After being the fastest around the Valencia Street Circuit in Spain during the practice sessions yesterday and earlier today, the German youngster confirmed his dominance by posting a blistering lap time of 1:38.086 during qualifying.
This is the double world champion’s third pole of the 2012 season, his third pole in Valencia, and the 33rd pole of his career.
The next fastest lap time, a 1:38.410, came from McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, while Pastor Maldonado in his Williams was the third fastest of the day, posting a best time of 1:38.475.
Lotus drivers Romain Grosjean and Kimi Räikkönen, were fourth and fifth fastest, respectively, and were followed by Nico Rosberg, Kamui Kobayashi, Nico Hülkenberg, Jenson Button and Paul di Resta to round out the top 10.
The grid for the race turned out to be rather scrambled in the end, with some of the top drivers starting near the bottom of the field tomorrow. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso could only manage the 11th fastest time of the day, and his teammate Felipe Massa was 13th fastest. In between them was Mercedes-AMG driver Michael Schumacher.
Perhaps the most saddening result was that of Red Bull Racing's other driver, Mark Webber, who continued to struggle with brake problems that plagued his RB8 during practice and saw him end up only 19th fastest.
Going into tomorrow’s race, Lewis Hamilton sits atop the points ladder with 88 points, followed by Fernando Alonso on 86 points and Sebastian Vettel on 85 points. Red Bull Racing continues to lead the Constructors' standings with 164 points, McLaren is second with 133 and Lotus is in third place with 108 points.
So far we’ve had seven different winners from the seven races contested in the 2012 Formula 1 World Championship. Could we have another new winner in Valencia? Stay tuned for our full results coverage on Monday to find out.