Sebastian Vettel will start his bid for a ninth successive victory from pole position after storming to pole in a rain affected qualifying session at Interlagos.

The Red Bull driver produced a blistering lap in a delayed Q3 session to make it nine pole positions for the year, while he extended a record that has seen him qualify on the front row of the grid in eleven successive races.

Having made it through to Q3 without issue despite rain throughout the session, the top ten drivers were forced to wait for the top ten shootout as the rain that had affected the first two parts of qualifying intensified.

Going fastest on the wet Pirelli tyre on his first quick lap, Vettel then saw Romain Grosjean elect to abort his opening run to pit for intermediates - with the rest of the top ten following suit.

Grosjean therefore set the first 'quick' lap after his tyre switch to snare provisional pole only for Mark Webber and then Vettel to beat his time; Vettel going more than a second quicker than anyone else.

While his rivals did their best to respond, Vettel's lap of 1min 26.479secs proved to be unbeatable with Nico Rosberg more than six-tenths of a second behind in second.

Fernando Alonso took third for Ferrari to mark his best qualifying performance since Bahrain, while Mark Webber will start his final race in F1 from alongside the Spaniard having posted the fourth fastest time.

Lewis Hamilton was fifth fastest ahead of Grosjean, who could only fractionally improve on his second timed lap, with Daneil Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne, Felipe Massa and Nico Hulkenberg completing the top ten.

Behind them, Heikki Kovalainen was eleventh fastest having been the quickest man not to escape Q2 ahead of his second race with Lotus.

The Finn had looked set to make it through before a quick lap from Ricciardo clinched the final place in the top ten shootout; with the worsening conditions preventing Kovalainen from responding.

The same could be said for a number of the other drivers to fall at the second hurdle, with Paul di Resta only able to take twelfth ahead of Valtteri Bottas' Williams and the McLaren of Sergio Perez.

In his final qualifying session for the Woking based team, Perez would become the first man to fall victim to the rain this weekend as he put a wheel on the kerb and lost control of his car exiting turn five - going into the barriers on the inside of the corner on what was set to be his final lap.

Despite his off, Perez still outqualified team-mate Jenson Button who was a disappointed 15th, with Adrian Sutil 16th in the second Force India.

The opening phase of the session had earlier proved to be a somewhat hectic affair as the field streamed out onto the circuit to try and set an early lap in the challenging conditions.

The closing moments would see Kovalainen's Lotus and Vergne's Toro Rosso both at risk, although the pair were both able to improve on their final laps to secure their place in the second part of qualifying.

Vergne's lap demoted Pastor Maldonado's Williams to 17th and the Venezuelan - running behind the Toro Rosso on track - failed to set a quick enough time and fell at the first hurdle, being joined by the Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez who failed to impress throughout and could only qualify 18th as a result.

Charles Pic was only four-tenths of a second behind the Mexican racer and easily the best of the Caterham and Marussia drivers, well clear of team-mate Giedo van der Garde.

Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton will therefore share the back row of the grid for Marussia as it seeks to take tenth in the championship standings this weekend.


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