Mark Webber claimed his first pole position of the season – and his first since Korea last year – with a superb performance in qualifying in Japan on Saturday afternoon.
The Australian got the better of Red Bull team mate Sebastian Vettel, who suffered from intermittent KERS issues in Q3. Webber had set the pace in Q1 at Suzuka with 1m 32.271s as he took the honours away from Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who in turn had displaced Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
Webber actually set two times that were quick enough for pole position in Q3; his first lap of 1m 30.975s quicker than Vettel’s two efforts of 1m 31.312s and 1m 31.089s, and his second an improved 1m 30.915s.
As the Red Bulls wrapped up the front row, Hamilton improved from 10th place to third with his last-gasp lap of 1m 31.253s, moving Grosjean across to the outside of the second row on 1m 31.365s.
Massa once again outgunned Ferrari team mate Alonso, as the Brazilian set the fifth-best time of 1m 31.378s and the Spaniard could only manage 1m 31.665s for eighth. In between them came Nico Rosberg in the other Mercedes on 1m 31.397s and Sauber’s impressive Nico Hulkenberg on 1m 31.644s.
|01.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing||1:30.915||13|
|02.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing||1:31.089||13|
|03.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas||1:31.253||17|
|04.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1||1:31.365||21|
|05.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari||1:31.378||17|
|06.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas||1:31.397||17|
|07.||Nico Hulkenberg||Sauber F1||1:31.644||19|
|08.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari||1:31.665||16|
|09.||Kimi Raikkonen||Lotus F1||1:31.684||19|
|10.||Jenson Button||Vodafone McLaren Mercedes||1:31.827||15|
|11.||Sergio Perez||Vodafone McLaren Mercedes||1:31.989||16|
|12.||Paul di Resta||Sahara Force India||1:31.992||15|
|13.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams F1||1:32.013||14|
|14.||Esteban Gutiérrez||Sauber F1||1:32.063||15|
|15.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams F1||1:32.093||15|
|16.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso||1:32.485||11|
|17.||Adrian Sutil*||Sahara Force India||1:32.890||10|
|18.||Jean-Eric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso||1:33.357||6|
|19.||Max Chilton||Marussia F1||1:34.320||8|
|20.||Charles Pic*||Caterham F1 Team||1:34.556||8|
|21.||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham F1 Team||1:34.879||9|
|22.||Jules Bianchi*||Marussia F1||1:34.958||5|
|Q1 107% Time:||1:38.251|
|* Bianchi, Pic have 10-place grid penalties after accumulating three stewards’ reprimands. Sutil has 5-place penalty for gearbox change|