Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel has conceded he was 'surprised' by the margin he took pole position today in Valencia.

Vettel completed just a single flying lap in the top-ten shootout, leaving it until late on to trump his rivals and post a 1 minute 38.086 second lap, something that put him just over three tenths up on Lewis Hamilton, a surprising result, especially given a similar margin separated the top-13 in Q2.

Speaking after taking his 33rd career pole position and after equalling Alain Prost and Jim Clark, Vettel added that it was a real boost given his 'struggles' in Q1 and Q2 and he is now looking forward to the race, the eighth round in the 2012 F1 World Championship.

"We had just one shot in the end, which turned out to be a very good lap and I was very happy," Vettel said in the post-qualifying press conference. "To be honest Q1 and Q2 were not really to our liking.

"We were struggling a little bit to find the balance we had earlier on this weekend - yesterday and this morning during practice. But it was a good recovery throughout qualifying.

"Unfortunately we had to put on a second set of options in Q2. It was the right call though, as it was very tight and I don't think my time would have been good enough with the first set. It was good to go again.

"Then in the last part of qualifying, I knew going at the end of qualifying, if the track comes in a little bit more, and if I put the lap together, it should be good enough to maybe have a look at pole. In the end it was a surprising gap [to Lewis in second].

"However all in all I have felt very well this weekend and the boys have been working incredibly hard in the garage and all the people in the factory, to make sure we bring a couple of new parts and they seem to all work well. I am looking forward to the race now."