SAO PAULO: Sebastian Vettel emerged from plumes of spray on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) to deliver a typically accomplished lap in treacherous conditions and claim pole position for Sunday’s (Monday in Manila) season-closing Brazilian Grand Prix.
Smiling and relaxed, the four-time champion made light of the heavy rain, repeated postponements and obvious dangers to secure his ninth pole of the season, the 45th of his career and extend his Red Bull team’s run of poles to nine.
“That was a big surprise,” he beamed afterwards.
“I was so happy after Q3. It was a long time for us to get out, a lot of rain after Q2 so we had to wait.
“If there’s too much water on the track, the risk of aquaplaning is too high. We got out and I was surprised how much of the water had gone.
“I went straight to the intermediates and got a good lap straight away. I tried again and was close. I’m happy with both my laps. It’s great in these conditions to get it all right. Yes, I am very happy.”
Vettel clocked a best lap of one minute and 26.479 seconds to finish seven-tenths of a second clear of nearest rival and fellow German Nico Rosberg of Mercedes.
Rosberg, who secured a well-deserved second, said: “It was a good day.”
He was more than a second clear of third-placed Fernando Alonso of Ferrari and his own team-mate. retirement bound Australian Mark Webber.
Alonso was delighted with his best qualifying result since the Bahrain Grand Prix in April.
The Spaniard said: “Usually we are better in the wet, so we have been waiting for a wet race, but unfortunately it came in the last race of the season.