Octobe 12th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Mark Webber will start from pole position for the first time this season at the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday. It marks the first time Webber has outqualified his Red Bull team-mate, Sebastian Vettel, in 2013.
Vettel was hampered by a KERS problem during Q3, which doubtless cost him time on the track. He was not interested in speculating on what might have been, however, and said, "We had an issue in qualifying, but I’m not a big fan of thinking that without this, with this, if this, you know… it’s always unknown and we’re P2. I’m happy with the result, a front row for the team is great."
Webber expressed his happiness with pole position, but did note that it was not quite as satisfying as it could have been, due to Vettel's KERS issue. Webber said, "Sebastian had a problem in qualifying, so it’s a little bit of a hollow pole position if you like; he still did a phenomenal lap. But, I’m happy to be on pole; you have to grab the opportunities when you can and still get the laps in."
Webber paid tribute to the Suzuka track, indicating just how much he enjoys driving at one of Formula One's most popular venues: “It’s a great track and we always enjoy driving here. The laps weren’t too bad today to be honest, but you always want a little bit more here and there. It’s a very, very nice farewell for me to have pole position on my last attempt here at Suzuka. It’s a great circuit and I’ll never forget the first sector today, it’s what us guys strive for and it’s what our profession is all about; driving that is a real highlight for us.”
Webber has never won at Suzuka, and will be looking to convert pole position into victory tomorrow. He will be all too aware that he his toughest competition will likely come from his own team-mate, who has a chance of wrapping up the 2013 title this weekend.
Despite Vettel's title chances, Webber has indicated that he is not interested in moving over for the reigning World Champion to assist him to win the title. It would make very little difference anyway, as Vettel is so far ahead in the title race that he will almost certainly be a four-time World Champion by the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on 3 November at the latest.