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Vettel edges teammate Webber for USGP pole in Austin

Austin, TX ( - Four-time Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel will start on the pole for the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas for the second year in a row after beating Red Bull teammate Mark Webber in Saturday's qualifying.

Webber held the provisional pole with a lap in 1 minute, 36.441 seconds until Vettel completed his final lap around this 3.4-mile, 20-turn circuit in 1:36.338. Vettel claimed his eighth pole of the season and the 44th of his already illustrious F1 career. The 26-year-old German is attempting to win his eighth straight grand prix on Sunday in Austin, which would set a record for most consecutive victories in a single season. The 2013 season concludes with the Nov. 24 Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo.

"It's a good result to have both cars on the front row for tomorrow," Vettel said. "It was a tricky (qualifying) session, as the wind picked up quite a lot from this morning. It does influence the behavior of the car. It's also not that easy around here, especially in the high-speed corners.

"I wasn't that happy with my first run in Q3 (final qualifying segment), but I think I had a solid run at the end, which was good enough to put the car on pole. It was very close with Mark."

Two weeks ago, Webber won the pole for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after topping Vettel by just 0.118 seconds. The margin between Vettel and Webber for the USGP pole was only 0.103 seconds.

"The first part of my lap was very good, and I was happy with that, but I didn't get (turns) 19 and 20 as I wanted," Webber said. "Overall, I'm pretty happy to be there up front."

When F1 competed in Austin for the first time one year ago, Vettel held the lead for 41 laps before Lewis Hamilton, who drove for McLaren at the time, overtook him for the top spot. Hamilton ran in front for the final 15 laps, holding off Vettel at the finish by just 0.6 seconds.

"I really like this circuit," Vettel said. "I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I think it's important to start on the clean side. We'll see what we can do."

Romain Grosjean from Lotus qualified third, while Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg took the fourth spot. Hamilton, in his first season with Mercedes, will start fifth.

Fernando Alonso placed his Ferrari sixth on the grid. Sergio Perez from McLaren will roll off in seventh.

Heikki Kovalainen, who is substituting for Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus in the USGP and Brazil, qualified eighth. Raikkonen underwent back surgery on Thursday to solve a recurrent back problem. He elected to miss the final two rounds this year so his 2014 season would not be impacted when he drives for Ferrari.

Williams' Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Gutierrez from Sauber completed the top-10.