New Delhi, India - Two-time Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel captured his 13th pole of the season by winning Saturday's qualifying session for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix.
Vettel posted a lap in one minute, 24.178 seconds on the newly-built 3.192- mile, 16-turn Buddh International Circuit. The Red Bull driver is now one pole win away from tying Nigel Mansell's F1 season-record of 14 poles, set in 1992.
"It was a good session for us at a new circuit," Vettel said. "It was tricky for all of us."
Vettel's qualifying win allowed Red Bull to become the first F1 team to earn 16 poles in a season.
The young German has 10 grand prix victories so far this year. If he wins the final three races -- India, Abu Dhabi and Brazil -- he would match Michael Schumacher's 2004 season-record of 13.
"I'm extremely happy, and it's good to be here; it will be a very interesting race on a challenging circuit," Vettel added.
Two weeks ago, Lewis Hamilton from McLaren won the pole for the Korean Grand Prix, ending Red Bull's season-streak of 15 poles.
Hamilton qualified second -- three-tenths of a second behind Vettel -- but Hamilton has been dropped three positions on the starting grid due to a penalty he received for ignoring a yellow flag during Friday's practice session.
"I'm really surprised that we were able to split the Red Bulls," said Hamilton, who will start fifth in Sunday's 60-lap Indian GP. "It's great to be on the front row in terms of how we qualified, but of course, we've got the penalty. It was a bit of a silly mistake, and I paid the price."
Vettel's teammate, Mark Webber, will start second, followed by Fernando Alonso from Ferrari and McLaren's Jenson Button.
Felipe Massa from Ferrari turned in the sixth fastest time during the last stint in qualifying. While attempting his last lap, Massa slammed into the barrier after his right-front suspension broke when he ran over a curb.
Mercedes GP's Nico Rosberg qualified seventh, while Adrian Sutil from Force India took the eighth spot. Toro Rosso teammates Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari completed the top-10.
Indian driver Narain Karthikeyan will start 23rd in front of his home crowd. Karthikeyan, who is driving in place of Vitantonio Liuzzi in this race only for HRT, received a five-place grid penalty for blocking Mercedes' Schumacher during Q1. Schumacher managed to advance into Q2 and eventually qualified 12th.