Webber beats Vettel to Japanese Grand Prix pole

Webber beats Vettel to Japanese Grand Prix pole

Formula 1

Webber beats Vettel to Japanese Grand Prix pole

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Mark Webber ended Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel’s qualifying supremacy as he beat the German to Japanese Grand Prix pole.

Vettel was hobbled by a loss of KERS on his first Q3 lap and was 0.4 second adrift of Webber’s provisional pole effort. The system was successfully reset for Vettel’s second run but he could not improve enough to depose Webber, who then improved his pole time to 1m30.915s.

The result was not only Webber’s first pole of 2013, but the first time he had outqualified Vettel all year.

Lewis Hamilton won a very tight battle for third in his Mercedes, edging out Romain Grosjean’s Lotus and Felipe Massa’s Ferrari. Nico Rosberg was 0.144sec slower than teammate Hamilton in sixth place.

Fernando Alonso was only eighth quickest, 0.3sec off Massa and pushed back a further place by Nico Hulkenberg’s flying Sauber. Kimi Raikkonen again struggled for qualifying speed, lapping 0.319sec slower than Grosjean as he ended up five places adrift. Jenson Button’s McLaren rounded off the top 10.

Q2 was extraordinarily close, with barely half a second covering second to 14th places.

Sergio Perez ended up on the wrong side of the cut-off in 11th, just ahead of Paul di Resta. The Scot had a much better qualifying session than Force India teammate Adrian Sutil, who picked up a gearbox-change penalty following his morning crash and then struggled for speed. He was only 17th fastest and was eliminated in Q1.

The main piece of Q1 drama was a bizarre fire on both rear brakes of Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso. The Frenchman had to park on the exit of the hairpin and the session was briefly red-flagged so marshals could deal with the fire safely. That left Vergne 18th, while teammate Daniel Ricciardo only managed two places higher as he trailed the Q2 pack.

Those dramas helped Williams to an encouraging 13th and 15th with Valtteri Bottas and Pastor Maldonado. They were split by Esteban Gutierrez, whose Sauber fleetingly caught fire in the pit garage halfway through Q1. There was no damage and he was able to continue qualifying.

Marussia’s Max Chilton produced the best qualifying performance of his F1 career so far to beat the Caterhams and his teammate Jules Bianchi to 19th place.

Both Charles Pic and Bianchi have 10-place grid penalties for Korean GP incidents so should share the back row.

Pos Driver                Team                 Time            Gap     1. Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m30.915s                   2. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m31.089s  +0.174s          3. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes             1m31.253s  +0.338s          4. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault        1m31.365s  +0.450s          5. Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m31.378s  +0.463s          6. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m31.397s  +0.482s          7. Nico Hulkenberg       Sauber-Ferrari       1m31.644s  +0.729s          8. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m31.665s  +0.750s          9. Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault        1m31.684s  +0.769s         10. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m31.827s  +0.912s         Q2 cut-off time: 1m31.848s                                   Gap **       11. Sergio Perez          McLaren-Mercedes     1m31.989s  +0.699s         12. Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m31.992s  +0.702s         13. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Renault     1m32.013s  +0.723s         14. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari       1m32.063s  +0.773s         15. Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault     1m32.093s  +0.803s         16. Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m32.485s  +1.195s         Q1 cut-off time: 1m32.875s                                    Gap *17. Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes 1m32.890s  +1.066s         18. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m33.357s  +1.533s         19. Max Chilton           Marussia-Cosworth    1m34.320s  +2.496s         20. Charles Pic           Caterham-Renault     1m34.556s  +2.732s         21. Giedo van der Garde   Caterham-Renault     1m34.879s  +3.055s         22. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Cosworth    1m34.958s  +3.134s                                                                                   107% time: 1m38.251s                                                      * Gap to quickest in Q1                                                   ** Gap to quickest in Q2                       

MX-5 CUP | ROUND 8 – WATKINS GLEN

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