Red Bull dominate Japanese Grand Prix qualifying

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel delivered on his practice promise setting a time of 1:30.839; just over 1/4 of a second ahead of team mate Mark Webber and just under half second ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button, who will start from eighth place after being demoted five places for a gearbox change, but will still start ahead of McLaren team mate Lewis Hamilton who had a dismal qualifying session; struggling to find a good car balance, the ‘no grip’ shoe is on the other foot in Japan.

The Q1 session saw all the usual suspects exit qualifying, Heikki Kovalainen, Timo Glock, Pedro De La Rosa, Charles Pic, Vitaly Petrov and Narain Karthikeyan, while Williams’ Bruno Senna was blocked at the final chicane by Toro Rosso’s Jean Eric Vergne compromising his lap meaning the Brazilian failed to make the cut for Q2; Vergne was demoted three places to 19th for his actions, promoting Senna up one place to 16th. Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher, who recently announced his second retirement struggled, setting a time good enough to Q2 in the dying seconds of the session.

There was no real surprises in the Q2 session; Ferrari’s Felipe Massa was pushed out the top 10 as drivers set their fastest time in the closing moments of the session, ultimately being bumped by Lotus’ Romain Grosjean’s time of 1:31.988 which was good enough for seventh fastest in Q2. Paul di Resta, Michael Schumacher, Pastor Maldonado, Nico Rosberg, and finally the Toro Rosso’s of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean Eric Vergne all joined Massa in sitting out the remainder of qualifying.

Moving onto the Q3 sessions, Sebastian Vettel immediately went out and popped in a time of 1:30.839 which turned out to be good enough for pole, while Webber and Button set times fatest enough for second and third on the grid. During the second set of runs; Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen spun at the Spoon curve bringing out the yellow flags compromising many drivers laps, but Japan’s Kamui Kobayashi still managed to set a lap time fast enough for fourth, which later became third after Button’s penalty. The Japanese escaped the stewards wrath after seemingly not slowing for the waved yellow flags, Kobayashi claiming that he didn’t open his DRS through Spoon in his defence!

Lewis Hamilton appeared to be nowhere in qualifying, I’m sure that his fans will claim that McLaren gave him a substandard car because he has decided to leave the team, it’s all a conspiracy I tell you! The Briton qualified in ninth place; a massive 1.488 seconds off the pole time, Hamiton starts immediate behind team mate Button after his penalty. Kamui Kobayashi, Romian Grosjean, Sergio Perez, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen all move up one place to third through seventh respectively after Button’s penalty, the Briton will find it hard to win from eighth place!

Nico Hulkenberg didn’t take to the track in Q3; and later suffered a five place grid penalty for changing a gearbox which would explain his absence. Despite the five place grid drop; Hulkenberg will start from 15th because of Schumacher’s 10 place penalty for wiping out Vergne in Singapore.

So the top 10 grid for Sunday is as follows (with all penalties applied):

1. Sebastian Vettel, 2. Mark Webber, 3. Kamui Kobayashi, 4. Romain Grosjean, 5. Sergio Perez, 6. Fernando Alonso, 7. Kimi Raikkonen, 8. Jenson Button, 9. Lewis Hamilton, 10. Felipe Massa.

Have Something To Say About This Post? Please Comment Below!