Maldonado will start Sunday's race in third.
Vettel, who has taken the checkered flag at the last two European Grand Prix, was off the pace on the street circuit in Friday's practice session and during the early stages of qualifying.
But the German seized the initiative when it mattered, nailing a rapid lap as the clock ticked down in Q3.
We had one shot there at the end which turned out to be a very good lap
"We had one shot there at the end which turned out to be a very good lap. Q1 and Q2 were not to our liking," the 24-year-old said.
"We were struggling to find the balance we did have in practice. It was a good recovery. We had to put a second set of options in Q2. It was the right call because I don't think my first lap was good enough," Vettel added.
But there was disappointment for his teammate, Mark Webber, who will start Sunday's race down in a lowly 19th after failing to make it out of Q1.
Ferrari also had a qualifying session to forget with both Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa unable to make it out of Q2.
Alonso, winner at the Malaysian Grand Prix earlier this season, will start Sunday's race in 11th while Massa is two places further back in 13th. Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes GP will start in 12th.
Lotus's Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen finished fourth and fifth respectively, while McLaren's Jenson Button qualified in eighth place.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
Track the buzz of the 2014 Formula One season, race by race, with all the latest social reaction from motorsport experts.
November 7, 2014 -- Updated 1714 GMT (0114 HKT)
Glitz... check, glamor... check. Teams going bust... er, check. F1 generates billion-dollar revenues, so why can't some of its teams stay afloat?
November 7, 2014 -- Updated 1814 GMT (0214 HKT)
With the sport currently facing up to a financial crisis, motorsport journalist Ed Foster explores the history of F1 sponsorship.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 0958 GMT (1758 HKT)
He's paid millions to drive one of the world's fastest cars, and he's one of F1's most colorful characters, but Kimi Raikkonen loves normality.
October 12, 2014 -- Updated 1745 GMT (0145 HKT)
It took a little longer than expected but MotoGP's young star Marc Marquez wraps up his second world title in Japan.
October 9, 2014 -- Updated 1039 GMT (1839 HKT)
Rising star Daniil Kvyat made history as the home hero at F1's first Russian Grand Prix, ahead of next season's move to Red Bull.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1358 GMT (2158 HKT)
Take the fittest driver in Formula One and test him against two of the world's leading triathletes in a high-performance laboratory.
September 5, 2014 -- Updated 1604 GMT (0004 HKT)
Mercedes has the fastest two cars in Formula One this season but there is just one problem -- there can only be one world champion.
He's the best of the rest -- Daniel Ricciardo has been Formula One's surprise package in the first half of the 2014 season.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
Formula One is not likely to go hungry in Hungary as master chefs cater in volume for drivers, teams and VIP guests.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
It's the elephant in the room of Formula One. What's the prognosis legendary driver Michael Schumacher?
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 2310 GMT (0710 HKT)
It stimulates all five senses, creating an unparalleled experience for drivers and fans alike. Take a tour of Monaco with Mark Webber.