Sebastian Vettel has set a new record for the number of pole positions in a season after taking number fifteen today in Brazil.
Mark Webber will start alongside his team-mate on the front row of the Interlagos grid, but was over one tenth of a second slower than Vettel in qualifying today.
It had been hoped that one of the McLaren drivers might challenge Vettel for pole today, but Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton could only qualify third and fourth.
Fernando Alonso will start from his customary fifth position ahead of Nico Rosberg, with Felipe Massa, Adrian Sutil, Bruno Senna and Michael Schumacher making up the rest of the top ten on tomorrow’s Brazilian Grand Prix grid.
Although the rain stayed away during qualifying, there was a threat of precipitation hanging around Interlagos at the beginning of the season and teams were keen to send their drivers out early to get a dry banker lap on the board. Jenson Button set the early pace – his lap of 1:13.281 was the fastest in Q1 with McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton second.
No rain emerged during that first stage of qualifying, so nothing could rescue the sixth drivers from the new teams from those bottom six places. Pastor Maldonado also fell at the first hurdle, spectacularly failing to replicate the stunning performance of his Williams predecessor Nico Hulkenberg, who was on pole at Interlagos last season.
Still the rain stayed away as the Q2 began, but again everybody was keen to get straight out of the garage and set a flying lap. Sebastian Vettel was fastest in this part of the session with a time that was almost a second faster than Button's Q1 lap (1:12.446).
As the skies cleared, and the rain alert was relaxed, Michael Schumacher was again struggling to get through into Q3. His final attempt just got the seven-time world champion into tenth place, and nobody was able to displace him. However, he was a second slower than team-mate Nico Rosberg in that session.
Paul di Resta was the driver just missing out on the pole position shoot-out in eleventh. Rubens Barrichello was twelfth and Jaime Alguersuari, Sebastien Buemi, Vitaly Petrov, Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez line-up behind the Brazilian from thirteenth down to seventeenth. Bruno Senna did a great job of getting into Q3 for his home race.
In stark contrast to the first two parts of qualifying, nobody was in much of a hurry to come out of the pits in Q2. Rosberg and Hamilton were the first two out, and the others followed in their own time.
Vettel was the first to show his hand in Q3, with a mighty lap of a 1:12.268. Of the others first attempts at a flying lap, Mark Webber's was the closest, but he could only manage a 1:12.518.
Having set one stunning lap, Vettel was determined to beat it on his next attempt. He impressed with another sensational lap time – a mighty 1:11.918. Webber, Button and Hamilton all improved with their second attempts, but had no hope of beating the world champion.