Sebastian Vettel claimed a third successive pole position in 2011 after McLaren again failed to find enough time to topple the Red Bull Racing driver from top spot in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Although both Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton appeared to have the pace to threaten Vettel, the German produced the fastest lap ever seen around Shanghai International Circuit to put them in their place.

Running first on the road in a quiet final phase, Button claimed temporary pole with a lap of 1min 34.421secs, but Vettel responded immediately with the first lap in the 1min 33s - a 1min 33.706secs effort - to comfortably ease into top spot. When Ferrari proved unable to propel either Fernando Alonso or Felipe Massa into contention, and Lewis Hamilton locked up briefly at the hairpin and came up short even of Button, the front row pairing were able to abort their final runs.

Nico Rosberg produced a good lap to claim the outside of row two alongside the 2008 world champion, with Alonso and Massa sharing row three. The rest of the grid, however, shows a deviation from the norm, with Jaime Alguersuari achieving his best ever starting position in seventh, ahead of birthday boy Paul di Resta, with Sebastien Buemi and non-runner Vitaly Petrov completing the top ten.

Full report and times to follow....