Sebastian Vettel romped to his third pole position in four races, pipping team-mate Mark Webber to the top slot en route to an all-Red Bull front row.

Despite the absence of the much vaunted ‘F-duct’, Red Bull defied popular convention and out-paced the other runners to lock out the front row.

Qualifying Top-Three

Vettel has pole position in his sights after his first timed run in Q3, only to be edged out by Webber in the Australian’s second attempt.

Vettel’s final run showed that there would be little to separate the Red Bull pair, but a quicker final sector did the business and he will start from P1 tomorrow.

Fernando Alonso bounced back from a troubled Friday to line up on the second row, ahead of Mercedes GP driver Nico Rosberg. Just 0.2s covered third to seventh on the grid, which also comprises Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa.

Hamilton was disappointing in Q3. Having headed the timesheets in the two earlier knock-out sessions, he couldn’t muster the pace from his MP4-25 and will start from the third row.

Michael Schumacher will also be left scratching his head, and was again out-qualified by team-mate Rosberg. The seven-time champion will start in ninth place.

The other top-ten runners were Robert Kubica and Adrian Sutil.

Rubens Barrichello almst hauled his Williams into the top-ten reckoning, missing out by just fractions. Team-mate Nico Hulkenberg will be disappointed to only start in 16th after a mistake on his hot lap.

Vitantonio Liuzzi was this weekend’s Q1 casualty, with the Italian blaming traffic delays for costing him a spot in Q2.

Lotus looked set to win the battle of the rookie teams, but were pipped at the post by Timo Glock’s last run, which gave Virgin Racing the bragging rights this time around. Heikki Kovalainen had an exciting spin at Turn 6, and will line up in 21st place.

2010 Malaysian GP Qualifying Times:

Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing 1:36.317 1:35.280 1:34.558
2. Mark Webber Red Bull Racing 1:35.978 1:35.100 1:34.806
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:35.987 1:35.235 1:34.913
4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:35.952 1:35.134 1:34.923
5. Jenson Button McLaren 1:36.122 1:35.443 1:34.979
6. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:35.641 1:34.928 1:35.034
7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:36.076 1:35.290 1:35.180
8. Robert Kubica Renault 1:36.348 1:35.550 1:35.364
9. Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:36.484 1:35.715 1:35.646
10. Adrian Sutil Force India 1:36.671 1:35.665 1:35.963
11. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1:36.664 1:35.748
12. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1:36.618 1:36.047
13. Sébastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1:36.793 1:36.149
14. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:37.031 1:36.311
15. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:37.044 1:36.422
16. Nico Hülkenberg Williams 1:37.049 1:36.647
17. Pedro de la Rosa Sauber 1:37.050 1:37.020
18. Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India 1:37.161
19. Timo Glock Virgin Racing 1:39.278
20. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1:39.399
21. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1:39.520
22. Lucas di Grassi Virgin Racing 1:39.783
23. Bruno Senna HRT 1:40.469
24. Karun Chandhok HRT 1:40.578  

[Image from AUTOSPORT]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.