Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber has clinched his first pole position of the 2013 Formula One season, managing a brief 1:30.915 for the Suzuka circuit during qualifying today at the Japanese Grand Prix and securing himself a front spot on the grid. As is usually the case, the outcome of qualifying was decided in the final seconds of the session and all the top drivers closely grouped.

Red Bull Racing’s other driver Sebastian Vettel wasn’t too far off the pace of his teammate, managing a 1:31.089 himself, which means the current points leader will also start at the front of the grid for tomorrow’s race.

The next best driver, Mercedes AMG’s Lewis Hamilton, managed a 1:31.253 to secure third position, while Lotus’ Romain Grosjean will start at fourth thanks to his 1:31.365 effort.

Behind them were Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, Mercedes AMG’s Nico Rosberg, Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg, Ferrari’s other driver Fernando Alonso, and Lotus’ other driver Kimi Räikkönen filling out positions five through nine, respectively. Rounding out the top ten was McLaren’s Jenson Button.

There were few incidences today, though the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne started smoking because of fire at the rear brakes. A second fire also emerged from the rear of Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber.

The weather forecast for the Japanese GP is still looking good, with sunny skies and warm temperatures predicted. Going into tomorrow’s race, Sebastian Vettel leads the Drivers’ Championship points tally with 247 points, followed by Fernando Alonso with 187 points and Lewis Hamilton with 151 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull Racing commands 377 points versus the 274 points of Ferrari and the 267 points of Mercedes AMG.


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