Mark Webber survived a flurry of late laps to claim Red Bull’s 12th pole in 13 grands prix this season, taking fastest time in qualifying at Spa-Francorchamps.
The championship leader, 34 on Friday, bounced back from an apparently disappointing earlier qualifying session to seize top spot midway through the final 10-minute shoot-out, but then had to wait to see if rivals from McLaren, Ferrari and within Red Bull could displace him.
With Fernando Alonso failing to improve on an initial 10th place after struggling with his Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel could only consolidate as the first fresh raindrops began to fall on the Ardennes. But McLaren managed to find time, with both Jenson Button (to fifth) and Lewis Hamilton (to second) improving. Hamilton’s move pushed the impressive Robert Kubica off the front row, but was not enough to dislodge Webber, whose 1min 45.778secs lap proved to be 0.09secs too good for the Briton.
Vettel will line up alongside Kubica on row two, with Button and Felipe Massa sharing row three. Williams driver, and the 300 Club’s only member, Rubens Barrichello will start seventh, with Force India’s Adrian Sutil alongside, as Nico Hulkenberg partners Alonso in ninth and 10th.