Sebastian Vettel beats Mark Webber to take record-breaking pole in Brazil

By Andrew BensonBBC Sport in Sao Paulo

Sebastian Vettel broke the all-time record for pole positions in a season as he beat Mark Webber in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Vettel clinched his 15th pole with a lap 0.181 seconds quicker than his Red Bull team-mate to beat Williams driver Nigel Mansell's record set in 1992.

McLaren's Jenson Button was third fastest, ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg took sixth ahead of Felipe Massa's Ferrari.

Vettel, who loves to break records, whooped on the radio on his slowing down lap. "Oh, this feels good," he told his team over the radio.

In percentage terms, Mansell's record is still better than Vettel's - the Englishman took 14 poles from 16 races in his championship winning season, while Vettel has 15 from this year's 19 grands prix.

"There has been quite some talk about this record and the best thing was not to think about it at all," Vettel said. "I am enjoying the moment. I put everything in the last lap and I was very emotional when I crossed the line as I knew that was all I had.

"Really special - it took the master in the discipline Nigel Mansell a couple of races less - and now I am looking forward to the race."

Webber said: "I tried to help old Nigel out today but it didn't work out. I just missed it by a tenth. In the end we gave always been towards the front this weekend and it was a question of who was going to get pole. It was close, but not close enough."

The Red Bulls were in a league of their own - Webber was nearly 0.2secs ahead of Button on a track when the margins are traditionally tighter than at many other races.

Hamilton had been Vettel's closest rival through the second and third practice sessions, but the Englishman slipped backwards in qualifying.

"It's a little bit disappointing," said Hamilton, who is the only man to deny Red Bull pole in 2011. "We're still on the second row but I would have liked to have been stronger.

"I'm not too happy with my performance. I've started fourth quite a few times here. Let's hope I can turn it into something more positive tomorrow."

He was 0.203secs slower than Button and just 0.111secs ahead of Alonso, whose Ferrari has looked slightly off the pace this weekend.

Button said: "The lap was pretty ragged for me, but I got the most out of it, I think. I thought it was going to be further up the grid. It just shows what a good job these guys (the Red Bull drivers) did."

The top five were well clear of the rest - Rosberg was half a second adrift of Alonso, with Massa only 0.018secs behind the German.

Rosberg was second fastest to Vettel in the second part of qualifying but was nearly half a second off his own pace in the top-10 shoot-out after making a mistake on his flying lap.

Force India's Adrian Sutil took eighth, three places ahead of team-mate Paul di Resta, with Brazilian Bruno Senna doing well to take ninth at his home race for Renault, ahead of Rosberg's team-mate Michael Schumacher.

Senna was 0.7secs quicker than team-mate Vitaly Petrov, who could manage only 15th behind the two Toro Rosso drivers Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi.

Rubens Barrichello just failed to get into the top 10 shoot-out at what could be his final grand prix, and the Brazilian will line up 12th, just behind Scot Paul di Resta's Force India.

Williams's Pastor Maldonado was the man from the midfield to go out in the first part of qualifying - the Venezuelan was more than half a second slower than team-mate Rubens Barrichello in that session.

Behind Maldonado it was the usual suspects, with Heikki Kovalainen out-qualifying Lotus team-mate Jarno Trulli, Daniel Ricciardo losing out to Vitantonio Liuzzi at HRT and Jerome D'Ambrosio getting the better of Timo Glock at Virgin.