September 7th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Sebastian Vettel took his 40th career pole position and the Red Bull team's 50th pole position today at Monza in Italy, beating his team-mate, Mark Webber, to the top spot in qualifying and ensuring an all-Red Bull front row for tomorrow's race.
After qualifying, Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner was full of praise for his team, saying, "A fantastic team performance to get our 50th and Sebastian’s 40th pole position here in Monza. We’ve had a strong car all weekend, but it’s a track that hasn’t historically been our strongest, so it’s the best possible place to be starting tomorrow’s race from to try and convert today’s result in to a good points haul. The weather could be a factor tomorrow and there’s still a long way to go, but a really satisfying day today.”
The threat of adverse weather for the race has been hanging over the teams all weekend, as rain is predicted for Sunday. But if that happens, Red Bull will be in the best possible place to deal with it - right at the front, where they will at least have good visibility.
Sebastian Vettel was understandably pleased with the events of qualifying. He said after qualifying, “We didn’t expect to be so strong here, with both cars on the front row. It’sdue to hard work from everyone in the team working long hours; we’ve had years where we’ve had a good car, but not a car that’s competitive in low down force trim, so in that regard we did our homework. This circuit has been a bit up and down for us, but this year it’s surely been more up so far! The car feels great, but let’s see what we can do tomorrow; we don’t get any points from today.”
Mark Webber's second place equals his strongest qualifying result of the season so far and means he will start from the front row for the first time since the season-opening Australian Grand Prix back in March. Tomorrow's race will be Webber's last grand prix in Europe before he leaves Formula One at the end of this season. However, he was not the slightest bit emotional about that, and is instead focused on the task of delivering a strong result in the race. Webber said after qualifying:
“After yesterday we thought we could challenge for the front row, but you never know and as we saw in Belgium and today, the grid can sometimes get a bit mixed up. But overall we stayed strong and have to focus on ourselves. The guys did a very good job; it’s not an easy track to pull everything together over one lap. The result is the maximum for the team and it was pretty much the maximum for me today; Seb has always been very strong here and he’s a tough nut to crack at this venue. I hope to have a strong race from there tomorrow.”
Red Bull have reached the milestone of 50 pole positions this weekend at Monza. They are sixth in the all-time list of pole-sitting constructors, just one pole behind Renault, who are no longer involved in Formula One as constructors and therefore are not likely to achieve any further pole positions in the near future. Red Bull will therefore likely find themselves fifth in the all-time list before the end of this season.
Sebastian Vettel remains third in the all-time list of pole-sitting drivers after taking his 40th pole position. He has only Ayrton Senna (65) and Michael Schumacher (68) ahead of him, but it will take him a few seasons at least to make up the 28 pole position deficit to Schumacher, if he ever does.
If Vettel wins tomorrow, it will be Red Bull's 40th win as a constructor and will make Vettel level on wins with Fernando Alonso on 32 victories. Alonso is currently fourth on the all-time list, behind Schumacher (91), Prost (51) and Senna (41). Vettel is equal fifth on 31 with 1992 World Champion Nigel Mansell.