Mark Webber has beaten out his Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel to secure the pole position at the Japanese Grand Prix. Webber is competing in his last season in Formula One.
Webber denied Vettel a fifth go in pole position at the Japanese Grand Prix during qualifying on Saturday, finishing the figure-8 Suzuka circuit in 1 minute and 30.915 seconds, beating out the German champ by 0.174 seconds.
It will be the Australian's 12th career pole position on Sunday. It's also the first time that Webber has finished quicker than Vettel this season and his first pole of the season as well.
"It's a great track: We really enjoy driving here," Webber said. "Sebastian had a problem, so it's a bit of a hollow pole, but you have to grab the opportunities when you can."
Vettel had to compete without a KERS energy recovery system, after a defect occured in the system during the third practice session earlier on Saturday. The KERS recovers energy from braking, which is then stored in a resevoir to use for acceleration later.
The German said he did not want to use the system failure as an excuse for not finishing first, saying that "Mark did a super job ... he's quick here."
"It was a super qualifying and a great result for the team," Vettel said. "I think it will be tight tomorrow and not just between us."
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton came in third, followed by Romain Grosjean of Lotus and Ferrari's Felipe Massa. Fernando Alonso of Ferrari qualified for eighth. Alonso only needs to finish in the eighth spot on Sunday to prevent Vettel from securing the world championship for the fourth consecutive time.
slk/kms (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)