Re: Japanese Grand Prix Qualifying
Webber: In a perfect world..
The weather played into the hands of Mark Webber in today's official qualifying session for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. Increasingly tricky track conditions saw the 27-year old Jaguar Racing driver move from an anticipated 11th place on the grid to sixth as the rain continued to fall, thwarting the efforts of seven of the remaining eight runners, including championship protagonists, Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonnen, who could only manage 14th and eighth respectively.
Webber has enjoyed a solid two days of testing and practice at the super-quick Suzuka circuit, and continued his form into Friday's provisional qualifying session, posting a lap of 1min 31.305s to record the ninth fastest time - once again, the best of the rest behind the eight drivers from the front four teams, Ferrari, Williams, McLaren and Renault. He was 1.024s off the time set by provisional pole-sitter, Renault's Jarno Trulli.
Webber then emerged sixth fastest in today's 15-minute qualifying warm-up, setting a time of 1min 34.504s behind Juan Pablo Montoya, Cristiano da Matta, Rubens Barrichello, Fernando Alonso and Takumo Sato (replacing Jacques Villeneueve at BAR).
The predicted rain arrived just as Webber started his flying qualifying lap but even though the conditions made the last chicane a tad tricky, Webber nevertheless posted a time of 1min 33.016s to go third fastest, with eight cars still to run, only Fernando Alonso managed to sneak one place ahead of the Australian. Webber's team-mate, Englishman Justin Wilson, will start 10th fastest after setting a time of 1min 33.558s.
"It has been a good weekend for us," said Webber, "We've done a lot of laps which is very important for the team going into the winter, but also for the short-term focus for this weekend. We've prepared as best as possible for this Grand Prix and we've put ourselves into a good position for the race if it's dry.
"The weather played into our hands today and about time, too! I had some fine mist in the last chicane which made it a bit tricky on braking and the exit. Overall though, it was a reasonable lap.
"In a perfect world, we'd prefer a boring, dry Grand Prix tomorrow as that would suit us just fine. However, the weather forecast is not for that, so we're expecting a lot of pit-stops and a very exciting race. It's a long race, anything can happen and so there's plenty to play for."
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