Red Bull duo Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber have expressed surprise at the pace shown by Lewis Hamilton and McLaren during qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the new Yas Marina circuit.
Hamilton produced a stunning display during the session to secure his fourth pole of the season by more than six-tenths of a second, which demoted Vettel and Webber to second and third on the starting grid.
“I think both Mark and I were surprised by the gap to Lewis,” Vettel, who goes into the weekend looking to secure second in the standings, said. “He's been quick all weekend and the McLaren seems to be generally very strong here. We could see in Q1 and Q2 that it would be difficult to match their pace, so I think this was the maximum we could do today.
“I'm very pleased so far, it should be a good race. The car is working well here; it just seems that our KERS button, which we have on the steering wheel, isn't working! But, let's see. I think we have a good race pace and the car is getting better and better. I'm looking forward to tomorrow.”
Webber agreed with his team-mate that he was surprised at the pace shown by McLaren but said he was confident that Red Bull will be in the mix for victory in Sunday's race.
“I'm happy to be starting near the front of the grid and we have a good chance tomorrow for a strong result,” he said. “I'm surprised by Hamilton's time, McLaren have done a very good job, no question about it, and it seems that this track suits them.
“We're going to have our work cut out to beat Lewis tomorrow, but we're going to give it our best shot. I think the KERS gives them a good advantage but, even without that, they clearly have a good car here. But, it's a long race and anything can happen.”