Webber pips Vettel to pole

2013-11-02 16:36
Mark Webber (Getty Images)

Abu Dhabi - Australian Mark Webber has grabbed the 13th pole position of his career on Saturday when he clocked the fastest lap in a tense qualifying session as Red Bull swept the front row of the grid for Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The 37-year-old, who retires from Formula One at the end of the season, recorded 1min 39.957 sec to edge out newly-crowned quadruple world champion team-mate German Sebastian Vettel.

Webber, who will start from the front of the grid for only the second time this season, equalled the Australian record of 13 poles set by Alan Jones, who was celebrating his 67th birthday on Saturday.

In a thrilling finale to an intriguing day, the two Red Bull men crossed the line after the chequered flag to clock their best laps, but battling Briton Lewis Hamilton failed to do the same as he spun his Mercedes in the final part of his lap.

"Fantastic guys, thank you for a fantastic job," said Webber on the Red Bull team radio.

"This weekend has gone pretty smoothly," he added later.

"Not the smoothest path to the start of Q2 or Q1, we were not electric, but we changed the car quite a bit and I got more and more comfortable as the session went on.

"It made me more comfortable in the final sector, where Seb has been quick, so I was able to match him there and stay where I had been quick already."

Vettel said it was terrific to have seen off what he considered was a dangerous looking Mercedes team.

"I think it's a great result for the team. At the start of qualifying, Mercedes looked very strong, especially in Q2. We seem to be able to find a bit of extra time in Q3.

"Mark did a very good lap so congratulations to him. I should have done a bit better, but I don't know if it would have been enough. He did a great job, no mistakes. It's a great result for the team and we should have a strong race tomorrow."

Hamilton ended up fourth and will start alongside his Mercedes team-mate German Nico Rosberg, who was third fastest.

"Something broke at the rear of the car," said a disappointed Hamilton, who has twice previously taken pole at the spectacular Yas Marina circuit.

Ferrari-bound Finn Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus was fifth ahead of German Nico Hulkenberg of Sauber with Frenchman Romain Grosjean seventh in the second Lotus.

For Raikkonen it was a satisfying riposte that demonstrated he retains the upper hand in a team riven by controversy following his threat to boycott the last two races this year because he has not been paid.

Brazilian Felipe Massa, who is leaving Ferrari to make room for the Finn, was eighth fastest - and outpaced his team-mate Spaniard Fernando Alonso for the eighth time this year - ahead of Mexican Sergio Perez of McLaren and 10th placed Australian Daniel Ricciardo of Toro Rosso, who will drive for Red Bull next year.

Starting grid for Sunday's Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix following the final qualifying session on Saturday:

1st row:
Mark Webber (AUS/Red Bull)
Sebastian Vettel (GER/Red Bull)

2nd row:
Nico Rosberg (GER/Mercedes)
Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes)

3rd row:
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Lotus)
Nico Hulkenberg (GER/Sauber)

4th row:
Romain Grosjean (FRA/Lotus)
Felipe Massa (BRA/Ferrari)

5th row:
Sergio Perez (MEX/McLaren)
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Toro Rosso)

6th row:
Fernando Alonso (ESP/Ferrari)
Paul di Resta (GBR/Force India)

7th row:
Jenson Button (GBR/McLaren)
Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA/Toro Rosso)

8th row:
Pastor Maldonado (VEN/Williams)
Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Williams)

9th row:
Esteban Gutierrez (MEX/Sauber)
Adrian Sutil (GER/Force India)

10th row:
Giedo van der Garde (NED/Caterham)
Charles Pic (FRA/Caterham)

11th row:

Max Chilton (GBR/Marussia)
Jules Bianchi (FRA/Marussia)

Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix qualifying times on Saturday:

Qualifying No 1:
1. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes 1min 40.693sec (Q), 2. Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari 1:41.254 (Q), 3. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus 1:41.276 (Q), 4. Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams 1:41.365 (Q), 5. Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 1:41.397 (Q), 6. Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes 1:41.420 (Q), 7. Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus 1:41.447 (Q), 8. Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull 1:41.568 (Q), 9. Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sauber 1:41.631 (Q), 10. Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India 1:41.676 (Q)

11. Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull 1:41.683 (Q), 12. Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren 1:41.687 (Q), 13. Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Toro Rosso 1:41.692 (Q), 14. Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren 1:41.817 (Q), 15. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams 1:41.862 (Q), 16. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Toro Rosso 1:41.884 (Q)

Did not qualify for second session:
17. Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber 1:41.999, 18. Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India 1:42.051, 19. Giedo van der Garde (NED) Caterham 1:43.252, 20. Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia 1:43.398, 21. Charles Pic (FRA) Caterham 1:43.528, 22. Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia 1:44.198

Qualifying No2:
1. Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes 1:40.473 (Q), 2. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes 1:40.477 (Q), 3. Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull 1:40.575 (Q), 4. Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull 1:40.781 (Q), 5. Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren 1:40.812 (Q), 6. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Toro Rosso 1:40.852 (Q), 7. Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sauber 1:40.931 (Q), 8. Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus 1:40.948 (Q), 9. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus 1:40.971 (Q), 10. Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari 1:40.989 (Q)

Did not qualify for third session:
11. Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 1:41.093, 12. Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India 1:41.133, 13. Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren 1:41.200, 14. Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Toro Rosso 1:41.279, 15. Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams 1:41.395, 16. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams 1:41.447

Qualifying No3:
1. Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull 1:39.957, 2. Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull 1:40.075, 3. Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes 1:40.419, 4. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes 1:40.501, 5. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus 1:40.542, 6. Nico Hlkenberg (GER) Sauber 1:40.576, 7. Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus 1:40.997, 8. Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari 1:41.015, 9. Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren 1:41.068, 10. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Toro Rosso 1:41.111


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