Sebastian Vettel produced a stunning lap to claim pole by almost seven tenths of a second as the rain continued at the Brazilian Grand Prix circuit at Interlagos.
The German set a 1:26.479 on the intermediate tyres in a delayed top ten shootout in Sao Paulo. Nico Rosberg claimed second for Mercedes while Fernando Alonso enjoyed his best qualifying session for a long time in third.
Mark Webber will start his final Grand Prix in fourth ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Romain Grosjean looked quick before the session was suspended, however he could only manage sixth when it resumed.
The Toro Rosso’s came alive in the wet conditions with Daniel Ricciardo taking seventh ahead of team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne. Felipe Massa is in ninth with Nico Hulkenberg, who famously claimed pole in similar conditions back in 2009, in tenth.
Outside the top ten, McLaren had a horrific qualifying session as the MP4-28 looked very unhappy in the wet conditions. Indeed Sergio Perez’s session ended in the wall as he lost it exiting Descida de Lago. He was only 14th but was still faster than Jenson Button who could only manage 15th in the other McLaren.
Heikki Kovalainen also missed out on the top for Lotus, the Finn could only qualify 11th as the conditions varied greatly throughout the session.
Another team that failed to get a driver into Q3 was Force India. Paul di Resta was 12th with Adrian Sutil 16th. Valtteri Bottas was the other car knocked out in 13th for Williams.
In the first segment, the chance for the slower teams to take advantage of the weather was not taken as all four drivers remained glued to the bottom on the timings. Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde are ahead of Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton as Caterham look to take that 10th place in the Constructors' Championship.
After a drier start to the session, Vergne was furious with his Toro Rosso team after delaying heading out on the circuit as the rain returned. Indeed he looked set for the chop in P19 for a while, however as the track improved slightly towards the end he was able to move up and into Q2.
That knocked Pastor Maldonado down to 17th and he joined Esteban Gutierrez in the Sauber and the slower teams at the back of the grid.
Back at the front, with another amazing pole position Vettel proves that, come rain or shine, he remains the man to beat as he looks to match Michael Schumacher’s record of 13 wins in a season on Sunday.
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