x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Mark Webber praises team after taking pole in Germany

Lewis Hamilton springs surprise to take second from Sebastian Vettel.

Sebastian Vettel prepares duing Saturday's German Grand Prix qualification.
Sebastian Vettel prepares duing Saturday's German Grand Prix qualification.

Mark Webber secured back-to-back pole positions at the German Grand Prix for the first time in 14 months to leave Red Bull Racing teammate Sebastian Vettel in the shade at the Nurburgring.

McLaren-Mercedes Lewis Hamilton sprung a surprise by splitting the Red Bull pair and will line up second for the race, the 26-year-old missing out on pole by just 0.065secs.

Webber, who secured his maiden pole and win at this track two years ago, said: "My form has been getting a little better over the last few races, and yeah, this circuit is quite good for me.

"The boys have done a great job with the car, they have had a few late nights, and they have done well.

"Personally, I couldn't have done any more. I was on the complete limit, so to be on pole is very satisfying."

Hamilton remarked he did not have a chance of securing top spot on the grid, but the Briton produced a storming display to grab a front-row place for the first time since the second race of this season in Malaysia.

But after the qualifying, he said his lap was as "as good as it gets".

Hamilton added: "Firstly huge congratulations to my team, what a fantastic effort.

"We brought some new updates here, there has been a constant push, and I definitely underestimated how the car would be on low fuel.

"The lap was flowing. It was one of the happiest and comforting laps I've had. It felt incredible.

"To be honest, this is beyond my wildest expectations. I wasn't expecting the car to feel so great. I found really good balance with the set-up.

"I don't think anybody imagined we would be this close to the Red Bulls, never mind splitting them."

Remarkably for Vettel, it is the first time in 15 races – since last year's Italian Grand Prix in September – that the reigning world champion is not on the front row.

Despite the high standards he has set this season, the German claimed starting the race third on the grid was "not really a disappointment".

He added: "I'd like to be further up, of course, but it was a tough session, and a very good recovery from where I was yesterday.

"We should have been a bit quicker, but there wasn't much missing compared to Lewis and Mark, just a little bit here and there."

Ferrari pair Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa start fourth and fifth, split by half a second, with Mercedes' Nico Rosberg sixth in their home race.

Hamilton's McLaren teammate Jenson Button is down in seventh, finishing over a second behind his fellow countryman.

Force India's Adrian Sutil lines up a season-high eighth for Force India, with Renault's Vitaly Petrov ninth and Michael Schumacher 10th in his Mercedes.

Earlier, Vettel was fastest in practice, ahead of Webber and Alonso.