ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (AP) - Mark Webber managed to outshine his Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel, beating the four-time world champion’s time right at the end of qualifying to take pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Saturday.
The Australian is competing in his final season in Formula One and still looking for his first win this year. He will look to end Vettel’s run of six straight race wins on Sunday.
Webber, who is fifth in the championship, earned his second pole from the past three races and 13th of his career.
“It was a good lap on a track that, in the past, hasn’t been super invigorating for me in terms of layout but we certainly enjoyed qualifying today. I knew I had to work on certain sections of the track which Sebastian had already been doing a good job there, so I needed to match him and keep the areas where I was still doing well.”
Vettel, who already has his fourth straight F1 title, took pole in four of the past five races.
“I did what I could today but it wasn’t enough. That’s why I apologized to the team. I messed up a bit on turn 1, it’s a tricky corner,” Vettel said. “I think it’s a great result for the team, first of all.”
Mercedes starts on the second row, with Nico Rosberg ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who spun his car in the closing seconds.
It proved a disappointing afternoon for Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso, who failed to make Q3 for the first time this season and starts from 11th on the grid.
Mercedes is battling with Ferrari for second place in the constructors’ championship behind Red Bull, which has already won the title.
Mercedes leads Ferrari by 313-309, with Lotus back in fourth with 285.
“Third place, best of the rest, which is our target for this weekend,” Rosberg said. “The constructors’ is what counts for us. So that’s a very good result for us.”
But Mercedes will have to assess what happened to Hamilton’s car.
“Something gave way on the right-hand side,” Hamilton said. “I was going through the chicane and it snapped out. I tried to pull away and it wouldn’t move.”