F1 Winter Break
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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The funny part on a F1 forum I am part of was that in Q1 and Q2 everyone was posting how Vettel was over the lines with 4 wheels in the last 2 corners and those laps should be disqualified.

The FIA stated going over the white lines in the last 2 corners was not allowed and would be penalized.

Then Webber got the pole by going way over the lines with 4 wheels and everyone congratulated him, no mention of it. Same with the Sky commentators btw, none mentioned it while it was very clear with multiple replays even. So suddenly everyone went blind when the guy doing it wasn't Vettel.

Ironic that the only guy in the top 4 that followed the rules when setting their fastest time and stayed with all 4 wheels on track in the last 2 corners was Vettel, losing time doing that.

Webber, Rosberg and Hamilton's fastest laps should have been dismissed for leaving the track, like 6 drivers' fastest laps in GP2 were.


The officials would have needed to start penalising drivers from Q1. No good starting it in Q3.


You know what is funny? Your post is the first post in this thread and you say that fans are silent. Do you not think it is funny you say it? Which posts did you read? I actually went through the thread...and see people indeed question this fact. You just see what you want to see.


Interesting....I was not paying attention. So why is not Webber punished?


I'd be careful of your understanding of all four wheels off the track, and how and when it is applied! I suspect that all four wheels have to be clearly over the line (not touching it) to count and is it applied in qualifying or just the race?


They were clearly off the track, all 4 wheels at least 2 feet from the last white line.


Yes you're right, and they all seem to do it so perhaps it's permissible in qualifying, but not the race. - It's about gaining an advantage after all.


What a stupid comment! Haha. Were you watching Sky? They mentioned a good number of drivers going off the circuit on a good number of occasions. They were not interested in mentioning it with the intensity of the fight for pole as that was the concentration. Such a torrid comment that one!


If you read my comment properly I said they did not mention it when Webber did it getting pole. Which is factual which you also confirm they didn't. So mine is clearly not the "stupid comment", but yours is.


I guess your Sky feed was different to mine! Their commentary team mentioned the drivers leaving the track several times. They even made a joke about not talking about it anymore.

Incidentally the FIA, for some bizarre reason, had only decreed the car must remain on the circuit for the last corner, they didn't appear to be concerned about the 2nd last corner - no idea why.


I said they did not mention Webber doing it when he got the pole, even when the slow motion replays showed he clearly went over the white lines penultimate corner by a large margin.

Hamilton went way over the white lines in the last corner on the straight even and so did Rosberg. No word about it.


What about Q1 and Q2, when Vettel did cross the white lines [and leave the track at the last corner] and Hamilton didn't - were you howling with such righteous indignation then?
Vettel acolytes, such as yourself, only ever see and hear what they want too.
Throughout the entire qualifying session, Sky, were discussing the issue that has so irked you - not only during the commentary but also during the analysis in between qualifying sessions, as well as post qualifying. Yet somehow, that doesn't satisfy your [mod] view of the programme [mod]


Agreed, Rosberg is really coming into his own now and taking every opportunity to pummel Lewis into submission.

It augers well for next year. Close racing and and a real fight between two middle order contenders all season long.


This year Nico has done well but remember the car was designed around him; next year LH's car will be designed around his likes / tastes. It could be a different story then


No,the Sky commentators mentioned this at least regarding Massa,also they said Hamilton didn't go over the white line with 4 wheels.Truth is many went with 4 wheels outside the track in the last corner.


Haha couldn't have said it better myself. Thats what Brundle and the english media's do, tarnish Vettel at every opportunity but turn blind eyes to the likes of Webber and Hamilton, they do it in a subtle way as well so its not 100% obvious, its just like earlier in quali where Brundle was gassing on about how Vettel and Redbull wad the fastest car and driver, sounded all good and then says Vettel is the fastest with the exeption of Hamilton?!? I mean seriously what message was he trying to brain wash the british public? But anyway still it was a excellent lap by webber apart from the last 2 corner but then as you said most of them was going wide anyway, good job and a deserved pole, Webber at his best and actually 1 of the fastest driver out there, also nice job from Rosberg a solid lap that made Hamilton over push the car, and where the hell was Alonso?? Out qualified by Massa yet again? Who's he trying to kid that he's the best driver? He just doesn't have the raw speed, even Hamilton would destroy him now.


Comments like these are getting a little wearisome. If anything, they show ther posters bias FOR Vettel. Brundle & Co. were absolutely glowing in their appraisal of Vettel's first quali lap in Q3. They didn't believe anyone would be capable of topping his time. The superlatives were deserved and they were rightfully given.

To Tealeaf [and anyone else for that matter], who believes the British press are anti-Vettel and pro-Hamilton, have you ever given thought to fact you might instead be pro-Vettel and anti-Hamilton and hence you see [and hear] the F1 world through rose tainted glasses?

For the record, I do not follow any specific racer, nor team. I think Vettel is a tremendous racer, as I do Hamilton. And I also think Webber's pole lap was as good as I've ever seen him drive a quali lap.


Was a good lap but I think he's driven better laps.. Vettel lost a lot of time in turn 1 and probably would have beaten him on a clean lap . Anyhow, glad webbers on pole



Well said - even if you are wasting your time. Comments, like yours simply go over their heads - like an aeroplane 🙂


Little objectivity from those firmly entrenched in camp Vettel I'm afraid.

Though i am not British, in general I think their media is as balanced as any, even allowing for the shadow Murdoch casts.


Well said. It's what we're all thinking.


It'll be interesting to see how RB manage to screw MW's sstrategy to let VET through. Low revs at the start, an extra stop.... Pfffffff Vet wins tomorrow


As you've already seen even if vettel is behind Webber after the start he simply has too much pace for him, also low revs??? well I suggest Webber compensate by pressing the gas peddle a bit more... Whatever strategy Vettel is simply faster than Webber, the only question is how will Mercedes get Hamilton get ahead of Rosberg, if all else fails just use team orders...


Travesty if Nico Hulkenberg is not in F1 next year.. what a driver. Wish he was prompted next to Vettel in the Red Bull car...


Webber congrats! great lap, now we have a race on our hands, but please don't be hard on your tyres, otherwise an extra pit stop could ruin it.


James, given what the stewards said this weekend for qualifying about the last two corners... All the top 4 put their cars outside the racing line in the penultimate corner on their best laps.

Any investigation being done on that?


Alonso as well while they're at it. He was all over the place in the last 2 corners. Way more than anyone else.


Were they or did they just appear to be?


seems the outside of the track is determined by the outside white line - not the inside white line.


Webber from pole. I'd like to see that 😉


A win would be a lovely farewell gift.

Routing for Webbo tomorrow.


Mark will be "allowed" to win this time if he can keep all his ducks in a row. I hope it is a convincing performance as he throughly deserves a win this year.

Dare I say it Fernando should retire! This is an appalling performance by the driver who has been regarded as the most complete driver on the grid. He's demoralised or he's losing his touch - whatever he's not doing justice to Ferrari and his legion of fans, of which I am one.

What is the paddock view on the latter's performances James?


Agreed, with your first paragraph. Vettel has the championship, so unless RBR feel they want to put a cap on the points they have to pay for, strategists and analysts' call that Mark might win, actually have a possibility of coming true.

Unlike last week, when analysts calculated Webber had a chance of winning, while fans who had been watching the races, knew his car wasn't reaching the chequered flag before Seb became champion.


Yeap, Alonso out and Hulkenberg in the Ferrari, that would bring Ferrari forward and save some money...


Bet you Webber does not make the last lap.....


KIMI, if you are going to do the last two races, please stick with SWB, today you showed GRO his place for sure!

Both of them were affected by Yellow flags in S3, but still 4 tenths is a large gap. Even without the Yellows, GRO wouldn't have outpaced KIMI.


Even without the Yellows, GRO wouldn’t have outpaced KIMI..

Would he have outpaced him if his car was legal? Just sayin'


Kimi has been faster all weekend! yeah, FP1/3 GRO was faster, but time at which FP1/3 was run wasn't representative of Quali/race times.

Also, in Q1/2/3 Kimi and GRO were right up there very close, if anything Kimi seemed to have legs over GRO here!

Irony is, even GRO car was illegal in Hungary, however, he wasn't penalised over there and today Kimi is penalised for the same error on Lotus' part.

Just gives you an idea of how inconsistent stewards are from race to race!


I agree with you regarding the stewards inconsistency. But, my point still stands. It would appear Kimi has been driving an illegal car all weekend - if that is the case, comparisons in their relative performance are meaningless.


Well maybe the stewards are considering "the team" and feel that 2 times in a row is not a conicidence any longer?

I am the first one to jump up and down about unfair treatment and incosistancy but this seems more than fair to me...


So, if Kimi is unfortunately disqualified from qualifying for a flexy floor and has to start from the back, won't he just be dsq again after the race for the same thing?


Lotus will obviously fix it before the race start


Congrats to Seb. Just don't tell Mark!

As for Lewis ..................


Lewis car broke when he was on course to snatch pole (4/10ths up when it happened).

To put things in better perspective, his qualifying time was set on old tyres compared to those on new tyres all around him.


Not so sure about 0.4 up. Compared to Webber's pole lap, Hamilton's best two sectors were down by 0.116. He went off a few corner late so the wasn't time to make up 0.5 in that period.

The speed trap numbers for Hamilton were about 1 km/h more than Webber, with Vettel 4 km/h down on Webber.

Certainly, Hamilton is very good in the last sector and Webber traditionally isn't, so the possibility was real. However, Rosberg has shown himself to be good at Singapore and Abu Dhabi too - I remember 2011 at Abu Dhabi, which followed Schumacher besting Rosberg in India and then Rosberg dropping Schumacher significantly in the race - and Rosberg's fastest final sector was 0.15 better than Webber's. I suspect if Hamilron hadn't had the failure then at best if would have been a small margin for pole.


He'll have to run on those tires though, right?

Broken wishbone was the cause. The likes of Tommy and Tealeaf will of course overlook that fact. Par for the course.


Well, the tyres he set his previous Q3 lap on were already old. Lewis started the race on tyres that had already done 5 laps.


Yeah, first lap Q3 was an old set, used in Q2. At least that's what was reported.


What happens if the tyres that set the fastest lap are damaged, eg punctured after the lap was set?


No you only run on the tyres u set your fastest lap ie the prev Q3 lap


Does that mean he'll have to start on that very old set for the race? James?


It was on an old set.


Lewis 1st run Q3 was a new set I believe


No, not 4/10ths up on the leader, on his own previous time. And then adding the rest of the lap at rosbrrg times he might have managed third or second at very very best.

Strange how many others have fallen for this mistake, including Lewis himself.


he was 4/10 up on himself, not pole position.


Am I the only one that saw Hamilton running way too wide on his only fast fast lap on Q3?? Wasn't that supposed to be prohibited?


You are right about Lewis, but he wasn't the only one!


It is the 13th pole of Webber’s career


In some circles the number 13 is considered unlucky just like Webber Lol...

Anyway marvelous performance from aussiegrit for keeping it together and pouncing on a rare mistake from his teammate,

All the fans know Webber has it in him to give Vettel a run for his money as shown today but as always other things get in the way like consistency, poor starts, reliability etc

As for Vettel, I guess today's performance shows how good the car is for even with a mistake, he maintained a healthy gap on P3.

Well tried from Rosberg as the best of the best but a shame Lewis didn't make it to the line as his sector times indicate he could have fought for pole.

Encouraging display from Kimi's lotus and with it's strong race pace, all the iceman needs is a good start and it will be a beautiful race for the team.

Mighty fine job from the likes of Hulkenberg, Massa, Perez and Ricciardo especially for managing to get through to Q3. Hopefully their efforts will get rewarded with strong finishes.


If you were a betting house, what odds would you give for Webber bogging down at the start? Certainly not long odds!



I reckon Webber will have a decent start.

He tends to start fairly well from pole and considering his last DNF was at the last race, I would think this time around fortune would smile his way.


I hope he does. Just saying that if your money was on the line (you're the betting house) you wouldn't give long odds for a bad start. Would even say 3-1.


Well done Webber!!


Ive posted this before knowing wether ham had a car problem or not, so apologies if he did, but if he didn't this was pathetic, as a ham fan, he is just getting more and more frustrating to follow, for one of the supposed big four, but that reputation is getting harder to justify, for the second time this season in qualifying he cocks up, you can understand late breaking, locking up tyres etc, as you try to mullah a lap.but to go of twice, here and monza, is just not good enough, good luck to webber tomorrow


He had a rear wishbone failure... and you are not a true fan of any driver if you speak of them like you have just done in your comment. Hang your head in shame


Apologies rear wishbone failure


Yes, Lewis was actually four tenths up on pole when that happened.


Well, Lewis time was set on old tyres as well and he ended up only a tenth behind Rosberg, so he was doing quite well.


If you are correct that Lewis was 4/10ths up before his wishbone failure....I wonder how Nico can feel, that he was the best of the rest?


Why still no action taken for cars going off the white lines?!

James, any investigation?


Because all cars would be disqualified if they did.


Go Kimi! It's going to be a great victory.


Well, now it's a bit more difficult. But two safety cars and some luck it's possible 😀


... a really great victory now, from the back!


He is staring from last place. I will be surprised if he wins, but if he does, you are right - it will be truly great.


Kimi's excluded from quali as his car failed a floor test post Q3. Gonna be a miserable evening for the iceman tomorrow.


James, both Webber and Massa looked to be clean off the track rounding the last corner. Why are their laps allowed?


Inconsistency of Stewards!, All top 4 set their best times by violating track limits, and none of them are being investigated!


Fingers crossed for Mark tho I fear he will 6th at the first corner and retired when Seb wins.


"...behind an ever-improving Nico Hulkenberg who did no harm to his 2014 possibilities."

Unfortunately it looks like driving ability has been taken out of this equation. Whether Hulk gets to drive the Lotus depends on what funding they can raise.


I'm pretty sure it will come down to where they end up in the championship, for funding reasons of course. If they nick second I reckon the Hulk has a good shout.


I hope you're right, but I don't think they'll get second, I think third is all they can hope for.


Was it Vettel's frustration after crossing the line or his car was losing power with shake up?

Webber did a stunning step for the win tomorrow.

James, just curious, why Mr Newey is surprisingly on the pit wall this week as he is supposed to be in the base working on a new car?


he was there to meet a famous british yaughtsman to talk about an assult on the Americas cup. 😉 I wonder if Newey decides to persue the cup avenue who will design the future RBs and will they continue to dominate? but im just speculating....


He could stay in UK and do that...


He made a mistake on his final attempt. I guess that's why he was frustrated.

And how could you know what is best for red bull to do with newey? If he's in abu dhabi then that is the place they need him most.


We've been knowing it for a long time that 4 of the last RB Championship successes depended 90% on Newey & his technical team. What we don't know is why Mercedes sent out LH while he was sitting in a comfortable 2nd position during Q2.


...sounds like you know less than you think...


It was a precaution, they said so on the 'team radio' broadcast.

Valentino from montreal

Alonso made a comment a couple of days ago saying : `` Titles are'nt everything `` ...

Well Nando , with all the millions involved and all the money Ferrari and it's sponsors spend each year into their cars , you of all people should know titles ARE everything ...

Ferrari fired the wrong driver .....


Title are the objective of the sport, but it is still a sport and winning by crashing into other drivers as Prost, Senna and Schumacher did should be condemned. Winning compared to not winning is better, but it should be at the cost of dishonour. There are other things in life...

Jenson Button has also made the point that for him there is a bigger buzz from winning a race, while winning races is a different emotion.

The driver has a different perspective to the team in a way. The driver still gets the enjoyment of racing a car, be it for 1st or 10th. For a team like Ferrari, Alonso is going to get paid well either way. The team's view of success is more stark. If the team is not first and second on merit than clearly a better job could have been done. Fans of drivers will look at it differently from fans of teams.


"Titles aren't everything"

Let's put that in perspective:

Alonso: Can I have some cake?

Answer: No.

Alonso: I'd really like some cake.

Answer: No.

Alonso: Please?

Answer: No.

Alonso: Fine, I didn't want any anyway.

Who is he trying to fool?


I agree with your comment regarding Alonso - he is just trying to save face. However I am not so sure titles are a measure of greatness, at least not the only measure. For example Stirling Moss never won the WDC and he is often mentioned as one of the best. On the other hand Nelson Piquet, a 3 times champion, is rarely if ever mentioned in the same breath as the other top drivers.


Definitely not the only measure of greatness, but a good one.

I think that so many people remember Moss despite the fact that he never won a title speaks volumes for his popularity and talent and at the end of the day that kind of reputation might mean more to some than than a trophy, but I do think that for most drivers (the top ones at least) winning the championship has to be the ultimate goal.


Aren't you contradicting yourself there? You start by saying tiles are a measure of greatness, and finish by saying a 2 times champ is better than a 3 🙂


I think titles are a measure of greatness. You can win one or two when you shouldn't, but Vettel has four in succession.

Piquet has an ordinary win ratio (little worse than Alonso's) - Vettel has one of the best of all time. Piquet has an ordinary pole to race ratio (about the same as Alonso's) - Vettel has one of the best of all time.

You could even make a case for Alonso being the Piquet of this era, even though Alonso only has two championships compared to Piquet's three. IMO Alonso is better than Piquet (despite Piquet having three titles), but only a little better.

Tornillo Amarillo

MASSA seems to be good only under pressure. Ferrari cannot threat him year after year with the same story of the end of his contract, the surprise factor is just fading...


Lewis said something similar today!


To be honest. There should be a budget cap on driver salaries. I very much prefer the deal Kimi has done with Lotus:

3MIO € fixed salary + 50.000 € for each point.

This way big salaries are based upon performance and not perception.


Of course titles are everything, is Alonso just turning up to get his pay checks then? If thats the case why isn't Luca dragging him out by his ear out of the door.


I fully agree with you on your last point. The so called complete driver can't even qualify!

Ferrari has been blaming the Pirelli rubber for a while and now they are blaming the circuit!!!

Wonder what they will blame next time.


Thanks, James -- was able to get the qualy news at 8:00 this morning and NBC doesn't broadcast the session until 10:30. This is a perfect example of how they are messing up the fan base over here in the States. The good thng, though, is we now have the morning free to do more important stuff than watch old news - but I repeat myself.


Best bet is to watch it on NBC Sports Extra, it's always live on there.


Really appreciate all of the perspectives, thoughts and options. Will see what we can locate on our provider (a local quasi-public utility). We do have a significant number of spanish language channels that I've never checked out. THX again.


it's available live and ad free on univision.


Excuse me, how does one get this univision?


it's one of the Spanish language channels on dish network.

the commentary is in Spanish, but even for a non Spanish language speaker, the commentary can be quite amusing, particularly when you realise how many words don't have a Spanish equivalent (push rod, pull rod and safety car are ago spoken in English by the commentators )


It was shown live on CNBC.

But I agree that moving it around to other NBC channels in deference to other sports like the Tour de France and soccer isn't helping grow the base.


Appreciate the comment.

FWIW, as of 9:30 p.m. on Friday evening the local cable 'channel guide' did not show anything on any of the other channels before the 10:30 a.m. Saturday airing on NBCS. Guess you may be in a better part of the country or we just didn't know where to look. Would have been good for the information to be posted on the programing guide. --Thanks


Haha. I live in Southern Maryland 20 miles past the sign that says "Thar be dragons." Our cable system and it's guide are horrid.

However after nearly missing a qualy session earlier in the season, whenever I turn on NBCSports expecting to see F1 and it's not there I just switch over to CNBC.


Alonso once again alonso fails to get the best out of the car and shows his deficiency. He blames the car after every session, but one can see this is not the case, I wish some reporters would stop going on about how good he is!! He needs to accept vettel has beaten him fair and square this season.


It is about the car really. You have to find a balance between performance in qualifying and performance in the race. Its very clear that on race day the setup of Massa most of the times is far inferior than Alonso's setup as laptimes show. Yesterday difference between FM and FA in Q2 was just a tenth so lets not make to quick a conclusion that FA's lap was bad.


Forget about VET MAS is beating him... What is the quali record now?


9/8 to Alonso I think.

I also think Massa might actually end up winning that one.


Massa is a very good qualifier. I don't think one should underestimate his one lap pace.


For the first time in all these years, I have the feeling that Alonso lacks motivation for the last few races.

I wished he left Ferrari. I don't like that house. Will I love Ferrari if Alonso stars winning championships with then. No, I will continue to support and admire Alonso. Should he not win the champioship in 2014, I reckon he should move to somewhere else.


So Alonso blaming the car for not making the top 10 is justified is it? Was Massa behind him then?


If the car has a consistent margin to get into Q3 then the drivers don't have to take risks. If your car is marginal on pace then it comes down to whether is worth using all three sets to get into Q3 or trying to save a set of options to run in Q3. When you consider how rarely it is that a driver delivers two times that are basically the track evolution apart in Q3, a mistake free lap on demand every time is hard to do.

The car performance wasn't there and the driver made a small mistake anticipating the grip level and the tyre performance wasn't quite there.

The reality is that this is more about Alonso massaging his ego and the favourite driver of f1 followers than anything unusual. It is plausible that Massa got nearly everything out of the car for Q2. Alonso was 0.1 slower. No big deal in reality - look at the gaps between other team mates. The car clearly isn't as good in qualifying spec as some others lacking low speed downforce. The best laps possible weren't going to be the Lotus. Big deal.


Your words are argumemted. About motivarion, about analyed risks, about the strategy with new tyres. I wish more people here have such deep thinking.


Re-read Max's post. He believes Alonso is lacking motivation. All F1 Drivers have egos. All of them.

You reckon Alonso is going to come out and say he lacks motivation now? Of course not. So ego dictates he will blame the car.


I think in his head, he's already gone... perhaps to McLaren?


What happened to the "No going off track" business? I saw several drivers, including Webber on his pole lap, putting all four wheels off track. I don't really have a problem with drivers doing this but it's silly for the FIA to announce a crackdown on it and then let it slide.


The FIA are an absolute disgrace. They have proved time and again that they are an incompetant, useless bunch when it comes to consistent, on-the-spot decision making. The sport would be far better off without it.


No point Webber getting pole. He's certain to lose 3 or 4 places at the start. Going to gift someone the lead.


The perfect lap...congrats.


Looked very smooth via the on board camera.


Vettel said he didnt make any mistakes. Webber just had more pace, he said in the press conference.


The opposite: Vettel said he made a mistake and he apologized for it to the team. He said Webber deserved it because Webber made no mistakes.


hook line and sinker lol..


Made no sense because you made a mistake.


...with the inevitable reply...


Vettel didn't make a mistake??? What was you watching then? Also even on his first lap the first 2 sectors were a bit of a mess, it just wasn't a great quali maybe you should worry about why Alonso, Hamilton and Button are all behind their team mates.


Yes he did turn 1 went wide off track!


Vettel said he messed up first corner.


He ran miles wide into T1 and told the team so over the radio.


I can see Kimi winning this race!


Yes, yes! I can see it too. It's going to be epic.


James any update from lotus is kimi going to start in the pit or back of grid? Are they gonna try what RB did with seb last year...take the car out of parc ferme and give kimi some longer gears for top speed


Yes. They will start from the pit lane and thus be able to trim downforce levels and change gear ratios for better overtaking

Watch him come through the field!


Don't dreame! They find something to ruin his drive.


They just did:-)


He said Kimi, not Webber.


I am just curious about the Ferrari form and specifically Alonso.

Why is Ferrari moving backwards? Do they understand why and it is OK considering their focus on 2014? Or everything they bring is not working therefore creating a serious issue for 2014?

Alonso...he completely lost it vs Massa. What happened really? Does he struggle more with new tyres, just like Kimi vs Grosjean?

Very interesting....


The main problem area is low speed downforce and the dominant factor there is the exhaust. So it isn't a big issue in itself for 2014. The wind tunnel issues that Ferrari has had could be a longer term problem as the Ferrari one is only due back on line now. If the Toyota tunnel is good enough then it comes down to how good the design team is and the power train.

And I agree with what Yago wrote too. Even in Suzuka, it seemed to be a one off lap from Massa, getting everything right.


ferrari has fallen out of love with Alonso during the summer break.

Massa is now getting the car that was supposed to be Alonso's and Alonso is driving around in Massa's car. And that is how it will be next season with Kimi being the no 1 driver. They want Alonso gone but he has a contract.


Hahaha funny man. They (Ferrari) have a fight going on with Mercedes and Lotus for 2nd position in the championship. There is still some money involved in that.


Ferrari: nothing new in the car since... This circuit is very bad for them (last sector...). But they were pretty competitive in India.

Alonso: nothing wrong with him. Maybe he is not in super form, but he is ok. Here it was just a mistake. Then on tyres with two laps he did a time within hundreths of Massa's, who did not do a mistake and did the time with new tyres. This means he has the speed, and that last lap was indeed very good.

Just a week ago, in India, he did the third total best qualifying time. Corea good qualifying also, Singapore and Monza thousands from Massa. The only time he struggled was in Suzuka.

No driver is unbeatable. Look at Hamilton vs Rosberg. The thing is, Ham vs Ros is a lot of ups and downs, they beat each other by quite large gaps sometimes. When Alonso is beaten, it's just by a few thousands or hundreds (except Suzuka). So as I said, he is ok.

Just one last thing: don`t understimate Felipe Massa's speed. I keep repeating it.


Funny how Massa always seems to find speed at the end of the season when it's contract time...


Funny how When Ferrari needs Massa for the constructors he finds form!


Massa driving very wel, really outperforming Alonso in qualifying at the moment. Good to see the short wheelbase car suiting raikkonen much better


Unfortunately the iceman has been excluded from qualifying and sent to the back of the grid after his Lotus failed a floor test.


" ... Prior to this race Vettel had taken pole here twice as had Lewis Hamilton, but both made mistakes at the decisive moment in Q3 ... "

Hamilton did not make a mistake. His car failed.


"MERCEDES AMG F1Verified account


We can now confirm that a right-rear wishbone failed on Lewis' car. We hope to repair the damage under parc ferme."


"Hamilton did not make a mistake. His car failed."

How can you say that? Mercedes does not say that.

They don't why it failed.


Actually, no, Sky's Ted Kravitz on his post-qualifying walkaround, repeated Mercedes admission that something, suspension I think, had broken on Lewis car to cause it to fail.

Only Anthony Davidson on the Skypad ignored Lewis' comment that something had broken, to put it down to the driver making a mistake under pressure.

Believe what you want though.


What a qualifying this was. Webber beating Vettel, Rosberg ahead of Hamilton. Kimi faster than Grosjean. Hulkenberg, still without a drive for next season, shining once more. Massa once again showing Alonso. Button behind Perez...not a good day for 1st drivers altogether. I, of course, assume in Lotus' case that they now favor Grosjean.

Now the race might bring even more surprises. Still would put my wager on Vettel if I were a betting man. Yet Kimi in closer to the front than usual and might make 2 in the row here. Mercedes will likely drop down the order, so I can't see a win from them. Grosjean seems a bit too far down to be a pick for the win. So that's Vettel, Kimi and Webber with the best shot at the win. I included Webber yet don't truly believe he will get it unless It goes wrong somehow for his teammate. My apologies to Webber's fan.

Hope the Lotus is as good tomorrow as it has looked since Friday. Marc


Hi James, I think you need to add a correction, as Ross Brawn confirmed that Lewis Hamilton's spin was caused by a right rear wishbone failure.


James - given all Championships are won is it now gloves off between the RB drivers? - Ie any team orders are ignored?


In truth it's probably been that way for a while - it's just a question of how close they get to each other on the track.


haha as if anyone was obeying team orders before both champions were done and dusted.


It has sinced been established that their was a technical problem on Lewis's car which caused the car to step out suddenly. Up to that point he was 4 tenths up on his previous Q3 time which would have aleast given him third with a possibility of second by a whisker if his sector 3 time also improved. Unfortunate but that's racing. As to whether Mercedes will be able to maintain or improve there position remains to be seen with the Lotus threat. I suspect it will be another Vettel win but anything can happen particularly if Lotus do a one stop strategy.


Congrats to Webber.

Massa went off the track in Q1 on his fastest lap there, Rosberg in Q2 on his fastest lap, Hulkenberg and Hamilton in his first Q3-run as well....

Also Webber was with all 4 wheels behind the white line on his fastest lap...

Charlie said, this time he will punish that as long as your name isn't Vettel *g*


Vettel is world champion and the very first race after that Webber grasps pole thus outqualifying Vettel for the first time this year. Also the great advantage RB had over the rest of the field is suddenly gone. Have all the others (except for Ferrari.....) caught up or is this RB suddenly dropping back. Im curious if it is only this circuit.


No, I think it's a conspiracy. That's the most likely explanation.


Maybe now they have the championships sewn up there are 2014 items they can test? I know the cars are going to be completely different, but they may be some things they can play around with.



I had the same thought


Alonso does everything to be kicked out of Ferrari!


Right rear wishbone broke on lewis's car. So called it right.


Very costly mistake there by Hamilton. He could have taken pole since he was up by half a second from his previous lap. Anyone can explain me why Ham is out in q2 for 2nd run while Vet who is slower than him and Ros who is up only by 4/1000 sitting in their pit.

I think he will start race with the q2 tire which is why I am much worried.

Hopefully Web will have a trouble free race and present proper challenge for Vet.


Is it confirmed JA that he'll have to start on those old tires? Or could he be allowed to run on the ones he was on when he spun? He was up on his previous time. Probably not. Guess he'll be the first in.


OK I get what you mean. I guess his first run in Q3 was on tires he also used in Q2.


Note also ham only did an out lap on those tyres


*in Q2 I mean before that Q3 run


All drivers reaching Q3 have to start on the tire they set their fastest Q3 lap on.

Alexander Supertramp

Mercedes also took pole in Spa.

Anyone knows whether Lewis was on a good lap when he spun?


He could possibly challenge webber and would in worst case probably be ahead of vettel.. maybe.


I have read 4 tenths up on pole, but I don't have any reliable source.


I think Alonso's mind is already on 2014, he'd rather go on holiday now and skip the FIA gala so he doesn't have to watch Vettel getting his WC prize, I suppose...

Colombia Concalvez

James why don't you mention that Hamilton was more then 4/10th up on his hot lap ?. And Hamilton had a car problem, now it sounds like it was Hamilton's fault, i really don't like that.


Do we know if Hamilton was up 4 10ths on webber or his own best lap? I didn't see anything saying Hamilton was faster but may have missed it?


Hamilton was not 4/10ths up, I don't know where people are getting that information from.


S1: 17.675. S2: 42.339


S1: 17.729 S2: 42.401


Thanks for this. I'm guessing you got that from the FIA's fastest quali sector times (if not, would like to know where you got it).

Adding his best S3 time would make 1:40.090, only good for 3rd. If he matched Rosberg in S3 (1:39.985), it would've been 2nd. Would've had to beat Rosberg's S3 time by an extra 0.041 to take pole. Doable as Lewis is strong in S3.


From the F1 Timing App.


He was 4/10 up on himself, but still about 1/10 slower than web after 2 sectors. With a good final sector he could challenge webber and quite possibly be ahead of vet.


Well maybe Webber gets to win this one.

P.S. James I hope you can watch Arsenal vs Liverpool


Looking for a TV now!


Are you a Reds fan JA? I am. Let's just say, you'll be thinking back to last week's win over WBA.


Congrats to Webber for a well deserved pole, I hope he wins the race.

Lewis didn't slip up. Rather he was four tenths up on the pole time when the rear end of his car broke, therefore his final qualifying time was set on old tyres (a tenth behind Rosberg's set on new tyres).

Lets hope his care can be fixed on time for the race.


Lewis wasn't 4 tenths up on pole. I was watching live timing. His lap was 2 tenths slower than mark in the first two sectors before his car problems. He looked like p3, maybe p2 if he pulled a great last sector though I doubt it.


He was 4/10ths up on his previous lap time from Q3- so on target to beat Rosberg and be very close to Vettel


So how do you then factor in his ability in the last sector? All accounts say the Mercedes and historically Lewis ,is mighty in S3. Unfortunately didn't watch the practices so can't really say.


He was 4/10 up on himself, not pole position. Web was still faster than him at that point.


Pretty sure the rear end of the car broke because he ran over a curb. That's racing.


Well,Kimi won´t win again tomorrow 🙁



So Kimi gets thrown back to the grid for the same offence Romain committed in Hungary (and got a free pass on), because the team fails to fix the issue. Something is really wrong with the team...


So Kimi gets penalised for damage caused on the circuit because it was deemed avoidable (stewards claim the floor should have been modified to avoid damage) but going wide off the circuit was deemed ok because? What running wide is unavoidable. Give me a break.


This is gutting. Just when we had a race to enjoy.. FIA step in to take it away.


And with the logic of the FIA. inconsistent and incompetant as usual.


It is also a bit strange that, since you have separate WCC and WDC classifications, that some drivers get punished for team errors when others don't. I understand the team getting punished for not fixing the issue after the first instance, but how can it be that different drivers get treated differently?


It's a shame Kimi is penalised and sent to the back of the grid. But I am sure he will end up in points with a one stop strategy.


Luca, your stable is in shambles. Can you confirm that you understand the level of disaray?

Vettel will be in lead by the first corner. Mark will be battling with Bianchi after another trademark start.


The horse is broken, it needs to be taken out to the back of the paddock and shot to put it out of its misery.

Funny how horse racing and F1 are that close sometimes.


Kimi disqualified due to a technical infringement according to bbc


Well done Webber. I wonder whether Raikkonen will race at all tomorrow. If I was him, I would not bother at all having to start from the back of the grid.


Consistency and logic?? - Just found this on another website about Abu Dhabi qualy:

Kimi Raikkonen has been excluded from qualifying after his Lotus car failed a front floor deflection test after the session. Raikkonen, who had qualified fifth, will be allowed to start from the back of the grid.

Lotus argued that the floor broke after contact with a kerb, but the stewards believed the impact did not constitute an "accident" and therefore was not a valid excuse for failing the test. At the Hungarian Grand Prix, Lotus successfully argued that a failed floor deflection test was due to accident damage, but in this case the excuse was not accepted.


Naughty boy, Kimi. Don't swear on air. Don't rock F1's PR boat. Go and stand in the corner until the rest of the boys have gone. Or am I being cynical?

I'm not particularly a Kimi fan - I'm not particularly a fan of any of the current drivers, with the possible exception of Nico Hukenberg - but I hope that fast-Kimi-with-nothing-to-lose comes out to play tomorrow to give us something to watch when Webber's KERS/tyres/strategy lets him down.


Kimi was in great position to fight for the win tomorrow then.. BANG! It's the back of the grid for him. The worst part is Grosjean skated in Hungary for the exact same thing, but Kimi takes the 17 grid penalty for it. UGH!!!!!!!! He can't get out of Lotus fast enough it would seem.


And amazingly the ICEMAN has just been dq'd. Finally he get quali right and the team have made a mess of it. Complete joke.


Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen will start Sunday’s 2013 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from the back of the grid after his car failed a post-qualifying floor deflection test at Yas Marina.

What Lotus is trying to achieve with Kimi?

Do they like to punish him?

Does he really deserve such attitude from the team by doing the best out of him?


Man, be serious. Lotus needs 20 million that is the difference between 4th and 2nd andeven if they hate Kimi, they need maximum points from both drivers. Think again...harder this time.


You are correct, of course, Lotus doesn't sabotage Kimi and people who think otherwise are just letting their bias cloud their reasoning.

However, something is wrong with the team when they don't fix issues that they've been called to talk the stewards about before. They need to get their act together if they want to beat the bigger teams.


who is accountable for machinery at Lotus? Permane?


But this is entirely different discussion...they did nothing intentional to punish Kimi


Great consistency, Kimi punished for something Grosjean was not punished for.

Ahead of qualifing it was made clear that it was not tolerated to leave the track in the last corner, Hamilton and possibly others did that but is not punished. This is just ridicolous.


I believe they didn't see it as an unfortunate mistake the second time around.


Kimi was disqualified for a scrutineering infraction - his car floor failed a deflection test (at least that's what the BBC are saying).


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.


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...


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.


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......


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?


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


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.

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.

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

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).


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.


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.

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.


Great job Mark. Well done.

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 🙁


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


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!


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.


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.


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!


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

Let's hope #13 can be lucky for him.


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 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...


Wow - 1m39.9!!

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


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 ?

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