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Indian GP: Vettel grabs record 13th pole of the season

Record-breaking Vettel makes it a Saturday to remember at the Indian GP after grabbing 13th pole of the season

Sebastian Vettel emerging from the Red Bull garage late Saturday afternoon, with his messed-up hair (sans his cap of course) and untidy racing oufit, gave the impression that he'd just come out of a siesta. After the nap that lasted about an hour, almost nonchalantly, he qualified on pole position for Sunday's inaugural Indian Grand Prix with a remarkably quick time of 1:24.178 seconds.


Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel waves to spectators after grabbing
pole during Saturday's Indian GP qualifying session. PIC/AFP


In fact, that's how Vettel has been throughout the season. A typical race weekend would see him casually step into his car on Friday, feel the track and give the impression that he's not up to the mark to emerge quickest, and just when the competition thought they'd had a perfect practice, he'd steal pole, and subsequently victory from under their nose.

The Indian GP weekend has been no different. Vettel's best time after second practice on Friday was 1:25.794, second to Ferrari's Felipe Massa's, who clocked 1:25.706. On Saturday morning however, he drove like there was no one else on the Buddh International Circuit. He timed 1:24.824 after third practice on Saturday morning and then re-emerged to beat his own mark to take his 13th pole position of the season and a record 16th for Red Bull as competition once again couldn't help put up with yet another red-hot bull run.

Vettel's partner Mark Webber (1:24.508) rubbed salt into nearest competitor, McLaren's wounds, by qualifying third, but being promoted to second given the three-place grid penalty handed to McLaren's Lewis Hamilton (1:24.474) for ignoring the yellow flag during Friday's practice. 

"New circuit, new venue was tricky for all of us first time round in qualifying but the car was fantastic. I'm happy with the car's balance which was the foundation," said Vettel, adding that he could have been quicker. "In the end my lap was fine but I think it wasn't 100 per cent and there was a little bit here and there where I could have saved some time maybe."

Dust on parts of the track seemed to worry the German ace though. "Off the racing line, it is quite dusty and depending on where you have to go off-line or where you are forced to go off line to maybe lap another car, making a pass maybe critical for the next couple of corners. But overall, they (organisers) have done a great job. This is a new track and the first time we have been to other tracks too there has always been a little bit here and a little bit there," he said.

Another record the speed king was made aware of during the post-qualifying media session, was that he had claimed his 28th pole position equalling a feat achieved by the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio and was also joint sixth with the five-time world champion. To this, the German said: "I didn't know (about Fangio) � but ya it's definitely special.

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