Mark Webber stunned the paddock and the Red Bull team by pinching the pole out of the hands of his team mate on the Yas Marina Circuit.
Red Bull’s Mark Webber came from behind to finally pinch pole position from his team mate, Sebastian Vettel, as the qualifying session came to a close ahead of the FIA Formula One 2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix tomorrow.
Webber’s flying lap time of 1:39.957 led him to snatch the ultimate spot on the grid from Vettel. Webber has now secured his fourth pole position of the season and today being his first at the Yas Marina circuit. The Australian has also equalled his fellow countryman and former Formula One driver, Sir Jack Brabham’s record of achieving 13 pole positions.
Mercedes’ driver, Nico Rosberg has dropped back a row from his second place qualifying position last weekend, when he accompanied Vettel on the front row for the Indian Grand Prix. Rosberg completed today’s top three qualifying line up.
Rosberg’s team mate, Lewis Hamilton seemed to have an unfortunate mishap on his final flying lap. The Englishman reportedly spun at Turn 14 and ended up off the track, losing the front wing on his car in the process. Hamilton’s qualifying spot was not too affected following the incident and he will still begin the race fourth place alongside his team mate, Rosberg.
Lotus Renault’s Kimi Raikkonen will line up on the grid just behind the Mercedes duo. The Finnish driver completed Q3 in fifth place. Raikkonen will be joined by Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg on the third row tomorrow. The German driver’s run of good results seem to be continuing into another race weekend as he qualified in sixth place.
Raikkonen’s team mate, Romain Grosjean finished the session just a little further back in the line-up. The French man secured seventh place for himself ahead of the Grand Prix tomorrow.
Ferrari’s Felipe Massa was the sole car flying the flag for the team in Q3, as his team mate Fernando Alonso failed to make it through at the end of Q2. Massa qualified in eighth place ahead of the race, but there was speculation that the stewards may look at his flying lap in Q1, when he appeared to have all four wheels of his car off the track as he completed the lap. Alonso has a bit more work to do in the race from his qualifying position of 11th place.
McLaren’s Sergio Perez and Jenson Button had mixed fortune within the team in qualifying. Perez managed to get through to the all-important top 10 shootout and will start the race from ninth place. The Mexican driver pipped his team mate, Button in the process, who like Alonso missed out on the final showdown of Q3. Once the race gets underway, Button will have to make his way through the field from 13th place.
Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo quietly made it through to Q3 and will begin from the 10th and final possible point scoring position tomorrow.
Aside from Button and Alonso failing to make the grade to participate in Q3, they were also joined by the likes of the Force India duo of Paul Di Resta and Adrian Sutil, who are among those making up the positions from 11th to 22nd place on the grid. The Williams drivers, Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas both looked on course to possibly make it into Q3, but did not manage to do so despite getting into the battle of the Q2 session.
Unless any further penalties are issued by the stewards, the qualifying positions will remain the same for the start of the race tomorrow. Marussia’s Jules Bianchi qualified in 20th place, but faces a five place grid penalty for an unexpected gearbox change.
Both Championships may now have been decided, but there are still three races to go until the end of the season. It is certain that when the race gets underway tomorrow, Vettel could set his sights on picking up another race victory to his growing record, but there is also the matter of his closest rivals, who have the opportunity to battle it out from second place onwards in the Driver’s and Constructor’s Championships.