Mark Webber produced a stunning lap in Q3 to secure pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as Red Bull once again locked out the front two places on the grid.

The Australian took his second pole in the last three races as the championship winners maintained a run of form that has seen one of its cars start from top spot on the grid in every race since the summer shutdown.

It had looked like newly-crowned four-time champion Sebastian Vettel was on course for what would have been an eighth pole of the year when he laid down a strong marker on his first run in Q3, going comfortably quicker than his nearest rival to snare top spot on the grid.

However, on his second run, Webber was able to dip under the 1min 40secs mark with Vettel unable to then beat the Australian despite improving his time on his own final run.

Pole for Webber means he now equals Jack Brabham's Australian record of 13 career F1 pole positions.

Nico Rosberg was 'best of the rest' for Mercedes in third and shares the second row of the grid with team-mate Lewis Hamilton in fourth despite his session ending slightly early when he suffered a spin at turn 14 that resulted in yellow flags being shown for the final seconds.

Kimi Raikkonen was fifth quickest ahead of an impressive Nico Hulkenberg, with Romain Grosjean down in seventh having been one of those drivers forced to ease off following Hamilton's spin.

Felipe Massa, Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top ten, with the latter in particular having impressed with the lap that allowed him to make it through from Q2.

Outside the top ten, Fernando Alonso could only settle for eleventh as he failed to make it into Q3 for the first time since the 2012 European Grand Prix.

A mistake on his first lap of his final run proved to be costly for the Spaniard as he was then unable to find enough time on his last lap of the session and fell a tenth of a second short of knocking Massa out instead. It marked the fifth time in six races that the double champion will now start behind his team-mate.

Paul di Resta was a fraction of a second slower in the first of the Force Indias in twelfth with a disappointed Jenson Button questioning where the pace had gone in his McLaren as he failed to make Q3 for the fifth time this season.

Jean-Eric Vergne was 14th fastest, with the Williams pair of Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas the final two men to make it into Q2 - leaving them 15th and 16th on the times.

The opening phase of qualifying had seen disappointment for Esteban Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil, both of whom saw their sessions come to an early conclusion.

Gutierrez had found himself on the bubble in the closing stages of the 20 minute session but quick laps in the closing seconds from both Massa and Hamilton - who set the benchmark time - were enough to demote the Mexican down to 17th.

On the back of his recent improvement in form, it marked the first time Gutierrez had failed to make it past Q1 since the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

Sutil by contrast failed to make it into Q2 for the second time in three races, having earlier complained about the performance of his Force India in final practice.

Giedo van der Garde was quickest of the rear quartet for Caterham ahead of Jules Bianchi, although the Frenchman will take a five place penalty for a gearbox change that drops him behind Charles Pic and Max Chilton.

 

Comments

Loading Comments...