Sebastian Vettel will head a Red Bull Racing front row on the grid for the Chinese GP after pulling out a stunning last gasp lap to deny team-mate Mark Webber.
The German claimed his third pole position in four races after returning to the top of the times after each of his main rivals had crossed the line. The man he had to beat, however, was Webber, who had already seen off the threat of McLaren and Mercedes by the narrowest of margins, but the contest proved unequal as Vettel went a couple of tenths quicker than the Australian.
While Red Bull’s performance emphasised the team’s insistence that it had not benefited from trick ride height systems in the opening three rounds, the rest of the field continued to play catch-up, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso coming closest, beating Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg to the inside of row two. Jenson Button was the best of the McLarens, edging a troubled Lewis Hamilton for fifth.