British GP: Fifth pole for Sebastian Vettel as McLaren struggle
SUPER Sebastian Vettel claimed his fifth pole of the season after pipping team-mate Mark Webber in qualifying for today's British Grand Prix.
The German, who won the Silverstone race last year from top spot, posted a fastest time of one minute, 29.615 seconds.
The Red Bull drivers were rampant on a revamped circuit where Vettel and Webber delivered a one-two finish last term.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso qualified in third, 0.8 seconds off the pace.
Vettel, who won the European Grand Prix two weeks ago in Spain to go third in the championship, last night paid tribute to his motor.
He said: "The car is just quick everywhere. Me and Mark were competitive in Valencia and we have also been here.
"Our car likes corners where you need down force so that will always help us. Compared to last year we have taken a huge step forward all round."
Championship leader Lewis Hamilton was fourth - almost one tenth of a second behind Vettel.
The McLarens remained sluggish despite abandoning the exhaust blown diffusers that had hindered the cars on Friday, having been implemented to match Red Bull.
And a disappointed Hamilton said: "We've struggled all weekend. I've never run wide or gone off at a track so many times as I did on Friday practice and again this morning.
"It's down to getting a good start now because it's impossible to overtake on this track.
"It's even more impossible than it was before because they have added another couple of faster corners, which is tricky to follow through."
The track will make it even harder for defending world champion Jenson Button to finally achieve a podium finish at the British GP.
The McLaren driver has failed on his previous 10 attempts and qualified in 14th.
Button's best time was 1:31.699 - 0.3 seconds out of the top 10 - in a car he called "undriveable".
Button is second in the drivers' championship, six points behind Hamilton but six ahead of Vettel.
And afterwards he said: "This weekend has been tough for us but that wasn't normal.
"We have got new aero parts on the car, we have a new front wing, and that is working really well, but something felt very wrong. I was getting on with the car this morning even though we didn't have much practice.
"It was moving along nicely but I don't know what happened."
Nico Rosberg qualified in fifth for Mercedes ahead of Renault's Robert Kubica, while German team-mate Michael Schumacher will start in 10th for the race he won three times before initially retiring in 2006.
Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner has mounted a staunch defence of his team amid accusations of favouritism towards Vettel following his decision to remove an updated front wing from the car of Webber and attach it to Vettel's.
He said: "It is the first time we have been in a situation where we have only had one component and I am sure that happens up and down the pit lane.
"Obviously when you have two drivers running at the front there is perhaps a bit more emotion attached to it. But if you take away the emotion and you look at the facts, it was an entirely logical thing to do.
"Unfortunately sometimes I have to make a difficult decision. Mark knows the way we operate as a team.
"He knows there was no malice behind it. We've based this on championship position and on the performance in third practice.
"They were the two fairest criteria we could use."
Getting exciting. Home race for Button and Hamilton (The Tons?), but Vettel takes pole. Who'd you bet on to win the race, and also the championship?