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Championship Standings:
1 Lewis Hamilton 302
2 Sebastian Vettel 236
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4 Kimi Raikkonen 123
5 Valtteri Bottas 111
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2 Ferrari 359
3 Williams/Mercedes 220
4 Red Bull/Renault 149
5 Force India/Mercedes 92
6 Lotus/Mercedes 66
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9 McLaren/Honda 19
10 Marussia/Ferrari 0
Vettel beats Hamilton and Maldonado for Valencia pole

by Mark J. Cipolloni
Saturday, June 23, 2012


F1's best driver, Sebastian Vettel, gave Lewis Hamilton and Pastor Maldonado a driving lesson
Sebastian Vettel out drove Lewis Hamilton and Pastor Maldonado to win pole position in a spectacular qualifying battle ahead of the European Grand Prix in Valencia.

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."

Vettel at speed
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel is on pole, which is exactly where he wants to be, having travelled to the Spanish port city predicting that overtaking is possible on the streets of Valencia "only with some risk".

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.


1. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 1:38.086
2. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1:38.410
3. Pastor Maldonado Venezuela Williams-Renault 1:38.475
4. Romain Grosjean France Lotus-Renault 1:38.505
5. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Lotus-Renault 1:38.513
6. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes GP 1:38.623
7. Kamui Kobayashi Japan Sauber-Ferrari 1:38.741
8. Nico Hulkenberg Germany Force India-Mercedes 1:38.752
9. Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1:38.801
10. Paul di Resta Britain Force India-Mercedes 1:38.992
11. Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari 1:38.707
12. Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes GP 1:38.770
13. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari 1:38.780
14. Bruno Senna Brazil Williams-Renault 1:39.207
15. Sergio Perez Mexico Sauber-Ferrari 1:39.358
16. Heikki Kovalainen Finland Caterham-Renault 1:40.295
17. Daniel Ricciardo Australia Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:40.358
18. Jean-Eric Vergne France Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:40.203
19. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1:40.395
20. Vitaly Petrov Russia Caterham-Renault 1:40.457
21. Pedro de la Rosa Spain HRT-Cosworth 1:42.171
22. Narain Karthikeyan India HRT-Cosworth 1:42.527
23. Charles Pic France Marussia-Cosworth 1:42.675
24. Timo Glock Germany Marussia-Cosworth No Time

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