Webber Claims First F-1 Pole Of 2013
SUZUKA, Japan — Australian driver Mark Webber, who plans to retire from Formula One racing at the end of the season, earned his first pole of the season during qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix Saturday at Suzuka Circuitland.
Webber drove his Red Bull machine to a lap of one minute and 32.053 seconds to edge his teammate and point leader Sebastian Vettel for the top spot.
It was Webber’s first pole in more than a year, having last qualified in the top spot at Korea in 2012.
“It’s a great track and we always enjoy driving here,” Webber said. “The laps weren’t too bad today to be honest, but you always want a little bit more here and there. Sebastian had a problem in qualifying, so it’s a little bit of a hollow pole position if you like; he still did a phenomenal lap.
“But, I’m happy to be on pole; you have to grab the opportunities when you can and still get the laps in. It’s a very, very nice farewell for me to have pole position on my last attempt here at Suzuka. It’s a great circuit and I’ll never forget the first sector today, it’s what us guys strive for and it’s what our profession is all about; driving that is a real highlight for us.”
Vettel was pleased with the Red Bull sweep of the front row.
“First of all congratulations to Mark, I think he did a very good lap,” the three-time world champion said. “We had an issue in qualifying, but I’m not a big fan of thinking that without this, with this, if this, you know… it’s always unknown and we’re P2. I’m happy with the result, a front row for the team is great. The car was phenomenal today, especially in the first sector. You realize afterwards that the car was really fantastic through there and you don’t get many days when the car feels that great and you can really push it to the limit. I enjoyed qualifying today and I’m happy with second place.”
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was third, while Romain Grosjean took fourth for Lotus. Fernando Alonso was fifth in a Ferrari.