July 6th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Ahead of qualifying, it seemed impossible that Sebastian Vettel would not take pole position. He was three quarters of a second clear in final practice, and the car seemed to be working well all around the Nurburgring. But in qualifying, Vettel could not match the blistering pace set by Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes. Vettel qualified second with team-mate Mark Webber close behind in third place.
Vettel said after the qualifying session, "Congratulations to Lewis on pole. It was very tight today, I tried everything. The car felt fine; I was struggling a little bit this afternoon in the first sector, I was losing time there and then trying to catch up. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough, but it looks like we are a bit closer to the Mercedes here than we were in Silverstone, so I think we made some progress and can have confidence for tomorrow. We had a good run yesterday looking at the race, so I think we have done our homework. We have put the car on the first row; it wasn’t quite enough for pole position, but we should have a good race from there tomorrow.”
Mark Webber has yet to outqualify Vettel this season, and was beaten by his team-mate for the ninth consecutive qualifying session today. He nevertheless expressed his satisfaction with third on the grid and stated his intention to challenge for top honours in tomorrows Grand Prix. Webber said, “I was actually happy with third position today, as it was very sensitive out there. We lost a little bit in the first sector and struggled to find the rhythm that we had had there in P3, but we know there was a shift in track temp and it pulled everyone together a bit, at least for the short runs. With the long runs, we’re happy with the car, so we’re in a good position to put pressure on for the race victory tomorrow.”
Red Bull's major challenge in both championships looks likely to come from Mercedes. The Silver Arrows have found form this season in the hands of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Rosberg has won two races and taken three pole positions. Lewis Hamilton is yet to win a race in 2013, but will be looking to correct that record from pole position tomorrow. Red Bull are, however, in a very strong position for the championship ahead of tomorrow's race. Both of their cars will be in a position to challenge for the win, whereas Mercedes only have one car at the front after a strategic error cost Nico Rosberg a shot at the top ten in qualifying today.