Outpaces Lewis Hamilton
Red Bull's titlechasing Sebastian Vettel claimed pole position on Saturday for Sunday's championship-deciding season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, outpacing another title rival Briton Lewis Hamilton of McLaren by just 0.031 seconds.
Championship leader Fernando Alonso of Ferrari was third fastest just three-tenths of a second behind Hamilton with 2009 champion Briton Jenson Button fourth in the second McLaren, his presence ensuring an element of uncertainty in the fight for the title on Sunday.
Australian Mark Webber, better known for his race-craft than his qualifying, was the fifth fastest driver in the second Red Bull, the last of the four title contenders.
He will share the third row of the grid with sixth-placed Brazilian Felipe Massa of Ferrari.
In a thrilling and dramatic finale to a tense qualifying session at the spectacular Yas Marina Circuit, Vettel managed to find the speed to resist a determined surge from a fired-up Hamilton who drove with real elan in his own charge for pole.
It was the German's 10th pole of the season and the 15th of his career and gives him an excellent opportunity of lifting the drivers' championship on Sunday to add to the constructors' title won by the Red Bull team last weekend in Brazil.
The starting grid: 1st row: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), Lewis Hamilton (McLaren); 2nd: Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), Jenson Button (McLaren); 3rd: Mark Webber (Red Bull), Felipe Massa (Ferrari); 4th: Rubens Barrichello (Williams), Michael Schumacher (Mercedes); 5th: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), Vitaly Petrov (Renault); 6th: Robert Kubica (Renault), Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber); 7th: Adrian Sutil (Force India), Nick Heidfeld (Sauber).
8th: Nico Hulkenberg (Williams), Vitantonio Liuzzi (Force India); 9th: Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso), Sebastien Buemi (Toro Rosso), 10th: Jarno Trulli (Lotus), Heikki Kovalainen (Lotus); 11th: Timo Glock (Virgin) Lucas Di Grassi (Virgin), 12th: Bruno Senna (Hispania), Christian Klien (Hispania).