Mark Webber trumped his Red Bull Racing team-mate Sebastian Vettel for the first time this season as he grabbed pole position for Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.
The Australian dominated the final part of qualifying at Suzuka and even bettered his provisional pole lap to pip the reigning world champion by almost two tenths.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton will head up row two in third just ahead of Lotus’ Romain Grosjean.
Title contender Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso struggled once again in qualifying and could only set the eighth fastest time.
Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo endured a tough session and will start from 16th on the grid as he failed to make Q3.
“It’s what us guys strive for to be on pole here. It’s a great track at Suzuka and we all like to drive here”, said Webber.
“It’s a little bit hollow as Sebastian (Vettel) had a KERS problem however I’m happy to be on pole. It was a bit of a mixed session in terms of trying to predict who had shown their hand.”
Championship leader Vettel began Q3 with a KERS issue which hampered his early efforts but his system was able to reset itself for the final minutes. He set the initial pace but Webber soon blitzed the time by four tenths.
Alonso and Hamilton were the only other cars to elect to do more than one run posting times for third and fourth respectively as the session reached the half-way mark.
KERS returned for Vettel’s final run but he was unable to beat Webber’s initial time.
|1||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||1:32.271||1:31.513||1:30.915|
|2||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1:32.397||1:31.290||1:31.089|
|12||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:32.286||1:31.992|
|16||Daniel Ricciardo||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:32.804||1:32.485|
|17||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:32.890|
|18||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:33.357|
|21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:34.879|