November 2nd, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Mark Webber led an all-Red Bull front row in qualfiying, beating Sebastian Vettel to pole position by just over a tenth of a second. Nico Rosberg was third ahead of Lewis Hamilton in an all-Mercedes second row of the grid.
The big surprise of qualifying came in Q2, when Fernando Alonso failed to make it through to the top ten shootout. It's the first time Alonso has not featured in Q3 this season. He qualified 11th, just slower than Felipe Massa in the leading Ferrari in Q2. Massa made it through to Q3 and qualified 8th.
The first part of qualifying saw all drivers using the soft option tyres to set their quickest times. The gap in performance between the two tyres compounds was so large that the medium tyres were not an option to even the quickest teams, although quite a few drivers did their first Q1 runs on the medium tyres before switching to the faster soft tyres.
The drivers eliminated in Q1 were: Esteban Gutierrez, Adrian Sutil, Giedo van der Garde, Jules Bianchi, Charles Pic and Max Chilton. Bianchi will be moved to the back of the grid, as he has a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change after he crashed in the third practice session earlier today.
As qualifying is run at dusk, when the sun is going down and temperatures are dropping, the track gets quite a bit quicker through the session. That was evident in Q2, when many of the drivers were out on track right at the end of the session to make sure that they could proceed to Q3. Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were among them and they ended up battling over the final Q3 place.
Massa finished his final flying lap in Q2 before Alonso, and was tenth fastest - just quick enough to proceed to Q3 - when Alonso was on his final lap. Although Alonso went a bit faster than his own personal best, he was not able to go better than 11th quickest in the session and found himself eliminated from the top ten shootout, along with Paul Di Resta, Jenson Button, Jean-Eric Vergne, Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas.
Although they were slowest in Q2, both Williams drivers made it out of Q1, which will be pleasing to the team as they have been struggling to get both cars into Q2 throughout the season.
Q3 saw most of the top ten do 2 runs, the first on used soft tyres and the second on a fresh set of the soft rubber. Sebastian Vettel was quickest on the first runs, which were completed by 7 drivers. But when the second runs happend, the order changed a bit.
Mark Webber started his final flying lap before Vettel started his. It was clear from the first sector that Webber's lap would be extremely competitive and possibly faster than Vettel's first attempt in the session. When Webber crossed the line, he was quickest with the first lap of the weekend faster than 1 minute 40 seconds.
Vettel made a small mistake in the first corner of his lap, and could not find enough time in the rest of the lap to recover from that error. He qualified second to complete an all-Red Bull front row, just over a tenth of a second slower than his team-mate.
Nico Rosberg achieved his stated aim of being "best of the rest" by qualfiying third behind the Red Bulls. Lewis Hamilton was fourth fastest, although he did not complete his final flying lap as he spun in the turn 14. Over the team radio, he told Mercedes that something had broken on the rear of the car. It's not clear yet what could have gone wrong.
Kimi Raikkonen qualified ahead of his Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean, setting the fifth fastest time while Grosjean was down in 7th place. The two Lotus drivers were split by the Sauber of Nico Hulkenberg, who continued to impress by setting the sixth fastest time.
Felipe Massa was eighth in the leading Ferrari, ahead of the leading McLaren of Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo in the Toro Rosso.
Full results from qualifying:
|1||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:41.568||1:40.575||1:39.957||17|
|2||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:41.683||1:40.781||1:40.075||12|
|12||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:41.676||1:41.133||19|
|18||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:42.051||10|
|19||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:43.252||10|
|Q1 107% Time||1:47.741|