German Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel grabbed pole position for Sunday's Korean Grand Prix, while Spain's Fernando Alonso, who drives for Ferrari, will start fifth.

Vettel, the three-time defending Formula One champion and leader of this year's Drivers' Standings, earned the 40th pole of his career by covering the 5.615-kilometer (3.48-mile) Korea International Circuit in Yeongam County in 1:37.202.

The German will be joined on the first row by British Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who posted a lap time of 1:37.420.

Alonso had the sixth-best time in Saturday's qualifying, but he will start fifth because Australian Red Bull driver Mark Webber was hit with a 10-place grid penalty for hitching a ride back to the pits with the Spaniard after last month's Singapore Grand Prix.

Webber, who retired on the final lap of that race, had the third-best qualifying time on Saturday but will start 13th in Sunday's race.

French Lotus driver Romain Grosjean and Germany's Nico Rosberg, who drives for Mercedes, will start on the second row after posting times of 1:37.531 and 1:37.679, respectively.

Alonso will be joined on the third row by Brazilian teammate Felipe Massa.

The 26-year-old Vettel leads this year's Drivers' Standings with 247 points with just six races left in the season, 60 points ahead of the second-place Alonso. EFE