Skip to content

Webber springs surprise on Vettel to snatch pole position

Nov 2, 2013, 10:09 AM EDT

Mark Webber AP

Mark Webber has taken pole position for tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after denying teammate Sebastian Vettel in the dying stages of qualifying at Yas Marina Circuit.

Webber’s fastest time of 1:39.957 was enough to see him finish one-tenth of a second ahead of Vettel as Mercedes failed to mount a serious challenge to Red Bull’s dominance in Abu Dhabi. However, the big shock of qualifying was Fernando Alonso’s failure to make it through to Q3 for the first time since the 2012 European Grand Prix as the Spaniard was forced to settle for eleventh place.

The start of Q1 saw the majority of the field immediately head out on the medium compound tire, but Red Bull chose to remain in the pits in favor of a single run on the quicker soft tire towards the end of the session. Jean-Eric Vergne posted the first serious time but he was soon beaten by both Mercedes drivers as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg looked to prove that they could challenge Red Bull on the medium tire. However, the world champions soon claimed the top two positions when they came out on the option tire, believing that only using the mediums was too great a risk. The rest of the field soon followed suit, and with the track at Abu Dhabi rapidly increasing in grip, it soon became a question of timing. Pastor Maldonado timed his final lap perfectly to finish fourth, whilst Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso both required late laps to get out of the dropzone and secure a place in Q2. Hamilton’s late effort saw him finish fastest of all, but Esteban Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil were less fortunate and were eliminated at the end of Q1. Giedo van der Garde proved himself to be the best of the backmarkers once again, whilst Jules Bianchi bounced back from his off in FP3 to qualify P20, but a gearbox change means that he will start from last place.

For Q2, the drivers opted to use the same tires that they had in the first session to begin with. Mercedes soon proved that they were capable of matching Red Bull by going first and second after the first set of runs ahead of Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. Felipe Massa also produced a good first lap to lie seventh, but his teammate could only sit P12 heading into the second runs where most fitted a fresh set of option tires. Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg all produced fine laps on their final runs to secure a place in Q3 whilst Rosberg, Hamilton and Vettel all opted not to run again, having done enough. Mark Webber finished third ahead of his teammate whilst both Lotus drivers made it through. However, the big shock was Fernando Alonso’s elimination after the Spaniard could only finish the session in eleventh place, one-tenth behind teammate Felipe Massa who finished tenth, and was the only Ferrari driver in Q3 as a result.

Heading into the final session, it appeared to be a straight fight between Red Bull and Mercedes, but Sebastian Vettel quickly established his dominance by setting the fastest time in the first set of runs. He lapped the circuit three-tenths quicker than Nico Rosberg initially to give him provisional pole, but with a few minutes remaining there was still time for the German driver to be denied. Mark Webber produced a stunning lap to edge out his teammate as the checkered flag fell, and Vettel simply could not respond and was forced to settle for second place. Lewis Hamilton spun off at turn twelve on his final run, ending his faint hopes of pole position. Kimi Raikkonen could only finish fifth ahead of Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg and the Finn’s teammate, Romain Grosjean. Felipe Massa, Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top ten as all three drivers were forced to ease off following Hamilton’s spin.

Given that all of the signs had suggested that pole position was Vettel’s for the taking, Webber’s triumph on Saturday in qualifying will come as a pleasant surprise to many. Now the Australian driver will be focused on claiming his first win of the season as he enters the third to last race of his Formula One career before his retirement at the end of the year.

Latest Posts
  1. Joys of travel: Most of IndyCar community has to take red eyes back after Long Beach

    Apr 20, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    LAXredeye Getty Images

    The joys of return flights home from the West Coast for the IndyCar community..

  2. IndyCar notes: Andretti leads Honda contingent; Coletti quick but unlucky and more from Long Beach

    Apr 20, 2015, 3:15 PM EDT

    MA27lb Getty Images

    Another tough day at office for Honda, Newgarden comes up short of top-five and other tidbits from Long Beach.

  3. IndyCar: Saavedra cracks top-10 on debut with Ganassi at Long Beach

    Apr 20, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    LBw2w4 Getty Images

    Sebastian Saavedra has a clean, quiet, consistent weekend and ended P10 on debut for Ganassi.

  4. The saga of Coyne’s No. 18 at Long Beach: Moran’s lost debut leads to Daly’s long overdue chance

    Apr 20, 2015, 12:49 PM EDT

    Photo: INDYCAR Photo: INDYCAR

    It was a bizarre weekend for Dale Coyne’s No. 18, which saw one driver replaced before the weekend began, one injured before getting the chance to debut, and one finally getting a long overdue shot.

  5. Sir Patrick Stewart gave an awesome start command at Long Beach (VIDEO)

    Apr 20, 2015, 11:38 AM EDT

    Sir Patrick Stewart command AP

    Long Beach got off to a great start, courtesy of Patrick Stewart’s enthusiastic command to start engines.

  6. Hamilton may have won again, but it was Raikkonen and Rosberg who stood out in Bahrain

    Apr 20, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    Mideast Bahrain F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    It may have been a routine victory for Lewis Hamilton in Bahrain, but both Nico Rosberg and Kimi Raikkonen showed some of the fight that has been lacking in recent months.

  7. Arrivabene: Vettel cost Ferrari double podium in Bahrain

    Apr 20, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain - Qualifying Getty Images

    Ferrari team principal believes two mistakes from the four-time world champion cost him a place on the podium in Bahrain.

  8. Bottas pleased to hang on for fourth place in Bahrain

    Apr 20, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain Getty Images

    A mistake by Sebastian Vettel allows Bottas to take fourth place on Sunday in Bahrain.

  9. Montoya, Castroneves riff on Penske quartet’s nationalities post-race at Long Beach

    Apr 19, 2015, 9:53 PM EDT

    JPMhelioLB Getty Images

    JPM, Helio laugh about the four nationalities represented at Team Penske.

  10. Dixon passes Bobby Unser for fifth on all-time list with 36th IndyCar win

    Apr 19, 2015, 7:41 PM EDT

    DixonBobby36 Getty Images

    Bobby Unser praises Scott Dixon, while Dixon himself downplays the accomplishment.

  11. MotoGP: Rossi wins in Argentina after Marquez clash

    Apr 19, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    MotoGp of Argentina - Qualifying Getty Images

    The nine-time world champion extends his lead at the top of the riders’ championship in MotoGP.

  12. Engine issue costs Maldonado shot at points finish

    Apr 19, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-BHR-F1 Getty Images

    Romain Grosjean manages to salvage some points for Lotus in Bahrain, finishing seventh.

  13. Jones makes it an Indy Lights hat trick with win in Long Beach

    Apr 19, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    Photo: Carlin Media Photo: Carlin Media

    Ed Jones survives streets of Long Beach to win Round 3 for Indy Lights.

  14. Ricciardo finishes sixth in Bahrain despite suffering engine failure at the final turn

    Apr 19, 2015, 3:45 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain Getty Images

    Ricciardo finishes the race in a blaze of glory, but holds on to sixth place for Red Bull.

  15. WATCH LIVE: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, Live Extra

    Apr 19, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    LBwatchlive Getty Images

    Watch the third round of the IndyCar season, from the streets of Long Beach, at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.

  16. Vettel takes blame for causing front wing damage

    Apr 19, 2015, 3:15 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain Getty Images

    German driver was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop towards the end of the race in Bahrain after running over the kerbs at the final corner.

  17. Button fails to start Bahrain GP, live tweets the race instead

    Apr 19, 2015, 2:45 PM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-BHR-F1 Getty Images

    Another electrical problem for McLaren meant that Button was unable to line up on the grid for the race in Bahrain.

  18. WATCH: Indy Lights at Long Beach, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN

    Apr 19, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT

    IndyLights

    Watch the third round of the Indy Lights season today at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN.