Welcome to FOXSports.com’s Live Formula 1 blog! We will be bringing you the latest updates from the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.
In case you missed it, Mark Webber beat his Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel to capture pole for Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton will start on the second row.
Vettel Philosophical After Mistake Costs Him Pole
Sebastian Vettel hasn’t made many mistakes in 2013, but a tiny one in Q3 in Abu Dhabi cost him pole position to teammate Mark Webber.
Vettel had a little glitch at the first turn on his final hot lap, but still managed to beat everyone else to secure second place. He insisted afterwards that he was not too disappointed, given that he still headed off a strong challenge from Mercedes.
“There is no guarantee,” said the German. “I think it’s a great result for the team, first of all. At the start of qualifying I think Mercedes looked very, very strong. Both Nico and Lewis, especially in Q2. I think Mark and myself weren’t hanging about in Q2, but they were very, very strong.
“But we seemed to be able to find a little bit of extra time in Q3. I think I did a very good lap so congratulations to him. I think I should have done a little bit better but I don’t know if it had been enough. As a fact he deserved to be on pole today. He did a good job, no mistakes. As I said, on top of that, a great result for the team. We should have a strong race tomorrow.”
Regarding his mistake, he said: “I was pushing hard, that’s the reason behind it. Surely, I think, as a driver, you always argue that there is a little bit here, a little bit there but the bottom line is that if you look at it from the outside as well, if you push yourself to the maximum trying to get everything out then you do mistakes, as well. I’m not very proud of that but I did what I could today and it wasn’t enough to be on pole, and that’s why I said it before and I’ll say it again – Mark deserved to be on pole, no doubt.
“So, I think the car was good. That’s why I apologized [on the radio]. I said, ‘Sorry guys, I messed up a bit at turn one.’ It’s a tricky corner. If you get it right, it feels great. It you mess it up, it doesn’t and then you have a long lap trying to make up for it. But obviously there is a limit. Overall, as I said, I was happy but didn’t manage to get everything perfect. Whether it would have been enough, I don’t know. Mark did a very good laps, so we’ll see tomorrow.”
Suspension Failure Caused Hamilton Spin
Lewis Hamilton’s spin in Q3 in Abu Dhabi was caused by a right rear suspension failure, team boss Ross Brawn has confirmed.
Hamilton was on a strong lap at the time, and still held on to fourth place with his time from earlier in the session.
“It was a little bit of an unusual event because Lewis had got out of the corner when he lost control of the car,” said Brawn. “When we’d got the car back we’d fractured a wishbone, one of the wishbones had broken. That’s why he lost control of the car. We think we can sort it out. Obviously, it’s a circuit where there’s a lot of grief over the curbs and so on, so we’re going back through all the data to try and understand what may have provoked it, because it’s obviously a system we’ve had for a long time with no problems.
“It may be an issue with that particular part, or it may be an issue with the way we’ve taken some curbs or some particular event. So we’re pouring over all the data. I don’t think there’s any high risk for tomorrow, and we should be able to fix it within parc ferme and race OK tomorrow.
“As soon as it became clear we had a problem, we had a lot of people in the office, anyway, but a lot of the specialists came in and they’re looking through all the data now to see where we have have induced the problem, and then we can advise the drivers to avoid that, if it is a particular event. It’s pretty violent here over some of the curbs, and you probably saw Lewis the run before had quite an event over one of the curbs.
“We’re really comfortable with the suspension system because it’s one we’ve had all year with no particular problems. Something’s happened here that’s aggravated it, and we’ll check Nico’s car and understand what’s happened.”
Asked by FOXSports.com if there were concerns about gearbox suspension mountings – which could result in a five-place penalty – Brawn didn’t think it would be an issue: “I don’t think so, no, but that’s obviously something we’ve got to check out tonight and tomorrow morning. But so far it doesn’t look to be a problem.”
Webber Delighted After Beating Vettel In Qualifying
Mark Webber earned the second pole of his final F1 season with a great effort in Abu Dhabi, as for once Sebastian Vettel didn’t quite get it right and had to settle for second.
In Japan, Vettel was hampered by a KERS failure, but this time it was a straight fight between the Red Bull teammates.
“I think this weekend so far has gone pretty smoothly for us,” said Webber. “It’s not the easiest venue because of the temperatures, when the sessions are — obviously, in the afternoon and then the night session. You’ve got to be on top of that as a driver and also from an engineering perspective. So, we did what we could do.
“Not the smoothest part, I would say, to the start of Q2. Also Q1, we were not, I would say, electric but then getting into the groove we changed the car quite a bit, with the front wing level and things like that, as the session went on. And I got more and more comfortable. So, I knew I had to work on certain sections of the track.
“Sebastian had already been doing a good job there already, so I had to try to match him there and keep the areas where I was still doing a pretty good job. Overall happy with the pole. It was a good lap, obviously, on a track which in the past hasn’t been super-invigorating for me in terms of layout, let’s say, but we certainly enjoyed the qualy today, and really looking forward to the race tomorrow because we’ve got a good car for the race in these conditions.”
Webber failed to convert pole into victory at Suzuka, but he’s optimistic about doing it this time.
“We have a good car in the race, I believe,” he said. “As we’ve shown in the last few events, we’ve always been certainly there or thereabouts and leading some race in the last few events and challenging for some very good results. In qualy it’s been pretty strong.
“Korea in the race, yeah, coming back from the 10-place penalty and bits and bobs. So, in general the form has been very strong. Carry that over tomorrow night, keep my head down and look for a very good result. There’s no question about that.”