Mark Webber claimed his first pole position of the season – and his first since Korea last year – with a superb performance in qualifying in Japan on Saturday afternoon.

Mark_Webber-Japanese_GP-Q02The Australian got the better of Red Bull team mate Sebastian Vettel, who suffered from intermittent KERS issues in Q3. Webber had set the pace in Q1 at Suzuka with 1m 32.271s as he took the honours away from Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who in turn had displaced Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.

Webber actually set two times that were quick enough for pole position in Q3; his first lap of 1m 30.975s quicker than Vettel’s two efforts of 1m 31.312s and 1m 31.089s, and his second an improved 1m 30.915s.

As the Red Bulls wrapped up the front row, Hamilton improved from 10th place to third with his last-gasp lap of 1m 31.253s, moving Grosjean across to the outside of the second row on 1m 31.365s.

Massa once again outgunned Ferrari team mate Alonso, as the Brazilian set the fifth-best time of 1m 31.378s and the Spaniard could only manage 1m 31.665s for eighth. In between them came Nico Rosberg in the other Mercedes on 1m 31.397s and Sauber’s impressive Nico Hulkenberg on 1m 31.644s.

01.Australia Mark WebberRed Bull Racing1:30.91513
02.Deutschland Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing1:31.08913
03.United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas1:31.25317
04.France Romain GrosjeanLotus F11:31.36521
05.Brazil Felipe Massa Scuderia Ferrari1:31.37817
06.Deutschland Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG Petronas1:31.39717
07.Deutschland Nico HulkenbergSauber F11:31.64419
08.Spain Fernando Alonso Scuderia Ferrari1:31.66516
09.Finland Kimi RaikkonenLotus F11:31.68419
10.United Kingdom Jenson ButtonVodafone McLaren Mercedes1:31.82715
11.Mexico Sergio PerezVodafone McLaren Mercedes1:31.98916
12.United Kingdom Paul di RestaSahara Force India1:31.99215
13.Finland Valtteri BottasWilliams F11:32.01314
14.Mexico Esteban GutiérrezSauber F11:32.06315
15.Venezuela Pastor MaldonadoWilliams F11:32.09315
16.Australia Daniel RicciardoScuderia Toro Rosso1:32.48511
17.Deutschland Adrian Sutil*Sahara Force India1:32.89010
18.France Jean-Eric VergneScuderia Toro Rosso1:33.3576
19. United Kingdom Max ChiltonMarussia F11:34.3208
20.France Charles Pic*Caterham F1 Team1:34.5568
21.Holland Giedo van der GardeCaterham F1 Team1:34.8799
22. France Jules Bianchi*Marussia F11:34.9585
 Q1 107% Time:1:38.251 
* Bianchi, Pic have 10-place grid penalties after accumulating three stewards’ reprimands. Sutil has 5-place penalty for gearbox change