Vettel beats Hamilton and Maldonado for Valencia pole
Vettel put in a spectacular lap in the revised Red Bull, to beat Hamilton and Maldonado by nearly four tenths of a second with a 1m38.086s.
Hamilton's McLaren will start second 0.065s ahead of Maldonado who turned a lap at 1m38.475s lap in the closing moments of qualifying.
Lotus drivers Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen will line up fourth and fifth.
Drivers stranded down the Valencia grid are not expecting to scythe through the field on Sunday.
Jenson Button qualified ninth and admitted he doubts he will fare much better in the race.
Told by an optimistic reporter at Valencia that 'lots can happen' over 57 long laps on Sunday, the Briton answered: "Not really, we're in Valencia. You can't overtake round here.
"Not a lot happens here in a race. I don't think it will be the most exciting one."
In 2010, Vettel's teammate Mark Webber was lucky to escape unhurt after flipping over backwards in a misunderstanding with backmarker Heikki Kovalainen.
And the Australian will have to spend Sunday among the backmarkers due to qualifying a dismal 19th with KERS and brake issues.
Team consultant Dr Helmut Marko admitted it is unlikely Webber will carve through the field.
"In recent years there were hardly any overtaking moves here, so for Mark's sake I hope it's better this time," he told Austrian broadcaster ORF.
Timo Glock sat out qualifying for the European grand prix.
On Friday in Valencia, the Marussia driver struggled through practice with a stomach bug he picked up mid last week.
"Back in the car today (Friday) I have felt a little better and I am hopeful that I am on the mend," said the German.
But Glock, 30, was still feeling unwell on Saturday, and was the slowest runner in morning practice after 16 laps.
Reports said he went to a local hospital for checks.
Marussia then announced in a statement shortly before qualifying that Glock will sit out the rest of Saturday's action.
"It is clear that at this time, he is not sufficiently well to take part in a demanding qualifying session and needs to recuperate further," the team said.
A decision about whether Glock will race on Sunday will be announced in the morning.
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