Webber tops Vettel for Spanish GP pole

Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel (left) and Mark Webber speak after the qualifying session of the...

Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel (left) and Mark Webber speak after the qualifying session of the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday. (REUTERS/Albert Gea)

SPORTS NETWORK

, Last Updated: 10:54 AM ET

BARCELONA, Spain -- Mark Webber denied his Red Bull Racing teammate, Sebastian Vettel, a sixth consecutive Formula One pole by winning Saturday's qualifying session for the Spanish Grand Prix.

Webber posted a lap time of one minute, 20.981 seconds around Barcelona's 2.892-mile (4.655-kilometer) Circuit de Catalunya for his seventh career F1 pole, but his first since last August in Belgium.

The Aussie edged Vettel by 0.2 seconds.

"Coming to the crucial part in qualifying was just getting the lap right in Q3, so that lap was pretty good," Webber said. "I was praying that my number went above number one...It was a nice lap and a good battle with Seb. Today was my day."

Vettel, the defending F1 world champion, won the pole for last year's season- finale at Abu Dhabi and then began this season by claiming the top starting position for the first four grand prix -- Australia, Malaysia, China and Turkey.

"I don't think we can speak of it as a big disappointment," Vettel said. "Mark did a better job today."

Vettel did not use KERS (Kinetic Energy Reduction System) during the second and third qualifying stints. The young German was quickest in Q2.

"We are working very hard on the KERS; I did not use it for Q2 and Q3, but I'm sure we'll have it for tomorrow," he said.

Last year, Webber started on the pole and led all 66 laps to win the Spanish GP. He became the 10th straight winner from the pole position at Barcelona.

Lewis Hamilton placed his McLaren car third on the starting grid for Sunday's race.

"I'm very happy with today's result," Hamilton said. "Obviously, you can see that the gap between ourselves and the Red Bulls has increased; however, we have improved this weekend."

Entering the Spanish GP, Vettel leads in the championship standings with 93 points, compared to 59 for Hamilton and 55 for Webber.

Fernando Alonso, currently fifth in points, will start fourth in front of his home crowd. It was Alonso's best qualifying run this season. The Spaniard started fourth and finished second here one year ago.

McLaren's Jenson Button took the fifth spot, followed by Vitaly Petrov from Renault and Mercedes GP's Nico Rosberg.

Felipe Massa from Ferrari qualified eighth, while Williams' Pastor Maldonado and Michael Schumacher from Mercedes completed the top-10. Schumacher did not run in Q3 in order to conserve his tires for the race. The seven-time F1 champion recorded the fastest time in Q1.

Rubens Barrichello from Williams failed to advance out of Q1 after suffering a gearbox issue. Barrichello will line up 19th on the grid.

Renault's Nick Heidfeld will start from the rear of the 24-car field. Heidfeld's car caught fire halfway through the final practice session, which was held earlier in the day. Renault believes his car erupted into flames as a result of exhaust failure. He was unable to participate in qualifying while the team repaired his car.

"It was one of the biggest fires I have had since I've been in a car," Heidfeld said.


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