Sebastian Vettel was quick to praise and congratulate his long-time Red Bull team mate Mark Webber for clinching pole position at Suzuka on Saturday, and refused to blame his own KERS malfunction for missing out.

"First of all congratulations to Mark, I think he did a very good lap," said Vettel. "We did have an issue in qualifying, but I don't think that hurt us when trying to find a rhythm," he added.

"I'm not a big fan of 'without this,' 'with this,' 'if this,' etc.," he continued. "It's always unknown and the fact is that we are P2.

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"I kept it on the track, obviously tried hard, and on the first attempt a little too hard, but on the second attempt I managed to stay on track," he recalled. "On the first attempt I lost time all down the straight [after Spoon] and on the second attempt I was a little more conservative but gained on the straight, so it was a net gain. We were all pushing on the limit today and with the wind it was quite tricky, with some gusts here and there. In the end we were pushing and mistakes happen."

"I'm happy with the result, a front row for the team is great," he added. "The car was phenomenal today, especially in the first sector. You realise 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."

If he wins tomorrow, Vettel could claim his fourth consecutive F1 world championship at Suzuka, assuming that Fernando Alonso finished no better than ninth position.

But for Mark Webber - heading into his final five Grand Prix races before retiring from the championship and heading instead to sports cars in 2014 - his first pole position of the season coming at one of his favourite tracks was a wonderful way to mark his final F1 appearance at Suzuka.

"It's a very, very nice farewell for me to have pole position on my last attempt here at Suzuka," said Webber. "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.

"It's a great track and we always enjoy driving here. The laps weren't too bad today to be honest, but you always want a little bit more here and there.," he added. "I'm happy to be on pole; you have to grab the opportunities when you can and still get the laps in."

Nonetheless, Webber would have preferred to have beaten Vettel on a level playing field rather than knowing that his team mate was handicapped by the KERS issue, and as a result described today's achievement as "a little bit of a hollow pole position, if you like" pointing at the "phenomenal" lap Vettel had still managed to post despite his technical glitches.

However it was made up, Red Bull principal Christian Horner was delighted at the end result from a team perspective.

"It's great to have secured front row for tomorrow's race," he said. "It was a very strong performance by Mark today to claim his first pole of the year and Sebastian, despite the failure of KERS on his car, produced a great lap also to get onto the front row for tomorrow's race.

Horner admitted that KERS glitches continued to remain the Achilles Heel of an otherwise bullet-proof Red Bull technical package in 2013, with Webber having a brief KERS problem of his own in qualifying and Vettel already having lost almost half his running time in the earlier Free Practice 3 for a KERS issue.

"We need to understand the issue with his car, as it's the second session we had a KERS problem," he said. However Horner was hopeful that there would be no continuation of the problems in Sunday's race. "Hopefully we can convert these very strong grid positions into a good points haul tomorrow."