Red Bull failed to claim pole position today in Brazil for only the fourth time in the eighteen qualifying sessions that have taken place so far this season.
Lewis Hamilton beat them in Canada and Fernando Alonso beat them in Italy and Singapore, but today it was Nico Hulkenberg of Williams who broke the Red Bull qualifying dominance.
Sebastian Vettel, who had to set for second place today, was impressed with the margin by which his compatriot took his first career pole. The German also said that the wet conditions made for a challenging qualifying hour.
“It was a tricky session,” said Vettel. “It was a tough call in Q3 after the first run on intermediate tyres, the circuit looked dry, but the last sector was very tricky. In the end I think everyone decided to go on to dry tyres. The track was getting better and better, but it was still slippery.
“At first I thought I had missed pole by only a tenth, but then I saw that there was another digit and Nico had a second lead over us! Congratulations to him, it's very easy to make a mistake in these conditions.
“We were targeting for pole today, but it could have been worse in the difficult conditions, so I'm happy to start from second.”
Mark Webber, who will start tomorrow’s race from third on the grid, was also impressed by the pole-sitters pace. Despite not starting on the front row, the Aussie believe that he and the team are in a good position for the race:
“I enjoyed that, it was a challenging session for all of us,” said Webber. “It's easy to get things wrong in those conditions and not qualify, so I'm very happy to get that position near the front. It was really tricky to get clean laps in Q3, but I did my best. It was pretty close between Sebastian and I and we're both up there.
“It was a good team performance today and both Seb and I have laid good foundations for the Constructors' Championship, so there are a lot of positives from today. We're in a good position for tomorrow.
“Nico (Hulkenberg) got his car working very well, he was very confident and got the most out of it when it mattered, so congratulations to him for pole, it was like he was driving on a different track!”
Christian Horner praised his two drivers for qualifying ahead of their championship rivals, and also acknowledged Hulkenberg’s exceptional performance: “It was a very, very strong team performance today from both drivers to finish second and third on the grid, ahead of our main components. It was quite an amazing couple of laps from Nico Hulkenberg, so congratulations to him and Williams. It sets up an interesting race for tomorrow.”