Yeongam, South Korea – Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel continued his dominance in Formula One this season by beating Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton in Saturday's qualifying to claim the pole for the Korean Grand Prix.
Vettel, the three-time defending F1 world champion and current points leader, posted a lap time in 1 minute, 37.202 seconds during his first run in the final qualifying segment (Q3). He earned his sixth pole of the season and the 42nd of his career.
"I had a very, very good lap in Q3, my first attempt," Vettel said. "I knew that it will be tricky to beat that time - for myself."
Vettel has won the last three grand prix -- Belgium, Italy and Singapore. He also started on the pole in Italy and Singapore. Vettel enters Sunday's Korean GP with a comfortable 60-point lead over Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.
Hamilton's lap time was 0.2 seconds behind Vettel.
"We did as good a job as we could," Hamilton said. "I felt like I got the most out of the car. and perhaps there's always a little bit of room to improve, but in general, it's been a good weekend so far. I really hope that tomorrow we're able to fight with them. We'll wait and see."
Hamilton recorded the quickest laps in Friday's practice sessions for the Korean GP. Vettel led the way in Saturday's final practice, held prior to qualifying.
Vettel has won the last two Korean GPs. He started second in each of those races.
"I think we've got the balance right this weekend," Vettel said. "We improved the car from (Friday). I wasn't entirely happy after practice yesterday, so all in all, we can be very happy with what we have achieved."
Vettel's teammate, Mark Webber, qualified third. Webber, though, will start 13th following the 10-spot grid penalty he received two weeks ago in Singapore for accumulating his third reprimand from race stewards this season. He was reprimanded for taking a ride back on Alonso's car after failing to complete the final lap in the Singapore GP due to engine failure.
Lotus's Romain Grosjean will start third, followed by Nico Rosberg from Mercedes and Alonso, who won the inaugural Korean GP in his first season with Ferrari in 2010.
Felipe Massa will line up one spot behind his teammate Alonso in sixth. Sauber drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez will start seventh and eighth. Kimi Raikkonen from Lotus and McLaren's Sergio Perez will roll off ninth and 10th.