Vettel (centre) celebrates after pole
win with Hamilton (left) and Weber.
Vettel takes pole in Bahrain F1
Manama, April 21, 2012
Red Bull's Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel took his first pole position of the season in qualifying for the controversial Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday.
The 24-year-old German will have McLaren's championship leader Lewis Hamilton alongside him on the front row for Sunday's race, the fourth round of the season, which will go ahead against a backdrop of anti-government protests elsewhere on the island.
Vettel's Australian team mate Mark Webber was third quickest and shares the second row with McLaren's Jenson Button.
The pole was the 31st for Vettel, who took a record 15 last season but had failed to get on the front row in the first three races of this year.
He celebrated his achievement at the desert track with his familiar single finger in the air - a gesture absent so far this season.
'This one I completely owe it to the team,' said the champion, who had a scare in the first phase when he dropped dangerously close to the cut-off point after assuming he had done enough.
'The boys, I don't think had much sleep the last four races. It was a tough weekend in China and now here they seriously have a lack of sleep.'
The first three races have seen three different winners, without a Red Bull driver on the top step, and Vettel has a good chance of making it four in a race that is going ahead despite worldwide condemnation and calls for it to be cancelled.
'I am very happy with the job that we've done,' said Hamilton, who has finished third for three races in a row after poles in Australia and Malaysia. 'Probably one of my best qualifying sessions.'
Germany's Nico Rosberg, who took his first win after 111 starts at the Chinese Grand Prix last weekend, qualified fifth for Mercedes.
His team mate Michael Schumacher, the seven-times world champion, will start 17th after being slowed by a rear wing problem that allowed Caterham's Heikki Kovalainen to leapfrog him and get into the second session.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo put his Toro Rosso in sixth place, the best qualifying of his fledgling career.-Reuters