Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2013: Red Bull’s Webber pips Vettel to pole
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2013: Red Bull's Mark Webber beats Sebastian Vettel to pole position at the Yas Marina Circuit
Mark Webber claimed the scalp of world champion team-mate Sebastian Vettel to take pole position at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver, who is stepping away from the sport at the end of this season, was 0.1 seconds quicker around the Yas Marina track as the constructors’ champions again dominated qualifying.
But his hopes of winning the race aren’t helped by recent statistics – only once in four races held on the circuit has the quickest qualifier taken the chequered flag and, on three occasions, the pole sitter has been forced to retire.
“This weekend has gone pretty smoothly and a win is certainly possible,” insisted Webber, whose last triumph came at Silverstone last summer.
“I’ve been quite good on the prime [tyres] in the race so I’m looking forward to getting on that. They are a lot of fans of Formula 1 here.
“A few Aussies come here – it’s an easy GP to attend and a nice atmosphere.”
Vettel blamed an error in turn one for his failure to take another pole position – although his Red Bull was still half a second quicker than Nico Rosberg, who will start from third in his Mercedes.
“I was pushing hard, that’s the reason behind it,” he said. “You can always say there is a bit here and there, but if you push to the maximum and try to get everything out you can do mistakes.
“I’m not very proud of that. But I did what I could and it wasn’t enough to be on pole. Mark deserves to be on pole.
“I think it’s a great result for the team. At the start of qualifying, Mercedes looked very strong.
“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.”
Lewis Hamilton was the fastest British drive run fourth, spinning on his final lap to ruin hopes of a higher finish, while Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, battling for second place in the drivers’ championship, ranked a disappointing 11th.
Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen, 24 points behind Alonso in the overall standings, will start from fifth on the grid.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2013: Qualifying times
1. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1m 39.957s
2. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 1m 40.075s
3. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 40.419s
4. Lewis Hamilton Britain Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 40.501s
5. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Lotus-Renault 1m 40.542s
6. Nico Hulkenberg Germany Sauber-Ferrari 1m 40.576s
7. Romain Grosjean France Lotus-Renault 1m 40.997s
8. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 41.015s
9. Sergio Perez Mexico McLaren-Mercedes 1m 41.068s
10. Daniel Ricciardo Australia Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 41.111s
11. Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 41.093s
12. Paul di Resta Britain Force India-Mercedes 1m 41.133s
13. Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 41.200s
14. Jean-Eric Vergne France Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 41.279s
15. Pastor Maldonado Venezuela Williams-Renault 1m 41.395s
16. Valtteri Bottas Finland Williams-Renault 1m 41.447s
17. Esteban Gutierrez Mexico Sauber-Ferrari 1m 41.999s
18. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes 1m 42.051s
19. Giedo van der Garde Holland Caterham-Renault 1m 43.252s
20. Jules Bianchi France Marussia-Cosworth 1m 43.398s*
21. Charles Pic France Caterham-Renault 1m 43.528s
22. Max Chilton Britain Marussia-Cosworth 1m 44.198s