Sebastien Vettel captures pole

Updated: June 11, 2011, 6:42 PM ET
Associated Press

MONTREAL -- Championship leader Sebastian Vettel won another pole position on Saturday, outracing a pair of Ferraris and a looming rainstorm to record the top qualifying lap at the Canadian Grand Prix.

[+] EnlargeSebastien Vettel
Stan Honda/Getty ImagesSebastian Vettel celebrates winning the pole for the 2011 Formula One Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, Canada. Vettel hit the wall during practice a day earlier.

The Red Bull driver, who has won five of the first six Formula One races this season, posted a fastest lap of 1 minute, 13.014 seconds after crashing in the first practice session. He was followed by Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.

"I just hope it doesn't become a habit to crash the car on Friday and win the pole on Saturday," Vettel said. "We are here to ride the cars to the limit. Mistakes can happen; surely it is better when they happen on Friday. But it is not fun to come back to the garage without your car."

Fourth in the grid is the other Red Bull car driven by Mark Webber, whose speed-boosting KERS system did not work and did not race at all in Saturday morning's practice. After working through the morning on Friday to get Vettel's car ready for the afternoon practice session, the Red Bull mechanics turned back to a problem that has dogged them all season.

"I feel sorry for them," Vettel said. "I can go back to my room, and there's not much I can physically do to help them. The only thing I can do is, the next time I have the car again, drive it as fast as I can."

Vettel credited their fast work on Friday with repairing the car quickly so he could have the practice time he needed to get used to the track.

"There wasn't much hope to fix it. I think that was important," he said. "This place, you really need to be into the rhythm. This is a rough course."

It could be even rougher during Sunday's race.

After a sunny and warm practice on Friday, Saturday was cool and windy, with clouds that were expected to bring rain that would force the teams to use new supersoft tires.

"The conditions are likely to change, so this may be the least import qualifying of the year," Alonso said. "Being in the first row of the grid, it's a good feeling. It is a nice team result and a nice performance so far this weekend, but the real job is coming tomorrow. We have to maximize this privileged scoring position and get as many points as possible."

Massa agreed.

"Starting in a good position is good in the dry and good in the wet," he said. "So, hopefully we can have some success tomorrow as well."

Lewis Hamilton, who has won two of the last three Grand Prix races for McLaren, was fifth in qualifying. Pedro de la Rosa, a last-minute sub for Sauber with Sergio Perez feeling the effects of a concussion from a crash at Monaco, was 17th after a morning practice crash that bounced him from wall to wall.

"It is obviously a very eventful time for me," de la Rosa said. "Yesterday morning I didn't expect to sit in a racing car, and this morning I actually didn't expect a lot from qualifying. It is not easy to familiarize yourself with the car and all the new buttons in such a short space of time. Of course, the crash I had this morning didn't help either."

Jerome d'Ambrosio, who failed to post a qualifying time within 107 percent of the leader, was cleared to start the race on appeal because he met the standard during practice, he has met it consistently during the season and because extensive repairs had been made to his car after a crash in Friday afternoon's practice.

If it rains Sunday, it would be the first time this season that a Formula One race has been run on a wet circuit. Drivers are expected to turn to the supersoft Pirelli tires available for the first time this year. They were also used in Monaco.

"I think the tires will be the key factor, similar to most of the places, but maybe a little bit more," Vettel said. "We brought some rain tires, and I brought a coat and umbrella. To be honest, there's not much we can do."


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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