Mike Stevens | Apr 19, 2009

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel will start from pole for the Chinese Grand Prix after setting a stunning time on his only flying lap of the final qualifying session.

Channelling the likes of Ayrton Senna, Vettel waited in his pit garage until the last possible moment, placing himself under enormous pressure in the process. He then embarked on a furious one-lap charge for pole, narrowly beating Renault’s Fernando Alonso and team mate Mark Webber.

Displaying an abundance of youthful exuberance, Vettel expressed his delight at securing a second career pole position.

“I’m very, very happy - it’s unbelievable. It was a bit last minute! I only had one run in each qualifying session but, as you can see, you don’t need more! It wasn’t easy, we had a problem with the car and had to run as little as possible,” he said.

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Red Bull Racing teammates Mark Webber (left) and Sebastian Vettel

Webber appeared to have his first ever pole position within in his grasp as he met the chequered flag, maintaining his excellent pace from practice, only for Vettel and surprise-packet Alonso to scupper his chances of reaching a career milestone.

“What a result!" Webber said. " The work that’s gone into this from the team, especially over the last few weeks, has been incredible. It would have been good to have both cars on the front row, but Fernando did a great job. “

“I was expecting to be a little bit tighter in the end, but we’ll see how the fuel loads pan out tomorrow.”

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Renault driver Fernando Alonso. Photo by Syahrizan Ariffin.

Having shipped in a new diffuser from England overnight, Alonso essentially had a brand new vehicle at his disposal. While struggling initially, he managed to wring every last ounce of pace out of the Renault, utilising the added grip to reach the front row for the first time since Barcelona last year.

Meanwhile, Brawn GP collected fourth and fifth places on the grid, as Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello found themselves under siege for the first time this year.

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