Sebastian Vettel took a last-grasp pole position today ahead of Sunday's F1 2011 Hungarian Grand Prix.
Vettel look to have been trumped by last weekend's winner, Lewis Hamilton early on in the top-ten shoot-out, but he managed to pip the McLaren man right at the end, posting a 1 minute 19.815 second lap, which was 0.163 seconds quicker. It was a great comeback and Vettel's eighth P1 of the season in qualifying also meant Red Bull Racing maintained its clean sweep of F1 2011 poles.
The battle for third spot meanwhile was just as intense, with Fernando Alonso, who had topped both Q1 and Q2, initially leading the way in his Ferrari. The Spaniard, however, failed to improve second time around and was beaten by faster efforts from both McLaren's Jenson Button and, more significantly, his Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa, who up until today had been slower in every single Q session of the year.
The Brazilian's improvement also bumped Mark Webber onto the outside of row three, the Australian having struggled with his KERS on his opening run, but then failing to find much of a gain from it on his second. Webber ended up more than six tenths slower than the sister RB7 of Vettel.
The top six all took two stabs at pole, but the remaining quartet settled for a single run and saved a set of tyres. Nico Rosberg came out on top of that group for Mercedes, four-tenths ahead of Force India's Adrian Sutil, who got the better of another countryman, Michael Schumacher, with Sergio Perez opting not to go for a time at all as he took tenth for Sauber.
Britain's Paul di Resta came the closest to breaking into the final phase, but was bumped out of tenth after the chequered flag had fallen, as Schumacher saved his afternoon at the last gasp. Renault's Vitaly Petrov and Nick Heidfeld were also notable casualties in Q2 and will subsequently start only twelfth and 14th after failing to find the extra pace needed to surmount a three-tenths gap. Kamui Kobayashi was sandwiched between the two and will line-up 13th for Sauber.
Williams duo Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado took 15th and 17th, with the Toro Rosso Jaime Alguersuari 16th.
Alguersuari's team-mate Sebastien Buemi ended up being the fall-guy in the opening session. Buemi was always unlikely to start anywhere but in the bottom seven places after picking up a penalty at the Nurburgring, but that did not stop him attempting to improve his lot in Q1.
The Swiss driver, carrying a five-place penalty for his part in Nick Heidfeld's retirement from the German race, appeared to have done enough to make the cut in Q1 until a late improvement saw him drop behind Maldonado. Buemi will now start 22nd.
Buemi was joined in the bottom six by the expected Q1 casualties, with Team Lotus duo Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli getting closest to the Swiss driver, with Timo Glock, Tonio Liuzzi, Daniel Ricciardo and Jerome d'Ambrosio bringing up the rear. It was a notable performance for all four tail-enders, however, as all comfortably made it inside the 107 per cent time.
To see the full times from qualifying for the F1 2011 Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring - CLICK HERE