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Vettel scores Red Bull's maiden pole in China 18 Apr 2009

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing and Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing celebrate in parc ferme after qualifying.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 18 April 2009 Sebastian Buemi (SUI) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR4.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 18 April 2009 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/24.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 18 April 2009 Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber F1.09.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 18 April 2009

Sebastian Vettel put himself on pole position for the first time since Monza last year in a gripping qualifying session in Shanghai on Saturday afternoon, giving Red Bull Racing their maiden P1 grid slot.

The German's sole flying lap of Q3 - a 1m 36.184s - was enough to take the honours from team mate Mark Webber, whose 1m 36.466s had kept him ahead of championship leader Jenson Button who had taken his Brawn round in 1m 36.532s.

In the dying moments of Q3, however, Fernando Alonso pushed his Renault between the two Red Bulls with 1m 36.381s, as Rubens Barrichello pushed Brawn team mate Button down to fifth with 1m 36.493s.

Now we await the fuel weights to figure out who really was fast and who, if anyone, was just grandstanding.

Jarno Trulli, much fancied before qualifying, was sixth for Toyota on 1m 36.835s, ahead of fuel-heavy Nico Rosberg on 1m 37.397s in the Williams, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen on 1m 38.089s, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, who only got one run for his 1m 38.595, and Sebastien Buemi who put his Toro Rosso 10th with 1m 39.321s.

Q2 had surprisingly accounted for four fancied stars. Nick Heidfeld could not better 11th with 1m 35.975s for BMW Sauber, together with the McLarens the only car that will go into the race with KERS. Heikki Kovalainen was next up for the Woking team on 1m 36.032s ahead of Felipe Massa’s Ferrari on 1m 36.033s and Timo Glock’s Toyota on 1m 36.066s. Glock is set to drop five grid places thanks to a gearbox change. Once again, the times were incredibly closed. Kazuki Nakajima was 15th with 1m 36.193s for Williams.

Sebastien Bourdais was the fastest faller in Q1, lapping his Toro Rosso in 1m 36.906s for 16th. Nelson Piquet had another unhappy ride for Renault for 17th on 1m 36.908s, which left him ahead of a disappointed Robert Kubica whose BMW Sauber was left on 1m 36.966s. At the back were the Force Indias of Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella, evenly matched on 1m 37.669s and 1m 37.672s.