Pole for birthday-boy Webber as Ferrari splutter at Spa
A delighted Mark Webber (15/8) secured the Red Bulls' 13th pole position of the season for the Belgian Grand Prix, but did admit that the timing of his flying lap was a key factor in a qualification session punctuated with rain.
Having celebrated his 34th birthday on Friday, the Australian got straight back to business by dominating the early practice sessions at the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit, before then going on to complete the fastest qualification lap ahead of McLaren's Lewis Hamilton (15/8 joint-favourite) and surprise package Robert Kubica (8/1) of Renault.
"We knew the first lap was going to be pretty important because round here it is so unpredictable - the weather has been unique, even for Spa. It has been so on and off, so to have a pretty clean qualifying was very important."
"The first lap I was happy with, but you never know in this company if it is enough or not. It was nice to be on pole halfway through, but the weather made it more difficult to improve on our second attempt."
Mark Webber's Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel could only manage fourth fastest in qualification, but punters may however feel the price of 11/2 about the German winning the Belgian Grand Prix is an each-way gift as Vettel seems to put in a better performance when not under the spotlight of pole position.
Defending drivers champion Jensen Button (11/1) managed to net P5 in a fairly positive day for McLaren, while Ferrari's recent revival appeared to go array with sixth place their consolation courtesy of Felipe Massa.
Force India's Adrian Sutil (33/1) will start in eighth position ahead of fellow German Nico Hulkenberg (100/1).
Fernando Alonso is surprisingly found way back in P10 after struggling in the conditions.
Even though he didn't manage to make it through to Q2, Jarno Trulli (1000/1) gets the bonus of starting in 16th position ahead of Germany's Nico Rosberg (125/1) who, despite finishing 12th fastest was issued with a five place grid penalty following a gearbox replacement by his Mercedes team.
Former champion Michael Schumacher's ten-place grid penalty for the dangerous incident involving former Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello in Hungary means that despite making it to the second session and finishing P11 on Saturday, the German will be pushed back to 21st place on the grid for Spa.
After Mark Webber's Hungarian Grand Prix victory ahead of Alonso and pole-sitter Vettel, the Australian currently leads the drivers' championship but depending on Sunday's result, it might be all-change at the top. Can team Red Bull remain top dogs in the standings?
Belgian Grand Prix Outright: 15/8 Mark Webber, 15/8 Lewis Hamilton, 11/2 Sebastian Vettel, 8/1 Robert Kubica, 10/1 Fernando Alonso, 11/1 Jenson Button, 25/1 Felipe Massa, 33/1 Adrian Sutil, 66/1 Rubens Barrichello, 100/1 Nico Hulkenberg, 125/1 Nico Rosberg, 200/1 Michael Schumacher, 200/1 Bar