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Hot Vettel races to China pole

SHANGHAI, APRIL 16 – Germany's Sebastian Vettel raced to pole position for Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix after his Red Bull car left Britain's Jenson Button trailing 0.7 seconds behind in second place.

Vettel, 23, clocked a lap time of one minute 33.706 seconds in Saturday’s qualifying session, putting him well ahead of Button’s McLaren, which came in at one minute 34.421 seconds.

Button’s teammate and fellow Briton Lewis Hamilton was in third, clocking a time of one minute 34.463.

Vettel, the defending world champion, clocked his time with six minutes of the session remaining and a last-minute push by Hamilton failed to break the German’s pole-winning streak.

"Obviously we did it again but I try to remind myself and the team that every time is tough," Vettel told reporters at the end of qualifying.

"It all starts from zero again on Sunday. We are as happy as we can be with the car, we had good long runs on Friday so have reason to feel good," he added.

By taking pole in Shanghai, Vettel became the first Formula One driver since Michael Schumacher in 2004 to start at the front of the grid in the opening three races of the season.

German Nico Rosberg in a Mercedes and two-times champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari finished in fourth and fifth place respectively.

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Vettel’s Red Bull teammate Australian Mark Webber suffered another dreadful day and was unable to improve on 18th place, almost three seconds back.

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