Abu Dhabi GP Qualifying: Webber turns tables on Vettel as Red Bull dominates
2 November, 2013
Mark Webber got a rousing cheer when he arrived in parc ferme after claiming pole position with the fastest lap in qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the sparkling Yas Marina Circuit, while his Red Bull teammate second best in the twilight session.
Webber was the only driver to dip below the 100 second mark with his best time of 1:39.957, which was 0.118 of a second better than Vettel’s effort, the World Champion telling his crew that “we lost it in Turn 1, sorry guys.”
Nevertheless the pair did enough to ensure that the front row of the grid will be all blue on race day.
Webber summed up his evening’s work, “This weekend has gone pretty smoothly. Not the smoothest path to the start of Q2 or Q1, we were not electric. 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 [quick] where I had been quick already.”
Vettel, who is not used to being beaten by his teammate, reflected, “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.”
Up next were best of the rest, the Mercedes pair of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton who were third and fourth respectively, thus ensuring an all silver second row. Hamilton spun on his final Q3 run, claiming, “Something broke at the rear of the car.”
Rosberg said of his session, “In general, I’m pleased with the result. Best of the rest is the target for this weekend. It’s good to annoy Red Bull a bit in qualifying but they were quick again. Our target is to get second in the Constructors’ Championship and our main competitors Ferrari are well back which is great for us.”
Kimi Raikkonen did his own table turning in the Lotus camp by powering to fifth on the grid, beating Lotus his teammate Romain Grosjean who hadappeared to have the edge throughout the practice sessions leading up to qualifying. Grosjean was seventh.
Splitting the black and gold cars, sixth fastest, was the man the team are seeking to replace their departing Finn, namely Nico Hulkenberg in the Sauber who was also the fastest of the Ferrari powered posse.
Best of the true Reds was Felipe Massa in eighth, while Fernando Alonso struggled with lack of rear grip and thus failed to progress beyond Q2.
Once again McLaren flattered in practice, only to deceive, as they were out of the top ten. Although Sergio Perez ended the evening ninth, Jenson Button failed to make it into Q3 and will start from 13th.
Famously, Raikkonen and Lotus won the Abu Dhabi race last year which gave birth to the legend of “leave me alone I know what I am doing” and it is not impossible that one of the two chaps in black and gold end up on the top step of the podium.
But first there is the no easy matter of dispensing with the two Silver Arrows and the Red Bulls – a victory for Webber in the final races of his career would be sweet – whether you support him or not. Whatever the outcome we have a race on our hands. (GP247)
Subbed by AJN.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Qualifying Results – Saturday, 2 November 2013
|1||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:41.568||1:40.575||1:39.957||17|
|2||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:41.683||1:40.781||1:40.075||12|
|12||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:41.676||1:41.133||19|
|18||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:42.051||10|
|19||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:43.252||10|
|Q1 107% Time||1:47.741|
Note – Bianchi qualified 20th, but penalised 5 grid places for an unscheduled gearbox change.