Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Vettel matches Mansell's pole record

Double Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel dug deep to snatch pole position from McLaren at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Saturday and equal Nigel Mansell's 1992 record of 14 in a single season.

The 24-year-old German, who has already clinched his second title with Red Bull, saved his best for last after McLaren's Lewis Hamilton had been fastest in the first two phases of qualifying as well as final practice.

Hamilton will start the season's penultimate race alongside on the front row, with team mate and fellow Briton Jenson Button third.

Red Bull's Australian Mark Webber, seemingly no closer to a first win of the season, lines up fourth.

The pole was the 29th of Vettel's career and 17th in 18 races this year for champions Red Bull.

I think it's going to be a long, fun race, said Vettel, who has won both of the two races held to date at the Yas Marina circuit, where last year he won from pole to become Formula One's youngest champion.

They will be very quick in the race...it will be a long fight to the chequered flag, he added, grinning at the McLaren drivers sitting on either side in the post-qualifying news conference. I'm confident and ready.

We expected, if we got everything right, to be closer, much closer than in practice, said the German, who hit the barriers on Friday.

I felt there was more in the car and we just had to get to it. Overnight we tried to find where the problem was and this afternoon it was already much better.

Mansell, who took his 14 poles in a 16-race season with Williams, congratulated Vettel on social network Twitter. The German said he was thrilled.

He obviously took two races fewer to achieve the same, but still, it's something very special, Vettel said. It's a great feeling, for sure.

... contd.

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