Webber beats Vettel to Abu Dhabi pole
2 November 2013 – Mark Webber came out on top in a qualifying fight with Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel to claim pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Australian, who posted a time of 1:39.957, sealed the top spot by just over one tenth, with Mercedes duo Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton locking out the second row of the grid.
As the final shootout got underway, it was initially Vettel – one of only two drivers along with Rosberg to have two fresh sets of the Option rubber available – who set the pace. A benchmark of 1:40.091 looked set to hand the newly-crowned quadruple World Champion his 44th career pole, but it was all change at the front on the final runs.
Having made some minor front wing adjustments between Q2 and Q3, Webber hooked up arguably his best lap of the season to clock a 1:39.957 and take the top spot away from Vettel. The latter did his best to respond, but could shave only a few thousandths off his previous effort and was forced to settle for second position.
Rosberg led Mercedes' charge in third, with Hamilton spinning out on his final flying lap. Kimi Räikkönen, running the shorter wheelbase Lotus, edged out an inspired Nico Hülkenberg for fifth, with team-mate Romain Grosjean four tenths further back.
Felipe Massa salvaged eighth for Ferrari after Fernando Alonso posted only the 11th fastest time in Q2 and failed to progress to the shootout, while McLaren's Sergio Pérez and Toro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo completed the top ten grid positions.
Jenson Button was another high-profile name to fall at the second hurdle, with the McLaren driver complaining of a major change in car balance between final practice and the start of qualifying. Force India's Paul di Resta, the second Toro Rosso of Jean-Éric Vergne and the two Williams drivers also dropped out at this stage.
In Q1, Esteban Gutiérrez and Adrian Sutil were the biggest eliminees, while Giedo van der Garde narrowly outpaced Jules Bianchi to put Caterham ahead of Marussia. The Frenchman will drop behind Charles Pic and team-mate Max Chilton, however, after the stewards apply his five-place grid penalty for a post-practice gearbox change.
Saturday evening's 55-lap race at the Yas Marina Circuit gets underway at 5pm local time (GMT +4) and can be tracked via the GPUpdate.net live report feature