Red Bull driver Mark Webber edged out teammate Sebastian Vettel in qualifying for the second time this season to secure pole position Saturday for the British Grand Prix amid a row about aerodynamic improvements.
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Chasing his second consecutive victory at Silverstone, Webber clocked 1 minute, 30.399 seconds to top Vettel, who timed 1:30.431 in light showers.
After winning six of the eight races this season and starting from pole seven times, Vettel has a 77-point lead over McLaren’s Jenson Button, who qualified in fifth, and Webber.
The two Ferraris followed the Red Bulls, with Fernando Alonso qualifying ahead of Felipe Massa.
Button was the fastest of the three Britons, who all made the top 10. But McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton, who is fourth in the drivers’ championship with 97 points, was 10th. Paul di Resta was sixth, having accumulated just two points in his debut season for Force India.
The Red Bulls will start on the front row on Sunday despite an ongoing problem between team bosses and the governing body about sudden rule changes.
”It’s always rewarding when you get the maximum out of the situation,” Webber said. ”The rules seemed to change every session … let’s get on with the racing and keep the rules as simple as possible from the start.”
Vettel has qualified on the front row for the last 14 races, stretching back into last season when the 24-year-old German became F1’s youngest world champion.
”It was a very good result for us today, especially with the amount of talk going on,” Vettel said. ”We are still on top of our game.”
The disagreement is over blown diffusers, which aid performance by generating more downforce from parts that were not meant for that purpose, and how much engine throttle is allowed.
Red Bull, which pioneered the system, is not allowed to use as much off-throttle exhaust gas as originally allowed.
”We won’t be allowed a concession – at the moment, in our opinion, we are running at a disadvantage compared to other manufacturers,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said. ”We were trying to find a solution.”