- Associated Press - Saturday, November 26, 2011

SAO PAULO (AP) - Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel set the record for most poles in a season, capturing his 15th at the Brazilian Grand Prix on Saturday to break Nigel Mansell’s 19-year record.

Vettel finished in 1 minute, 11.918 at the 2.6-mile Interlagos track. The German drew even with Mansell after winning his 14th pole at the Abu Dhabi GP two weeks ago.

Vettel parked his car and extended his finger to show who was No. 1 again, his trademark celebration all year.

“This is really special,” he said. “It’s different from the other poles.”

Mansell set the record with Williams in a 16-race season in 1992, when he also won nine races to win his only F1 drivers’ title. He failed to start from the pole only at the Canadian GP and at the Hungarian GP that year. He had six straight poles to start the season and five consecutive to finish it.

Vettel broke the record in 19 races. He failed to win the pole only in Spain, England, Germany and South Korea. His worst starting position was third, in Germany.

Vettel’s Red Bull teammate, Mark Webber, was second with a lap of 1:12.099. Jenson Button of McLaren was third in 1:12.283, and teammate Lewis Hamilton will start fourth with a time of 1:12.480. Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso will be fifth with Ferrari.

With the title already decided in favor of Vettel since the Japanese GP, virtually the only thing at stake in Brazil is the fight for second place. Button, Alonso and Webber still have a chance to finish runner-up. Button is 10 points ahead of Alonso and 18 ahead of Webber.

Vettel dominated the season with 11 victories, but it was Hamilton who won the last race in Abu Dhabi after a tire failure forced Vettel to retire on the first lap.

Red Bull has already won the constructors’ championship, with McLaren finishing second and Ferrari third.


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