Across the course of the 2013 Formula One season, the relationship between Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel has been frosty at the best of times, with the ‘Multi 21’ fiasco at the Malaysian Grand Prix being the low point in an on-going feud between the Red Bull teammates.
However, the German driver has praised his Australian counterpart for his performance in qualifying today that saw him claim his first pole position in almost one year, and Vettel refused to put his failure to secure pole down to the KERS problem during Q3.
“First of all congratulations to Mark, I think he did a very good lap,” Vettel said. “We had an issue in qualifying, but I’m not a big fan of thinking that without this, with this, if this, you know… it’s always unknown and we’re P2. I’m happy with the result, a front row for the team is great.”
Vettel missed out on the opportunity to secure a fifth consecutive pole at Suzuka, having boasted a record that stretched right the way back to 2009. However, he was still highly complimentary about the pace of the RB9 car at Suzuka.
“The car was phenomenal today, especially in the first sector,” he said. “You realise afterwards that the car was really fantastic through there and you don’t get many days when the car feels that great and you can really push it to the limit. I enjoyed qualifying today and I’m happy with second place.”
The result sees Vettel continue his run of consecutive front-row starts the stretches right the way back to the British Grand Prix in June. With Fernando Alonso down in eighth place, the German driver will be looking to make a good start and jump ahead of his teammate and put himself in a position to win his fourth world title this weekend.
Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.
The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.
Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.
Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.
“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”
Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”
Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.
The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.