Mark Webber surprised team mate Sebastian Vettel and earned his first genuine pole of the year with a superb performance in Korea.
Webber inherited the top spot in Monaco – where he won – after Michael Schumacher’s grid penalty was taken into account.
The Aussie admitted that it had not been an easy session.
“We had a few plates spinning, to be honest, with some little background issues that we were managing as best we could on the lap,” said Webber. “But the lap was very good, apart from Turn 15, I made a mistake there, so probably got in OK but the exit wasn’t great but apart from that it worked well. I think I got 11 and 12 as good as I could get.
“So, yeah, take the rough with the smooth. I think it was a tight session, I think, for all of us – up and down, scrubbed tyres, new tyres. Fernando did a pretty solid lap time on the scrubbed at some point there. So that’s just the way it is. With the old Pirellis, things can move around quite a bit.”
Webber was hampered by a software issue that cost him priceless track time in FP3.
“We didn’t get to run anywhere near as much as we would have liked to in P3, so our information on the option was limited. So there was a bit of catch-up going on for sure.
“After my first run on the option in Q2, I had not the best sector two and three for balance issues and also some other things that Ciaron was working on to get the car to finish the lap better – so that’s what we focussed on in Q3. And got the job done.”
He agreed that the team had made good progress since the August break: “We have been making small developments at each Grand Prix, that’s the way it is. If you look at where the car is from Spa, obviously it’s a different aero package for Spa and Monza, but to where it is now, the base of the car for sure is probably a decent step but it’s always… every Grand Prix, we try to just put little bits on the car to help.
“At some Grands Prix we don’t put anything on, we miss and at the next one we catch up a bit more, and also, you have to bear in mind that it’s circuit-specific as well. You have to understand what each track needs and those type of things, so the last two venues have probably been pretty good for us in terms of layout, especially the last one.
“Yeah, happy drivers are drivers at the front so when you’re towards the front it makes you satisfied but we can still improve the car, there are always areas to improve. That’s what we’ve got to keep working on.”