SEBASTIAN VETTEL WAS delighted with his ‘nearly perfect’ qualifying session as he took a fourth consecutive pole at the Japanese Grand Prix.
The German Red Bull driver edged team-mate Mark Webber to take pole position at Suzuka.
The reigning back-to-back world champion has gradually improved throughout the weekend and was pleased with his performance.
“I’m very, very happy with today’s result. We had a very, very smooth qualifying session, nearly perfect, so we couldn’t really ask for more,” Vettel said.
“The car felt fantastic from the start. We didn’t really have the best start to the weekend. Yesterday morning I wasn’t very happy but then we seemed to get it better every time we go out, so very pleased with the result, very happy.
“The car feels fantastic around here and I was able to pick up a little bit overnight and it came together nicely and now we hope for a very good race tomorrow.”
The result lifted Vettel into outright third for most pole positions in Formula One history with 34, behind only Michael Schumacher (68) and Ayrton Senna (65).
Vettel expects Schumacher’s mark to remain unbroken and said setting new records did not motivate him.
“I think Michael has a lot of the records that will probably stay there forever,” he said.
“You don’t really jump into the car thinking about those sorts of things.
“Obviously, when you end up here and end up with people telling you some things it’s nice for all of us, but it’s not the number one motivation that makes you jump into the car.”
Australian Webber was also happy with his display after a string of poor qualifying performances, including starting outside the top 10 in three of the past four races.
“It’s been a good weekend for us so far. Seb and I had a clean run in Q3 when it mattered at the start there. And two pretty big laps from both of us,” he said.
“Obviously Seb got me a bit, so that was a good lap from him, but to be this much further up for us, obviously we’ve had a rough run with qualifying of late, particularly my side with penalties and bits and bobs.
“It just makes the race much more difficult. You have to start doing wacky strategies and stuff like that.
“I am happy to be on the front row and looking forward to a good result tomorrow.”