The German driver grabbed his 30th career pole and the 15th of the year to break Nigel Mansell's record, established in 1992 over 16 races.
The 2011 season has had 19 events.
A delighted Vettel said it was a special record for him, admitting he had given it all during his final run in Q3.
"There has been quite some talk before qualifying and this weekend about this particular record and I think the best thing was to not just think about it," said Vettel.
"Yesterday we had a rough start to the weekend and were not 100 per cent happy with the balance yet but we made the right choices overnight and going into qualifying I was happier and enjoying the moment, enjoying the laps I had.
"I was happy with the first lap in Q3 but we knew there was more to come. I put everything into the last lap.
"It was emotional when I crossed the line as I knew I had given it all. Then I had to wait quite a long time to see if the time was good enough or not, but then ears kept popping: the engineer told me Button was P2, then Mark P2 so I got pole position.
"It took the masters in that discipline a few races less, but this is special to me. I am happy to be here."
The world champion said that, despite his dominance of qualifying this year, it had not been an easy achievement.
"It's not easy to put it all in one lap," he said. "All the circuits are different, so sometimes you are not so happy - other times I was happy with what I did or what could do.
"This year I was able to put most of the time everything into that one lap or final run in Q3. There is no secret. Once we go into qualifying we all enjoy it.
"On the final run you know it is different to a practice run. You are so excited, so nervous as it is the lap. To build up to it is great and after that is like a rush."
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