Webber beats Vettel to Abu Dhabi pole

Webber beats Vettel to Abu Dhabi pole

Formula 1

Webber beats Vettel to Abu Dhabi pole

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Mark Webber qualified on pole for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, besting Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel with a late run.

Both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg topped a qualifying segment for Mercedes before Q3, but Red Bull’s pace at the crucial moment was too much, leaving the silver cars on row two.

Vettel recorded a 1m40.091s on his first run of Q3, ahead of the two Mercedes, with Webber apparently struggling. But a great final effort helped the Australian to 1m39.957s and even a late improvement from his four-time world champion teammate was not enough to deny Webber the top spot.

Rosberg outqualified Hamilton, who spun off on his final run, while Kimi Raikkonen was the top Lotus in fifth.

Nico Hulkenberg continued his fine form for Sauber to take sixth, ahead of Romain Grosjean’s Lotus and Felipe Massa’s Ferrari.

The times in Q2 were again tight and two big names fell. Ferrari’s Abu Dhabi struggles continued, particularly in the final sector, and Fernando Alonso could only qualify 11th, not helped by a minor error.

A similar charge from Jenson Button also failed to get the McLaren driver into the top 10 after what the Briton described as a “very strange” loss of grip since final practice.

With the circuit getting faster and faster in Q1, the last soft-tyred runs proved crucial and it was Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil’s Force India who were the midfielders to fall.

Giedo van der Garde topped the Caterham/Marussia battle, while Jules Bianchi (20th fastest) has a five-place grid penalty after his gearbox needed changing thanks to his crash in third practice.

The results remain provisional, with several drivers apparently setting their best laps after running all four wheels over the white lines, which they had specifically been warned not to do.

Pos  Driver               Team/Car               Time       Gap 1.  Mark Webber          Red Bull-Renault       1m39.957s 2.  Sebastian Vettel     Red Bull-Renault       1m40.075s  +0.118s 3.  Nico Rosberg         Mercedes               1m40.419s  +0.462s 4.  Lewis Hamilton       Mercedes               1m40.501s  +0.544s 5.  Kimi Raikkonen       Lotus-Renault          1m40.542s  +0.585s 6.  Nico Hulkenberg      Sauber-Ferrari         1m40.576s  +0.619s 7.  Romain Grosjean      Lotus-Renault          1m40.997s  +1.040s 8.  Felipe Massa         Ferrari                1m41.015s  +1.058s 9.  Sergio Perez         McLaren-Mercedes       1m41.068s  +1.111s10.  Daniel Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m41.111s  +1.154sQ2 cut-off time: 1m40.989s                                    Gap **11.  Fernando Alonso      Ferrari                1m41.093s  +0.620s12.  Paul di Resta        Force India-Mercedes   1m41.133s  +0.660s13.  Jenson Button        McLaren-Mercedes       1m41.200s  +0.727s14.  Jean-Eric Vergne     Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m41.279s  +0.806s15.  Pastor Maldonado     Williams-Renault       1m41.395s  +0.922s16.  Valtteri Bottas      Williams-Renault       1m41.447s  +0.974sQ1 cut-off time: 1m41.884s                                    Gap *17.  Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari         1m41.999s  +1.306s18.  Adrian Sutil         Force India-Mercedes   1m42.051s  +1.358s19.  Giedo van der Garde  Caterham-Renault       1m43.252s  +2.559s20.  Jules Bianchi        Marussia-Cosworth      1m43.398s  +2.705s21.  Charles Pic          Caterham-Renault       1m43.528s  +2.835s22.  Max Chilton          Marussia-Cosworth      1m44.198s  +3.505s107% time: 1m47.741s* Gap to quickest in Q1** Gap to quickest in Q2

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