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Webber Takes Sensational Pole In Abu Dhabi as Vettel and Hamilton slip up
Posted By:   |  02 Nov 2013   |  3:33 pm GMT  |  272 comments

So it’s official: Sebastian Vettel does make mistakes – just not when the championship is still up for grabs.

With just three races to drive in his Formula One career, Mark Webber produced a sensational lap to snatch a popular pole position from Vettel at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with Nico Rosberg completing the top three.

Prior to this race Vettel had taken pole here twice as had Lewis Hamilton, but both hit trouble today; Vettel made a mistake at the decisive moment in Q3 and opened the door to Webber. Vettel messed up the first corner, while Hamilton’s was the more serious as he spun the car when a rear suspension part broke and he got stranded out on track.

He was on target to challenge for pole at the time, which made it all the more frustrating.

It is the 13th pole of Webber’s career, equalling Jack Brabham’s record for poles from an Australian and offers him a great chance to win a race before he signs off his F1 career later this month.

Meanwhile Kimi Raikkonen, who had qualified 5th was disqualified for failing a deflection test on the floor of his car for the second time this season. He will be allowed to start from the back of the grid.

In a session that would only be called by a brave man, Red Bull, Mercedes and Lotus all threatened at different stages throughout the session. Nico Rosberg had topped Q2 by a comfortable margin using a set of scrubbed soft tyres from Q1 and gave the impression of a first Mercedes pole since the Hungarian GP in August.

But Q3 came towards Red Bull as Vettel set a 1:40.0, a lap that seemed unbeatable at this stage. At this point Webber sat in fourth behind the Mercedes pair and would have hoped to simply join Vettel on the front-row.

However, with a quick change to the front-wing Webber drove a smooth first and second sector before throwing his RB9 around the twist sector three. This puts him in with a good chance of victory tomorrow – he certainly has nothing else to assist the team with so we could see a good battle between the Red Bull pair.

Vettel could not improve sufficiently upon his opening lap in Q3 but still held a 4/10ths of a second buffer over Rosberg.

Rosberg admitted he was pleased to “be the best of the rest” with his third place. He had a very good session to always be near the top but had nothing to threaten the Red Bulls with.

He shares the second row with team mate Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton sat in third follwoing the first runs in Q3 but was forced down as Webber improved. In fourth, Hamilton spun in the final sector and came to a halt without finishing a second run.

Today’s qualifying result is a good one for Mercedes in light of their Constructors’ table competitors having a troubled session.

Romain Grosjean could only manage seventh, behind an ever-improving Nico Hulkenberg who did no harm to his 2014 possibilities.

Grosjean had been tipped as a threat to pole position prior to the session but had a second sector tim 6/10ths slower than Webber and Vettel.

It was a worse story for Ferrari and in particular Fernando Alonso. He was out-qualified by Felipe Massa for the fifth time in six races and did not even make it in to Q3, as Massa qualified eighth.

The top ten was completed by two strong performances from Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo.

ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX, Yas Marina, Qualifying

1. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m39.957s
2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m40.075s +0.118s
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m40.419s +0.462s
4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m40.501s +0.544s
5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m40.542s +0.585s
6. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m40.576s +0.619s
7. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m40.997s +1.040s
8. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m41.015s +1.058s
9. Sergio Perez McLaren 1m41.068s +1.111s
10. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m41.111s +1.154s
11. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m41.093s +0.620s
12. Paul di Resta Force India 1m41.133s +0.660s
13. Jenson Button McLaren 1m41.200s +0.727s
14. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m41.279s +0.806s
15. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m41.395s +0.922s
16. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m41.447s +0.974s
17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m41.999s +1.306s
18. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m42.051s +1.358s
19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m43.252s +2.559s
20. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m43.398s +2.705s
21. Charles Pic Caterham 1m43.528s +2.835s
22. Max Chilton Marussia 1m44.198s +3.505s

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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

kimi starts from pit lane so that the team can retrim the car for overtaking

question is , what is the best tyre to start on if he is to attempt a one stopper ?


Wow – 1m39.9!!

Stunning thinking on the fly performance by Webber – dialing-in just the right amount of front wing on a cooling track.


Great lap from Mark! Perhaps a candidate James for the ‘perfect lap’? I don’t think he can hold Vettel off in the race but hope I am wrong. Also what about that lap from Ricciardo in Q2 – pulled that stonker from absolutely nowhere. Looking forward to seeing what he can do in a Red Bull next year…


The three drivers I support cover the grid completely, that is Webber right in front, Alonso right in the middle and Kimi right at the back. Will be a jolly good race. Looking forward to Dhabi tonight.

Too many drivers were really off the line with four wheels.

FIA are closing two eyes. But the cars looked good offline, like some wild animal chasing its prey down. I enjoyed that though.


Great to see Mark on pole in Abu Dhabi…only 3yrs late.

Let’s hope #13 can be lucky for him.


I believe they’ve planned a 4 stop race for mark…… And kimi will come in on lap 5 for a tyre change and will expect to complete the gp on those. Gotta love red bull and lotus!


Any news on how they are going to screw mark out of the win this time


I think you’ll find he can mess it up all on his own.


RB engineer 1: Lefty loosey, righty tighty, wasn’t it?

RB engineer 2: Nah, that SCREW doesn’t need to go in…

Engineer 2 goes out the back, removes fake rubber face to reveal Dr. (HM) Evil.


That qualifying session confirmed my theory that McLaren should get rid of Button and replace him with Hulkenberg. You won’t win a championship with either Button or Perez, but Perez brings money into the team and is basically as fast as Button.

Hamilton beaten again by Rosberg, embarrassingly Massa beats Alonso again. I know Webber beat Vettel, but that’s twice in 17 races and 6 days after Vettel wrapped up the championship. Vettel has nothing to prove.

People like to talk about this being a really strong era, but I have my doubts about it being any stronger than 10 years ago.

Also, would be nice if people stop looking at Ferrari’s performance and saying Alonso didn’t have a chance this year. Ferrari was on balance the best car up until at least Montreal, but Vettel still managed to build a lead on Alonso. Up until Spa the Red Bull was only the car to beat at Bahrain and Montreal.

It’s clear that Ferrari long ago decided to dedicate resources to 2014. For the first half of the season Alonso had the machinery but couldn’t consistently convert it into wins. Too many errors in both qualifying and races. Right now he might not have the machinery, but he should be obliterating Massa who has had no business being in a top team (let alone the biggest team) since 2011.


Race strategies: (a) Webber’s clutch ‘misbehaves’ off the line, SV leads all the way, situation normal. (b) Webber actually gets the thing off the line and leads; RB pulls him in first on a three-stop, SV gets the ‘undercut’, two-stops and wins, situation normal. Strategy courtesy Dr HM. Let’s see. Anyway, congratulations to Webber, not a bad effort for someone about to retire from F1 and apparently struggling for motivation!


Unbelievable to see Vettel so angry with himself in the final Q3 lap

This guy has won the World Championship not a week ago, and still kicks himself hard for such a small mistake

Amazing when I would have though he would come here still on a hangover, and it was almost like it was day 1

Ither driver’s must step up their game, or he will be impossible to beat for many years to come

Lachlan Mackinnon

Bloody disappointing re stewards decision on Raikkonen! Not sure how the same explanation by Lotus got Grosjean off during the Hungary GP. I’d like to think there’s more to it that we the punter are not informed about (or is it simply different stewards placing their interpretation on the situation??)…..frustrating that we have one less real competitive package running against RB this weekend 🙁


Great job Mark. Well done.

Alexander Supertramp

Seb’s eyes are on the Ascari record, I doubt Webber will get a sniff of victory. Perhaps in Brazil like they did in 2011, but not tomorrow.


Really expected Kimi to put on some real pressure tomorrow as he was very quick and consistent in the long runs…. especially towards the end of stints when others had to nurse their tyres.

Ah well, we’re just going to have to see him fight through the field.


Why do people think Hamilton was four tenths up on pole when he crashed? I’ve got him a tenth off Webber after the first two sectors.


Mainly because most of them haven’t got a clue what they’re looking at.

Tornillo Amarillo

Red Bull should regret to sign RICCIARDO instead of HULK…

Wait a minute… they can do it anyway!

They can change their minds! (They did it before).

Tornillo Amarillo

Where’s BUTTON, and where the people who was bashing PEREZ?

Go PEREZ Champion 2015.


It’s amazing how quiet it gets sometimes 😉

Tornillo Amarillo

Is it predictable…?

VETTEL will win for the records, maybe 2nd WEBBER.

ROSBERG and HAMILTON just bringing the car home for the Constructor’s.

GROSJEAN trying hard for a podium, I don’t think he could.


Wow !! Ferrari are really going through the F1 excuse book to keep coming up with gems like ‘its the circuit not the car’

Looking ahead to 2014 its difficult to see how a team so much on its backfoot at such a late stage in the current season, can turn things around and become the standard bearer in a little over four months. Regulation change or not this is an organisation in a death spiral and its starting to smell like the late eighties all over again.

I doubt Alonso’s lost his motivation, its just that he’s going nowhere fast and he’s at the end of a season where for whatever reason the team he leads on track, is going backwards at an alarming rate.

On the other hand its good to see Felipe having a good run of results and maybe one or both of them can do something special in the race. However leading from the front is but a distant memory and without serious reform as an organisation, Ferrari are going nowhere fast.


Kimi relegated to back of grid. …..sad. ….as lotus n kimi looked fast……even vettel said lotus looked exceptionally quick


Many ppl on other forums predicted mark would get pole now seb has won the WC. Alot of dodgy stuff goes on behind the scenes. And James if you really believe marks been getting equal treatment at RB, you are deluded. Also look at how well massa and roman are doing all of a sudden. Coincidence?


Webber pole on a track where pole has never won…. oh dear. and alonso with his curse of showing of how many points he has got on his helmet to never score another point again……


pole lap three years too late…

Imagine Webber did this lap back in 2010.

Vettel would have beaten a world champion three times in a row: 2011, 2012, 2013.


Not only that but the spin in Korea and the clash in Turkey.

Webber would have had a few regrets at the end of 2010, but it was still a very respectable effort.

Besides, as it stands Vettel has beaten a collection of world champions four years in a row.


This was my thought too. Oh if only 🙁


Impressive analytical skills you have there.


Funny isn’t it, how Webber’s car is suddenly faster once Seb’s WDC is in the bag. It will be interesting to see if RB will give him the right clutch settings for these last few races.


Did you see those weird lights hovering above the track? They are inhabited by aliens I tell you.


You sound a bit cynical to me – I think we might have something in common 😉


And turn the Bunsen burner off in his KERS unit?


It is me or a lot of people is missing the sarcasm you have written?


Very impartial of you James


That’s wicked James, lol.


Straight for the jugular James lol…nice 🙂


That’s a bit low james, I wonder what chris horner would say if he heard you say that?! You might want to take that back


Crofty on sky has just commented on massa saying “I thinl he’s played 2nd fiddle far too long” shame james isn’t so brave talking about his fave driver alonso like that! Irony yes


WEAK from you max! James could well be using sarcasm. If he’s not, people like me applaud his courage:-)

We live in a world where we see people lack the courage of their convictions all across the board for fear of rocking the boat so they can get the next promotion.

Well done James for not worrying about your invite to the next Redbull party.


Irony is alive and well



What is your take on these Vettel vs Webber technical gremlins “conspiracy theory”?

It is hard to believe that on this level they would pull tricks like these…


What is Alonso up too?

Anyone think he will be at ferrari next year?


My theory?

He throws in the towel on Saturdays, so he can look like a hero and candidate for DOTD on Sundays when he finishes P5 from P11 or P15 start. Or to get praised for his positions gained at starts.

How can you become WDC when you don’t know what the front row looks like?


And what’s your reasoning for Massa qualifying behind Alonso 9 times this season?

Trying to get fired from Ferrari?


Par for the course. He can’t out qualify him 100%.

Look, I’m not saying it’s a bullet proof theory. But what I am saying is that the car maybe can do better than alonso makes it do.

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