|Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel takes a curve on his way to earning the pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Saturday, July 30, 2011. (REUTERS/Max Rossi)
BUDAPEST -- After enduring his worst starting and finishing positions of the season last weekend in Germany, defending Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel returned to his winning ways by claiming the pole for Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton, the winner of the German Grand Prix, held the provisional pole until the closing seconds of qualifying when Vettel pushed his Red Bull car to the front with a flying lap around the 4.381-km Hungaroring circuit in one minute, 19.815 seconds.
Vettel edged Hamilton by 0.163 seconds for his eighth pole in 11 grand prix this season. Hamilton's teammate, Jenson Button, qualified third.
It's also the 12th consecutive race that Red Bull has won the pole, which ties McLaren for the third longest streak in F1 history.
After finishing fifth in Friday's second practice session, Vettel's team worked on his car until the early morning hours on Saturday. The effort paid off when Vettel posted the fastest lap in final practice, held shortly before qualifying. Hamilton had the quickest times in P1 and P2, while Button was close behind him.
"[Hamilton and Button] were a little bit quicker than us yesterday, so it seems we have done the right thing, and I was much more comfortable this morning," Vettel said. "We changed a lot on the car overnight. The boys were working pretty hard, and they didn't get much sleep. If we have a result like this today, I think it's the best way to say thanks."
Vettel had finished either first or second in the first nine grand prix before placing fourth in front of his home crowd in the German GP. He started third in that race.
Hamilton will roll off from the front row for the second race in a row.
"I think it's a great achievement for us," Hamilton said. "We knew from the previous race that we had good pace, and yesterday was a good day. We seemed to pick up a little bit of the pace today. I'm quite happy."
Felipe Massa from Ferrari qualified fourth, while his teammate, Fernando Alonso, took the fifth spot.
Mark Webber from Red Bull had a disappointing run in qualifying with a sixth- place finish. Webber had won the pole for the last two races -- Great Britain and Germany. He is the defending Hungarian GP winner.
Mercedes GP's Nico Rosberg qualified seventh, followed by Adrian Sutil from Force India, Rosberg's teammate, Michael Schumacher, and Sauber's Sergio Perez.
Sebastien Buemi from Toro Rosso qualified 18th, but due to a five-place grid penalty he received for his collision with Renault's Nick Heidfeld in Germany, Buemi dropped to the 23rd starting spot.
The 70-lap Hungarian GP is scheduled to start at 8:00 a.m. (et).