Sebastian Vettel is confident that he can make better use of pole position for his home grand prix than he did after claiming top spot in qualifying at Silverstone a fortnight ago.

Then, a poor getaway allowed Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber to pull alongside into Copse and, when McLaren's Lewis Hamilton attempted to follow the Australian, he made contact with Vettel's right rear tyre, causing the puncture that effectively ended the German's chances of winning the race and establishing a bigger gap over Webber in the intra-team battle at RBR.

At Hockenheim, however, Vettel believes that difference between the 'clean' and 'dirty' sides of the start-finish straight is more pronounced, and will be aiming to capitalise on his pole position to steal an early march on the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso, who lines up on the front row after clocking a time just 0.002secs shy of the German.

"Unlike Silverstone, here the clean side is really worth quite a bit," he confirmed, "Fernando and myself, in the last race, were quite surprised by the bad grip that we had on the clean side, so here it should be good for us.

"We have a very strong car - it is very close with the Ferraris but, usually, we have a decent pace in the race. However, it is a long race, and anything is possible. We start from the best position, so we could not have done any better today, but now we are looking forward [to the race], that is the main target. It is nice to be here in the middle [at the press conference] on Saturday but, in the end, there is no real reward except going to sleep with a good feeling. We need to confirm it tomorrow - that is the objective."

Vettel was keen to point out that coming out on top in qualifying was only half the battle, aware that Red Bull has a poor record of converting pole position into race wins this season.

"I don't think you can be much tighter than two-thousandths but, in the end, it doesn't matter," he stressed, "If you win pole position or the race by one thousandth of a second or ten seconds - or the world championship by one point or a hundred points - there will always be the guy who is first and the guy who is second.

"For sure, [with] all the bad stuff we had this season already, it was good to be a bit lucky and have this two-thousandths of a second on our side. I think we did a very good job. It was a tough session, it was close between us, but we find ourselves in a very good position and I think we deserved it. It's good to be here again, but there are no points on Saturday.

"All session, Fernando was really strong and, in general, the Ferraris are very competitive here. We knew it would be a difficult session, so we had to push very hard. It was extremely exciting, especially Q3, and I knew that, both times, I had only one lap to get it right."

Asked where he thought the RB6 would have an advantage over the Ferraris, Vettel admitted that it was too close to call.

"It's quite different [in the race] because, in qualifying, you are on low fuel whereas, at the start of the race - or for the majority of the race - you are on quite high fuel," he reasoned, "It's true we are quicker. We are similar in sector one, where there are not too many corners, [and] we are quick in the last sector, so it's good, the corners that we have there, we can use them to maybe build a cushion. There are not too many corners in the second sector, it's obviously [all about] stopping the car and it seems that the Ferrari is very strong there, and also on straight-line speed.

"We have seen in the last couple of races that they are quite quick on the straights, which is usually not one of our strengths, [so] it's good to be ahead of them, rather than behind, because overtaking would be a bit a more difficult. I think that, generally, overtaking is difficult here, even though you have a nice place into turn six - but you have to be close enough first. It's good to be up front. The target is to defend the position in the beginning and then, once you are in race trim, it should be a bit easier."

With rain having played a part in both of the first two days of the meeting, the teams have not really had the chance to evaluate the two tyre compounds brought to Hockenheim by Bridgestone, but Vettel is not too concerned, despite the apparent disparity between the hard and supersoft options.

"People compare this race, because of the tyre choice, to Montreal, but I think the circuit is different," he insisted, "We have seen yesterday and today, even in changeable conditions with a very green track which is usually not good for tyres, that the option tyre holds up well and is actually not a big problem to make it last for something like ten laps or more.

"It should be fine and, no matter when you change to the hard tyre, you know that you can drive this one to Hungary without any problems. It should be clear. You never know what happens in terms of weather, safety cars, so we will have to see and adapt but, if you go into the race looking for the best strategy, I think we are on the right page."