Sebastian Vettel trounced the field to claim pole position for the Brazilian Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel has triumphed in sodden conditions to claim pole position for the Brazilian Grand Prix in a disrupted qualifying session at Interlagos.

The Red Bull Racing driver posted a 1:25.479 in a delayed final qualifying session, finishing a whopping six-tenths of a second clear of the rest of the field. Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso completed the top-three.

A heavy downpour between Q2 and Q3 forced race control to issue a succession of ten-minute delays to the start of the final shootout for pole. Finally, the go-ahead was given for the pit lane to open almost an hour later, with the final ten runners switching to Pirelli’s full wet tyres, having navigated the preceding two sessions on the Intermediate rubber.

Vettel led the way at the end of the first sequence of runs, but the track moisture improved so quickly that a switch back to the Intermediates was required.

Cue a frantic period of activity before the final runs, and once again it was Vettel who hooked up his final lap to perfection, destroying the opposition with a stunning effort.

Behind the top-three, Mark Webber will start the last Grand Prix of his Formula 1 career from fourth place, with Lewis Hamilton perhaps exceeding his own expectations to qualify fifth ahead of Romain Grosjean

The Toro Rossos of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Éric Vergne continued to showcase the great pace in their Toro Rossos with a double top-ten effort in seventh and eighth respectively.

Crowd favourite Felipe Massa was ninth-quickest in his last outing as a Ferrari driver, while Nico Hülkenberg once again made the top-ten shootout, although wound up slowest.

Despite some solid pace in the earlier practice sessions and a top-five performance in Q1, Lotus stand-in Heikki Kovalainen just missed out on a Q3 berth, qualifying eleventh-quickest ahead of Paul di Resta and Valtteri Bottas.

Perez showed his displeasure for the McLaren MP4-28 by crashing itMcLaren’s final qualifying session in its woeful MP4-28 pretty much exemplified one of its most forgettable seasons in almost twenty years.

For the first time, neither Sergio Pérez nor Jenson Button made it beyond Q2, with the former succeeding in crashing his car at Turn 5 at the end of the session.

Pérez managed to outqualify Button once again to finish 10-9 ahead in that intra-team battle, but that’s hardly an emphatic statistic given Button’s poor reputation as a one-lap specialist.

Adrian Sutil scraped his off-the-pace Force India into Q2 but went no further, although he managed better than serial Q1 victims, outgoing Williams driver Pastor Maldonado and Sauber’s Esteban Gutiérrez.

The continued precipitation didn’t give the two smallest teams, Caterham and Marussia, an opportunity to get off the back two rows of the grid. Charles Pic claimed qualifying honours among the quartet to outpace teammate Giedo van der Garde, while the Marussia pairing of Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton will start from the back row.

2013 Brazilian Formula 1 Grand Prix – Qualifying Session Times:

Driver Team Time Gap
1. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:26.479  
2. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:27.102 + 0.623
3. Fernando Alonso ESP Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:27.539 + 1.060
4. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:27.572 + 1.093
5. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:27.677 + 1.198
6. Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:27.737 + 1.258
7. Jean-Éric Vergne FRA Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:28.052 + 1.573
8. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:28.081 + 1.602
9. Felipe Massa BRA Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:28.109 + 1.630
10. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Sauber Ferrari C32 1:29.582 + 3.113
Q3 Cut-Off – 1:27.441   Time Gap*
11. Heikki Kovalainen FIN Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:27.456 + 1.295
12. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:27.798 + 1.637
13. Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams Renault FW35 1:27.954 + 1.793
14. Sergio Pérez MEX McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:28.269 + 2.108
15. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:28.308 + 2.147
16. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:28.586 + 2.425
Q2 Cut-Off – 1:27.209   Time Gap**
17. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Renault FW35 1:27.367 + 2.025
18. Esteban Gutiérrez MEX Sauber Ferrari C32 1:27.445 + 2.103
19. Charles Pic FRA Caterham Renault CT03 1:27.843 + 2.501
20. Giedo van der Garde NED Caterham Renault CT03 1:28.320 + 2.978
21. Jules Bianchi FRA Marussia Racing Cosworth MR02 1:28.366 + 3.024
22. Max Chilton GBR Marussia Racing Cosworth MR02 1:28.950 + 3.608

* Gap to fastest Q2 time of 1:26.161 by Romain Grosjean 
** Gap to fastest Q1 time of 1:25.342 by Lewis Hamilton

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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.