Webber pips Vettel to Abu Dhabi pole

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina Circuitae

Mark Webber has taken pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, trouncing team mate and World Champion Sebastian Vettel. Nico Rosberg qualified 3rd and will start alongside his teammate from row 2 on tomorrow's grid.

Track temp at the start of qualifying is 36°C. 11 degrees cooler than practice. Ambient is 32 and falling slowly. This means the car's behaviours may again be considerably different while the behaviour of the tyres will be different as well.

The first cars appear out on track on the medium tyres, trying to get through without wasting a soft set. Rosberg initially sets the pace, ahad od Hamilton, Perez, Raikkonen, Vergne, Ricciardo and Alonso. Vettel and Webber meanwhile are the only drivers still in the garage at the halfway mark.

4 minutes from the end, Vettel and Webber put in their first times, getting out immediately on the soft tyres. This immediately triggered all other cars on track as well, knowing that they'll be unable to get through on the mediums.

The result is a very busy final few minutes where Hamilton eventually went fastest, 6 tenths ahead of Massa, followed by Raikkonen, Maldonado, Alonso, Rosberg, Grosjean, Webber, Hulkenberg, Di Resta and Vettel. On the other hand, eliminated are Gutierrez, along with Sutil, Van der Garde, Bianchi, Pic and Chilton. Bianchi will however take a 5 place grid penalty due to a gearbox change following his crash in FP3.

As Q2 kicks off, Paul Di Resta is the first man out on track. He records a 1:41.477. Button then goes a bit slower while Hulkenberg slices off three tenths of that. This time, everybody is out early to have a run.

Halfway into the session, both Mercedes cars are ahead and closely matched. Vettel is third fastest, followed by Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Massa, Grosjean, Webber, Vergne, Di Resta. In the danger zone are Alonso, Riciardo, Maldonado, Bottas, Button and Perez.

In the closing moments, Button improves to 9th while Alonso makes a mistake on his first lap. Ricciardo moves up into 5th. Webber moved up into 3rd while Vettel and the Mercedes cars did no second run anymore.

Alonso's second run was free of mistakes, but he still ended up in 11th, behind Massa who just got through to Q3. The Spaniard though is eliminated, along with Di Resta, Button, Vergne, Maldonado and Bottas.

In Q3 the running starts early as well with everybody going for the soft tyres. Only Massa stays in. Vettel soon emerges on top, three tenths up on Rosberg. Hamilton is third, ahead of Raikkonen, Webber, Grosjean, Hulkenberg. Ricciardo and Sergio Perez are next as they only ran one lap, returning to the pits before setting a time.

For the final laps, Massa finally leaves the pits as well.

Webber is the first on track for the second attempt, going purple in S1 and S2 to take first. Rosberg is unable to improve on that while Hamilton spins off. Vettel improves but not enough to take pole, putting Webber on pole.

Results

Pos.No.DriverTeamQ1Q2Q3
12Mark WebberRed Bull Racing-Renault1:41.5681:40.5751:39.957
21Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault1:41.6831:40.7811:40.075
39Nico RosbergMercedes AMG1:41.4201:40.4731:40.419
410Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:40.6931:40.4771:40.501
57Kimi Räikkönen (*)Lotus-Renault1:41.2761:40.9711:40.542
611Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari1:41.6311:40.9311:40.576
78Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1:41.4471:40.9481:40.997
84Felipe MassaFerrari1:41.2541:40.9891:41.015
96Sergio PerezMcLaren-Mercedes1:41.6871:40.8121:41.068
1019Daniel RicciardoSTR-Ferrari1:41.8841:40.8521:41.111
113Fernando AlonsoFerrari1:41.3971:41.093
1214Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1:41.6761:41.133
135Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1:41.8171:41.200
1418Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Ferrari1:41.6921:41.279
1516Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1:41.3651:41.395
1617Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1:41.8621:41.447
1712Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1:41.999
1815Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1:42.051
1921Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1:43.252
2022Jules Bianchi (*)Marussia-Cosworth1:43.398
2120Charles PicCaterham-Renault1:43.528
2223Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth1:44.198

* Jules Bianchi was demoted from 20th to 22nd following a gearbox change on his car between FP3 and Qualifying
* Kimi Raikkonen was excluded from qualifying for a technicality, requiring him to start the race from the back of the grid