The only other driver still capable of winning the championship, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, could only manage the ninth fastest time. His fastest time was 1:37.123, which was slower than the fastest time of his team-mate, Felipe Massa, whose 1:36.549 earned him seventh spot on the grid.
Taking out second on the grid was McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, who was just a tenth of a second off the pace of Vettel. The Briton’s fastest time was 1:35.766.
Third fastest, meanwhile, was Vettel’s team-mate, Mark Webber, who managed a lap in 1:36.174.
Making up the top ten drivers for tomorrow's race are Vettel on pole, Hamilton at second, Webber at third, Lotus’ Romain Grosjean at fourth, his team-mate Kimi Räikkönen at fifth, Mercedes-AMG’s Michael Schumacher at sixth, Massa at seventh, Force-India’s Nico Hulkenberg at eighth, Alonso at ninth, and Williams’ Pastor Maldonado at 10th.
As mentioned, we could see Vettel crowned the 2012 champion this weekend. Going into qualifying tomorrow, and Sunday’s eventual race, Vettel leads the Drivers’ Championship with 255 points, followed by Alonso on 245 points. In third place is Räikkönen with 198 points.
In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull Racing leads the way with 422 points, followed by Ferrari with 340 points and McLaren in third with 318 points.
Depending on the results, we could see both Vettel and his Red Bull Racing team clinch their respective third consecutive Drivers' and Constructors' championships. Of course, Alonso and his Ferrari team will be doing everything possible to ensure that won’t happen, though things aren’t looking good for the Prancing Horse.