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Webber beats the rain to claim pole for Belgian GP


Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) : Championship leader Mark Webber of Red Bull put in a flying lap before the rain returned Saturday to claim pole position for Sunday’s Belgian Formula One Grand Prix.

The Australian, who celebrated his 34th birthday Friday, clocked a time of 1 minute 45.778 seconds for the 7.004-kilometre Spa-Franchorchamps circuit to secure the sixth pole of his career.

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton snatched second spot after registering a lap-time 0.085 seconds slower than Webber.

“I pushed to the limit and it was enough for me to have pole halfway through the session,” said Webber.

“It was one of those days when things can easily go wrong.”

Hamilton could have secured pole position himself but paid the price for an error on turn one.

“It was such a tricky qualifying session where the weather conditions were constantly changing,” he said.

“We’re on the front row. The positive thing is that we are there in the fight.”

Robert Kubica of Renault was a surprising third while Sebastian Vettel, who claimed the previous four poles, had to be satisfied with fourth on the grid in the second Red Bull this time around.

Defending champion Jenson Button of McLaren was fifth ahead of Felipe Massa of Ferrari while the Brazilian’s team-mate Fernando Alonso qualified down in 10th spot.

Michael Schumacher qualified one spot above Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in 11th place after both drivers were eliminated at the end of the second session.

However, the seven-time world champion has a 10-place penalty to serve following his actions in the Hungarian GP earlier this month when he nearly forced Rubens Barrichello into the pit-wall.

Webber heads the drivers’ standings with 161 points ahead of Sunday’s race, the 13th of the season. Hamilton sits in second spot, four points adrift, followed by Vettel on 151 and Button on 147 points.

Alonso also remains in the title hunt in fifth place on 141 points.