Webber takes Belgian GP pole

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 10:39 AM ET

SPA, Belgium -- Mark Webber gave Red Bull its 12th pole in the first 13 Formula One races this season after edging McLaren's Lewis Hamilton in Saturday's qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix.

Webber, the current world championship leader and winner of the most recent grand prix four weeks ago in Hungary, turned in the quickest lap of 1 minute, 45.778 seconds during a rainy final round of qualifying on the 2.722-mile, 16-turn Spa-Francorchamps road course. His lap was 0.085 seconds faster than Hamilton's. The Australian captured his fifth pole of the season, but his first since May in Turkey.

"We knew the first lap (in Q3) was going to be very important, because around here, it's just so unpredictable with the weather," said Webber, who turned 34 on Friday. "I was very happy with my first lap, but you just never know in this company if it's good enough, but of course, I pushed my limit, and it was enough for me to have the pole halfway through the session."

Webber leads all drivers with four wins so far this season, and currently holds a four-point advantage over Hamilton in the championship standings.

Hamilton will start alongside Webber on the outside pole. He is the only non-Red Bull driver to win a pole this season, which came in June in Montreal.

"(Webber) did a fantastic job, and it was a tricky qualifying session where the weather conditions were changing drastically," Hamilton said.

Robert Kubica from Renault qualified third, while Webber's Red Bull teammate, Sebastian Vettel, took the fourth spot. Vettel had won the pole for the last four grand prix.

Jenson Button, the defending F1 champion, placed his McLaren fifth on the starting grid for Sunday's 44-lap race.

Felipe Massa from Ferrari will start sixth, followed by Rubens Barrichello from Williams, Force India's Adrian Sutil, Nico Hulkenberg, also from Williams, and Massa's Ferrari teammate, Fernando Alonso.

Mercedes GP duo Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg were knocked out after the second round of qualifying, as Schumacher, the seven-time F1 champion, qualified 11th, and Rosberg placed 12th.

Rosberg, however, will drop five places on the grid for the Belgian GP due to an unscheduled gearbox change on his car. The team switched to a new box after problems for Rosberg following the final practice session earlier in the day.


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