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. Hamilton makes it three with lights to flag victory in China

    Apr 20, 2014, 4:43 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China Getty Images

    British driver goes wire-to-wire to claim his third straight win and number 25 of his F1 career.

  2. WATCH LIVE: Can anyone spring a Shanghai surprise?

    Apr 20, 2014, 2:15 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Qualifying Getty Images

    As the Mercedes turf war rumbles on, Red Bull and Ferrari will be waiting in the wings to pick up the pieces.

  3. Starting grid for the 2014 Chinese Grand Prix

    Apr 20, 2014, 2:00 AM EDT

    Daniel Ricciardo, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel AP

    Here’s how the drivers will line up for the 2014 Chinese Grand Prix today, live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 2:30am ET.

  4. Hamilton chases first ever career three-peat in China

    Apr 20, 2014, 1:30 AM EDT

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    He has come close before, but Hamilton finally can make it three wins in a row today in China.

  5. In re-released interview, Brad Keselowski recalls how Rick Hendrick left him heartbroken

    Apr 19, 2014, 7:25 PM EDT

    keselowski

    In a just-released video interview, 2012 Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski – looking perhaps as somber as we’ve ever seen him, at times seemingly ready to break into tears – discusses how heartbroken, if not potentially betrayed he felt in 2009 when team owner Rick Hendrick picked Mark Martin to drive the No. 5 Chevrolet instead of giving Keselowski the opportunity, even though Bad Brad insists Hendrick had previously promised him that ride in 2010.

  6. FIA WEC: Mark Webber preparing for possible wet WEC debut

    Apr 19, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

    FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Silverstone Getty Images

    The former Red Bull F1 competitor will start sixth on tomorrow’s grid at Silverstone.

  7. Diesel pickup gives new meaning to ‘powering down the dragstrip’ (video)

    Apr 19, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    nhrda logo

    If it has wheels and tires, it typically can be raced down a dragstrip. But take a pickup truck, throw in a high-power diesel engine in it, and you have a rolling battering ram that will take down anything in its path – even guard rails that are supposed to prevent that very thing from happening.

  8. FIA WEC: Ex-F1 prospects Calado, Bird do well in qualifying

    Apr 19, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT

    FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Silverstone Getty Images

    The former GP2 competitors qualify up the grid in their respective classes for tomorrow’s WEC opener at Silverstone.

  9. Watch radio controlled cars pay awesome homage to Fast and Furious series, late actor Paul Walker

    Apr 19, 2014, 3:03 PM EDT

    fast and furious RC2

    While we don’t condone street racing whatsoever, the video below is one of the best we’ve seen in a long time. Even better, it’s more of parking lot racing, with radio controlled cars burning up the asphalt and concrete — so no actual humans, animals or real-life vehicles were put in jeopardy. An added bonus is this is an outstanding homage to the Fast & Furious series, with particular emphasis on actor Paul Walker, who was killed last December in a tragic street racing crash.

  10. An eggs-cellent day at the Brickyard (PHOTOS)

    Apr 19, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    IMS Pagoda Getty Images

    If the Indianapolis Motor Speedway isn’t *the* coolest place to hold an Easter egg hunt, we figure it’s at least one of them.

  11. Swan Racing struggles reportedly worsen, future uncertain

    Apr 19, 2014, 12:13 PM EDT

    Swan Racing minority owner Anthony Marlowe is trying to find a way to keep Cole Whitt racing. Where that leaves teammate Parker Kligerman is uncertain, at best. Getty Images

    The future of Swan Racing in Sprint Cup racing is not looking good.

  12. FIA WEC: Toyota, Ferrari score top class poles at Silverstone

    Apr 19, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

    Toyota Getty Images

    Toyota takes the pole for Sunday’s FIA WEC opener in Silverstone.

  13. IMSA: New sponsors for Muehlner Motorsports America

    Apr 19, 2014, 10:09 AM EDT

    IMSA Daytona 24 Hours Auto Racing AP

    Couple new sponsors for GTD team within TUDOR Championship.

  14. Magnussen downbeat after poor qualifying display

    Apr 19, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Kevin Magnussen AP

    Danish driver can only manage P15, with teammate Jenson Button in 12th.

  15. Ricciardo gave his all, and is rewarded with front row start

    Apr 19, 2014, 7:45 AM EDT

    Daniel Ricciardo AP

    All smiles for Daniel after qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.

  16. Williams combats wet weather woes in Shanghai

    Apr 19, 2014, 7:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Qualifying Getty Images

    Massa and Bottas both make the top 10 despite wet conditions playing against them.

  17. Hamilton breaks 46-year-old British record for most poles

    Apr 19, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT

    Daniel Ricciardo, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel AP

    Jim Clark’s record that has stood since 1968 has now been broken by Hamilton in China.

  18. Alonso upbeat about his chances in China (VIDEO)

    Apr 19, 2014, 5:15 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Qualifying Getty Images

    He might be down in 5th, but the Spaniard believes that a podium finish is well within Ferrari’s reach in China.

  19. What went wrong for Rosberg in qualifying? (VIDEO)

    Apr 19, 2014, 4:30 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Qualifying Getty Images

    P4 disappointing for the German driver, but where did it all go wrong for him?

  20. Lotus reaches top 10 for the first time in 2014 thanks to Grosjean

    Apr 19, 2014, 4:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Practice Getty Images

    Grosjean qualifies 10th to finally give the team something to smile about after a tough winter.

Today on NASCAR AMERICA

Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. McMurray (4754)
  2. A. Seuss (1750)
  3. B. Myers (1293)
  4. J. Myers (1205)
  5. L. Fleming (1196)