Bahraini protester's death mars Vettel's first pole

Defending double world champion Sebastian Vettel grabbed his first pole position of 2012 on Saturday when he planted his Red Bull car at the top of the times in qualifying for Sunday’s controversial Bahrain Grand Prix. The 24-year-old German outpaced McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton by just 0.098 seconds to take the 31st pole of his career following a relatively lacklustre start to the season.

Red Bull ace Vettel races at the Sakhir Circuit during Saturday’s qualifying session. Below: Vettel celebrates after clinching pole. Pics/AFP 

The second Red Bull of Mark Webber and Hamilton’s teammate Jenson Button will start on the second row. This speedy top four were able to push last weekend’s maiden F1 victor Nico Rosberg down to fifth with a thrilling final flurry of laps in the closing seconds that left the Mercedes driver, who chose to run only once in Q3, slightly off the pace.

People demonstrate outside the Formula One headquarters in London to protest against Sunday’s Bahrain GP on Saturday.

A Bahraini protester holds a molotov cocktail bomb next to a barricade on fire during clashes with riot police in Manama following a demonstration to demand a halt to the Bahrain GP.

Force India start in 10th & 13th spots Sahara Force India drivers Paul Di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg secured 10th and 13th positions on the starting grid respectively. India’s Narain Karthikeyan in the HRT-Cosworth will start the race in last place.

Protesters help an injured man.

Starting grid:
1: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), 2: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), 3: Mark Webber (Red Bull), 4: Jenson Button (McLaren), 5: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), 6: Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso), 7: Romain Grosjean (Lotus), 8: Sergio Perez (Sauber), 9: Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), 10: Paul di Resta (Force India), 13: Nico Hulkenberg (Force India), 24: Narain Karthikeyan (HRT)

Protesters look at a pile of teargas canisters during.

Protester found dead amid F1 lockdown
MANAMA: Bahrain’s opposition on Saturday reported the first death in protests timed for this weekend’s controversial Grand Prix as the kingdom imposed a security lockdown around the Sakhir Formula One racing circuit. The body of Salah Abbas Habib, 36, was found in Shakhura village, where security forces overnight “attacked peaceful protesters, brutally beating some of them with various tools and weapons,” said Al-Wefaq, the Gulf state’s largest Shiite opposition bloc Al-Wefaq. It charged that “security forces killed him one day before the final round of the F1 races hosted by Bahrain,” without saying how he died.

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