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Webber leads Red Bull 1-2 in Spanish GP qualifying

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Mark Webber claimed his second pole position of the Formula One season on Saturday, leading a Red Bull 1-2 at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Ferrari was fined $20,000 after Fernando Alonso nearly collided with Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg during qualifying. Alonso pulled out of Ferrari's garage and almost drove straight into Rosberg as they both left the pit lane.

Webber secured Red Bull's fifth straight start from first place on the grid with a lap time of 1 minute, 19.995 seconds at the Circuit de Catalunya. Sebastian Vettel trailed for the Austrian team's third 1-2 start of the season.

Lewis Hamilton of McLaren will start third ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, while overall F1 leader Jenson Button was fifth.

Michael Schumacher will start from a season-high sixth spot, ahead of Renault's Robert Kubica and Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg.

The last nine Spanish GP winners have come from the pole position.

No team has been able to compete with Red Bull's pace in qualifying for the first four races and it was the same story Saturday.

"Normally it's a good battle all the way through qualifying, but today I had two solid laps and it was nice to go into the second lap knowing you're ahead," said Webber, who now has career poles. "The work in the car is now translating into lap times."

Vettel has qualified first three times this season but has only won one race, coming from third place in Malaysia with Webber starting from pole position. The last nine Spanish GP winners have come from the pole.

"We are enjoying ourselves, but obviously Mark wants to beat me and I want to beat Mark," Vettel said. "But today he was not beatable."

Hamilton labeled McLaren "the best of the rest" and said his team's race pace gives it a chance, while the possibility of rain could help the rest of the field.

"I don't think anyone expected them to be so fast this weekend. We expected them to be quick but there is a decent gap (to the field)," Hamilton said. "It's great to be up there, so at least we can fight."

Red Bull must hope the reliability problems that have hurt it this season don't reappear and give Webber a chance of getting into the title fight.

"We've got to capitalize in the upcoming races," said Webber, who is going for his second career victory.

Button is the defending F1 champion and leads this season with 60 points after two wins. Rosberg is next with 50, while Hamilton and Alonso both have 49. Vettel has 45 points, Ferrari's Felipe Massa has 41 and Webber has 28.

"Obviously the race is tomorrow, there are no points today," Vettel said. "It will be a long race. It looks comfortable but we know how quickly things will change."

Massa will start from ninth ahead of Kamui Kobayashi, who has Sauber in a position to pick up its first points of the season.

Lotus was the quickest of the three new teams, beating Virgin and HRT. Williams driver Rubens Barrichello also failed to get out of the first elimination session, leaving the Brazilian to start from a disappointing 18th place.

After the near collision, Rosberg called for a penalty after almost being forced into a side wall. The governing body FIA fined the Italian team for an "unsafe release."

"The vision, the angle is not the perfect one to see anyone coming from the pit, so you rely on your mechanic," said Alonso, F1 champion in 2005, '06. "If there is a penalty for this, we need to reconsider some of the Grands Prix so far in terms of penalties in the pit lane.

"There was no accident, no touch and no performance gain."

It's not the first incident involving Alonso this season.

He nearly collided with teammate Massa at the Chinese GP after aggressively overtaking the Brazilian at the pit lane entrance. In the same race, Hamilton and Vettel aggressively dueled in the pit lane.