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Seb’S Pole Position Dream Still Alive

World Champion Sebastian Vettel is still on course to break F1’s all-time record for the number of pole positions in a single season after finishing number one in qualifying for Sunday’s 2011 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

In a stunning climax to the 60-minute session, McLaren looked to have spoiled the German’s chances of equalling Nigel Mansell’s 1992 record of 14 poles in a season when first Jenson Button, then Lewis Hamilton threw down the gauntlet with seconds remaining.

But Vettel eclipsed them both with a final lap of 1 minute 38.481 seconds and can now beat Mansell if he takes pole in the final race of the year in Brazil.

“Believe in it, baby, believe in it!” screamed Vettel as a crew member said “Good evening Mr Mansell” over the #1 car’s radio. “All in all, just enough to jump ahead of Lewis,” beamed Vettel immediately after the session.

Vettel and Hamilton, the two previous pole-sitters at Yas Marina, share the front row with Button and the second Red Bull of Mark Webber on row two.

Rows three, four and five see the animals go in two by two: Ferrari teammates Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa will start from the third row, ahead of Merecdes duo Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher, with Sahara Force India’s Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta behind them.

In the battle for midfield supremacy Sahara Force India gave themselves a comfortable platform for the race when both Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta made it through to Q3, Sergio Perez gave Sauber the edge over Toro Rosso by qualifying 11th but both Sébastien Buemi in 13th and Jaime Alguersuari in 15th will start ahead of the second Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi.

Once-mighty Wiliams suffered a humiliating day when Rubens Barrichello was unable even to start qualifying after an engine failure in free practice, while Pastor Maldonado’s 10-place grid penalty for exceeding his eight-engine allocation means the two Williams teammates start from the very back of the field.

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