Mark Webber judged the weather conditions perfectly to snatch pole for the 2010 Malaysian Grand Prix.
While the rest of the remaining field opted for full wet weather tyres, ahead of the final segment of qualifying, the Australian decided to take a gamble and use the intermediate compound.
Ultimately this paid off as the 33-year-old set a blistering time to leave his nearest rivals seconds adrift.
Webber’s efforts meant that Sebastian Vettel’s run of pole positions was abruptly brought to an end. Despite this the German was pleased with his performance and expects to challenge for the victory from third on the grid.
Mark Webber – 1st: “It was tricky today. When you look at the amount of standing water there was in places during Q1 and Q2, trying to get everything right and a clear lap was difficult, especially as there is a fair difference in pace between some of the cars. My Q2 lap on intermediate tyres was a bit of a three point turn round Pedro (de la Rosa) and that was my quickest, so you knew you had to keep pushing; the conditions were changing so quickly. A few big names went out in the first session, which was a surprise, but it just goes to show how sensitive everything is to timing. The pole goes to Ciaron, my engineer, as he made the call for inters in Q3. I said have a look at the track, what do you think?’ and he said yeah let’s go for it’. It was tricky in places, in the last corner there was a bit of aquaplaning, but I kept it on the black stuff and got the job done.”
Sebastian Vettel – 3rd: “Good job to Mark today. It was very tricky at the start of Q3, there was a lot of water and it was the right thing to call the red flag – it was just impossible. I think there was too much water – the cars are quite low, so you end up swimming more than driving. In Q3 I think we did the right thing putting on extremes. The water disappeared quicker than the majority of people thought and Mark was on the better tyre in the end, but I think third is a good result for the team. It was a tricky session it was important to get into the next round and then qualify as high up as we could, which we did. It’s a shame as I had some moments on my fastest lap – I was close to Nico (Rosberg), only about one tenth off I think, but if you look back there wasn’t that much margin. I think we can be very pleased with third today and everything is possible tomorrow.”
Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal:“A very tricky qualifying, as there was a lot of opportunity to get it wrong rather than right, but both drivers kept cool heads, along with their engineers and car crews. In the end there was quite a lot of risk associated with splitting the strategy for the last run in Q3, but it was the right thing to do. The option of the intermediate tyre had a one lap window that Mark fully exploited and first and third is a great job from both drivers.”