Hockenheim (Germany), July 24 : Sebastian Vettel pipped Fernando Alonso to pole position for the German Grand Prix by just two thousandths of a second Saturday to secure his sixth pole in 11 qualifying sessions this season.
In a qualifying round delayed by a crash involving Force India driver Vitantonio Liuzzi in the first session, the Red Bull driver registered a time of 1 minute 13.791 seconds to ensure he starts from the front of the grid in Sunday's race.
"We knew it would be a difficult session but obviously two thousandths of a second is not the margin you are looking for," said Germany's Vettel after securing his third pole position in a row.
"First time on pole at home but the main challenge will come tomorrow," added the 23-year-old.
Ferrari's Alonso completes the front row with teammate Felipe Massa securing third spot ahead of Mark Webber in the second Red Bull.
"I think we have to be happy to be on the first row of the grid for the first time this season," said two-time champion Alonso. "It's definitely a step forward for us."
Massa echoed his teammate's comments about the Italian team moving in the right direction, calling the result a "good performance" for Ferrari.
Defending champion Jenson Button qualified in fifth in front of McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton as the pair prepare to continue their battle at the top of the drivers' standings.
Hamilton has 145 points, followed by Button on 133. Webber lies third on 128 points, five clear of Vettel on 121.
Michael Schumacher's poor season continued as the seven-time world champion was eliminated in the second round of qualifying and will start from 11th place on the grid.
"We have to be realistic, there is no reason why we should be quicker in the race," said the disappointed 41-year-old. "It has to be said that we weren't competitive."
Liuzzi, meanwhile, walked away uninjured from his heavy crash in the first qualifying session.
"The car is strong and well built," he said after hitting a puddle on the artificial grass when exiting the last corner. (DPA)