Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel pulled out an 'unbelievable final lap' today to secure pole position for the F1 2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Vettel looked to be on the backfoot after trailing Lewis Hamilton in final practice and in Q1 and Q2 around the Yas Marina Circuit. However on his second and final run in the top-ten shootout, the German fought back in his RB7 and right at the end posted a 1 minute 38.481 second lap, which put him 0.141 seconds ahead of the McLaren.
It was his 14th pole of the season, and it means he now equal's Nigel Mansell's record from 1992, although admittedly then there were only 16 races in a year and not 19.
“I'm pretty pleased. Yesterday I wasn't very happy with my own performance and with the car and I didn't feel that comfortable. Today was much better straightaway when we went out this afternoon, but this evening when the sun went down, I had a much better feeling and the car was more together. It came in my direction and helped us,” Vettel explained.
“McLaren looked strong throughout the weekend, but I thought if I get everything right then in Q3 then we might have a chance (for the pole) and that's the way it came for us.
“I'm very pleased with the pole and it's a very special one to equal Nigel Mansell as well. It's a fantastic year and it's not over yet, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow.”
Red Bull Racing team boss Christian Horner meanwhile hailed the performance of the double world champion.
“An unbelievable final lap from Sebastian, to get the pole in what was a really exciting final qualifying tonight,” he stated.
“It's a remarkable achievement for him to equal Nigel Mansell's 14 poles in a single season, which by coincidence also happened to be achieved in an Adrian Newey designed car back in 1992, with a Renault engine. It was a tremendous achievement for Seb.”