BARCELONA: Championship-leading Briton Jenson Button continued his early-season domination of Formula One on Saturday by grabbing a last-gasp pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix.
The 29-year-old Englishman, winner of three of this season's four races, delivered a dramatic final fastest lap in his Brawn GP car to outpace nearest rival German Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull by just one-tenth of a second to take the prime starting position on the grid.
Button was not aware of how valuable his advantage from pole would be until he discovered that the last eight winners of the Spanish Grand Prix all started from pole position and 13 of the last 14.
Button's pole was his third of the season and the sixth of his F1 career and proved he and his Brawn GP team remain the outfit to beat in Sunday's 66-laps race at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Barrichello's compatriot Felipe Massa of Ferrari took fourth place and will be a threat to his friend at the start because his car will have the boost of an extra 80 bhp - worth 10 metres - when the lights go out.
Massa's Ferrari team-mate Finn Kimi Raikkonen made a shock early exit when he was knocked out in the first part of the session.
Raikkonen, who will start Sunday from the eighth row in the grid, said: "It is really disappointing because the car is in good shape - it doesn't matter whose fault it is."
He was joined in the knocked-out list of early flops by fellow-Finn Heikki Kovalainen of McLaren and three of the usual suspects, Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais of Toro Rosso and the two Force India men German Adrian Sutil and Italian veteran Giancarlo Fisichella.
Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton eventually finished 14th fastest, meaning he will start on the seventh row of the grid.